Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Plague on Both Yer Houses?

That the Covenant might just be the right document for the Anglican Communion at this time is evidenced by its opponents. When a progressive and a conservative challenge to the Covenant agree in judgement that it is the wrong document for the Communion, there might just be something in favour of it. I call it 'the silent majority'!

Anyway, Andrew Goddard, whom I anoint as unofficial spokesperson for the centre of the Communion (and please direct concerns about how the centre is defined to him ... :), having recently taken on the English progressive challenge, takes on Sugden and Samuel's conservative, let's-hear-it-for-GAFCON challenge to the Covenant. Here are the final two paragraphs:

"One suspects that the authors may hope that GAFCON/FCA will benefit if the covenant fails but the weaknesses in that approach are already becoming clear in multiple ways. Its internal tensions are increasingly evident in, for example, the decision of AMiA to change its status in ACNA, the decision of a diocese in the Southern Cone to seek membership in another province following the province’s decision - on what is supposedly a ‘matter of indifference’in GAFCON - not to permit it to ordain women priests and the departure to Rome of some involved in the launch of FCAUK. It has also failed to build out from its original base and attract more Primates from the wider Global South to its Primates’ Council. More fundamentally, it is possibly fatally weakened by its failure to complement its proper confessional concern with the sort of practical commitments to patterns of common life and processes of common discernment found in the covenant.

If GAFCON and its supporters are genuinely seeking to be not an alternative Communion hoping for the breakup of the existing Communion but a reform movement within the Communion then rather than majoring on the covenant’s minor weaknesses and disparaging and distorting its content they should be embracing and working with the covenant as a reform which moves us in the right direction. Although not without its problems, by God’s grace and through our patience and perseverance the covenant holds out the prospect of gradually bringing greater faithfulness and order to global Anglicanism and so strengthening us to share in the mission of God."

The whole critique is here.


Brother David said...

Define greater faithfulness, please.
Define order, please.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi David,
I don't think Andrew Goddard reads this blog so it is unlikely that he will comment here!

I assume it would be about greater faithfulness to the common things which bind us together as Anglican, including the orderedness of our life together (thus, second-guessing Goddard, diaconal presidency and same sex blessings are not ordered in Anglicanism when we are disagreed among ourselves that these are ordered actions).