Frederick (the mighty) Quinn on the Covenant

Frederick Quinn has posted an essay on the Anglican Covenant over on Episcopal Cafe. Very important read. Of fish bones and following winds: on the proposed Anglican covenant is yet another example of Quinn's fine tuned writing.

An example of the fine art of slicing and dicing: " There never has been and is not now much widespread support for a Covenant. How the draft was declared accepted by church membership across the wider Anglican Communion remains as mysterious as an Egyptian election. There was no general referendum, and the published responses (from only 21 out of 38 Provinces) posted on the Anglican Communion website are complex, incomplete and raise many thoughtful, unanswered questions. There is no groundswell here."

The Episcopal Cafe bio states: "The Rev. Dr. Frederick Quinn has served as advisor to constitutional drafters in several countries of central and Eastern Europe, and as a chaplain of Washington National Cathedral. He has written extensively on law, history, and religion. He is former head of the Rule of Law programs for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Warsaw-based Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights."

He is also a regular nice guy and faithful Christian. His recent book, "
The Sum of All Heresies: The Image of Islam in Western Thought" (Oxford University Press, 2007.) is a very valuable read as well.

Go, read the essay over on Episcopal Cafe. Then comment, please.


  1. If this were a first draft of the Anglican Covenant, there would be much work yet to be done to make this document workable. I am troubled by the rush to sign into a covenant that does not reflect our shared experience, let alone the individual histories of the various members of the Anglican Communion.

    And, if this was simply a first draft, certain changes were made, and some sections completely re-worked, TEC could well consider signing such a document in good conscience.

    Alas, like car buyers at a used car lot, car salesmen in ill-fitting shiny polyester suits (or is it really pointy hats?) hustle us up to sign on without appropriate reflection and consideration. If this covenant thing is such a good idea, it will still be a good idea after consideration, discussion, and discernment.

    In a church that calls the 30 year old prayer book “new,” it is incredibly unseemly to undertake such a serious commitment without hearing from all voices, interested parties, and members. Unless there is time to consider, this simply isn’t a serious offer.

    At the ground level, the instruments of communion don’t mean anything useful. In some places, the bishop is considered to be similarly useful. At the national level, nothing much would change unless our polity was modified. And yet, being rolled, even at the policy level, doesn’t sit well.

    Would the WAWKI be all that different? I don’t think so. And even if the world is different, the Apostolic Succession is secure within TEC if that matters to anyone (It matters to me as something special in the Protestant church). We were never a subsidiary of the CoE; I don’t see the point in signing up now.

    It’s been a wonderful ride. There may be some value in riding on. If so, let us consider the cost and allow our internal process to work these things out.

    In the mean time, paws off the property.

  2. Point of Order, I heard a lot of people in 2003 say basically the same things (i.e., the rush to action in the absence of consensus or shared experience) when Bishop Robinson was elected. While discussion had occurred in some places, there had been none in others and clearly no consensus. The fragmentation of the Episcopal church has been a result of what, in the minds of many folks, was the hastiness of that action.

  3. Haldave48: Perhaps GC2003's rush was to follow Jesus's teaching to love all and leave judgment to Godde. What does the proposed Covenant have to do with Jesus?

  4. For there to have been discussion, there would've had to have been good faith, and there has never been any such thing on the part of the "conservative" leadership.

    Time to stop lying to ourselves. They've done enough of that.

  5. Reading the piece, one might think that most provinces are close to objecting to the covenant idea....if the author is right, is it not strange that Rowan Williams is supporting the covenant?

    The ABC is no GAFCON fan...in fact, he is not that conservative e.g. he is against the prohibition in Lambeth 1.10 i.e. with TEC on that. BUT if he is going for the covenant plan, that means that he thinks he can carry most of the AC (and, of course, that he thinks it is right for church order reasons) It seems clear, post his "Reflection" on GC09, that he is not expecting to persuade TEC (and he is sad about that, I think)....but he is likely to carry most of the AC provinces, I would not bet against him on that


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.