There is a lot of comment around on the Covenant these days. Here are three things which have caught my eye, with gratitude to those who alerted me to them!
(1) An enlarged Goddard exposition of the Covenant's virtues in reponse to the English campaign to expose its vices. Here for the whole (it is longish). An excerpt (from the conclusion):
"In summary, their response to the covenant reveals that they are far from being the authentic voice of Anglicanism or the Church of England. Instead, they are at risk of seeking to remake the Communion in their own particular Western liberal image and thus make it captive to what Oliver O’Donovan described as The failure of the liberal paradigm in his first Fulcrum sermon on subjects of the day (now published by SCM as A Conversation Waiting to Begin). At root, their ill-informed polemic suggests that ultimately they cannot accept that their own tradition in Anglicanism must – like evangelical and catholic perspectives – also learn ‘to live with certain tensions or even sacrifices’ if it is to be truly Anglican. As a result, they rail against a covenant one of whose main strengths is precisely that it prevents any one part of Anglicanism from heading where they sadly risk heading - ‘in a direction ultimately outside historic Anglicanism’."
Then two provocative comments on Titus One Nine responding to posting +Graham Kings' Fulcrum/CiF column:
(2) From Sarah's comment:
"I certainly wish that it weren’t so. But since the Covenant does nothing to fix the AC’s issues—TEC will still be representing the AC with vim and vigor as a full member no matter what it does—it appears that there will simply be permanent division within the AC. The informed middle right has made it clear they aren’t leaving. So what we have is the informed middle right coupled with Sydney-type folks [by that I mean the folks who never needed “the center” to hold anyway] over there in one segment. And then the foaming raging heretics over here in one segment. And then the uninformed moderates just sort of standing about.
I look for those chasms to deepen and broaden, and for participation in the various official bodies of the AC to continue to greatly decline, since there’s no real reason to participate in such bodies with gangrenous TEC."
In posting this I am not agreeing to each and every adjective used! But I think Sarah captures well the sense that some observers have that nothing is going to change for the better, with or without a Covenant. We're doomed to disintegration!
(3) From Chris Seitz's comment:
"One thing I do not understand is the so called progressive position on this. I accept that they view with great caution/loathing the covenant (though one can wonder why, especially since the present SC is completely on their side). What is unclear is what kind of global anglicanism they envisage. It is not like default to the status quo, by killing the covenant, is workable. The communion is shattering. Is the point that this is all OK, and that then everyone gets to do what they want? Global associations will get reconfigured to track with this? The churches in various provinces will divide and splinter? This is the price for moving ahead with SSBs and it is worth it?
The covenant sets forth a vision for Communion, in continuity with what the Communion has been and reliant on healthy instruments (which aspect is now not present). If not this, what do the progressives want in terms of international anglicanism of a workable sort? One can get the impression that ‘all is well’ so long as the dreaded covenant is defeated. But all is not well. Unless one just wants to say those were arrangements we never liked anyway, and goodbye to them."
Chris Seitz (yes, the one involved with the ACI) makes a point well which I share. No Covenant could well mean No Communion. Are we happy with that? Some seem to be! Perhaps we should get used to the idea ... especially if Sarah is right and we are doomed.
Then, added Friday morning (NZ time), an article by Chris Sugden and Vinay Samuel (H/T Virtue):
(4) "The current Covenant process interminably delays judgement and leaves little hope of discipline and thus of consistency. We are left in a permanent state of dialogue and conversation. This has practical implications at parish level when churches have to decide how to relate to same-sex couples requesting blessing and bringing surrogate children for baptism. If the covenant process in the Communion becomes the state of affairs in the Church of England, its practices could be so contradictory that chaos would result. Endless appeal could be made to conviction, openness, listening and time while practices and actions continue which go against the teaching of the church whether in a parish or whole diocese.
The above argument could therefore suggest abstention in the vote in General Synod next week for the following reasons:
The Communion needs recognition of orthodox teaching and for proper and appropriate boundaries. The Covenant does not achieve that purpose but substitutes conviction for truth. Some wish to travel further in the direction in which the Covenant is supposed to point, but do not wish to support the very weak approach of the current Covenant. Where the current Anglican Communion process is going today could be used to allow for English Dioceses to move in TEC's direction tomorrow on the grounds that this is accepted Anglican practice."
On this analysis we are doomed to (endless) dialogue! There could be worse fates, and disintegration would be one of those. But I am challenged here to think of an aspect of the Covenant process, that it could allow for even basic creedal beliefs to be put up for consideration (i.e. if and when one member church developed teaching contrary to the creeds) and thus plunge the Communion into a long, if not endless discussion over matters (apparently) settled many centuries ago. Whereas I had thought that S1-3 of the Covenant confirmed that settlement.