A Semi-Marxist View of the Baptismal Covenant

One recurring issue in Episcopal/Anglican life is the "Baptismal Covenant" that appears in the 1979 BCP.  (For a look at it, click here.)   This has been Peter Toon’s cause célèbre for a long time, and now it’s been picked up by Gary L’Hommedieu.

Now it seems that Rowan Williams has joined in the chorus.  As L’Hommedieu notes:

"I have a clearer understanding of the polity of TEC and some of the assumptions that the bishops of the TEC make about the Church and its polity. Some have spoken to me about the baptismal covenant, as it works here, its importance, and how the concepts they take from the covenant make it easier to come to conclusions here that others cannot come to world-wide." (The Most Rev. Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, House of Bishops Press Conference, New Orleans LA, September 21, 2007)

Although it’s an eye-opener, it’s what you would expect of an Affirming Catholic.

There are two problems with this.  The first is that most of the Anglican Communion doesn’t put out a contract on its own members like the Baptismal Covenant (I still call this thing "the contract on the Episcopalians.")  So we have yet another "instrument of disunity" (as if we needed one more.)

The second is something I’ve hit on repeatedly: the Episcopal Church’s elitist demographics compromise any attempt at the social justice enshrined in the Covenant.  I discuss this issue in The Preferential Option of the Poor and (from a Roman Catholic standpoint, Peace, Justice and Catholic Education.)

Put in a Marxist sense, as long as so many of TEC’s membership exploits other people’s surplus value, the whole business of social justice will ring hollow at best.  And that includes most of the much-vaunted GLBT community within TEC.

And they wonder why they’re having so much trouble getting credibility with the Africans…

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