Why [is] discipline...appropriate at the diocesan and provincial levels, but not at the level of the communion. What is it about the unit of the "Nation" that should make it independent of the norms of the whole, and be immune from types of uniformity which the provinces are competent to legislate for their dioceses?
This question conveniently refocuses us on the whole issue of the distinction between "what is" and "what [some think] ought to be." The present fact is that in the Anglican Communion the highest judicatory or basic unit is the province (or to use the old and somewhat inaccurate language, "national or particular church." This is inaccurate to the extent that some churches, such as TEC still have some international jurisdiction as the result of missionary or colonial history.)
This principle is actually quite traditional, and well noted in the canons of the Ecumenical Councils. Of course, just because it is a tradition doesn't mean it is correct. It might at first glance seem to be a relic of an earlier time in which people didn't travel, and there were no means of communication faster than a letter carried by horseback.
But ask yourself, to what extent are the current problems in the Anglican Communion a result of a clash of cultures -- a clash made possible by those new means of travel and communication, between cultures quite different in different nations in terms of their attitudes? To what extent, particularly with regard to sexuality, are we seeing the differences between cultures that have embraced engagement with the findings of social and biological science (as well as previously ignored portions of the tradition), as opposed to those which are refusing to acknowledge that the church may be as mistaken about sexuality as it was about cosmology (see Case of Galileo, et al.)? And to what extent are these differences geographically delineated? Surely it is no accident that the term "Global South" has been adopted -- nor that conservatism in the US is also to a large extent geographically distributed.
So the idea of a coalition of national churches may be arbitrary, but it is what we are. It is out of what is that what will be must come.
Tobias Haller BSG