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Something must be done! Really?

Something must be done! Really?

The Revd. Malcolm French writes at Simple Massing Priest about the Covenant. First he takes on the proposition that There Is No Alternative, and then he wonders out loud hos the Church of England, under the same Archbishop of Canterbury, can manage to hold on the open-ended view of full communion as a member of the Porvoo Communion while demanding the approach of the Covenant for the rest of us.


He writes:

Let’s consider another international Communion of churches to see how they have handled this very same presenting issue.

The Porvoo Communion recently had a consultation to discuss the theology and practice of marriage among the member churches. Some of the Porvoo churches permit the ordination of partnered GLBTQTS and some do not. Some of the Porvoo churches bless same-sex unions, some do not and a few actually solemnize same-sex marriages. Technically, the range of practice in the Porvoo Communion is actually broader than in the Anglican Communion, where no member church has formally approved same-sex marriages.

So, how does the Porvoo Communion deal with this diversity of belief and practice?

Well, here’s what they said in their communique at the end of their recent consultation:

“The consultation made clear that differences over the introduction of same-sex marriage remain unresolved. It is clear that there are a variety of views and pastoral practices along a theological spectrum. Some believe same-sex marriage to be a legitimate development in the Christian tradition, whilst others see the potential for a serious departure from the received tradition. Nevertheless the consultation affirmed the benefits of ‘belonging to one another’. The value of honest encounter and strengthened friendship provides a platform of sustained communication in the face of issues which raise dificulties for us.”

So Porvoo can manage to muddle through without mechanisms to expel the outliers. No meaty Covenant need be introduced to discipline the dissenters. Porvoo simply acknowledges the disagreement and affirms the commitment to continue together.

The irony, of course, is that the Porvoo Communion is nothing other than the fellowship of Anglican and Lutheran churches in northern Europe.

So the same Church of England, under the leadership of the same Rowan Williams, manages to hold two completely contradictory opinions at the same time.

Well, your Grace, if it’s good enough for Porvoo, it’s good enough for me.

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Rod Gillis

But Malcolm, you must know the whole thing is being "handled" by National in the usual spirit of "peace, order, good government, and what is good for you"? --Roderick

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Malcolm French+

Sorry, that should have been Rod - and I did know that.

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Malcolm French+

In fairness, Rob, our own Canadian church hasn't really done much on the Covenant file to date. They've produced a reasonably balanced study guide for folk that want to learn more, and they've placed the issue on the agenda for the next General Synod in 2013. Not much to criticize there, really.

Although one might criticize some conservative bishops who were quick to distribute the Pravda-like pro-Covenant propaganda of the Anglican Communion Office but have yet to distribute the made in Canada study guide.

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Rod Gillis

"So the same Church of England, under the leadership of the same Rowan Williams, manages to hold two completely contradictory opinions at the same time."

Malcolm is very critical of the C of E and + Rowan, but extremely diplomatic when it comes to offering a critique of our Canadian church.

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F.Harry Stowe

Well, for one thing, Bushybrows does not think of himself as the Head of the Porvoo Church, as he does of the Anglican Church (which he is not, in either sense). It is this delusion that allows him to think that the Covenant makes no changes in the Communion, since he has acted as though the covenant was in force from roughly day one. Living out that delusion of Supremacy is also probably why he has not solved any of the problems he was hired to deal with and has made every one of them worse.

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