First of all, a big Thank You goes to WB for the privilege of contributing to his blog.
The House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria has responded to ++Rowan Williams' statement. Read the whole thing here: http://www.anglican-nig.org/response_abc_june06.htm
Here's one paragraph: "His [++Williams'] analysis of the situation is quite lucid, and the liberal and post-modern tilt of some interpretations is apparent. But we must commend the fact that it appears we have finally come to that point of admitting that we are truly at crossroads as a Communion and the time to decide on the way forward can no longer be wished away. The mere fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury now proposes a two-tier membership for the Anglican Communion is his acceptance that the wound caused by the revisionists has become difficult, if not impossible, to heal. The idea of a Covenant that would ensure this two-tier membership of ‘Constituent Churches’ and ‘Churches in Association’ is brilliant as the heartbeat of a leader who wants to preserve the unity of the Church by accommodating every shred of opinion no matter how unbiblical, all because we want to make everyone feel at home."
You can taste the sarcasm. Or at the very least, the irony. Is the Catholic Church -- and Anglicanism as a part thereof -- supposed to be, fundamentally, a place for everyone to feel at home, no matter their beliefs? If so, then by all means, our unity ought to be preserved by some sort of sociological compromise, some way to get us all to co-identify without engaging theological hot-buttons. The WCC excells at this and has been in the business of sweeping theological differences under the ecumenical rug for decades now. It's no wonder the Nigerian bishops point out ++Williams' post-modern 'tilt' -- this sort of dodge is fashionable these days.
Like these bishops, I question whether the Archbishop's very practical solution has enough theological weight. Is there precedent in any patristic source for two-teir communion in the Catholic Church? Is there precedent in any Anglican ecclesiology for this sort of thing? Let's get the good Archbishop a WWLD bracelet: "What would Laud do?"
I oppose the idea of an Anglican Covenant, because it's un-Catholic. In the good ol' days, a synod would be convened, and a declaration of broken communion would be made, followed by institutional changes to reflect the new theological status. Practicality follows theology. That's the way it oughta' be.
I don't see why this process can't be done right now. ++Williams backhandedly admits that it can be: "All that I have said above should make it clear that the idea of an Archbishop of Canterbury resolving any of this by decree is misplaced, however tempting for many. The Archbishop of Canterbury presides and convenes in the Communion, and may do what this document attempts to do, which is to outline the theological framework in which a problem should be addressed; but he must always act collegially, with the bishops of his own local Church and with the primates and the other instruments of communion." So if he convenes a synod of CofE bishops, with the advice of the Primates, they can declare themselves out of communion with those provinces who want to 'walk apart', and invite all other Anglican provinces to do the same. The question of who's in and who's out answers itself. Sounds like a solidly Catholic way to do things. No Covanent needed.