Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Choice Words in the Pro-Covenant Website

Late in the day a website is born to promote the Anglican Communion Covenant. The old joke about a pressure group website consisting of three men and a dog is here replicated: er, just two people. But little things can grow into bigger things. So let's look at it.

Just as opponents once said that there was a danger of sleepwalking into signing this thing into being, this website claims there is a danger of sleepwalking into rejecting it. The point about sleepwalking was the authorities having one say over what was going to happen with lots of time for preparation - but now it comes to real people voting, the real people have woken up. Presented with the arguments, rather than one argument, they tend to vote against.

But here are some interesting phrases on the 'why' page of the pro-Covenant website:

It is, nevertheless, considered to be a worldwide Church...

the actions of some Provinces have strained the bonds of affection, and brought into question the notion of what it means to be a worldwide Church.

How can we really call Anglicanism a single global entity...

And elsewhere there is: "and by our identity as a ‘global church’."

Get the pattern? It is all about building a global Church. But the Church of England was founded on the principle that no outside Church body could tell it what to do. Other Churches have that too. They specifically evolved discussive linkages between them. When will these folks get it that the Anglican Communion is not a Church? Provinces are the Churches, and canon law remains with them. This is why that why page also states:

all Provinces would be invited (but could not be compelled) to adopt.

So that seems pretty pointless, as now there will be Anglican Churches that don't adopt and those that do. It is already flawed and failing as some will never join it anyway. What then is the means of unity? Centralised, quasi-legal but without means of justice, action:

any Province whose actions are deemed to be incompatible with the Covenant can be suspended from the Instruments of Communion.


The sanctions contained in the Anglican Covenant are mild, and cannot ultimately force any Province to taking any particular course of action.
So that is division, then, by action of a central committee that lacks sufficient (synodical) oversight, and yet doesn't actually have any effect in stopping anything (and it is all about stopping what others dislike). What is the difference between being suspended and not even asking to join? So whereas now there is variation, argument, disagreement, contact off and on, but various means to dialogue, via lots of routes and contacts, including indirect, and even urgings to change positively and why, as well as to stop, this Covenant would formalise and centralise the nature of division all based on stopping (but ineffective) things: so you are out or you are in. Only a 'global Church' could think like this.

The website claims that:

The Church of England has consistently supported the Covenant up to now; why turn our backs on it?

No it hasn't. The previous General Synod vote was specifically about sending it to the dioceses. Each time the pushers have kicked the thing into little goals, they've used each goal to justify the next goal kick. But at some point a decision has to be made, and the first decision was to send it to the dioceses. Presumably 'they the people' are not just there to rubber stamp but to make a decision. The rule is, if something doesn't carry the majority of the Church, that's it.

Something like a Covenant to be made, that actually relies on a consensus in a Church, surely, and demonstrably would do so in the dioceses, has now shown there is no such consensus. And this is condescending:

While many in the Church of England may not until now have given much thought to the wider Anglican Communion

Well they are doing now, and a Covenant is inappropriate, and the argument why is given on the website itself:

It would be a mistake not to give the Covenant a chance, just because it can’t solve all our problems.

What? Not give it a chance? Once it is 'given a chance' it will take over, and become the bureaucracy no one would want to see. It is precisely the thing not to be given a chance. Surely its proponents are more enthused than giving it 'a chance'? What an argument. It is rather pointless, hopeless, useless, and yet potentially - given 'a chance' - highly destructive and divisive. It adds to the problems and solves nothing.

No comments: