As the prospects fade for having a majority of Church of England dioceses vote to return the proposed Anglican Covenant to the General Synod, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is intensifying his effort to portray the pact as important and beneficial. Yesterday, he released text and video of a talk titled “Why the Covenant Matters.” The video is reproduced below. It is remarkable how sober—one might even say grim—the archbishop looks throughout this clip. Never is there a hint of a smile.
There is a good deal one might say about this talk. It is remarkable, for example, that we are, for once, not told that the Covenant represents “the only way forward.” Indeed, the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to acknowledge that the Church of England might not submit to the Covenant, which—in his opinion, of course—would be unfortunate.
Perhaps most interesting, however, is the insistence that, as we have been told many times before, the Covenant is not about punishment, “not a disciplinary system.” He observes that, under the Covenant, “nobody has the power to do anything but recommend courses of action.” But does anyone really think that recommendations for disciplining Anglican churches will not be acted upon after procedures of Section 4 have been carried out? Surely not!
Louie Crew, a prominent advocate for LGBT persons in The Episcopal Church, has responded to the archbishop with his own video on YouTube on the subject of punishment. I will let him speak for himself.