Malcolm French on opposing the Covenant

Malcolm French of the Simple Massing Priest blog offers a strong critique of the proposed Anglican Covenant, as well as a call to arms:

There are no end of articles online setting out the weaknesses and dangers of the Anglican Covenant as currently proposed. Ironically, Rowan Williams’s pet project seems to have almost as many detractors on the far right as it has among moderates and progressives.

Last week’s meeting of the Anglican Provinces in Africa saw the current draft of Williams’s Covenant dismissed as inadequate for its lack of punitive clauses. The demand on the right is for all power to be placed in the hands of a new Curia made up of the Primates, based on the far right’s belief that Williams is a weak reed.

The Anglican Covenant is the greatest attempted centralization of authority since the de facto creation of the Anglican Communion due to the final disestablishment of episcopacy in Scotland (1689) and the consecration of the first American bishop (1784). Despite the pretty words of 4.1.3 that the Covenant “does not represent submission to any external ecclesiastical jurisdiction,” nor “grant to any one Church of agency of the Communion control or direction over any Church,” 4.2.7 is very clear that the newly minted Standing Committee (whose creation has been a sideshow of smoke, mirrors and skullduggery) will have authority effectively to direct “relational consequences” to be imposed on recalcitrant Provinces.

Here is the call to arms part:

It is imperative that Covenant-sceptics not sit quietly while the centralizers try to sneak the Covenant in through the back doors of our synods and conventions. We need to speak up in parishes, deaneries, archdeaconries and dioceses about the authoritarian centralism of the Covenant. We need to write letters to diocesan and national papers, to the Church Times and pretty much to anyone who will publish our letters. We need to speak to our friends and colleagues, to our fellow parishioners, both clerical and lay. We need to speak to our diocesan synod / convention delegates.

But education is not enough. Successful campaigns are successful because they organize. Covenant-sceptics must offer themselves for election as delegates to diocesan synods or conventions. We need to offer ourselves as delegates to every level of synod or convention in our respective Provinces. We need to identify as Covenant-sceptics openly, honestly and fearlessly.

Past Posts