Friday, December 18, 2009

Rowan Williams explains why the Anglican Communion needs to ratify the Anglican Covenant


BREAKING NEWS

The final Anglican Covenant has been released to the public with a Section IV restored. The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks to it here:



BB NOTE: One of the more interesting developments is the centralized authority of what is now called The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion. Section 4.2.2 defines The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion as being "responsible to the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting, shall monitor the functioning of the Covenant in the life of the Anglican Communion on behalf of the Instruments. In this regard, the Standing Committee shall be supported by such other committees or commissions as may be mandated to assist in carrying out this function and to advise it on questions relating to the Covenant."

Section IV of course was the section that was separated from the rest of the Anglican Covenant during the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting in Jamaica earlier this year by a progressive coalition led by The Episcopal Church (and followed by some rather interesting DC-style political ops since then). Section IV focuses on what happens when a province breaks the covenant by instituting actions such as the one now underway from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles that belligerently seeks to break the bonds of fellowship in the Communion.

As the ACC meeting last spring nearly fell into chaos, Section IV was rescued by the Archbishop of Canterbury and referred to the Joint Standing Committee (a committee of both the ACC and the Primates Meeting) who recently met to deliberate over retaining Section IV.

It does appear that a Section IV has been restored to the Anglican Covenant. Here is the final text of Section IV:

4.2 The Maintenance of the Covenant and Dispute Resolution

(4.2.1) The Covenant operates to express the common commitments and mutual accountability which hold each Church in the relationship of communion one with another. Recognition of, and fidelity to, this Covenant, enable mutual recognition and communion. Participation in the Covenant implies a recognition by each Church of those elements which must be maintained in its own life and for which it is accountable to the Churches with which it is in Communion in order to sustain the relationship expressed in this Covenant.

(4.2.2) The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, responsible to the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting, shall monitor the functioning of the Covenant in the life of the Anglican Communion on behalf of the Instruments. In this regard, the Standing Committee shall be supported by such other committees or commissions as may be mandated to assist in carrying out this function and to advise it on questions relating to the Covenant.

(4.2.3) When questions arise relating to the meaning of the Covenant, or about the compatibility of an action by a covenanting Church with the Covenant, it is the duty of each covenanting Church to seek to live out the commitments of Section 3.2. Such questions may be raised by a Church itself, another covenanting Church or the Instruments of Communion.

(4.2.4) Where a shared mind has not been reached the matter shall be referred to the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee shall make every effort to facilitate agreement, and may take advice from such bodies as it deems appropriate to determine a view on the nature of the matter at question and those relational consequences which may result. Where appropriate, the Standing Committee shall refer the question to both the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting for advice.

(4.2.5) The Standing Committee may request a Church to defer a controversial action. If a Church declines to defer such action, the Standing Committee may recommend to any Instrument of Communion relational consequences which may specify a provisional limitation of participation in, or suspension from, that Instrument until the completion of the process set out below.

(4.2.6) On the basis of advice received from the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting, the Standing Committee may make a declaration that an action or decision is or would be “incompatible with the Covenant”.
(4.2.7) On the basis of the advice received, the Standing Committee shall make recommendations as to relational consequences which flow from an action incompatible with the Covenant. These recommendations may be addressed to the Churches of the Anglican Communion or to the Instruments of the Communion and address the extent to which the decision of any covenanting Church impairs or limits the communion between that Church and the other Churches of the Communion, and the practical consequences of such impairment or limitation. Each Church or each Instrument shall determine whether or not to accept such recommendations.

(4.2.8) Participation in the decision making of the Standing Committee or of the Instruments of Communion in respect to section 4.2 shall be limited to those members of the Instruments of Communion who are representatives of those churches who have adopted the Covenant, or who are still in the process of adoption.

(4.2.9) Each Church undertakes to put into place such mechanisms, agencies or institutions, consistent with its own Constitution and Canons, as can undertake to oversee the maintenance of the affirmations and commitments of the Covenant in the life of that Church, and to relate to the Instruments of Communion on matters pertinent to the Covenant.

Read the entire Covenant here.


10 comments:

Jeffersonian said...

Personnel is policy. It's all going to hinge on who's on this new standing committee, no?

BabyBlue said...

Right - and in order to serve on the Standing Committee you'll have had to sign on to the Covenant.

bb

Dale Matson said...

bb Not quite. You can be in the PROCESS of considering the covenant and serve on the standing committee.
"It does appear that a Section IV has been restored to the Anglican Covenant." Not really.

BabyBlue said...

Yeah, I see - process meaning, what? That it's on the table indefinitely? If General Convention doesn't take it up or if dioceses refuse it, is TEC considered still in process? I wonder.

The fact is, the current leadership of TEC rejects the whole idea of covenant. Why would anyone be fooled that the province had any desire to sign on, that will be proved moot won't it if the suffragan bishop-elect of LA is confirmed? I mean - that pretty much says the covenant is sunk for TEC. I mean, we're not naive.

God is a part of this, He is. I'd take that to be a sobering thought.

bb

Anonymous said...

Is the idea to stall and dither until more minds of the communion are replaced by more liberal primates until the mind of the communion lines up with TEC?

BabyBlue said...

Yes, that's exactly what Schori said when she returned from the Tanzania Primates meeting - there was a recording of her staff meeting (now long gone from the website) where she outlined that strategy.

bb

1662 BCP said...

BB,
I really think that this is one of those documents that requires one of your dramatic readings; dont you think so?

Gavin Parsons said...

What a joke this new conenant is!
It reflects a complete denial or worse of the deep schism the Anglican communion is in...

"it is merely a flesh wound"

Flesh wound ? more like death rattle

Gavin Parsons

Anonymous said...

Yawn. This is really gonna strike fear in those rascally TEC progressives. I can see um scramblin, wringin their hands and wonderin what in tarnations gonna happen now.

I thought Obama was the definition of "dithering" in his weeks long response to the Afghanistan troop increase, but the ABC makes Obama look like greased lighting!

Interestingly it didn't take the ABC very long to get back to Rome concerning the Popes opening their doors to dissatisfied Anglicans. You'd think he could have given a more prompt response to the gut rot that eats away at the Anglican Church. Very disappointing.

Fr. Daniel Weir said...

It will take time - not months, but years - for all the Churches of the Communion to adopt or reject the Covenant, and it will take much longer to discover whether the Covenant strengthens the Communion by providing ways for Anglicans to remain in relationship while dealing with differences. The past six years have seen some Anglicans refusing to meet or worship with those with whom they disagreed - not a promising sign - but I still hope and pray that we find new ways to be in relationships that are challenging.