The director’s insinuation in her November 16, 2010, tract that Covenant opponents have not read the Covenant is, in itself, deeply offensive. It is because people have read the “final text” of the Covenant that they are so upset with it. Certainly, the fact that there is a whole Web site devoted to derailing the Covenant-adoption process suggests that a substantial number of Anglicans around the world have taken the time to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the Covenant and, having done so, have suffered serious indigestion.
While disingenuously declaring agnosticism regarding the value of the Covenant, Barnett-Cowen proceeded to dispense half-truths and rosy views of how the Covenant will work in practice.
Barnett-Cowen continues to harp on the theme of the Covenant’s being defamed by ignorant critics. She recently spoke to the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe before its synod voted on whether to send the Covenant back to the General Synod for final approval. (As far as I can tell, no corresponding address was given by a Covenant opponent. See this story about the positive vote from The Living Church.) In a brief but telling audio interview just before the Diocese in Europe vote, Barnett-Cowen said this:
People are taken unaware by it [i.e., the Covenant], for one thing, so I have been trying to encourage people to see what it actually says instead of reacting to what they think it might say.She then disclosed her real view of the Covenant, and it is not at all ambivalent:
If not this, what? It’s become quite clear that if we’re to be a global church, we need something that expresses how we live together as a family. It’s possible the Covenant could be improved, and we want to hear about that. But, at the moment, it’s the best thing we’ve got going for us.The best thing we’ve got going for us if we’re to be a global church. Well, as an Episcopalian, I am quite content not be be a member of a global church, thank you very much! The beauty of the Anglican Communion as it has been in the past—something we could have “going for us” again if we chose—is that we acted like a global church when doing so was efficient and effective—providing disaster relief in faraway places, for example—and acted like a local church when dealing with liturgy and ethical norms in our individual and diverse societies.
In our fast-moving age, we should not be creating a global church with arcane procedures for deciding what is best for everyone by means of bodies that meet infrequently. Such a church will always be behind the times and the subject of ridicule, at least in some places. The need for uniformity across the Communion is doubtful; uniformity and irrelevance is deadly.
No doubt, Barnett-Cowan will continue to insult our intelligence by asserting that, if we will only read the Covenant, we will come round to seeing how wonderful it is. Likely not. If the good canon is so desirous of being a member of a global church, however, perhaps she should resign her current position and become a Roman Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church already is a global church.
Get your No Anglican Covenant merchandise at the Farrago Gift Shop.