Anglican Covenant Design Group lawyer: Primates can’t require

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Church Times reports:

THE communiqué issued by the Primates in Canterbury last week does not bind anyone, because the Primates’ meeting has no jurisdiction, a canon lawyer said this week. It represented “completely unacceptable interference” with the autonomy of the bodies to whom it had issued requirements.

“I find it utterly extraordinary,” the director of the Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff University, Professor Norman Doe, said on Tuesday. “No instrument exists conferring upon the Primates’ meeting the jurisdiction to ‘require’ these things. . . Whatever they require is unenforceable.”

…. “The decision will not bind anyone — not the Episcopal Church. There is no question of that.” It was for the bodies referred to in the communiqué to determine what, if any, consequences the Episcopal Church should face, he said.

The communiqué constituted “completely unacceptable interference with the autonomy of each of these bodies as they transact their own business”. It was “absolute nonsense” to suggest that an ecumenical body such as the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), or an Anglican body such as the Anglican Consultative Council, be bound by a decision made by the Primates’ meeting.

About Norman Doe:

He was a member of the Legal Advisory Commission of the Church of England, and deputy chancellor, Diocese of Manchester.  A member of the European Consortium for Church and State Research (President in 2010), and the Colloquium of Anglican and Roman Catholic Canon Lawyers, he was a consultant on canon law to the Primates of the Anglican Communion and member of the Lambeth Commission (2003-2004,Windsor Report  (2004).  He also served on the Anglican Communion Covenant Design Group and was consultant to the Anglican Communion Network of Legal Advisers.  Since 1999 he has been an associate professor at the University of Paris, and was docente invitato Pontifical University of St Thomas (Angelicum), Rome, in 2009.  With Centre colleagues, he established the Interfaith Legal Advisers Network (2007) and the Law and Religion Scholars Network (2008).

He made five presentations on canon law and covenant at the Lambeth Conference 2008.

Emphasis added.

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William G.
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William G.

Please follow the comment policy and post comments using your firast & last names. -ed

The Anglican churches may exist autonomously to each other, but none can exist theologically without the See of Canterbury and Her Majesty the Queen, by whose Divine Right the Anglican churches exist. If the Archbishop of Canterbury enforces the ruling, it is binding. However, the other Primates have no power to force him to do so; however, it would be very unwise and unprecedented to not follow the wishes of the Primates. Similarly, in the Roman Catholic Magisterium, a Pope could hypothetically overturn an ecumenical council; however, none has done so and most likely none ever will because of the potential consequences.

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David Allen
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David Allen

Wow, there is so much that is wrong here.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Tobias Haller
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The Archbishop may or may not act, but his actions are irrelevant to the existence of Anglican churches, which are a historic reality. At the foundation of the Episcopal Church, and the provision of its first bishops, there was no "intercommunion" between TEC and the C of E -- American bishops and clergy were forbidden to function in English lands, by the Act of Parliament that permitted Canterbury to ordain White and Provoost.
On the present subject of being in communion with the Church of England, that decision is made from the English side by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York together, so even in this Canterbury cannot act alone. But, as I say, this only has to do with England, not with the rest of the Communion. It has always been in some form of "relationship" with the See of Canterbury, but that is a historic, not a legal, connection. I don't actually see it changing.

Meanwhile, I'm pleased that Norman Doe and I are on the same page.

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Jeremy Bates
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Jeremy Bates

Sorry, William G., but I read your comment and burst out laughing.

You may not have noticed, but the divine right of kings (or queens) has very little sway in The Episcopal Church.

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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

This just appeared on the Anglican Journal (Canada) news service.

http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/-hiltz-addresses-sharp-criticism-over-stance-on-tec

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Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

All well and good, but read the fine the full article, "What we have with the Primates’ meeting is an assumption of authority which has no basis in law. It is merely the result of assertion and assumption, and the Covenant project would have filled that vacuum and provided a set of house rules for the Anglican Communion to address these issues. It never happened.”

Perhaps we don't want to fill the so called "vacuum", perhaps we want neither a primates' curia nor a "covenant".

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Jeremy Bates
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Jeremy Bates

Of course.

More to the point, the Church of England rejected the Covenant.

If I were the Archbishop of Canterbury, I would be worrying about exactly what I should do at the next ACC meeting.

"Require?" Forsooth!

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roselyn
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roselyn

Please follow the comment policy and comment using your first & last names. - ed

Thank goodness somebody noticed. Can we take up a collection to hire someone to explain to this mob of primates what the nature of their organisation is please? If they don't get it could HMQEII explain by analogy with the Commonwealth?

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John Sandeman
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John Sandeman

roselyn,
Four nations have been suspended from the commonwealth for various periods: Fiji, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe. For example, Fiji was suspended following a military coup. the Commonwealth may not quite be the analogy you are looking for.

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