Sunday, 15 May 2011

Ireland "subscribes" to the Anglican Covenant


The Church of Ireland has voted in favour of the Anglican Covenant. Here is what the official press release, issued last Friday, says:

The General Synod of the Church of Ireland meeting today in Armagh voted in favour of the following Motion on the Anglican Covenant:

‘Seeing that the Anglican Covenant is consonant with the doctrines and formularies of the Church of Ireland, the General Synod hereby subscribes the Covenant.’

The vote was passed by a large majority of the House of Representatives. The House of Bishops also voted as a separate House, approving the motion, also by a large majority.

The Motion was proposed by the Bishop of Cashel & Ossory, the Rt Revd Michael Burrows, and seconded by the Bishop of Down & Dromore, the Rt Revd Harold Miller. In the course of the Synod debate it was stressed that the word ‘subscribe’ in relation to the Covenant, rather than ‘adopt’, was important. Subscribing the Covenant is an indication that the Church of Ireland has put its collective name to and aligned with it. The Covenant sits under the Preamble and Declaration of the Church and does not affect the sovereignty of the Church of Ireland or mean any change in doctrine.

So subscription is something different to adoption. And South East Asia used the term accession.

Confused? If so, then these three four blog articles may not help you.

Catholicity and Covenant has Quincy, SE Asia & Ireland: Covenant questions.

Bosco Peters at Liturgy has Anglican Covenant meaningless.

Tobias Haller at In a Godward Direction has The Anglican Covenant — Let’s be clear.

Alan Perry has What goes on in the Emerald Isle?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 15 May 2011 at 10:54pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of Ireland

Tobias Haller, in his article mentioned on this thread, appears to put forward the only possible apologetic for the acceptance of the Anglican Covenant. However, his thesis is based on the fact that the GAFCON attempt to take over the essence of the Anglican Communion - in their establishment of their own offices around the world - ought already to distance us who are not part of that, from their fundamentalist agenda; thereby opening up the possibility of a 'Reasonable' relationship of all other Provinces within a Covenant of sorts.

I could see a glimmer of hope for a Covenant based on an agreement between non-GAFCON Provinces of the Communion - but which would then need to modify the unedifying ethos of Section 4.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 16 May 2011 at 12:55am BST

SE Asia has acceded - and added some kind of preamble; & the CofI has subscribed - with much clarification as to what that means. It seems the Covenant must be some kind of origami document - you just take the paper and twist it into whatever you want it to be.

Posted by: Fr Levi on Monday, 16 May 2011 at 12:32pm BST

So the Church of Ireland has signed up for the Covenant -- but only because that Church thinks the Covenant has no force.

They're right, in the sense that the Covenant isn't worth the candle.

They're wrong, in the sense that the Covenant will be used -- indeed, already has been used -- to bully, bludgeon, and intimidate.

Posted by: Jeremy on Monday, 16 May 2011 at 1:23pm BST

Ireland "subscribed"; South East Asia recorded its "accession," and others have "adopted" the Covenant.

That leaves other churches free to acquiesce, advocate, approve, assent, autograph, back, bless, boost, consent, cosign, countenance, ditto, endorse, favor, get behind, give stamp of approval, give the go-ahead, go along with, hold with, ink, obey, okay, put John Hancock on, rubber-stamp, sanction, sign, signature, support, take, undersign, underwrite, or say yes to the Covenant or whatever yer havin yerself...

Posted by: Charlotte on Monday, 16 May 2011 at 9:12pm BST

I think we're in linguist country again, and again in one that is expressed in slightly superior terms by native English speakers.

It's easy enough to analyse in detail the implications of adopting/signing up to/acceding to a Covenant - and it would be a nightmare for lawyers in one of our countries!

But before we continue this conversation as though our own interpretation of those words and our own reason for chosing certain words was authoriative.... could we maybe make an effort to understand what different countries MEAN by the words they've chosen?
And for monolinguals out there, that's NOT the same as finding synonyms for those words and using the same English to explain everything. It's discovering what those words mean in the respective source languages and cultures, and then working out what they might mean in this particular context.

That's not to say I agree with all the countries who are using different terms to place a tick in the "Covenant" box, but it's saying that, so far, I don't understand what they mean by it and that the analyses and meanings provided by monolingual English speakers lack authority and don't help me to truly understand.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 16 May 2011 at 10:56pm BST

It would seem, in fairly plain English terms, that some Provinces of the Communion are stopping short of actually 'adopting' it for their own use. That means, surely, that they do not necessarily own it.

Any other relationship to the covenant document, which stops short of 'adopting' it, may just merely be acknowledging its existence - without claiming it for themselves. That's what I think, anyway.

Until it gets rid of Section 4, I would not want to even consider it a viable means of securing koinonia for Provinces of the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 at 4:12am BST

"The problem for those of us who are Irish Anglicans is that our General Synod, while 'subscribing' to the Covenant, appears to have simultaneously affirmed the very "ecclesial deficit" affirmed by Quincy. Quincy has explicitly, and Ireland has implicitly, denied a key characteristic of patristic catholicity - what the Orthodox theologian Olivier Clement has described as "continual reciprocity" and "permanent conciliarity". For the church catholic, the local cannot have priority."

It would seem that this particular "Irish Anglican" - from the article on 'Catholic and covenant' - would appear to be more 'Catholic' than anyone other than the Pope. Granted, the Anglican Representative in Rome might be constrained to attune his argument to that of the Vatican, but to say that all 'Irish Anglicans' think we need a Covenant to ape Rome's magisterial rule is patently untrue. Otherwise, why would the Irish General Synod have voted to not 'adopt' the Covenant as it stands.

Obviously, not all non-GAFCON Provinces of the communion are whole-heartedly supporters of the present Covenant document - preferring their own independence to promote the Gospel in situ. When will the ACO understand that Section 4 is a No-No?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 at 7:27am BST

When I read stories like then one below, I remain hopeful that even reactionary homophobic quasi-confessional documents styled as "covenants" will fade into the dust bin of history.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Friday, 20 May 2011 at 12:36am BST
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