August 31, 2011

Oxford Movement (or not?)

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition has posted a concise negative review of the equally concise analysis of the Proposed Anglican Covenant prepared for the Diocese of Oxford. The NACC point to the irony of claiming the document will, at one level, "make no difference at all" (5.1) but then go on to claim (5.2) that the PAC may help the churches of the Communion

  • To articulate and explain the Anglican traditions and faith they have inherited 
  • Express their solidarity with each other, when any is the subject of misunderstanding or persecution 
  • To reinforce interdependence, mutual responsibility, and awareness of each others’ differing cultures
These assertions do not appear to me to stand up very well to close examination. I am not alone in noting the extent to which the PAC
  • introduces a significantly "different" manner of working and governance for the Communion
  • departs from several basic elements of "Anglican tradition"
  • may well formalize forms of misunderstanding and at least marginalization if not outright persecution, and
  • may impede interdependence by promoting dependency and submission, cultivate irresponsibility in enforcing change on provinces without adequate awareness of the consequences, and attempt to suppress or subsume the differences in cultures that have led to the disagreements in the first place
So, all in all, not a very good analysis from Oxford.

Tobias Stanislas Haller
see my topic tag link to Anglican Covenant for more on the problems with the PAC and its ancestors; you will note that I have waffled a bit on the extent to which the PAC is pernicious or useless, but I have never thought it was a Good Idea, particularly at this time. I never counsel marriage when a couple are having difficulties in their relationship.


Marshall Scott said...

The Oxford document does indeed gloss over important issues. One of those is in fact Canon Rees' assertion that "nothing will change," in that "it doesn't affect the autonomy of member churches." In fact, the document is conflicted within its own terms, not mandating changes but explicitly expecting changes to be made.

I also think it a loss not to note that, in addition to the references to the Marks of Mission, there is implicit reference to the Quadrilateral (and, yes, I know and have pointed out myself that the Quadrilateral is not definitive of what is Anglican; but it is descriptive of what Anglicans would see as the marks of the church catholic, which is necessary for an Anglican body, if not sufficient).

It's concise; but like so many efforts to be concise, some important things get glossed or ignored.

(Comment also posted at NACC)

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Amen, Marshall. And it's that very "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" quality of the summary from Oxford that is disturbing.