As part of the full court press to convince more English dioceses to support the lagging Anglican Covenant, Bishop Cameron has weighed in over at Fulcrum. Give him a place to stand and he may use St. Asaph's as a fulcrum to move England!
I've already said perhaps more than need be about the Covenant in these last few days, largely in response to the stream of arm-twisting from the English episcopate and like-minded folks. At least Bishop Cameron cites a few portions of the actual Covenant text, which is more than most of its supporters are willing to do, and I will not engage in a point-by point response to his Five Theses.
For as with the Covenant itself, the main problems lie in the last section of his essay, in fact, in his last line:
A “No” to the Covenant says: We can’t say what it means to be an Anglican, we want to be able to ignore our sister Churches when it suits us, and we won’t mind if up to half the Communion walks away.On the contrary:
1. We can say what it means to be an Anglican, and this document fails to do so in many significant ways. (The lack of explicit reference to Reason, though as Chapman points out, this is assumed. Assumptions aside, surely a word ought to have been spoken! Then there's the reference to the 39 Articles and the 1662 BCP, which are not in fact seminal for all of the Anglican Communion, but only "bits" of it.)
2. We do not want to ignore our sister Churches, but we also do not want them to ignore us -- and the Covenant establishes a formal way in which churches can be ignored, while offering precious little towards encouraging the dialogue it purports to favor. (I will put in a bid for the Continuing Indaba as an already proven positive way forward, Covenant or no. We do not need the Covenant in order to have dialogue and to take each other seriously.)
3. We do mind if half of the Communion walks away, but better that than urging any of the Communion out by "recommending relational consequences" -- and if the Covenant does not lead to that being done, neither does it prevent it.
In short, the Proposed Covenant is not suited to the task. It will not accomplish or encourage the things it says it hopes to do. This is why it is being so widely rejected; which in itself is an important point for something so supposed to be geared towards consensus-building.
Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG