Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Anglican Communion has relational not jurisdictional bonds, says ACC leader

[VirtueOnline] 19 Sep 2007--Some of you may well have seen a memorandum written by Canon Robert Brooks of Connecticut. In that memo, Canon Brooks offers a cumulative argument by way of response to issues raised in the Communique of the Primates at Dar es Salaam and their proposals in respect of the relationship of the wider Communion with the Episcopal Church (TEC).

In his paper, Canon Brooks makes a spirited defence of "the Rule of Law" as a governing principle in the current situation. Noting that the Anglican Consultative Council is the only body at inter-Anglican level which has a constitution, he then goes on to argue that the Constitution of the ACC should be regarded as the most appropriate body of "law" applicable in this situation.

There is a lot to commend this approach. While Canon Brooks does perhaps too easily assume that the ACC Constitution acts as the entire constitutional framework of the Anglican Communion, he is correct in his argument that the only formal expression of membership of the Communion is contained in the Schedule to the Constitution of the ACC, as this is the way in which new Provinces become members of the ACC. Arguments over "exclusion" of provinces in the Anglican Communion cannot ignore the reality of this framework. This basic line of argument is one of which serious note has to be taken.

In the course of his paper, however, there are a number of observations about which it is probably appropriate to exercise a greater degree of caution.

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