Telegraph [UK] religion correspondent Jonathan Petre says that the Archbishop of Canterbury is backing a plan for a "covenant" that amounts to a written constitution for the Anglican Communion. The terms of the covenant apparently have yet to be worked out, which raises all kinds of interesting possibilities in itself.
My question: will this story have legs, or is it yet another trial balloon that goes nowhere?
See the comments at:
- TitusOneNine (tradionalist / conservative; 91 comments so far)
- Father Jake Stops the World (modernist / liberal)
- Jim Naughton of the Diocese of Washington (modernist / liberal) offers some interesting speculations about what might really be behind the Telegraph story.
- Matt Kennedy (trad / conservative)
- Jim's Thoughts, which notes a number of practical problems with the proposal and suggests that it'd be 2018 at the earliest before it could be implemented (and who knows what could happen between now and then)
An audacious plan to save the worldwide Anglican Church by allowing it to divide into two tracks, one fast and the other slow, is being backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.
The proposals, which have parallels with the idea of a two-speed European Union, could permit liberals from North America to push ahead with divisive reforms such as homosexual bishops without destroying the Church.
But they could also allow conservatives from Africa and Asia to form an influential inner core that would edge out the liberals from positions of power and reduce them to a second-class status.
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Under Dr Williams's plan, all Anglican provinces - the 38 autonomous Churches that make up the worldwide Communion - will be asked to sign the covenant, an agreement that will prevent them from acting unilaterally over contentious issues.
The covenant would effectively be the Anglican Communion's first constitution, a notion strongly resisted by liberals who dislike the idea of centralised power or of the Archbishop of Canterbury becoming an Anglican pope.
Those who refuse to sign up because they want to retain their freedom - possibly up to a third of the provinces -would not necessarily be seen as less Anglican, but they could find themselves pushed to the fringes.
The document develops the Windsor Report, which was commissioned by Dr Williams and published in 2004, a year after the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire.
It was adopted by the joint standing committee of the Primates and the Anglican Consultative Council, two of the Communion's ruling bodies, at a meeting in London. A 10-strong group will be appointed by Dr Williams to flesh out the proposals before they are debated at the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops.