Covenant not “a penal code”, says ABC

It is perhaps a good thing that the Archbishop of Canterbury thinks that the new Anglican Covenant will not be “a penal code.” (Phew!) This piece in the Church Times lays out the essentials of the Anglican Covenant, and is (thankfully) a quick read.

Anglican Churches sent final text of Covenant — ‘not a penal code’

From the Church Times blog

by Pat Ashworth

THE proposed Anglican Covenant will not solve all the Communion’s problems, the Archbishop of Canterbury warned, as the final draft went out to all the provinces for approval last week.

It was not going to be a constitution, “and it’s certainly not going to be a penal code for punishing people who don’t comply,” Dr Williams said in a short video address, posted on YouTube, after the Communion’s Standing Committee had met from 15 to 18 December.

The meeting approved the revised Section 4, a sticking-point at the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting in Jamaica in May. After long debate and a confused voting pro cedure, that meeting delayed the dispatch of the full Ridley Draft until a working party had made any revisions consequent on consultation with the provinces.

. . .

Dr Williams acknowledged that even by ACC-15, “when the hope is that most provinces will have said yes to it, the process won’t be all over”. Meanwhile, he said, it was “open to anybody that wishes to affirm the principles of the Covenant to say that this is what they wish to live with”.

He defined the text as “the basis on which the Anglican family works and prays and lives and hopes”, and described section 4 as the most controversial “because that’s where we spell out what happens if relationships fail or break down. It doesn’t set out . . . a procedure for punishments and sanctions. It does try and sort out how we will discern the nature of our disagreement. How important is it? How divisive does it have to be? Is it a Communion-breaking issue that’s in question — or is it something we can learn to live with?”

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