The Bishop of DudleyThe Church Times (Jan 4 2008) had an article by David Walker, Bishop of Dudley, on the proposed Anglican Covenant. It has now been made publicly available.
In the article Bishop Walker says American liberal views are largely against the Covenant which reflects their origin in dissenting tradition. Whereas, by contrast, English liberals generally hold a high view of the institution of the Church and of it officers and therefore, he implies, are generally in favour of the Covenant.
He says that this difference
This has left American liberals perplexed about how their English counterparts can believe that holding the Communion intact might outweigh their personal theological positions.But this begs the questions, first, of whether the divide is really as great as he thinks, second, of whether the Covenant is likely to be effective at holding the Communion together and, third, whether the price of unity (which at one time seemed to include the expulsion of a Province) will be worth it.
Bishop Walker's view of English liberals does not include the MCU. We would rather not have a Covenant at all, seeing it (amongst other things) as a distortion of our Anglican heritage in the attempt to centralise power and replace consorority with direction from on high. If we have to have a Covenant let it be as loose a garment as possible - but this would be a poor second by a long way to not having one at all.
The Church has always been a coalition of different and divergent groups. Sub-traditions have always fractured and recombined in different organizations and ethos over time. So too, in relation to changes in church life and probably much else besides, theology has always reflected the proponents' prior commitment and hopes (it's a circular thing; there is no foundation from which policy may be deduced objectively).
These things aren't causes for concern but the normal ordering of the church. A Covenant will not affect them.
A Covenant may hold some of the Communion together institutionally. It will not change anyone's mind on the divisive issues at stake. And it may turn out, over time, to shift the culture and structures of the Church in directions that very few people will be happy with.