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Philippine ‘no’ to the Anglican Covenant: The Church of England Newspaper, Aug 5, 2011 p 4. August 4, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Covenant, Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church of the Philippines.
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Prime Bishop Edward Malecdan of the Philippines (ACNS photo)

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines have rejected the proposed Anglican Covenant, saying the proposal to centralise authority in London was an “un-Anglican” attempt to “lord it over” the Communion’s national provinces.

Speaking to the 8th Philippine General Synod on 2 May, the Church’s Prime Bishop, the Most Rev Edward Malecdan, argued the best way forward through the crisis of faith and order dividing Anglicans was to keep talking while taking no action that would cause irreparable harm to the fabric of the Communion.

“I think most of us know that there are problems besetting the Communion,” he observed, noting that “one of this is the practice of The Episcopal Church USA, or TEC, in consecrating practicing homosexuals and lesbians to the episcopate. The other is the acceptance of same-sex marriages in both TEC and in the Anglican Church of Canada or ACoC.”

The responses to these breaches of Communion by the US and Canada had led some provinces to call for the isolation of “these two North American Churches. They express in no uncertain terms that the Church in Canada and TEC should be out of the Communion.”

These Churches that have sought to punish TEC and Canada have looked to the “Instruments of Communion,” specifically the Primates’ Meeting “to make that decision, presumably for the whole Communion,” he said.

Bishop Malecdan added there was also a plan to “create a parallel Anglican Communion which would exclude in its membership TEC, ACoC and the Archbishop of Canterbury as an instrument of Communion, such that those who planned this boycotted the Lambeth Conference in 2009 and the Primates’ Meeting I attended in Dublin.

“Associated with this problem is the Anglican Covenant which is supposedly a proposed document to help defuse the tension in the Communion. The document is intended to be the final arbiter in the resolution of conflicts in the Communion and that all member Churches will have to adhere to its provisions.”

Bishop Malecdan stated the Philippine Council of Bishops “noted that the document provides for the creation of a Standing Committee that will be the ‘Supreme Court’ as it were, for the Anglican Communion to lord it over all Anglican Provinces. This, to the Council is very un-Anglican because of the autonomous nature of each Anglican Province. Hence, we are not in favour of the document.”

The Bishop said his impression of the Dublin Primates’ Meeting was one of a Church where “unity and diversity” was “clearly and strongly affirmed.”

“We recognised that Anglicans have many disagreements as a Communion but we still can be agreeable to one another. We can still move towards reconciliation as sisters and brothers as a gift of God to us by persistently talking about our differences. This is the beauty of Anglicanism.

“Unity in diversity which is a recognized uniqueness of the Communion is preserved,” the prime bishop said.