Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Anglican Covenant: Shared Discernment Recognized By All


[The Anglican Communion Institute] 8 Sep 2009--The approved text of the Anglican Covenant is already serving as a lens through which individual Anglican churches are inevitably and accurately being measured in terms of their character as “Communion churches.” Thus, in ways not yet properly noted by all, the text endorsed by the Anglican Consultative Council, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Joint Standing Committee in May 2009 has already raised and to a large extent provisionally answered the question “who can adopt this Covenant?” It is the purpose of this paper to explain why and how this is so, and to do this in relation particularly to The Episcopal Church, although it should be noted that the Covenant’s defining substance can be applied analogously to other Anglican churches as well.

The substantive sections of the Anglican Covenant, Sections 1-3, are now in final form. They will be sent to the churches of the Communion for adoption within a few months. A fourth section containing procedural provisions will be added to the other three at that time, but it remains subject to further review and “possible revision.” Section 4, however, either as it now stands or as revised, will not change the fundamental substantive commitments given by the covenanting churches. The scope of the fourth section is purely procedural.

This cuts directly against the claim of some “progressive” elements that it would be perfectly possible for The Episcopal Church, as it stands and even with the recent General Convention decisions in mind, to sign the first three sections. Following the recent reflections by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the actions of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, some in the Communion are urging TEC to sign the Anglican Covenant even while continuing to reject the teaching of the communion on same sex ordinations and blessings and the moratoria that now have been affirmed by all four Instruments of Communion....

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