Sunday, 5 April 2009

Code of Practice?

The April issue of New Directions contains two articles on the proposed form of legislation for women as bishops in the Church of England.

  • David Nichol is worried that the Bishops and Synod are placing far too much hope in a Code of Practice and do not understood how opposed many of us are, see Never a code!
  • The Revd Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, member of General Synod, explains her own understanding of the value and difficulties of a Code of Practice, see Single Clause or Code?
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Comments

I have no idea what David Nichol means. It seems to stand everything on its head. How can the porposed solutions be sexist ? How can rejecting a woman bishop (or other minister) be like supporting a black vicar ?

Concessions should never have been offered
when women's ordination came in (in 1993 I think ?). John Habgood's Act of Synod has ahd disastrous consequences. It has encouraged these people to think they are owed something (yet more)from the Church of England.

Rev Nichol and co-religionists are destroying the viability and credability of 'the Catholic tradition in the C of E' -- as if the catholic tradition OF the C of E counted for nothing.


Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Sunday, 5 April 2009 at 6:42pm BST

David Nichol: "Or, maybe, with other options closed, I would go to an ordinary Church of England church, under a woman bishop perhaps, and even a woman priest every week. I would continue to pray and to worship, though I would never receive communion again."

This . . . what I can only term *idolatry* of the Y-chromosome, will simply never make any sense to me.

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 5 April 2009 at 9:25pm BST

"It has encouraged these people to think they are owed something (yet more) from the Church of England". May I remind you, Reverend Roberts, that "these people" you refer to have been faithful Church of England members for many years. As one of "those people" on the receiving end of so-called concessions, I find such a statement as yours very antagonistic. How long has the Church of England been ordaining women? It is a very recent innovation, as you yourself recognise, and yet you seem to suggest that, somehow, proponents of the whole adventure, such as yourself, have commanded majority support for most of the Church's history. A little Christian humility would not go amiss, and perhaps even a recognition that you may be wrong? Or maybe that's expecting just a little too much. I am horrified at the force with which liberals like yourself pursue those who disagree with you. Too right you have no idea!

Posted by: Bromenblue on Sunday, 5 April 2009 at 11:27pm BST

"To institutionalize sexism, in order to gain a greater good for women, seems (and I dare to say it even though I am not a woman) a most dangerous precedent. I seem to remember a bishop issuing a decree some years back, that if anyone asked for a white minister to take a funeral, instead of the black incumbent, that request should be politely but unequivocally rejected. Surely, the same principle applies here?" - David Nichol -

While it may be difficult to assess from his article whether David Nichol is actually in favour of women bishops or not, his point here - about the dangers inherent in a Code of Practice -must not be underestimated.

For a two-tier 'integrity' to be established once more into the Anglican ministerial process would exacerbate the problems currently experienced in the whole process of women's ordination. Either it is theologically feasible to ordain women to each level of ministerial responsibility, or it is not. It is now time for the Church to make a responsible decision on this matter.

Surely, if the secular world can accept the fact that women can be trusted with social & civic responsibility, then the Church has to consider the dangers of denying women their spiritual calling as co-equal bearers of responsibility within the ministry in the Church?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 5 April 2009 at 11:35pm BST

"May I remind you, Reverend Roberts, that "these people" you refer to have been faithful Church of England members for many years."

"Faithful"? In what sense? They seem rebellious to me :-(

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 6 April 2009 at 6:01am BST

Ok so this innovation 'only' came in England, 16 years ago, what difference does that make ? Surely, once the decision to ordain has been made, then the decison has been made ? How can it both be made and not be made ?

I will ask, what concession(s) did the opponents of the inclusion of women in ordained ministry offer to women wanting to test a vocation ? And to those of us who wished to see them tested? Or those women (and men) who felt a need to be ministered to by women?

Answer : Absolutely Nothing was ever offered.

I am speaking up for women's ordination not 'pursuing' those opposed.

Regrettably, my experience has led me to doubt the motives and straightforwardness of those involved in the politics of opposing WO. Who, by the way seem always to be preventing, some positive step forward that some others wish to take or try, including (off top of head) recognition of & support for lesbian & gay relationships and anglican-methodist collaboration.

It is not about fallible ole me being wrong. I just don't believe all the women ministers are engaged in 'Wrong ministries' -- what would that mean ? How would it look ? What would that mean ? Nor do I believe that God has got it Wrong in allowing it.

And yes, the first anglican woman was ordained during world war 2.

FiF are not arrogant - right ? Bishop Broadhurst calls the rest of us, with whom he disagrees sinful. Sinful mind you...

I am not too afraid of being wrong* or getting it wrong. The Churches are always getting things wrong too. The way to find to test the rightness of otherwise of a given step, could be to try it and see as Gamaliel counselled all those centuries ago.

* I am, apparently assured by one big denomination that my orders are null and utterly void- not only have I come to live with it -- I rejoice in it ! It's been creative being thrown back on the Eternal*

'the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind'

(Fr Faber)

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Monday, 6 April 2009 at 5:23pm BST

Göran Koch-Swahne:
rebellious- How?

Posted by: Mark Wharton on Monday, 6 April 2009 at 6:21pm BST

Rebelliosus- Goran?? Let us examine the facts

1) First women ordained in America as an ILLEGAL act...wow that was calm and obedient!

2) VGR - ordained in total defiance of Anglican teaching.

Be careful what labels you hurl about. I would argue that the 'progressives' within the Church have been FAR more rebellious and naughty than the 'traditionalists'. That is not to say we haven't had our naughty days.

I would also suggest that Bromenblau makes a very valid point. The term I might use is identity theft- whereby those claiming the term 'Anglicanism' in our day are transforming the church into something that would have been unrecognisable 60yrs ago.

I only say this that we might at least accept the complexities of the issues at stake and not make sweeping and unhelpful comments.

We all know that women bishops are on the way. Many will salute it- fair enough. Can we not love those with whom we disagree? Can we not provide ecclesial solutions for those who will be 'unchurched' by this very 'Un-catholic' innovation? They are serious questions and require serious answers.

As one opposed I can at least see the problems on both sides as square pegs cannot be rounded.

I personally found the slightly condescending tone in Miranda's article rather disappointing and her theology on priesthood odd at best. That said I was pleased she is trying to meet us half way (even though I would suggest it is nowhere NEAR half way - as women would be protected by law- and opponents left to the mercy of codes)

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Monday, 6 April 2009 at 6:57pm BST

"Be careful what labels you hurl about. I would argue that the 'progressives' within the Church have been FAR more rebellious and naughty than the 'traditionalists'" - Ed Tomlinson -

Ed, you only have to go back to the beginnings of Jesus' ministry in Palestine to see how he was reviled for his 'progressive' initiatives (especially in his attitude towards women) which counteracted significant shibboleths of the Law - as practised by the Scribes and Pharisees. To say that the liberalisation of Church polity in the matter of extending the privilege of priestly or episcopal ordination to women is in any way 'un-catholic' is to question the Holy Spirit's propriety in calling them to this particular ministry.

If the Church of England is not 'catholic' enough
for those who deny women the ministry that God is calling them to within the C.of E., then would it not behove such people to seek consolation within the only Church body they consider to be really *catholic*? Two 'integrities' simply does not answer their desire for ritual purity in this important matter of ministerial propriety,

Jesus was crucified for his progressive theology. Must the Church continue to crucify women who feel the call to minister in this way?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 6 April 2009 at 10:51pm BST

Ed Tomlinson: "The term I might use is identity theft- whereby those claiming the term 'Anglicanism' in our day are transforming the church into something that would have been unrecognisable 60yrs ago."

Now, Father, that's not a very good argument, is it? If you compare "Anglican" identity in, say, 1950, 1850, 1750, 1650, 1550, 1450 and so on, could you ever find one century in which that identity wasn't transformed into something enormously different?

Fear of change is not a theological, but a psychological principle. As Newman famously said in the Essay on Development, "Here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often." The question is not whether Anglican identity is very different now from a mythical golden point in the past, but rather, whether the changes it is currently undergoing are organic developments, consonant with the spirit of Anglicanism.

What I find a really worrying and unAnglican corruption of the church is its current swing towards being unreasonable, harsh, intolerant and increasingly disconnected from normal English society - those are the ways in which the Church is being transformed into something unrecognisable as the formerly benign and intelligent C of E.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Monday, 6 April 2009 at 10:55pm BST

I wish FiF would be rebellious -- kick over the traces. Launch out. Live dangerously ...

... They could ordain more bishops of their own, with no problem, and then do their own rebellious thing ! Then they could have celibacy and the Roman rite, and everything their hearts could desire.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Monday, 6 April 2009 at 11:41pm BST

Why I find it Rebellious?

Because not accepting the Order of the Church, not accepting Episcopé, not accepting Creation, not accepting God's Image, not accepting the Incarnation, not accepting the Gospel.

Rebelling against all that, and decency, cf real estate thefts in USA.

Is that enough?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 7 April 2009 at 3:48am BST

'...something that would have been unrecognisable 60yrs ago."

Or someone I have changed so much over 60 years that I am myself more or less unrecognizable now. I am still me and my name unchanged.

Koan: "What is your true, original face
befoe your parents were born ?

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Tuesday, 7 April 2009 at 2:21pm BST

"Jesus was crucified for his progressive theology" - Fr Ron.

Goodness, and I was thinking that it was for the sins of the world... On a serious note, whatever our belief about this or that issue, it's jolly dangerous to reduce Jesus to simply a proponent of our own views, whatever part of the spectrum they fall in. Jesus wasn't crucified for His progressive treatment of women, but for who He was, if it was simply for His politics, then so what? I'd rather stay in bed on a Sunday morning, if that was all it's about.

Posted by: Royston on Tuesday, 7 April 2009 at 2:27pm BST

The attitude of progressives and liberals on this site is both frightening and disturbing in terms of the lack of respect they accord to those who have a different view to their own, especially in matters of faith and doctrine. I am glad to say that they are not representative of most mainstream Christians in the Church of England, displaying, as they do, incredible levels of ignorance, intolerance and bigotry, which, I might add, they so often accuse Anglo-Catholics and Conservative Evangelicals of. You should feel ashamed of yourselves.

Posted by: Bromenblue on Tuesday, 7 April 2009 at 9:31pm BST


"Jesus was crucified for his progressive theology"

Try again!

Posted by: Josh L. on Tuesday, 7 April 2009 at 11:37pm BST

Bromenblue; What about us dyed-in-the-wool Anglo-Catholics who are also progressive and mindful of the need for women and men to be co-heirs of the ministry of the priesthood? Are we to be dismissed so lightly by your accusations of bigotry and ignorance? I guess my feelings about what the Church needs today are as logical and theological as your own. Let's enjoy the fruits of the Death and Resurrection of Christ together!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 2:07am BST

"Jesus wasn't crucified for His progressive treatment of women, but for who He was, if it was simply for His politics, then so what? I'd rather stay in bed on a Sunday morning, if that was all it's about." - Royston -

Having, during my time as a parish priest, got out of bed every morning to greet the Lord of Glory in the Eucharist, I don't quite see where your argument is going. I believe that one of the sins Jesus died to redeem us all from was our intransigence in refusing to believe that Jesus came also to reveal a 'new and living way' of worship, which delivered us from slavery to past paradigms of ministry. One of the reasons for which Jesus was vilified by the Pharisees and Scribes was his openness to the ministry of women. Perhaps the first Apostle of the post-Resurrection era was a woman - Mary Magdalene - whom Jesus commissioned to bear witness to the male Disciples. Of course, they didn't believe her, did they? What doea that say about the need for Church to be open to progress?

To say this could hardly be taken as denying the purpose of the Incarnation of Christ - which was the salvation of all the world - not just the male of the species.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 7:19am BST

I'm sorry, Father Smith, but I'm going to show a litle of that bigotry you yourself so often display and say "Anglo-Catholic" is a misnomer when applied to Christians with views like your own. Both progressive and liberal fit the bill very well for you, given some of the theological argument you embrace. And on another point, you never came back to me about the celibacy point when we last dialogued!Perhaps you just didn't have an answer?

Posted by: Bromenblue on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 8:14am BST

My, my, Bromenblue, you're very jumpy.

I'm an Anglo-Catholic, and I just don't agree with you about women priests. (Nor, in my experience, do most Roman Catholics.) There are plenty of Anglo- (and Roman) Catholics who are "progressives and liberals": people don't divide up as neatly as you would apparently like us to.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 8:31am BST

I am opposed to the ordination of women for theological reasons and as such I am supported, as are those who support the innovation, by resolution 111.2 of the Lambeth Conference 1998, which says “that those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate are both loyal Anglicans”.
I do not know whether in the course of time I will come the accept the innovation; (I may be wrong) we do not know where the Sprit is leading us. What worries me more, is there seems to be no ability on the side of many of those in favour of Women’s Ordination, to conceive that they might just be wrong about this issue. Perhaps we should all continue to examine what we believe with a little more humility and a little less certainty.

In the end, most of us (in FIF) are opposed to the ordination of women for sound theological reasons and the worst I believe we are guilty of is Faithfulness to the faith of the Church.
The worst that the innovators of this move are guilty of –is apostasy, for this move has torn our Church apart in ways that should make all of us weep.

Posted by: Mark Wharton on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 9:02am BST

A word of caution on 'the vilifed by Pharisees and Scribes' angle ! Although this is the impression given in the gospels, we must remember that the historicity of this is questionable. It may well reflect the conflict between Synagogue and Church at the time the gospels were being put together. We know some religous leaders (Nicchodemus representing them perhaps) were open to Jesus, and others more neutral.

Wew risk knocking Judaism with this kind of rhetoric. I know it is traditional Church stuff and still common-place, in Britain --even after the Holocaust.I think it needs re-visiting.

I am sure no anti-semetism was intended, but we must re-think that stuff in the interests of truth.

Geza Vamesh (sp ?) is an interesting scholar to read on this, from a Jewish point of view.

I hope this is helpful.

And happy yom tov for Pesach tonight !

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 9:19am BST

Ok! A few responses:

1) Ron- Jesus was not killed for being progressive. Nor was he in ANY way innovative. As he himself told us He came to fulfill and not change the law. He then left us with a covenant...which every Eucharist reminds us...is the final thing for all creation. The revelation is complete in Jesus (not being completed but actually complete) - not one iota will need to be added for in Jesus Christ all is made new.

2) Mark I do not fear change. It is something I am willing and able to embrace- I was once evangelical!! What i do fear is NON-BIBLICAL change that falls outside the margins of CHristian doctrine and practice. Please note the distinction rather than patronise me with psychobabble.

3) This leads to my response to L Roberts (who took my breath away!) I actually think the fact that we do not just lament WO is a healthy sign that we are not a one party agenda. You quite rightly off the top of your head highlight other grave issues which we rightly denounce. Firstly on matters sexual and secondly in defence of Catholic orders within the Church.

4) Others suggest we are 'out of order' rebellious et al. Please remember that Synod has accepted that our understanding is an authentic voice in Anglicanism and has promised us an 'honoured and equal' place. You may not like the fact but we speak from within the Anglican tradition not from without. And that is why we should not have to hot foot to Rome

5) Ron you ask 'what of us AC who want to embrace...' well please define your Catholicity. When everything you stand for on this board flies in the face of Roman and Eastern Orthodox teaching and understanding...just what Catholicism is it that you affirm? I mean that in all serriousness. Being Catholic is not just about blowing smoke around...how do you see yourself as Catholic? Given that your many, many posts on here sit far left of conventional Catholic teaching of any sort?

Posted by: Father Ed on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 10:06am BST

Fr Ed (& Bromenblue): I think it is a terrible mistake to get into this game of judging people as being less Catholic because of their views on the ordination of women or gay people. In my experience, the RC laity in England, who cannot be said to be less Catholic than any Anglo-Cats, are, by a vast majority, in favour of both WO and accepting gay people's relationships. See Tony Blair's comments in the press today http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7987566.stm
His views are shared by his cradle Catholic wife.

Further, Fr Ed, to say "What i do fear is NON-BIBLICAL change" is not a very Catholic approach, is it? After all, Protestants lambast the RC Church for defining the non-biblical doctrines of the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption and Papal Infallibility, some of which, at least, I imagine you hold to? And does that mean that you can take no pleasure in the steady growth of democracy world-wide over the last few centuries - democracy is a non-biblical system of government, opposed by the Church for centuries, after all?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 1:57pm BST

Father Mark, I'm not jumpy at all, it's simply that when reading some of the contributions on this site, some of the homemade theology staggers me. But what's worse is the lack of simple Christian charity displayed by some of the more vociferous liberals. I'd also dare to venture that it's perhaps an oxymoron to suggest you're Catholic and in the next breath say you support the ordination of women as priests/bishops. Where does that leave Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy which constitute by far the greatest part of the Church Catholic, of which Anglo-Catholics would normally claim to be part?

Posted by: Bromenblue on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 3:34pm BST

Bromenblue: "Where does that leave Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy which constitute by far the greatest part of the Church Catholic, of which Anglo-Catholics would normally claim to be part?"

It leaves them, perhaps, as systems where there are huge dysfunctions: in the former, between the sensus fidelium and the line spouted by their low-quality leadership; in the latter, between an inadequately backward-looking (and frighteningly nationalist/racist) view of society incompatible with the rest of modern Europe, and on the other hand young educated Greeks/Cypriots/Russians desparate to escape its restrictive force.

"Homemade theology" is common to all views, and perhaps it isn't such a bad thing anyway (I write as someone educated in a very over-intellectual theological environment). I don't think lack of thoroughgoing theology is unique to either side in the women's ordination debate. I have spent time with plenty of FiF clergy friends, for example, who protest vigorously that their anti-women view is purely theological, yet who camp it up outrageously in a male-only club environment when in private. That seems to me to be entirely explicable pyschologically, and is to do with a repressed subculture, rather than any high-falutin' doctrine.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 9:56pm BST

And, Bromenblue, women's ordination is just so much NOT the big issue among RCs and Orthodox: the Anglican conservatives' obsessive hatred of it is a terrible distortion of Catholicism.

Catholicism is about so many other positive things, things that are worth confidently sharing with the wider Church and society, that the gender of the celebrant is such a stupid issue to make a big deal of. To restrict the breadth of our Catholic faith to the question of how "sound" someone is on women's ordination is tragic, and the kind of navel-gazing that is consigning Anglo-Catholicism to the margins in the C of E at the moment.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 10:02pm BST

"The revelation is complete in Jesus (not being completed but actually complete) - not one iota will need to be added for in Jesus Christ all is made new." - Bromenblue on Wednsday -

I wonder, Bromenblue, what you make of the reference to Jesus in the Gospels telling his followers that "When the Spirit comes, he will LEAD YOU into all the truth - about me, about sin"

This does sound a little like a progressive plan of revelation, does it not? Or do you believe, like some of the re-asserters, that God has nothing left to say, and that the Holy Spirit has ceased leading us into all the truth? It seems to me that while we are still earth and time-bound, God might still have some things to say to us.-

About your comment that I have avoided your question about celibacy; I don't remember what that question was. Could you enlighten me?

In the meantime, enjoy the Maundy Ceremonies.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 2:28am BST

"I'd also dare to venture that it's perhaps an oxymoron to suggest you're Catholic and in the next breath say you support the ordination of women as priests/bishops." - Bromenblue -

To me, the oxymoronic category is that in which you would try to put together that which is 'catholic' with that which is 'exclusive', as F.i.F. appears to do with its insistence on male only clergy. do let's be consistent - as well as truthful and generous.

In saying this, I am very mindful of the fact that, as a member of the *Catholic* wing of the Anglican Church, I will tonight be at the Mass of The Last Supper, singing the words of Jesus, in the Ubi Caritas: "Where charity and love are - there is God. Let all malicious wrangling and contention cease!"

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 5:32am BST

Ron - it was me not Brem- but the point that the spirit will lead us into truth is surely a reference of how God will bring us into relationship with him? I cannot see how it is a licence to defend changes in established Christian doctrine.

The Spirit will lead us - sinners that we are- to Jesus, the revelation once and for all.

How does the fact that we are being led -by the SPirit- in any way suggest we get to change the faith of Christ crucified...I cannot see that at all.

If Christ's message were not utterly sufficient on the Cross of Christ then the promise of Easter Sunday is rendered dormant. It was not complete.

And if it was sufficient- then nothing needs to be added.

Posted by: Father Ed on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 9:57am BST

Ed, with the utmost respect; if all were complete - as you have here suggested, then what is God waiting for? Rather, it may be that we have not yet entered into the fullness of the salvation that Christ has already secured for us. It is not God whose action is lacking - but ours, both mine and yours, who have not yet lived into the truth of Christ's inclusivity in the Gospel. I really am with Bp. Desmond Tutu on this; that Jesus said that he would draw ALL people to himself - not by force of Law, but by Love.

Ubi Caritas, et amor!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 12:15pm BST

You answer your own question. God waits to give us the utmost chance to accept the divine revelation that came to us in Christ Jesus. To submit to that living Word and humbly obey.

Which- as my point remains- requires us not to challenge or change one iota of that revelation.

Posted by: Father Ed on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 1:45pm BST

Fr Ed: "Which- as my point remains- requires us not to challenge or change one iota of that revelation." Aren't you making a bit of a leap, though, to assume that a specific gender-bar on clergy is really a part of the divine revelation for all time?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 2:36pm BST

Fr Ed
The full verse you quote from is:
"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth."

Doesn't that make it clear that Jesus hasn't yet revealed everything and that the Spirit will have new things to teach us, as and when we're ready for them?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 3:42pm BST

Glad to have taken someone's breath away - I guess ! Though unsure how or why.

We are all free to choose a different denomination than one that has women ministers, if we feel sufficently deeply about it. Oh I forget, it is purely theological. All the more reason to choose then ,I imagine. By staying you are accepting the way the denomination is going. You can voice your views of course, as FiF have no trouble doing. But what is unreasonable and I think very wrong, is to expect women ministers to be disadvantaged / sacrifeced to accomodate your theology.

FiF would prefer to sacrifice others, than make great sacrifices itself for its theology - a far cry from the Non-Jurors, and others who have taken such a step for their faith. I would respect such a step, and perhaps it would be the best witness to your vision of Faith and Church. I realize as I write this, that it could be very inspiring, and encourage many in various contexts in their struggle to live their faith out in difficult situations.

I know its a lot to ask.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 3:44pm BST

'You quite rightly off the top of your head highlight other grave issues which we rightly denounce. Firstly on matters sexual and secondly in defence of Catholic orders within the Church.'

Posted by: Father Ed on Wednesday, 8 April 2009 at 10:06am BST

I object to the tendency of anglo-catholics in general and FiF in partic to say one thing about gayness and do the opposite. It is very disillusioning. Scandalous really.

Btw I wasn't sure what I'd written to take away your breath. It wasn't clear to me.

I don't know what the point was about 'Catholic orders in the Church'. But there are various possibilities as Church history clearly shows. Jesus ordained no-one and forms of ministries were fluid in the early centuries of Christianity. I'd be concerned for the perpetuation of forms from which the life has ebbed. Aping Rome doesn't make much sense in our century -- if it ever did.

Ursula King is one RC writer who does inspire and enable though. (On Woman's Hour this morning; and has forthcoming book.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 3:54pm BST

Ok- a few responses. To L Roberts (are you the one who attended Westcott with me?):

1) Over stressing the gay issue in relationship to Anglo-Catholicism may help your cause but does not actually correlate with my experience.

I am married happily, as is my nearest FIF neighbour and the vast majority in my SSC chapter. The Bishops of Fulham, Richborough, Beverley and Ebbsfleet are all married men. Indeed the only very openly gay clergy I have encountered in great numbers have been in Affcaff circles. Furthermore the personal behaviour of individual priests is not what is relevant. FIF has long stood by Catholic teaching in matters of sexual morality.

2) We are all free to choose you say. Well yes and no! We are actually called to obedience and faithfulness and not pick and mix religion. I understand you passionately endorse women in sacramental orders- and salute that- but to simply dismiss our arguments by suggesting we put up or get out is slightly disingenious I would suggest. If it were really so very simple and black and white Synod would not have declared us to be loyal. And whilst I accept it is the direction the church is going in- that does not mean I just have to roll over and go with it. Especially when I passionately believe the church to be in error over this.

3) Fr. Mark it is not a huge leap. It is a decision backed by the Council of Nicea, Jesus choice to call only men to the office of Apostle (depsite an equal calling of men and women as disciples), the teaching and practice of the church throughout the ages, the current biblical teaching of current Roman and Eastern Orthodox Scholars and many protestant churches besides. It is a view backed by the vast, vast majority of theologians and saints throughout the ages....not such a huge leap in my eyes.

Posted by: Father Ed on Thursday, 9 April 2009 at 5:14pm BST

Sigh.

Mutual incomprehensibilities:

1) To define "Catholic" apart from how (our numerical superiors) the RCs and EOs define it.

2) To posit WO as something "which could still be rejected by the wider church"---when so many EXPERIENCE its blessedness every day.

I have no answers for these mutual incomprehensibilities. I just state them for what they are. [And, if any doubted, I'm one who rejects 1) as irrelevent, and emphatically endorses 2) as obvious.]

We glorify you O Christ, and we bless you, for by Your cross you have redeemed the world...

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 10 April 2009 at 2:54am BST

"3) Fr. Mark, it is not a huge leap. It is a decision backed by the Council of Nicea, Jesus choice to call only men to the office of Apostle (despite an equal calling of men and women as disciples), the teaching and practice of the church throughout the ages" - Father Ed -

Ed, you obviously chose to not take any notice of my suggestion that Mary Magdalene - a woman - was the first post-Resurrection bearer of the Good News (an Apostle) of Christ's Resurrection: to the male Apostles. A tiny incident maybe in the Gospels, but quite significant in terms of male and female relationship in ministry.

Any reasonable study of early New Testament times would tell you that the possibility of women being accorded any formal ecclesiastical ministry in the Church was proscribed by both civil and religious tradition at the time. For Jesus to have specifically named any woman as an apostle would have caused havoc in both spheres. Instead, Jesus' treatment of women clearly demonstrated his acceptance of their ministry to him personally - which is probably what Christian ministry is really mostly about - or at least, priestly ministry in the sanctuary, which is what F.i.F. is most concerned about. Would you not agree?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 10 April 2009 at 12:18pm BST

I would ask you to consider that Mary Magdalene in taking news of Jesus to others is acting as an EVANGELIST. She is not fuctioning in any sacramental manner nor is she added to the 12 Apostles, whose ministry was set apart from the disciples.

For the record I am 100% behind female lay evangelists. They would do well to draw inspiration from the passage of scripture you mention.

Posted by: Father Ed on Friday, 10 April 2009 at 3:53pm BST

Father Mark, your comments are reprehensible, when you talk about repressed subcultures and the like. Now that really is demeaning the arguments and lacks completely any intellectual rigour. What on earth are you suggesting by your comment about camping it up outrageouly in a male only club environment?? And by linking this to Anglo Catholicism's rejection of the ordination of women? I think you've lost the plot!

Posted by: Bromenblue on Saturday, 11 April 2009 at 12:07am BST

So, Father Ed., is not presiding at the Eucharist one of the tasks of the evangel? If you really want to precisely separate the ministries of apostolate and evangelism, and want to be pedantic, then the Apostle is, plainly, one who is sent. This is precisely the case with Mary Magdalene, who saw 'sent' by Jesus to take the mesdsage of the Resurrwection (the Evangel) to Peter and his merry men. The fact that they did not believe the message - as being delivered by a woman - indicates their cultural unreadiness to accept the word of a woman. This is why Jesus was unabkle, in that culture, to actually pronounce her apostolic authenticity to the boys.

As Jesus did not himself ordain anyone to preside over the celebration of the New Covenant ritual of the Eucharist, one can only reflect on the possibility of his desire for equal-handedness in both male and female presdidency - given his emancipation of women in other ways during his lifetime. To insist on male exclusivism in the administration of the Sacraments is to cling to a tradition which may not be Dominical.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 11 April 2009 at 1:47am BST

"In the end, most of us (in FIF) are opposed to the ordination of women for sound theological reasons"

Again, I have never heard any. Furthermore, I find the whole thing un-sound.

Do give me 5 points!

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 11 April 2009 at 5:43am BST

Read, mark and inwardly digest. what is offered is the theological objections to WO - which have never been asnwered satisfactorily in my opinion. By which I mean with recourse to scripture and doctrine not sociology coupled with 'the Spirit is doing a new thing man' (that just conveniently happens to appease cultural trends and the desires of those expousing them)

So please do put me right. Really I would LOVE to be convinced- it would do my chances of preferment no end of good!

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

Posted by: Father Ed on Saturday, 11 April 2009 at 8:32am BST

"Again, I have never heard any. Furthermore, I find the whole thing unsound"

You haven't heard because you refuse to listen!

Posted by: Bromenblue on Saturday, 11 April 2009 at 8:54am BST

"For Jesus to have specifically named any woman as an apostle would have caused havoc in both spheres."
- Fr Ron

And Our Lord was never known to cause havoc, was He? The high regard that Jesus held women in, and their key involvement in the 'Jesus Event', cannot be denied, but someone having an 'apostolic' ministry and role, does not simply make them an apostle. In my job, there are many times when I do 'diaconal' things, as well as 'apostolic' things, in terms of mission, but I am by no means a Deacon or a Bishop!

I would imagine that most Anglo-Catholic members of FiF (including this one), would not oppose the ordination and consecration of women as priests and bishop, in itself and on its own, but because it is a symptom of a wider move away from the universal faith, just as lay celebration of the Eucharist and the mucking about with the episcopate in the 'united' churches are wrong because of their moving away from the ancient Faith. We don't believe what we like (no matter the sincere justification given), but what has been held as Truth from the time of Christ.

Posted by: Royston on Saturday, 11 April 2009 at 8:54am BST
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