Now I hear that some Church of England bishops think the same thing will happen if the Covenant is adopted, that it will just fade into disuse, another Anglican document of historical interest only. It won't.
I see also that some in the US think that sections 1-3 could be endorsed without section 4. Even if this was formally on the table, which it isn't, it would be no better that passing the whole thing. Sections 1-3 presume the enforcement mechanism of section 4.
The reason why the Covenant didn't go away and won't fade away and why sections 1-3 can't be disconnected from section 4 is one and the same:
- the Covenant creates a new entity, a centrally governed Anglican Church
- the Covenant creates new powers and
- grants those powers (and others) to the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion and, critically,
- once a new entity is created and new powers placed in people's hands they will never be given up.
I am well aware that the Covenant says it won't change the internal workings of member churches but it will. The internal logic of the powers will drive it in this direction. Some provinces - the US and, I think, Canada, Australia and New Zealand at least - will almost certainly have to amend their constitution to the Covenant. Furthermore the Covenant is addressed to provinces: if dioceses or other units can act in ways the Covenant mechanisms would disapprove they will have to be brought in line - and in many places this would be a direct assault on the autonomy provinces have previously exercised.
The TEC opinion says, and I believe that to varying degrees this will apply to all provinces:
As developed further in this report, the SCCC is of the view that adoption of the current draft Anglican Covenant has the potential to change the constitutional and canonical framework of TEC, particularly with respect to the autonomy of our Church, and the constitutional authority of our General Convention, bishops and dioceses.
I am aware that the powers are phased as advisory. But they're not really. This is just a fiction to get the Covenant passed.
I profoundly disagree with the substance of the Covenant, I abominate its initial motivation of expelling TEC and ACoC from the Communion, I deplore the manner in which it is being driven through, and I despair of the kind of Church that process and product embody and will engender.
And beneath all this I believe that the desire to put coercive force at the foundation of the Anglican Communion is wholly incompatible with a Christian faith founded on a death and a resurrection.
If you have a vote or a voice, just say NO.