Wednesday 3 February 2010

Anis and Williams

There does seem to be something of a co-ordination between the extraordinary ability of four academics titling themselves the Anglican Communion Institute to produce their most verbose essay yet alongside the very recent resignation of Mouneer Anis.

They would seem to be manipulating him, in that the same arguments are being used by both to alter the renamed Standing Committee that would oversee the Covenant into something more restrictive. At the moment the Covenant forsees signatories being in and not in the central Instruments and non-signatories being in and not in the central Instruments. This is because there are non-Canterbury Churches who want to sign, but can't be in the Instruments, and provinces who simply cannot accept a Covenant but ought not to be removed from the Instruments. But the whole grey area this produces leaves The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada potentially involved in a post Covenant arrangement.

The Covenant never works because either the Covenant is useless extra sticking paper allowing for centralised Institutions to get puffed up and thinking it is directing negotiations traffic, when it is the Churches that decide matters, or the Covenant really does acquire power and does start to exclude, and operates as such that begins to imply a worldwide Anglican Church.

I suspect that Mouneer Anis is using the ACI because he does not want a more pro-Israel GAFCON. There is a whole stream of well funded hard-right theology and politics about being pro-Israel and marginalising Palestinians (including Palestinian Christians) so that the ground is prepared for the last days return of Jesus Christ, a mythical nonsense that leaves only the practical result of no peace in the Middle East.

Mouneer Anis wants it both ways. He wants an Anglicanism that is flexible and not going to go down a hard right trajectory, but he wants it to be anti-inclusive. He can get what he wants in his neck of the woods just by leaving the whole Covenant thing alone. But everyone seems to have been sucked into this project of one Church telling another what is and is not legitimate.

The Covenant is itself divisive, another football to be kicked around. At times of tension, and there seems to be so much in Anglicanism, the best approach is the loosest possible. And really, those of Catholic fantasies, about authority and centralisation, like the Archbishop of Canterbury, ought to examine whether they have the right to impose on everyone else. He does seem to refer to bishops as if they are all that really matter in the final decision making about direction, and that is not the Anglican balance. He might not like some of the more authoritarian elements of Roman Catholicism, but he shouldn't be trying to impose half a Roman Catholicism on to others. After all, he is here today and gone tomorrow, and perhaps if the Covenant fails in its contradictions he can go earlier. But the wreckage will be for others to pick up.

And I just say this as increasingly an observer, only because in the end my kind of liberalism constitutionally and theologically is beyond the Anglican boundary, as I think his Catholicism is - not theologically but in terms of authority.


Brother David said...

So far the best nickname that I have seen for the supposed academics, and do not forget, one is actually just a lawyer, is four egos with a website.

My word verification is rational! But I find nothing rational in any of this. Unless it is referring to the rat o'er the Tiber?

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

I've switched to word verification and trying immediate posting because I kept being sent Chinese characters (I think) emails that now I don't receive, plus there was some debating once that might have been better had posts appeared immediately. If I end up removing destructive or repetitive posts (not the same as disagreements) then I'll have to return to filtering but with word verification.