The Archbishop of Canterbury is continuing his advocacy of the Proposed Anglican Covenant in a YouTube video uploaded today. I commend it to your viewing.
It seems to me this video capsulizes well the dilemma about the Covenant, and the mixed message it sends: it is, in Canterbury's view and by his account, somehow very important to our future way of life together, but it only consists of a set of agreed principles and recommendations concerning disagreement about acts that might create tension over those principles. It has no specific requirements or authority.
Of course, the very reason we have tensions in the communion derives from the fact that not everyone is prepared to accept recommendations when they feel the recommendations are misinformed or misguided, or harmful to the local work of their own church. This is precisely why the recommendations contained in Lambeth 1.10 have led to such a great tension in the Communion — and the notion that further recommendations being in place might have prevented those tensions, or might prevent other tensions in the future, is by no means evidently true. It is, I think, plainly false.
The Archbishop asserts that failure to adopt the PAC will somehow lead to our "impoverishment" as a communion; that it might lead some of the weaker provinces to feel abandoned; that it might add levels of further confusion to our ecumenical relations. He offers no real evidence that such a reaction to the PAC will produce these effects, and I for one see no evidence that this is the case; or that the adoption of the PAC will enrich our common lives, support the weaker provinces, or clarify our ecumenical relationships. It is, after all, only a set of recommendations, or so the Archbishop says.
In short, this seems to be one more effort to skew the voting in the Church of England's diocesan synods. I earnestly entreat the voting members to listen to what the Archbishop says, but also to do something he fails to mention: read the text of the Proposed Anglican Covenant, in particular section 4.2, and see how well you think it matches his rosy portrayal.
Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG