Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Melting Glacier

In the past Graham Kings of Fulcrum has told us that the Anglican Communion Covenant is like a glacier down a mountain valley - slow, steady and unstoppable. Others pointed out that glaciers as they go down and temperatures warm come up against a melting point and the glacier goes no further.

The melting point is the voters in diocesan synods in the Church of England. In the latest pro-Covenant article, Graham Kings repeats ten points for the Covenant. They are very easily dismissed.

1. The Covenant has been consistently supported by the Church of England. [Obviously not.]

2. It is faithful to Anglican tradition. [It centralises.]

3. It sets out a middle way [It takes from it as is.]

4. It enables Anglicanism to be recognised in a short text [But superfluous.]

5. It provides a clear framework for debate. [It confuses - excludes or does not exclude?]

6. It facilitates changes in continuity with tradition. [No, it is an innovation.]

7. It preserves provincial autonomy with interdependence. [There have been indirect forms of interdependence.]

8. It offers the only way to prevent further fragmentation. [Balkanising has already happened: better to be flexible than impose points of division.]

9. It provides ways for addressing innovations. [It is an innovation.]

10. The Archbishop of Canterbury has asked the Church of England to support him. [But he demands policies others do not support - e.g. on female bishops where the dioceses also said no.]

The Covenant is an extra document beyond the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral and is therefore superfluous. It attempts to make a proto-Church out of a Communion, a Communion that has indirect links and points of meeting for discussion. It is thus an innovation, handing power to a central Standing Committee and a number of centralising bodies that can result in relational consequences - or exclusion.

The Church of England was formed so not to take authority from outside of itself.

But this could be 'academic', and normal viewing restored, given that Salisbury, Portsmouth, Rochester, Leicester are the latest dioceses to vote against, and now a greater majority are against. It won't return to the General Synod and the policy will be over.

And the point is that this Archbishop of Canterbury will soon retire, and the failure of his principal policy ought to be the cue for him to go.

2 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Well done, Adrian. You do our work for us Anglicans/Episcopalians by rebutting Graham King's speech so excellently. I'd wager that the exercise was not that much of a challenge for you.

Isn't it odd that the defenders of the Covenant so seldom quote the text of the document?

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Very easy, no challenge.