9/09/2009

Why bother, #1


Why bother with the in house realignment crowd (the Communion Partners Bishops, the Anglican Communion Institute, the Covenant-Communion writers.) The logic chopping is so bad in some of their essays that the noise of it turns the brain to Wheatena.

Here is example #1:

From a Covenant-Communion article titled, "Communion Partner Dioceses and the Anglican Covenant."

"There are two paragraphs in Section 4 of the Ridley Cambridge text dealing with adoption of the Covenant by participating churches. Paragraph 4.1.4 invites “Every Church of the Anglican Communion, as recognised in accordance with the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council” to adopt the Covenant. Paragraph 4.1.5 provides “It shall be open to other Churches to adopt the Covenant.” These paragraphs treat the different kinds of adopting churches differently in terms of procedures and the effect of adoption by a particular church. Because CP dioceses are constituent parts of TEC, a member church of the ACC, they are covered under 4.1.4, but it should be noted that if this were disputed they would then come within the scope of 4.1.5."

The argument then is that "A" (a diocese of The Episcopal Church) is either "B"
(a constituent part of TEC) or "C" (an other Church) and therefore is a member of "D" (an invitee to sign the Anglican Covenant). This is all based on the following two sections of the 3rd and mostly final version of an Anglican Covenant. The text from the Anglican Covenant reads as follows:

(4.1.4) Every Church of the Anglican Communion, as recognised in accordance with the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, is invited to adopt this Covenant in its life according to its own constitutional procedures. Adoption of the Covenant by a Church does not in itself imply any change to its Constitution and Canons, but implies a recognition of those elements which must be maintained in its own life in order to sustain the relationship of covenanted communion established by this Covenant.

(4.1.5) It shall be open to other Churches to adopt the Covenant. Adoption of this Covenant does not bring any right of recognition by, or membership of, the Instruments of Communion. Such recognition and membership are dependent on the satisfaction of those conditions set out by each of the Instruments. However, adoption of the Covenant by a Church may be accompanied by a formal request to the Instruments for recognition and membership to be acted upon according to each Instrument's procedures.

ACI argues that A (a diocese in TEC) can act as a member of either B (a constituent church in the Anglican Communion) or C (an other Church), and therefore sign on to the Anglican Covenant.(D)

The problem, of course, is that there is no warrant for a diocese (A) to individually act in the place of or parallel to B (The Episcopal Church, and (A) is in no way "an other Church."(C). The link to "D" is broken.

To make matters worse, ACI somehow thinks that if not (B) then (C) makes sense. The two distinct classes, "Every Church of the Anglican Communion," and "other Churches" are by ACI melded. If a TEC diocese is not one, it is the other. But the clear intention of the Anglican Covenant is that the Churches of the Anglican Communion as defined by the schedule of the ACC consists of regional or national churches.

The list of members Churches and their membership on ACC is as follows:

  1. The Archbishop of Canterbury

  2. Three persons from each of the following, consisting of one bishop, one priest, and one layperson:

    Anglican Church of Australia
    Anglican Church of Canada
    Church of England
    Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
    Church of the Province of Rwanda
    Church of the Province of Southern Africa
    Church of South India
    Anglican Church of Tanzania
    Church of the Province of Uganda
    Episcopal Church (United States of America)

  3. Two persons from each of the following, consisting of one bishop or one priest plus one layperson:

    Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia
    Church of the Province of Central Africa
    Province of the Anglican Church of Congo
    Church of Ireland
    Anglican Church of Kenya
    Church of North India
    Church of Pakistan
    Episcopal Church of the Sudan
    Church in Wales
    Church in the Province of the West Indies

  4. One person (preferably lay) from each of the following:

    Church of Bangladesh
    Episcopal Anglican Church of Brasil
    Church of the Province of Burundi
    Anglican Church of the Central America Region
    Church of Ceylon
    Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui
    Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean
    Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Anglican Communion in Japan)
    Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East
    Anglican Church in Korea
    Church of the Province of Melanesia
    Anglican Church of Mexico
    Church of the Province of Myanmar
    Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
    Episcopal Church in the Philippines
    Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America
    Scottish Episcopal Church
    Church of the Province of Southeast Asia
    Church of the Province of West Africa

It is in the list of co-opted members that we seen any representatives from dioceses not part of regional or national churches. There are two, Spain and Cuba.

The clear implication is that the Diocese of X in The Episcopal Church is not a "Church" in the sense of Anglican Covenant 4.1.4. Period.

If we think of the Anglican Covenant as a Pact or Treaty, the argument that Diocese X can sign the Covenant independent of TEC is clearly absurd. It is the country as a whole that makes such pacts, and it is the Church as a whole that makes such Covenant. That seems to be the clear intention of 4.1.4.

As for section 4.1.5, "other Churches" does not reference dioceses, much less congregations, but rather other national or regional bodies that might conform to the notion of "Church" as envisioned in the ACC, namely a national or regional body having several dioceses and a recognizable canonical structure and a college of bishops desirous of entering the family of churches called Anglican. In no way is a diocese such a church.

The fact that there are extra-provincial dioceses in the Anglican Communion is an anomaly. They are listed by the Anglican Communion website as follows:

The Church of Ceylon (E-P to the Archbishop of Canterbury)
Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba
Bermuda (Extra-Provincial to Canterbury)
The Lusitanian Church (E-P to the Archbishop of Canterbury)
The Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain (E-P to the Archbishop of Canterbury)
Falkland Islands (Extra-Provincial to Canterbury)

Two of these, the Lusitanian Church and the Reformed Church of Spain are extra-provincial by accident of the peculiar history of reformed catholicism in Europe, the chaplaincies of the Church of England and The Episcopal Church (including military and governmental presence in post WWII Europe), the beginnings of indigenous work in Europe and the small but history rich reformed catholic churches in Spain and Portugal. It will take a while to work out.

Cuba is extra-provincial because the US Government, and to some extent the Cuban government, has made it very difficult for TEC to exercise practical oversight of the Church in Cuba.

The Falkland Islands is a product of a lost war.

Ceylon ought to be a Province, but a long civil war has made that impossible.

Bermuda is Bermuda and ought to be an overseas diocese of the CofE. (Oh well.)

In the sweet by and by these dioceses and local communities of churches will be brought into a larger fold. They will become part of "Churches" of the Anglican Communion.

The thing is, these "churches" are dioceses or less and not examples of "other churches" or "Churches of the Anglican Communion." So they are not in any way parallels to the notion of a diocese in The Episcopal Church acting independently of TEC.

The logical problem presented by this mess is that ACI would like us to believe that the Anglican Covenant makes provision for dioceses in otherwise cautious Churches to sign on to the Covenant on their own.

They are involved in logic chopping at its worse, and they fail at it.

One wonders, why bother with them at all?

Because the worm turns.

4 comments:

  1. Section 4 is of course the most objectionable part of the draft. The intent of the authors is I think to obscure what they are doing but to erect the walls and break the integrity of the provinces they don't much care for especially TEC and AC Canada.

    OK, we get it, time to say no and depose some more disloyal bishops.

    FWIW
    jimB

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why indeed? It's not only faulty logic, but bad contractual/statutory construction. If "Church" is not defined, but when enumerated, includes only national bodies, there should be no reasonable interpretation elevating a diocese to the status of "Church."

    The way for a camel through the Eye of the Needle is simple. Unburden the camel of its load(safely read as property) and pass on in ease.

    ReplyDelete

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