(RNS) Anglican Communion On the Rocks After “Covenant” Fails

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Covenant had been billed as a way to heal the growing splits within Anglican churches over a range of issues that centered on same-sex unions and homosexual bishops.

One of its biggest supporters was Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who backed the covenant's call to member churches not to take steps or adopt policies that could antagonize Anglicans in other countries.

Failure to abide by the Covenant would result in a kind of second-tier membership for independent-minded member churches.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican CovenantSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessingsWindsor Report / Process

4 Comments
Posted March 28, 2012 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

It’s really interesting if one looks closely at the individual synod votes.

The decision to vote on the Covenant by Diocese has shown up the extent of internal divisions in a big way, for all the bishops’ efforts to avert that possibility. It clearly won’t be business as usual from now on.

If there wasn’t a case for disestablishment before, there certainly is one now.

March 28, 10:38 am | [comment link]
2. aacswfl1 wrote:

The Anglican Communion Institue has put forth two commentaries of note on the futre of the communion in the aftermath of this and the resignation of Archbishop Williams.  I could not help but recall that Williams many years ago interjected the possibility of a federated communion as a solution of the then coming crises.  That seems now almost inevitable and we will know more after next month’s FCA/GAFCON meeting in London.  this has caused me to re-evaluate some of Williams actions in the last few years and I cannot help but think he was more than a prophet. That his actions/inactions have facilitated the outcome is beyond dispute.  But was he over come by the circumstances, or was he actually influencing them to enhance an outcome he envisioned?  We will never know.

March 28, 2:46 pm | [comment link]
3. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Oh, we’ll know.  The ABC was well played by EcUSA, Grizwold, and ACCanada libs.  His deftness on the court was making it appear otherwise.  But there was that expensive waste of carbon and time call at Lambeth to prevent any other resolution than nothing which gave away all the facade.  THE BODY’s GRACE won by sliding by and not facing the issues.  Williams legacy is pointless, unless you consider saving western imperialistic structure over the Gospel a point worth anything.

March 29, 12:20 am | [comment link]
4. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

I’ve largely abstained from blogging this Lent, but I think I’ll venture a brief comment here.  Thanks to Dr. Bonner for calling our attention to this significant report, and for his apt and illuminating observations, with which I agree.  I will add just one further comment on patterns visible in the various synod votes.  There seems to be a rather clear general trend for the more rural dioceses to favor the Covenant (like those in the NW), and for the more urban ones to reject it.  Again, a fairly normal, predictable tendency.

As for ++RW, I don’t think history will judge him kindly.  Personally, I don’t think the ABoC ever really wanted the Covenant approved, and he has now gotten the outcome he probably wanted all along.  But I assume that he wanted it to APPEAR that he desired an international Covenant, well, sort of wanted it anyway.  Like he sort of wanted more protections for those stubbornly opposed to women bishops in the CoE, as his half-hearted support for stronger safeguards showed all too well.  Remember the disastrous ACC meeting in Jamaica, where ++RW intervened to scuttle the very Covenant that he had appointed a group to draft.

But regardless of how you read the tea leaves when it comes to ++RW’s intentions (or evenschemes), the plain fact is that the Covenant is indeed now dead, for all practical purposes.  And that means that not just the CoE, but the whole Anglican Communion must now face the virtually inevitable result: the insitutional breakup of both the Mother Church and the entire Communion.

Alas, it didn’t have to be this way.  But no one bears more blame for how this slow train wreck has played out than ++RW, who waffled and hedged and persistently sought to delay, thwart, and further delay any real resolution (i.e., trying to prevent a clear, decisive conservative victory). 

OTOH, without genuine repentance on the part of the self-deluded leaders of the Global North provinces, totally captive and bewitched as they are by the relativist and antinomian worldview dominant in their secularized culture, this sad outcome was utterly predictable.  In the end, a house divided against itself simply cannot stand.  Or as I like to paraphrase it:  Oil and water just don’t mix.  Never have.  Never will. 

The indisputable reality is that two mutually exclusive gospels have been contending for control of the soul of Anglicanism, and the Global North churches have continued to take the usual path of least resistance, i.e., conforming to the ways of the world, even though that social world is now increasingly open in its hostility to authentic, biblical Christianity. 

But tragic as the break up will be, it’s not the end of the world.  Indeed, it was probably a grim necessity.  Just as the Protestant Reformation was similarly, in the famous and judicious assessment of Jaroslav Pelikan, “a tragic necessity.”

Again, thanks to Dr. Bonner.

David Handy+

March 29, 1:37 pm | [comment link]
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