Doll and Covenant

Peter Doll, Canon Librarian at Norwich Cathedral, has written a paper supportive of the Covenant. It can be found here (pdf) and Jonathan Clatworthy has written a response to it.

The Archbishop and his guardian angel?
The paper is too long and too general to have attracted notice in the normal way of things. But,  at the express request of the Archbishop of Canterbury, it has been sent to all Church of England bishops. This is why it needs a response.

Sadly this would reinforce the criticism that the Archbishop has been partisan in acting against TEC and the perception that the Covenant is a significant part of his antagonism.

Nothing new. So I will add a moan I've made several times before. Doll says,

Also, a word of caution. I don’t offer a detailed apologia or critique of the terms of the Covenant. I’m more interested in its overall implications for the way we live out our lives in Christ. 
All too often this seems to be the position of those who want the Communion to adopt the Covenant. Never mind the detail, never mind the actual words, the Covenant is A Good Thing. Vote Now!

But, if the Covenant ever is agreed, it is the actual words, the detail and the way its detail will be interpreted and applied, which will be critical.

So why have those promoting the Covenant not set out this detail? Why have they not engaged with critics who wish to address the detail?

I could speculate that this is a deliberate tactic. Perhaps it is recognised that the consequence of debating the detail will be that voters find all kinds of reasons for saying no or wanting changes. Therefore, if there is to be any chance of getting the Covenant adopted, proponents had better keep their arguments bland and general.

Or, perhaps, avoiding detail reflects an ecclesiology. Perhaps the church is conceived as subsisting in its leadership, with the remainder of its members as mere dependants. In such a church then not only is it unnecessary for leaders inform the rest of the reasoning behind their decisions but, worse still, explanation might an act of condescension that could endanger the concept of hierarchy itself by suggesting that leaders should account to the led. Heaven forfend.

We're all interested in the way we, as faithful Anglican Christians, live out out our lives in Christ. But we don't need a Covenant to control how we do it.

Other comment: Eruptions at the foot of the volcano, Episcopal Cafe, Lionel Deimel, Tobias Haller


  1. I think that Rowan Williams is running scared that the Covenant is going to fall in the English Diocesan Synods. If it were to do so it would finish the project off for once and for all and would mean a terrible loss of face or authority for the Archbishop. Things are not looking good for him at the moment with four synods voting for and four against, which is already pretty divisive for a scheme that is supposed to enforce unity.

    We tend to think of Williams as a detached 'holy' man but he is human and would not want his legacy at Canterbury to go down as the Archbishop who tried, gave up his own principles and beliefs and failed. Anecdotal evidence speaks of him kicking chairs around in Lambeth Palace out of sheer frustration at the Anglican Communion for which he has sacrificed all ... mind you in his position who wouldn't want to kick a few chairs as proxy arses!

  2. It says at the end:

    The Covenant process stands between these two poles. It values highly justice and truth, but it sees these not as starting points but as fruits of communities that together tenderly nurture unity, communion, and holiness of life. If the Church lives the life of communion for which God created it, then unity, peace, justice and truth will manifest the integrity of our choice to the wider Church and the world.

    But it doesn't relate to the wider world, except by prejudice, because it is calling on a specific group of people to self-sacrifice themselves for the wider goal of Communion unity. It sets up instruments and then criticises those who would reject the innovation of becoming loyal to those instruments. There are other ways of achieving unity, if that is what you want - and unity is not uniformity.

  3. Adrian, I'm sorry but you've lost me. At the end of what is your quotation to be found?