From the Anglican Communion Institute:
The Anglican Covenant: Shared Discernment Recognized By All
Written by: The Anglican Communion Institute, Inc.
Thursday, September 3rd, 2009
The Reverend Canon Professor Christopher Seitz
The Reverend Dr. Philip Turner
The Reverend Dr. Ephraim Radner
Mark McCall, Esq.
The Rt. Reverend Dr. N. T. Wright
Bishop of Durham
The approved text of the Anglican Covenant is already serving as a lens through which individual Anglican churches are inevitably and accurately being measured in terms of their character as “Communion churches.” Thus, in ways not yet properly noted by all, the text endorsed by the Anglican Consultative Council, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Joint Standing Committee in May 2009 has already raised and to a large extent provisionally answered the question “who can adopt this Covenant?” It is the purpose of this paper to explain why and how this is so, and to do this in relation particularly to The Episcopal Church, although it should be noted that the Covenant’s defining substance can be applied analogously to other Anglican churches as well.
The substantive sections of the Anglican Covenant, Sections 1-3, are now in final form. They will be sent to the churches of the Communion for adoption within a few months. A fourth section containing procedural provisions will be added to the other three at that time, but it remains subject to further review and “possible revision.” Section 4, however, either as it now stands or as revised, will not change the fundamental substantive commitments given by the covenanting churches. The scope of the fourth section is purely procedural.
This cuts directly against the claim of some “progressive” elements that it would be perfectly possible for The Episcopal Church, as it stands and even with the recent General Convention decisions in mind, to sign the first three sections. Following the recent reflections by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the actions of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church, some in the Communion are urging TEC to sign the Anglican Covenant even while continuing to reject the teaching of the communion on same sex ordinations and blessings and the moratoria that now have been affirmed by all four Instruments of Communion:
An Anglican church cannot simultaneously commit itself through the Anglican Covenant to shared discernment and reject that discernment; to interdependence and then act independently; to accountability and remain determined to be unaccountable. If the battle over homosexuality in The Episcopal Church is truly over, then so is the battle over the Anglican Covenant in The Episcopal Church, at least provisionally. As Christians, we live in hope that The Episcopal Church will at some future General Convention reverse the course to which it has committed itself, but we acknowledge the decisions that already have been taken. These decisions and actions run counter to the shared discernment of the Communion and the recommendations of the Instruments of Communion implementing this discernment. They are, therefore, also incompatible with the express substance, meaning, and committed direction of the first three Sections of the proposed Anglican Covenant. As a consequence, only a formal overturning by The Episcopal Church of these decisions and actions could place the church in a position capable of truly assuming the Covenant’s already articulated commitments. Until such time, The Episcopal Church has rejected the Covenant commitments openly and concretely, and her members and other Anglican churches within the Communion must take this into account. This conclusion is reached not on the basis of animus or prejudice, but on a straightforward and careful reading of the Covenant’s language and its meaning within the history of the Anglican Communion’s well-articulated life.
I've included quotes only from the beginning of the document and the conclusion. I did not read the statement in its entirety. I tried, but I did not finish. It is long. I read enough know that those who wrote the document seem to believe that the Episcopal Church cannot sign on to the covenant, even should it choose to do so, unless GC12 reverses resolutions B025 and D056. The conclusion states as much.
The group's strategy is to create "facts on the ground". (Thanks Doxy!) Say something is true, and it will, in fact, come to be true. That this flies in the face of logic did not prevent the transformation of the Windsor Report into the Windsor Law. The Archbishop of Canterbury seemed to buy into the strategy for the Windsor Report, so will he follow suit and come to the same conclusion as the writers of this document? Has he already done so in his talk of a two-track solution? Has he already consigned the Episcopal Church to the out-of-the-covenant track?
UPDATE: Meanwhile, across the pond, Pluralist is busy.