We have added an essay by Jonathan Clatworthy of Modern Church and the No Anglican Covenant Coalition to the list of Resources on the No Anglican Covenant Web site. (The entry is here.) The Clatworthy piece, “Americanism and the Anglican Covenant,” is a response to an essay by Peter Doll, Canon Librarian of Norwich Cathedral. Doll’s treatise was distributed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to Church of England bishops. It is profoundly anti-American, an attitude that seems to be shared by the Archbishop.
“Americanism and the Anglican Covenant” identifies themes in Doll’s piece and responds to each one. The presentation of each them begins with a quotation from Doll followed by Clatworthy’s response. Here is a sample (I have included only the first paragraph of the Clatworthy response):
When I set out to write this post, I intended to summarize Doll’s argument and to include some of my own thoughts on matters not dealt with by Clatworthy. Upon rereading the Doll paper, however, I realized that both his Episcopal Church history and his characterization of current day Episcopalians are too distorted to be answered succinctly. The distortions will be more obvious to Episcopalians than to our sisters and brothers across the pond. Exposing them will have to wait for another day.
Federation or integrationI see the Covenant as offering a choice between our declining into a federation of churches sharing a common heritage or drawing ever more closely together in Christ as a real communion of churches.‘Federation’ would be a fair description of the Communion as it is now, and has been for a long time. Nevertheless Doll’s view is common among Covenant supporters. I have two questions about it as a general preference. Firstly, why is ‘drawing ever more closely together’ a desirable aim at all? It is not self-evident: the question, after all, is only about how institutions relate to each other across long distances. It is hardly the stuff of the Sermon on the Mount; indeed, to English Anglicans of a certain age it seems only yesterday that we were encouraging black African dioceses to have black African bishops instead of white English ones, so that they would be truly independent. The persistent claim that we should now change direction looks suspiciously like a power struggle by ecclesiastical politicians.
I suggest first reading the Doll paper before reading Jonathan Clatworthy’s response.