Saturday, February 09, 2008

What next with the "Anglican Covenant?"

It's been an-even-busier-week-than-usual in All Saints Church land so I haven't had time to do much more than glance at the reactions to the release of the latest on the proposed Anglican Covenant. As usual Fr. Jake has a great overview and response over at "Jake's Place" and the ever eruidite Mark Harris offered a "first read" reflection. Tobias Haller's reflection is entitled "A Covenant With Death" and Episcopal Cafe asks the important question, "Yes, but what is it for?"

What I have to contribute to the conversation are not, at this point, reflections of my own, but of +Joe Morris Doss ... shared here with his permission.

Check it out ... and have a great weekend!

I am glad to see that this will be a topic of discussion and I know it will be a good discussion. It seems to me that the most important thing — by far — is the fact that it is being submitted to Lambeth merely for “reflection” and not for some sort of ratification or acceptance. This is one hell of a victory!

Let the bishops reflect and offer their thoughts this summer, let the primates and other “instruments” reflect and offer their thoughts a year from now, and let the covenant committee continue to meet and draft away until it is timely for Provinces to consider a concrete proposal (if ever). Fine.

Meanwhile, we go about our business here, the international structures remain the same, and disagreements about human sexuality and scripture get resolved the old fashioned way: ye ol’ muddle through, slogging it out with hard work, difficult communications, and prophetic actions.

Most importantly, the statement seems to be offer recognition that the “ultimate” decision making bodies are in the individual provinces — exactly where they belong. The ACC and Primates are to be offered the opportunity to make proposals for reception of a proposed Covenant, after Lambeth and one year from now, (when the draft committee may or may not have one) but “ultimate consideration” will have to be made by “synodical process.”

To have this group recognize this is, in my opinion, significant.

What I think should be discussed, in addition to the line by line analysis of the latest draft, is anticipation of the next fight. It will not be over the draft, but over the urgent desire to speed up the process to a precipitous decision to adopt a Covenant, something like what is drafted to date, through our international instruments, beginning with Lambeth — and thus to force the rest of us to our knees or to throw us out the door.

What was produced at the last meeting is too obviously and too totally a defeat for those demanding the Covenant and thus the radical change of the Communion. There is going to be a fight. Identify that fight, on what ground, etc., and prepare.

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