May 22, 2006

Doing The Lambeth Walk, In Circles

The Lambeth Commission has issued its "consultation paper" on how to move Towards an Anglican Covenant. I've read through the document, which is, of course, not a Covenant, but an additional call to outline the parameters for the possible development of a Covenant. (As such, it is even less practical than the Windsor Report, which at least offered a concrete model that few were willing to accept.)

I would like to suggest that we already have an Anglican Covenant, and it resides in the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, and any more than that is only perceived as needed at this time because of the unwillingness of some in the Communion to accept that there is disagreement on a fairly narrow range of particular issues.

The Anglican Consultative Council is officially recognized in the Canons of the Episcopal Church (I.4.2) and we should by all means resume our seats as part of it.

—Tobias S Haller BSG

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tobias' perspective may be comforting to some, however, reality will be far from this view. The "some in the Communion" constitutes the majority, namely, the Global South.

ECUSA should by all means resume its position in the ACC. The avenue for that possibility has been laid out through the Windsor Report. The quicker we come in line with its recommendations, the quicker we will be at the ACC.

ECUSA's failure in all this is its failure to comprehend the reality that its "majority has spoken" perspective is out of sync with the position of the wider Anglican Communion. If ECUSA is to succeed in coming back into the fold, it will need to cut the political spin and misinformation and come in sync with the wider Anglican Communion.

These are not comforting words but the quicker we accepted their reality, the quicker we can return to the fold.

Tobias said...

Dear Anonymous,
I'm not at all clear that the Global South represent a majority view. (I'm not talking in terms of communicant strength here, but votes on the ACC, the only legitimate legislative assembly in the Communion). As I count the numbers about 1/3 of the Communion is on the US/Canada/Mexico/Brazil/New Zealand/Wales/Ireland/etc. side of things. About 1/3 is on the Nigeria/Uganda/Asia/etc. side of things. The final 1/3 are somewhere in the middle, from South Africa and Japan leaning towards the US/Canada side, and the Sudan towards the other.

Furhter, at the ACC meeting at which TEC voluntarily withheld its votes, there was significant comment in support of the US, and the vote to accept our voluntary withdrawal (from which we abstained) passed by a bare majority: had we voted it would have failed.

It is not that we do not grasp taht some putative "majority" has spoken: the real "majority" does not see this as a communion dividing issue: and that is simply the truth. It is you who has bought the misinformation put about by the angry folks who will, indeed, very likely withdraw from the Anglican Communion -- and who by the revision of their own Constitution (i.e., Nigeria) shown that they have no interest in being part of anything Anglican under any terms other than their own.

We have not left the fold. And even if we did, we are under the care of the Good Shepherd.

rmf said...

I am as always disturbed by the suggestions that provinces "cede" authority or power to the Archbishop. I am likewise wary of attempts to draw up essentialist covenants to this effect.

I wonder what the office of Archbishop might be willing to give up in the process of covenanting? If he were to have more power, would he be willing to be elected? By all orders? By all provinces? Would we need a council of primates to then elect him? Or would all the covenanting be in one direction?
All this sounds very Roman, not that this is a priori bad; but it seems like it'd tend to erode the Anglican part of Communion because apparently it presumes comprehension and Communion are exclusive. I'm not sure how we've arrived at this particular presumption.

J.C. Fisher said...

Beside debating which "majority" has "spoken", there is the question of what "spoken" means (in terms of governance).

Anonymous seems to believe that if a majority among the ACC/Primates/Lambeth sees things as s/he does, then that constitutes the "reality" which TEC must hop to.

Even allowing the majority is as Anonymous says it is then, I would argue, TEC is simply the "Loyal Opposition" to a majority advisory position.

The AC is NOT a "majority-rule" organization, and nothing less than a UNANIMOUS CONSENSUS could change it to make it so.

...and I don't see that consensus coming any time soon! ;-/