Thinking Anglicans

‘untainted’ bread?

Not only is the Church of England responding to the swine flu epidemic by denying the chalice to its congregations, now Blackburn Cathedral is reported to be providing ‘untainted bread’. Read on…

Ruth Gledhill in The Times reports that Worshippers who oppose women priests receive ‘untainted’ bread.

Worshippers at a Church of England cathedral are being offered a two-track Communion service with a separate supply of “untainted” Communion bread for those who object to its being consecrated by a woman priest.

A special container, for the hosts — unleavened bread representing the body of Christ — which have been previously consecrated by a male priest, is brought out during Sunday morning services at Blackburn Cathedral if a woman priest is presiding.

The special arrangements, which have been condemned by supporters of women priests, were introduced because of the recent installation of Dr Sue Penfold as one of three residentiary canons. Even though she is legitimately ordained and employed, it means that when she is celebrating the eucharist those who dispute the validity of her orders can make sure they receive “untainted” sacrament consecrated earlier by a man…

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Ed Tomlinson
Guest

I am in a C Parish and find this insensitive and ludicrous. I would not attend as I would feel disrespectful towards the woman and confused as regards the liturgy. How could I accept a presider in all but sacrament. Would it therefore be ok to let a layperson say the Eucharistic prayer before wheeling out the RS…I hardly think so. Not doing anything for me- this is the sort of messy fudge that comes from trying to please all the people all the time. For goodness sake just give us our dioceses and all this pain and nonsense can… Read more »

Neel Smith
Guest
Neel Smith

And I thought I was taught that a sacrament was “an outward and visible sign of an inner and spiritual grace.”

I must have misunderstood.

David Malloch
Guest
David Malloch

This is nonsense. First: those who do not accept the validity of her orders would not see that which she has consecrated as “tainted” simply “unconsecrated”.

Secondly, if one did not accept the validity of her orders, one would not want to participate in a liturgy which would itself be invalid.

The only sensible course of action would be to worship elsewhere!

Ronald A Fox, BSG
Guest
Ronald A Fox, BSG

I’m stunned. If they want “untainted” bread, let them go off to Rome. I like what I recently heard – we ordain women because we baptize girls. Get over yourselves C of E traditionalists. You are an embarrassment to the Anglican Communion.

BillyD
Guest

I’m wondering if Ruth has the story quite right. As Ed points out, it wouldn’t make any sense for someone to attend a Mass celebrated by someone they didn’t think was a priest. Maybe the male-consecrated reserved Sacrament isn’t there just for her Masses, but in general, so that someone receiving it in an emergency wouldn’t have to worry about who the consecrator was.

It’s still offensive. but I think that scenario makes slightly more sense than the one where people are regular attendants at what they consider to be an invalid Eucharist.

MrsBarlow
Guest
MrsBarlow

Doesn’t this practice contravene the 39 Articles?

Still I guess the congregation can work it out for themselves. Can you imagine the shame in going up for a special ‘no ordination of women’ queue? ‘Hi, we’ve got two options today: you can have a stale male-only wafer, or a fresh woman-power host. Oh, you want a stale male-only gluten free untincted wafer? Give me five minutes … we’re here to serve your every need, not to challenge you!’

Terry Pannell
Guest
Terry Pannell

Ah yes….reminds me of American Apartheid and segregated water fountains when I was growing up in Mississippi. That experiment didn’t work very well either. Time to grow up folks.

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

The only taint I can detect is on the soul of whatever idiot thought this up.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

Oh for pity’s sake! What claptrap. Girl cooties? What utter piffle. Do they take extra measures if/when she has her period? Might she not then sour the wine? Beware of Bad Female Magic!
Sheesh!

I wish I did HAVE female magic.

If I did, some people would imagine they were being bitten to death by bed bugs.

But God, She is merciful, and does not grant such powers to me.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

There should be no reserved sacrament in the Protestant Church of England, and this is in direct contradiction of the 39 Articles.

Sara MacVane
Guest
Sara MacVane

Why would any woman agree to celebrate the Eucharist in this situation? I certainly wouldn’t.

UnaKroll
Guest

Well, these anomalies in practice are not unusual. There is a precedence for Blackburn’s decision in London, but this avoidance of ‘pollution’ is a sad form of ‘apartheid’. In one area priests from a Forward in Faith parish refuse to accept Holy Communion from male colleagues who have allowed women priests to celebrate Holy Communion in their churches. Perhaps priests who collaborate with women priests should start wearing ‘yellow arm bands’ to distinguish them? ‘Proper male ordination by a male hands-on bishop does not declare itself in quite the same way as skin colour did in S. Africa.

RosemaryHannah
Guest
RosemaryHannah

It is liturgical and theological nonsense. You cannot have bread from the reserved sacrament and bread consecrated at that service being consumed at one and the same time. One RS bread belongs to an earlier service, in which the communicants are joining, and the newly consecrated bread belongs to the current service. No, in a Cathedral, you tell the worshippers when the woman priest will be presiding and if they want to avoid her, they do.

Lister Tonge
Guest
Lister Tonge

This beggars belief.

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

The taking of consecrated bread and wine from a communion service to someone who is not able to be present is permitted in two cases.

The first is to provide communion for the sick.

The second is Communion by Extension, which does not seem to be applicable in this particular case – there are plenty of services of Holy Communion in a Cathedral.

toby forward
Guest

I had to laugh at the first post which said:
‘I would not attend as I would feel disrespectful towards the woman and confused as regards the liturgy.’

and then went on to say:

‘For goodness sake just give us our dioceses and all this pain and nonsense can be avoided!!’

as if a separate diocese, which had no geographical boundaries and only existed to demean women, was not confused about both liturgy and Church Order.

Blackburn Cathedral, although it is a disgrace, is not more of disgrace than any Church of England church which discriminates against priests simply on the basis of their gender.

john
Guest
john

Well, I’m in favour of it. Anything that enables supporters and opponents of WO to attend the same Eucharist is a good thing. Similar things sometimes happen when C of E people and RCs attend the same Eucharist (at Iona, for example): two separate priests and two separate queues. On a similar note, I recall an occasion in our church when a woman priest was one of the servers and chalice-bearers but did not consecrate. Our Fif people took communion. I don’t suppose they felt happy but they did it. Similarly, I will take communion from Fif priests, RC priests… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

John

The separate queues etc function because people (or people who respect the disciplines of their churches) are formally out of communion with each other, but are expressing their desire to be closer.

Blackburn is people who are supposedly in communion with each other apparently expressing the desire to be separate, which is quite a different thing.

BillyD
Guest

“There should be no reserved sacrament in the Protestant Church of England, and this is in direct contradiction of the 39 Articles.”

Robert, it really is tiresome, this need for an RC convert to interpret Anglicanism to Anglicans.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

Surely the BCP teaches that the bread becomes ‘consecrated’ when we eat it, in or with faith -so no need to worry overmuch about the minister’s gender.

Alternative : receive from both ciboria ! Yes, I like that.

Maybe if a large number of folk did it might make all the difference. Wearing a red nose or something similar might ‘say’ “this is God’s carnival, God’s party — so let’s party !”. (Rather than all dour and doom laden about it all.

I must say the woman presider is very generous and tolerant –maybe it will be reciprocated ….

john
Guest
john

Mark,

I’m aware of this. But ‘your’ solution would have them in separate buildings, at separate services. Worse, surely?

perry butler
Guest
perry butler

Indeed!`We are not living in 1570-the Church of England is bound by the canons and diocesan regulations in force now.I simply can’t understand why a Roman Catholic convert remains so obsessed by anglicanism especially as his comments are rarely positive.I thought we lived in more charitable and ecumenical times.

Kurt
Guest
Kurt

This is an outrage!

BillyD
Guest

“Surely the BCP teaches that the bread becomes ‘consecrated’ when we eat it, in or with faith…”

Huh?

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

John I don’t know where you think you get ‘my’ ‘solution’ from, or what you imagine it to be. And your rhetoric seems overstated. There is more than one Church of England church building in Blackburn in which people gather to celebrate the Eucharist on a Sunday morning, and there are apparently three separate communion services in the Cathedral every Sunday (I looked at the website). People at separate services in different buildings, or in the same building, is quite normal. We have a Roman Catholic mass in our building on a Sunday, followed by a joint CofE/Methodist service –… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest

RIW “There should be no reserved sacrament in the Protestant Church of England”.

But there isn’t!! At least, you can’t POSSIBLY think there is, judging by your other comments (eg the one about someone or other presiding at what he THOUGHT was Benediction). All we have is a piece of ice cream cone prayed over by a doubtfully baptised layperson… 😉 That some of us keep it in a locked cupboard, say our prayers in fron t of it, etc etc must keep you giggling into your breviary long into the night….

BillyD
Guest

Rev. L Roberts, you wrote, “”Surely the BCP teaches that the bread becomes ‘consecrated’ when we eat it, in or with faith…”

and I responded, “Huh?”

I’m sorry if that came across as rude. After poking around teh interwebs with google I am informed that this is a version of Eucharistic teaching called receptionism, and that it is considered to be with the bounds of Anglican Eucharistic theology. It is also something that I have never, ever heard any bishop, priest, deacon, or lay person on this side of the Atlantic espouse. It is really very common in Britain?

john
Guest
john

Mark,

‘There are other alternatives.’

Of course (again). But they are worse.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“A special container, for the hosts — unleavened bread representing the body of Christ — which have been previously consecrated by a male priest, is brought out during Sunday morning services at Blackburn Cathedral if a woman priest is presiding.” – Ruth Gledhill/The Times – What on earth is going on here in the C. of E.? If this sort of behaviour is allowed by the Dean of an English Cathedral (under whose authority the sacraments are celebrated therein) I’m glad I’m due to return to New Zealand, where, whatever else we may do that is different from the rest… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

No problem, BillyD, thanks. You are right -receptionism. It would solve the Blackburn dilemma neartly, but if people cherish a different idea, then that is that. I am not sure how widespread it is– fairly protestant notion, I’d have thought Receptionist thinking comes out in BCP pasages like, “Take and eat this, take and this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and be thankful”. These words are rather beautiful.Or am I being too subjective? (Can a receptionist be too subjective I wonder?!). I do realize BCP thinking has largely been superceded, as people’s ideas have moved on.The beuaty of… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Un(girl-)tainted Hosts”

Behold: EXACTLY the point at which the Sacrament becomes just another idol. Feh!

toby forward
Guest

I remember an ordinand spending a few days in (semi) retreat in a monastery where they made hosts. He persuaded the monk responsible for the job to allow him to put some blue dye into a small batch of them He gleefully brought them back and said he would use them to show Our Lady co-present in the Blessed Sacrament. It was, of course, a joke. In bad taste, perhaps, but a joke anyway. Tom Lehrer gave up performing his satire when Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, because he said there was nowhere for a satirist to go… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Remember the dreadful FIF card ..if in danger of death I want a male priest.

What if it is a male priest ordained by a woman bishop?

This is proof that the Church of England cannot allow a third province or another quasi- apartheid system to institutionalise this system.

Peter of Westminster
Guest
Peter of Westminster

“Worshipers at a Church of England cathedral are being offered a two-track Communion service with a separate supply of “untainted” Communion bread for those who object to its being consecrated by a woman priest.”

Wasn’t this hashed out 1600 years ago when Augustine got the best of the debate (and conflict) with the Donatists? The efficacy of the sacraments don’t depend upon the sanctity (or anyone’s opinions of the sanctity) of the priest. Or am I missing something?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Peter of Westminster

Although I find the idea of untained bread absolutely appalling, I don’t think the Donatist position applies here.

People are not concerned about the worthiness or sanctity of the priest but about whether the person consecrating the sacrament is a priest at all.

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

yes Peter of Westminster you ARE missing something. The efficacy of the sacrament is not dependent on the sanctity of the priest…but if someone isnt actually a priest then that negates the argument and point altogether.

We who are unable to accept the ordination of women do not object becuase they are women (as is SO OFTEN presumed and WOULD be sexist) but becuase we do not think thy are priests (which is theological and based on the fact we believe the decision to contradict scripture and tradition and the practice of the universal church)

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Ed:

But the reason you don’t think they are priests is precisely because you don’t think WOMEN can be priests.

Oh, and can you show me anything in scripture–especially the Gospels–that says specifically that women can’t be priests? I’ll accept tradition and practice…but until 500 years ago tradition and practice was that all our services were said in Latin. We changed that one, why not this one?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Ed:

But the reason you don’t think they are priests is precisely because you don’t think WOMEN can be priests.

Oh, and can you show me anything in scripture–especially the Gospels–that says specifically that women can’t be priests? I’ll accept tradition and practice…but until 500 years ago tradition and practice was that all our services were said in Latin. We changed that one, why not this one?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“There should be no reserved sacrament in the Protestant Church of England, and this is in direct contradiction of the 39 Articles.” But then you’d lose something to sneer at! The self sacrifice is admirable, but unnecessary. I rather enjoy the sneering, actually, it’s so, well, pinch-faced. We have a saying, (don’t we always?)but it wouldn’t translate here. “Why would any woman agree to celebrate the Eucharist in this situation? I certainly wouldn’t.” Humility? Respect for the feelings of others? Desiring not to put a stumbling block in the way of those of weaker faith? Realization that it isn’t all… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

No wonder the Master of Choristers wants out at Blackburn.

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

Certainly, a biblical and traditional argument explaining why I cannot accept the validity of women priests, not on gender grounds but sacramental ones may be found here:

http://sbarnabas.com/blog/theological-objections-to-womens-ordination/

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Ed: Hate to have to say this, but the “theology” in that citation pretty much boils down to “we’ve always done it this way….” It rejects–quite explicitly–the idea that the Spirit might be speaking to us today, showing us a new way to interpret the Scriptures in light of newer human knowledge (reason being as important as tradition in Anglican theology). It takes cultural activities of two milennia past and makes them into immutable law. (Of course the apostles couldn’t imagine making a woman one of their number. They were all Jews, from a culture where women were kept separate… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Ed: Hate to have to say this, but the “theology” in that citation pretty much boils down to “we’ve always done it this way….” It rejects–quite explicitly–the idea that the Spirit might be speaking to us today, showing us a new way to interpret the Scriptures in light of newer human knowledge (reason being as important as tradition in Anglican theology). It takes cultural activities of two milennia past and makes them into immutable law. (Of course the apostles couldn’t imagine making a woman one of their number. They were all Jews, from a culture where women were kept separate… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

I once felt as you do, and I understand the pain involved, and the theological issues, being an Anglocatholic myself. But allow me to point out SOME of the flaws in the piece you post: “Gender is seen as largely irrelevant in choice of partner, job suitability or vocation.” Nonsense. As a gay man, I can tell you gender certainly plays a role in my choice of partner:-) Please, excuse the flippancy. “Traditional Christianity, with its emphasis on the family” What emphasis? Christ certainly seems to have been less than inspired by the family, and Paul certainly sees marriage as… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“the apostles couldn’t imagine making a woman one of their number.” But this is very much the point: there is a school of thought that women, especially Magdalene, had a great deal of position in the Early Church and that this was taken away by a male hierarchy. So what are we to believe? What are we to base our understandings on? The political stance of people whose terror of change makes them need the Church to be rigid and static, because any change is to risk damnation? The political stance of people who need to see oppression they can… Read more »

WilliamK
Guest
WilliamK

Fr. Ed wrote: …why I cannot accept the validity of women priests, not on gender grounds but sacramental ones…. ————————————————– Father, I have read the essay (TWICE!) and while I don’t doubt the sincerity of your position, I have to question the claim that this isn’t about gender. The whole “sacramental” argument is dependent on gender; you start and end with it: women can’t be priests because they are women; that’s the argument, plain-and-simple. When you reduce your argument to its fundamentals it is clear that there is nothing else about women that makes them invalid material for ordination than… Read more »

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

Pat, the apostles were not living in an era during which females leading worship was alien. THey lived in multifaith Roman world in which priestesses were very much the norm. Ford Elms, not enough time to answer all your posts so we will have to agree to differ. But I hold firm that the Spirit of God being truth does not do U-turns and had he ‘revealed’ this in 1630 it might be more convincing that the fact God waitied until feminism had gone radically and actively got into the church to campaign for ‘wimmins rites’ Had this REALLY been… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Ford:

But we are also called to use reason in our discernment of God’s plan for us and for the church. Isn’t it reasonable to look at the status of women throughout the ancient world–especially in Judea–and see that the lack of women in leadership roles in the early church is a cultural artifact, not a religious one?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Ford:

But we are also called to use reason in our discernment of God’s plan for us and for the church. Isn’t it reasonable to look at the status of women throughout the ancient world–especially in Judea–and see that the lack of women in leadership roles in the early church is a cultural artifact, not a religious one?

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest

“Only when Rome and Constantinople agree – can we possibly proclaim the ordination of women as a decision from God.”

Problem is, Ed, that this one liner blows the rest of the impossibilist argument out of the water. Or vice-versa. If you see what I mean. ‘God only does U-Turns when Rome and COnstantinople says he does’ is significantly different from ‘God doesn’t do U turns’ etc etc….. The argument HAS to be either impossibilist OR ecumenical, I don’t see how you can utilise both.