Monday 11 May 2009

ACC (For Real) Aftermath

This blog produced fictionalised entries of the ACC Jamaica meeting because more could be said this way than purely factually. Like the cartoons, the personalities can be made with odd touches, sort of like the originals. It turned out that the final voting was so chaotic that the factual hardly needed the fictional.

The amount of venom being heaped on Rowan Williams in particular is enough to give the guy depression or at least chucking objects around a room. People ask if he was incompetent or devious, and find the incompetence explanation hard to sustain. There is an easier explanation, that he was surrounded by advisors who followed his want for the Covenant to 'get accepted' but didn't think it would be, sufficiently and broadly enough across the Anglican Churches, unless section 4 was either gone or revised - and they ran the show so that they got that result, and he was inside their running of the show. It's the old one of the skilful advisors knowing what the King wants with their talent for juggling events that even leaves the King puzzled as to what is going on. They then get the result and, in this case, give the King his committee to do what he wanted over a coming time span - the committee of revisers.

The other personality at the centre is Henry Orombi, and his decision to go off to some other charismatic event and mishandling the preparation for this ACC meeting is contrasted against the Nigerians putting in a full ticket. Perhaps he didn't give a toss, when the chips were down, and just wanted to go and have evangelical fun.

In the real world, the claim that the Covenant is dead seems to be premature, and on the narrow basis of the delay it is premature. But death is something that happens in degrees. Something can be effectively dead and on life support, and this thing has been kicked around and re-presented so many times and yet faces the same problem: either it disciplines or it gets accepted across the range of Anglican Churches. Come to the crunch and that stark choice means it gets another kicking.

Stephen Noll now says it is on life support, not quite dead, and his prescription is partly to concentrate on other things, but in terms of the Covenant is to pressurise Lambeth Palace, add in bits of the Jerusalem Declaration and even add to the disciplinary clauses. Er, yeah, like what is the revision committee about and why did they do it: because too many Churches will not accept it! What good will it do beefing up something that doesn't pass if it even smells of low quality oxtail soup?

The Anglican Communion Institute thinks the events of the voting should be explained and voted on again legally with immediacy, and if not then the text in full should stand and Churches start voting to adopt it. Trouble with that is the Covenant would carry no legitimacy as a Communion document, and the Churches that might not have passed it won't even consider it.

It doesn't matter which way the pack of cards is cut, it still cuts the pack of cards. If anyone goes back to the debate of even the Church of England about the Covenant they will see that there was a strong view against a juridical, restrictive element to such a Covenant, and that it ought to be welcoming of the breadth of Anglicanism - and that from a Church that cannot accept outside authorities by the law of the land. Yet that is not a Covenant the theological right want, nor the one suggested back in 2006 which did have an insider-outsider intention somewhat dropped since.

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