Reasons to vote for/against the Covenant - Wednesday

Vote for the Covenant - Wednesday
The Covenant will engender unity in the Communion and enable a workable balance between provincial autonomy and mutual dependence.
Vote against the Covenant - any day.
 Well, it all depends what you mean by ...
It won't engender unity:
  1. It seems as though there will probably be a balkanisation of the Church.  
  2. Provinces which prefer the Jerusalem Declaration as a basis for co-operation are unlikely to sign the Covenant as well.
  3. Provinces which sponsored intrusion into the jurisdiction of The Episcopal Church in the US are unlikely to sign because (a) they could not sign a Covenant which TEC could also sign and (b) they have already seen action taken against the Southern Cone and recognise it could happen to them.
  4. Some Provinces (the United Churches of North and South India, probably Hong Kong and possibly others) cannot sign because of national laws which govern them. 
Thus some Churches will be members of the Anglican Consultative Council but not within the Covenant. Other bodies will sign the Covenant although not being members of the ACC (such as the Anglican Church in North America as part of its campaign to displace TEC as the Anglican Church in North America). A third group will be both in the ACC and have signed the Covenant.  And individual Churches in the first and second groups will remain in communion with individual Churches in the third group.

Relationships between member Churches, and between tiers or zones of membership, would always have been complex. The Covenant is a further and unnecessary layer of complication.

Instead of unity there is likely to be, at best, even greater unevenness of membership and participation. At worst, and at most probable, the push to sign the Covenant will be a trigger for some Provinces to declare formally that they are disuniting from the rest.

The balance of autonomy and interdependence
This is the heart of the matter and no-one knows the impact of the Covenant.
  1. The Covenant makes unequivocal affirmations of the jurisdictional autonomy of each signatory.
  2. But the Covenant also creates mechanisms which could lead to sanctions being applied to a Province on the recommendation of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion.  
  3. The exercise of interdependence relies on goodwill, trust and mutual recognition. Where these are absent no document or organizational mechanism can ever be an adequate substitute.
In the end the balance between unity and disunity, autonomy and interdependence will be down to people - mostly the leaders of Provinces.  A Covenant might follow agreement, it cannot create it. Nor can a Covenant make agreement work where there is insufficient will for it.

Vote against the Covenant.

1 comment:

  1. I don't like the idea of a small group of Primates (don't they sound like monkeys) or a Standing Committee making such profound decisions. Such a group could easily act like an oligarchy.

    the more I think about the Covenant the more I think it is a bad idea.