It seems to me this video capsulizes well the dilemma about the Covenant, and the mixed message it sends: it is, in Canterbury’s view and by his account, somehow very important to our future way of life together, but it only consists of a set of agreed principles and recommendations concerning disagreement about acts that might create tension over those principles. It has no specific requirements or authority.
Of course, the very reason we have tensions in the communion derives from the fact that not everyone is prepared to accept recommendations when they feel the recommendations are misinformed or misguided, or harmful to the local work of their own church. This is precisely why the recommendations contained in Lambeth 1.10 have led to such a great tension in the Communion — and the notion that further recommendations being in place might have prevented those tensions, or might prevent other tensions in the future, is by no means evidently true. It is, I think, plainly false.
The Archbishop asserts that failure to adopt the PAC will somehow lead to our “impoverishment” as a communion; that it might lead some of the weaker provinces to feel abandoned; that it might add levels of further confusion to our ecumenical relations. He offers no real evidence that such a reaction to the PAC will produce these effects, and I for one see no evidence that this is the case; or that the adoption of the PAC will enrich our common lives, support the weaker provinces, or clarify our ecumenical relationships. It is, after all, only a set of recommendations, or so the Archbishop says.
In short, this seems to be one more effort to skew the voting in the Church of England‘s diocesan synods. I earnestly entreat the voting members to listen to what the Archbishop says, but also to do something he fails to mention: read the text of the Proposed Anglican Covenant, in particular section 4.2, and see how well you think it matches his rosy portrayal.
Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG
A fellow ‘No Covenant Coalition’ supporter, Father Tobias Haller BSG, has here written a thought-provoking response to the recently-produced video by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr.Rowan Williams, on reasons why he (the ABC) thinks it important for all Anglican Provinces to sign up to the proposed Covenant Process.
The Archbishop’s video, I suspect, was hurriedly produced in an effort to stem the growing list of Church of England dioceses that have rejected the Covenant process.
The video is part of a hastily assembled team of supporters of the Covenant in the Church of England who. together, have formed a new web-site – ‘YES to The Covenant’, which has been raised up to counter the effect of the long-standing ‘NO Covenant Coalition’ site, with whose sentiments I am more than inclined to agree. I have not put the N.C.C logo on my site – even though my colleague, on ‘Anglican Down Under’ – has lost no time in affixing the ‘NO C.C.’ logo to his site.
Like Fr. Stanislaus Haller, I believe that the Archbishop’s video – together with the recent institution of the YES to the Covenant’ web-site – is a belated attempt to scare the English dioceses of the Church of England to sign up. However, the score at present is : YES 7 NO 13. We will have to wait and see whether the rest of the C.of E. dioceses have taken on board the recommendations of Archbishop Rowan and his advisors. The big question is: “What if the Church of England turns the Covenant down?” Will it be abandoned, or will the C.of E. – if the Covenant process is continued, be content to become a ‘second tier’ member?
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand