The Rev. Canon Alan T. Perry, Priest in the Anglican Church of Canada, Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Montreal, and recognized expert in canon law critiques Section 1.2 of the proposed Anglican Covenant and concludes that it is ill defined and worse than making the Anglican Communion subscribe to a Confession ala the Westminster or Augsburg Confessions:
So the key to assessing this section of the proposed Covenant is to ask what, precisely, is meant by Scripture and Tradition (not to mention why Reason is left out). Because this is critical in assessing how any given action is “answerable to the teaching of Holy Scripture and the catholic tradition.” (Section 1.2.2) I suspect that each signatory Church will have its own understanding of what these terms means, and these varying understandings won’t be completely compatible. Inevitably, this will give rise to future conflicts. And I really don’t like that term “answerable” because it will only increase the temperature of future conflicts.
And is it really necessary to sign a formal agreement to take Scripture and Tradition seriously? No Anglican would claim to do otherwise. Each of us, in our “varying contexts,” seeks to apply Scripture and Tradition, with Reason, to the circumstances in which we find ourselves. The trouble is that in recent times Anglicans from other contexts have questioned whether certain Anglicans have come to valid conclusions about the application of the faith in the latters’ contexts.
We all have mechanisms to explore and decide what it means, for example, to be an authentic 21st-century Canadian Anglican. (To speak of my own context.) In Canada those mechanisms include well-established processes of study, consultation, prayer, and eventual Synodical decision. And when the General Synod is deciding on a Canonical matter of Doctrine or Discipline, then it requires two readings in separate sittings of the Synod, which normally take place at three-year intervals. This is not a recipe for rash or hasty decisions!
Can we not trust each other to apply Scripture, Tradition and Reason in a responsible manner in our varying contexts? The proponents of the proposed Covenant seem to believe that we can’t.
Some critics of the proposed Covenant have suggested that it is tantamount to imposing a Confession on the churches of the Anglican Communion, not unlike, say, the Westminster or Augsburg Confessions. I disagree. It’s worse. Because at least with a clear Confession you know exactly where you stand. Rather than a clear Confession, the proposed Covenant provides rather ill-defined parameters against which any proposed action may be tested by a process that is vague, without criteria and demonstrably unfair.
Read Canon Perry's entire article here.