Two English bishops wring their hands about the covenant

Tobias Haller takes issue with a recent essay by two English bishops advocating the approval of the proposed Anglican Covenant. He notes that while the covenant is often advanced as a mean of improving relationships in the Anglican Communion, nothing in the text achieves that end:

[T]he Covenant has no mechanism for improving relationships, and only explicit threats for diminishing them, in the text itself. It is full of good intentions towards "commitment to one another as churches" but when it comes to brass tacks it is all about the management of difficulties through the imposition of "relational consequences." The carrot is only a picture of a carrot for future reference, while the stick is real. Rejecting the Covenant is the surest way to indicate a desire to continue to live in peace, and to consolidate relationships without any coercive "consequences" imposed as a result of disagreements that have arisen, or may arise.

The good news about this essay is that it makes clear that English bishops, who overwhelmingly support the proposed covenant, are becoming increasingly worried that the clergy and laity will not do the same.

Comments (2)

In today's gospel we heard Jesus say that his disciples should, "Take up your cross and follow me." I read that to mean that we must accept the consequences of doing the right thing, the thing that God wants us to do, regardless of how other people judge our actions. So whether this covenant is passed or not is irrelevant, isn't it? Are we going to stop including GLBT people in every level of the church and turn back from all conversation about blessing the unions of these same folks? I certainly hope not. So let them vote in whatever way they will and let us do what is right anyway. Still, it is curious to watch this unfold.

"The good news about this essay is that it makes clear that English bishops, who overwhelmingly support the proposed covenant, are becoming increasingly worried that the clergy and laity will not do the same.'

And this is a surprise to English bishops? They could have easily looked over at their colleagues in the Roman Catholic Church. The hierarchy requires compliance with that denomination's "teaching" on the prohibition against artificial birth control, but most Roman Catholic laity ignore it and attend mass anyway. Ironic, isn't it. The so called covenant was presented as another feature of a church with "instruments of unity", to use that pythonesque phrase. In reality, it seems to be driving a wedge between one diocese and the next, and between the hierarchy and the rest of the people of God.

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