Tobias Haller: Feeling a Draft (Covenant)

General Convention

Tobias has posted his thinking after a careful reading of the Draft Anglican Covenant that was released by the Primate’s Meeting in Tanzania earlier this year. He finds, upon review, a number of small things that might have large implications for us all down the road:

“I’ve been reviewing the Draft Covenant for the Anglican Communion over the last weeks, and continue to find it a strange document. Much of it is inoffensive and reads like a slightly expanded Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. But those very expansions, slight as they may be, void the soundness of the document, even were it not unacceptable due to the more serious implied threats folded into its latter sections. (As Petruchio observed, its sting is in its tail.)

The problems begin much earlier, with citation of the Articles of Religion and the Book of Common Prayer 1662, complete with its Ordinal, as foundational ‘historic formularies’ to which ‘loyalty’ is due. This is a particularly strange expansion, as the Draft Covenant itself is in direct conflict with these foundations in a number of particulars.”

I think Tobias is right in his concern that there pieces of the Covenant which appear to contradict each other. He’s not the first person to point that out.

My concern has to do with whether or not these contradictions have arisen because the document was put together hurriedly and not as carefully as it might have been, or if as Tobias seems to be concerned, they might be “the camel’s nose coming into the tent” [my characterization, not his].

Certainly the idea that there was a specific moment in Anglicanism when its genius was in full bloom and that our modern task is to return to that heady time doesn’t seem very, well, “Anglican” to me. I’ve always thought of Anglicanism as allowing for process and development of its ideas to occur – as can be seen in the language of the Quadrilateral with its description of the “Historic Episcopate, locally adapted” as being one of the cornerstones of what we think as necessary for the fullness of being a church.

Do read the rest, Tobias is a pretty sharp guy and we should listen carefully when he speaks: Feeling a Draft (Covenant)

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...