Constitution of the Anglican Mission in the Americas VI

Update: As a commenter points out, “borrowing” legal texts is accepted and is not considered plagiarism. This means that the sources of these passages are what matters, not the fact that they are included in the AMiA Constitution.

The mélange of undocumented borrowing from other (mainly Roman) sources continues as we read Articles 15 and 16. Beginning with the AMiA document:

Section 1: Members of the Society seek to live in life-giving reciprocal communion with all the members of the Anglican Family. They shall endeavor to promote common initiatives or participate in them through local collaboration, ministry partnerships and concordats with other Anglican ecclesiastical entities that acknowledge and affirm the vocational missional model in order to collaborate in spreading the Gospel, through evangelism and church planting and serving the cause of ecclesial unity.

Compared with Title VIII In Communion With The Franciscan Family And The Church Article 98 (Rule 1):

Secular Franciscans should seek to live in life-giving reciprocal communion with all the members of the Franciscan Family. They should be ready to promote common initiatives or participate in them with the religious of the First, Second and Third Orders, with Secular Institutes, and with other lay ecclesial groups that recognize St. Francis as a model and inspiration in order to collaborate in spreading the Gospel, removing the causes of marginalization, and serving the cause of peace.

The AMiA:

Section 2: The Members of the Society should fulfill with dedication the Mission duties with which they are called, always mindful of their relations to the local Church. They should lend their help to activities of their apostolic industries as well as to the activities existing in the jurisdictions they are in relation to. In the spirit of service, they should make themselves present, as a sodality within the life of the local church where invited. They should be ready to collaborate with other ecclesial groups in those places and participate in the common life where possible.

Ibid, Article 100

The Secular Franciscans should fulfill with dedication the duties with which they are occupied in their relations to the local Church. They should lend their help to activities of the apostolate as well as to the social activities existing in the diocese.*) In the spirit of service, they should make themselves present, as the fraternity of the SFO, within the life of the diocese. They should be ready to collaborate with other ecclesial groups and to participate in pastoral councils.

The AMiA:

Section1: As the Church of Christ has for a long time past been distressed by separations and schisms among Christians, so that the unity for which our Lord prayed is impaired and the witness to his gospel is grievously hindered, it is the duty of clergy and people of this society to do their utmost not only to avoid occasions of strife but also to seek in penitence and brotherly charity to heal such divisions.

And the Canons of the Church of England, Section A, 8 Of schisms:

Forasmuch as the Church of Christ has for a long time past been distressed by separations and schisms among Christian men, so that the unity for which our Lord prayed is impaired and the witness to his gospel is grievously hindered, it is the duty of clergy and people to do their utmost not only to avoid occasions of strife but also to seek in penitence and brotherly charity to heal such divisions.

It should be obvious that the AMiA document is a mish-mash of different sources, thrown together, essentially plagiarized, and thoroughly Roman Catholic in character. There is precious little of the Reformation in this document, and the trajectory of this document is away from the Articles of Religion and towards the Tractarians, which is to say, towards Rome. The only obstacle in that path is women’s ordination and Papal obedience. So in order to have your cake and eat it too, you reject the doctrines of the Anglican Reformation, but maintain your independence from Roman authority.

5 thoughts on “Constitution of the Anglican Mission in the Americas VI”

  1. If “it is the duty of clergy and people of this society to do their utmost not only to avoid occasions of strife but also to seek in penitence and brotherly charity to heal such divisions,” wouldn’t it make sense for +Murphy, et al. to lead by example?

  2. Joel, I appreciate your blogging on the AMiA constitution, and your substantive critique is sound. But I think your plagiarism criticism–or as you say it in this post, your criticism of a “mélange of undocumented borrowing”–is off the mark. Legal documents, including constitutions, almost always have widespread copying of earlier texts. This has never been considered plagiarism and it is not even something to be criticized in more moderate terms. For example, the U.S. Constitution borrows substantially–and without any documentation–from the Articles of Confederation. And there have been entire books published on this practice, such as Alan Watson’s “Legal Transplants.” There is even a widespread practice in the United States of drafting a “Uniform Act” on some topic, a kind of template statute, that is then borrowed without attribution by lots of states when they enact their own statutes on the same topic. The life of the law, both secular and canon, is borrowing. There are multiple reasons for this practice, which are not worth going into here, but the point is that it is entirely unremarkable. So it’s fair to criticize the AMiA constitution for what it borrows, and for what the sources of its borrowing are. But it’s not fair to criticize it for the fact that it borrows, or the fact that its borrowing is unacknowledged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.