June 27, 2010

Consensus Shmensus

The recent move on the part of the English House of Bishops to promote adoption of the Anglican Kovenant by simple majorities surely flies in the face of all of the talk about a high level of consensus. If the "mind of the communion" and its Instruments are to govern with the consent of more than a simple majority of the governed, then surely at least the two-thirds rule ought to apply. Oughtn't it?

Whatever happened to Quod omnes tanget... (What touches all must be approved by all)? See here, and here, and even tangentially here.

It certainly begins to look Orwellian when a principle demanded at the outset, i.e., a high level of consensus before making any changes, no longer seems important when the institutional tool to implement it fails to partake of the value it espouses. What really is the point of this exercise?

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG
h/t to Thinking Anglicans

11 comments:

Leonardo Ricardo said...

What it looks like to me is ¨The Family¨ of Washington D.C. got to ++Rowan on his visitos...it´s the same kind of behind-the-scene underminding and ramrodding that we´ve often seen in operation amongst the party(ies) of Dominionist ¨No¨...the whole Covenant mess is becoming a despotic instrument for punishment, exclusion and fear/hate...it´s tainted at the core.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Tobias, "What touches all must be approved by all," is a rule of convenience only, imposed by the powers of the AC when it suits their convenience. The absence of consistency and logic in the statements and actions that come forth from Lambeth is enough to make a person crazy.

Your "Anglican Kovenant" is a keeper. I'll take take the phrase and keep it for my own use.

Lisa Fox said...

First, let me say "thanks" to you for raising this issue and pointing to the context.

Second: I'm struck that CoE bishops chose to admonish "not to propose special majorities for its adoption." I'm not a bishop, nor do I play one on TV. But their making this point suggests to this pew-sitter that they fear the best they can hope for is a bare majority.

Anglocat said...

What is the point of it all? Power, Tobias. As TS Eliot wrote the BAC can be seduced by "Power to bind and loose: bind, Thomas, bind,/King and bishop under your heel."

This ABC doesn't have the sancity attributed by Eliot to Becket.

Marshall Scott said...

It can be remarkably easy, can't it, to pigeonhole and segregate. They want to pretend that there shouldn't be consistency between what they expect in relating to the wider Communion and how they address issues in their own church.

LKT said...

The further on we go, the more confused I am about what, indeed, is the hoped for outcome, here. Power? How? People seem perfectly willing to do what they want to do now; how will this new document help.

Is it about keeping women under control/out of leadership? Keeping laypeople from storming the palaces? So they pass the Covenant thingey; what do "they" get exactly?

Excuse me for being so obtuse, but I really do not understand what the goal is.

Anonymous said...

I missed your affirming of the antecedent, quod omnes tangent. In fact, I really wonder how you think the watered down Kovenant [sic] affects, say, some church in rural England. The whole Covenant thing is becoming an irrelevant mess with no consequences to anyone (which is in line with Rowan's there will be no consequences modus). So irrelevant in fact, that its fate could be sent to some ad hoc committee.

PC

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks for the feedback. I agree with several of you who have noted that this appears to be about power and dominion --- it definitely was at its genesis: that is, the Anglican Covenant was intended by at least some of the drafters ("you know who your are...") at the outset as a tool for unity by decision: to rein in and suppress the perceived excesses of TEC and ACoC.

Even in its stronger form (now attenuated), I'm inclined to agree with PC's point, that there was very little real power even in the original draft as far as local parishes go, and far less left in this tired document --- though still enough to be pernicious and deadening. PC is quite correct that the present Covenant will have little or no effect at the parish level anywhere (except perhaps those parishes involved in lawsuits!) -- and less in England that elsewhere. There'll "always be a(n) [Church of] England" after all! (Or will there?)

At this point I think the Covenant is a waste of time and energy. It is too weak to serve the original punitive end, or to form a place for unity to thrive. Unity has to come from within; it cannot simply be imposed -- except in the time-honored method of killing off the opposition!

I agree that the move not to require higher majorities betrays fear that it would not pass that level of muster. It shows a loss of nerve, heart, and spine. It did come from the House of Bishops, of course, which explains these missing elements...

IT said...

You are right, Tobias, you can't legislate unity and brotherhood if it's not there already. What you get is a poor imitation tying people together with bonds not of love but of conflict.

JCF said...

Rowan & Co are really putting the Coven in Covenant, aren't they? [No offense to actual Wiccans, only the Christianist cliche' of same. FWIW, won't use "Kovenant": too close to the spelling of saintly James de K...! (I prayed on his grave just a couple of months ago, blessed me). "Father of The Quad", and must be spinning IN that grave over this Covenant sham, poor soul]

adams said...

You missunderstand, concensus is only neccissary if there is no strong central organization. If there is, it is not as neccissary. The Epicopal Church has chosen time and a again to be "prophetic" and ignore the consensus of the church. But if TEC can do this by a bare majority, then they can inforce disaplen by the same bare majority. As ye sow, so shall ye reap.