Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Disappearing Dr. Hooker

Richard Hooker appears to have vanished from the proposed Anglican Covenant, along with the Laity.

The constitutional law scholar Frederick Quinn has written a first rate essay on the proposed Anglican Covenant over on Episcopal Cafe. He says that so much of what is really traditional in Anglicanism gets swallowed up in the ambition to create another "catholic" church. He points out that nowhere in the proposed Covenant is the laity mentioned. In a little noticed footnote to the Covenant, tradition is defined as the 39 Articles and the 1662 English Book of Common Prayer, both of which were never accepted by the American Episcopal Church, nor by the Scottish Episcopal Church.
Richard Hooker's project to try to heal the bloodshed in English Christianity through a measure of tolerance and forbearance, together with a large measure of humility in theological matters is being discarded. Hooker's teaching that Christianity should first do no harm is being replaced by those who would have us all be "bloodie and extreme like the Holy Ghost."

Or as Quinn says it better:
The Covenant exercise should be seen for what it is, one part of a multi-year power play that has gone awry. It represents a sustained but erroneous effort to rewrite history and claim that a narrow, mean spirited perspective somehow represents our heritage. Windsor was an incomplete, biased report, the coup attempt at Dar Es Salaam failed, and the draft Covenant represents an unattainable effort to seize the levers of power in an amorphous organization.
The Anglican Communion’s binding ties are not legal ones but extend through long cultivated bonds of affection and commitment to the creative challenges of mission. The fish bones in the draft Covenant are far too numerous, and the following wind has long expired. So should the Covenant.
Hat tips to Grandmere Mimi, and to Fr. Mark Harris at Preludium.

3 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

It represents a sustained but erroneous effort to rewrite history and claim that a narrow, mean spirited perspective somehow represents our heritage.

I like that. That's the truth. As I listened to Bishop Michael Smith last Saturday, I hardly recognized the church that he was talking about. When he spoke of having to pay attention to Rome, I wish I'd thought to hurl Abp. Robert Runcie's words to him, "According to Rome, I'm a layman. We have to talk about that first." I did think to mention that Rome did not recognize Rowan's priestly orders, much less view him as an archbishop.

Counterlight said...

I'm also puzzled why what Rome should think should matter to us. The only thing I can figure is some bishops want to run with the big dogs in Rome and Constantinople (aka Istanbul). It has little to do with being a better church for those who are its members, and for the world in which it lives.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Finem lauda, finem lauda!