Sunday, 1 August 2010

letter from 15 CofE bishops

Fifteen bishops of the Church of England have written a letter, addressed to those who signed the Open Letter of 2008 to the archbishops on the issue of women in the episcopate.

Another copy of the 2008 letter with the full list of signatories can be found as a PDF file here.

The full text of the new letter is below the fold.

‘God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you, but I will tell you the good and proper way.’ (1 Samuel 12:23)

These are grave times in the Church of England especially for those of us unable in good conscience to accept that any particular church has the authority to admit women to the episcopate. While we certainly accept the good faith of those who wish to make this change believing it to be God’s will, we cannot rejoice with them, not least because of the disastrous cost to Catholic unity.

Our concerns are not only about sacramental assurance though that is of profound importance. If the legislation now proposed passes, it will not provide room for our tradition to grow and flourish. We will be dependent on a Code of Practice yet to be written, and sadly our experience of the last almost twenty years must make us wonder whether even such an inadequate provision will be honoured in the long term.

Neither the Report of the Revision Committee nor the legislation itself show a proper understanding of our reservations, however carefully these have been presented through the consultation process and in the College and House of bishops. It remains a deep disappointment to us that the Church at large did not engage with the excellent Rochester Report and paid scant attention to the Consecrated Women report sponsored by Forward in Faith.

We must now accept that a majority of members of the Church of England believe it right to proceed with the ordination of women as bishops, and that a significant percentage of those in authority will not encourage or embrace with enthusiasm the traditional integrity or vocations within it. Nor is it their intention or desire to create a structure which genuinely allows the possibility of a flourishing mission beyond this generation.

However, the closeness of the vote on the Archbishops’ amendment for co ordinate jurisdiction, concerns though there are about its adequacy, suggest at least a measure of disquiet in the majority about proceeding without a provision acceptable to traditionalists. The catholic group fought valiantly on the floor of synod and we are grateful for that, and while many in the Church and press are speaking as if the legislation is now passed, final synodical approval is still some way off.

Whatever happens in the Synod, there are some Anglo Catholics, including in our own number, who are already looking at, indeed are resolved to join the Ordinariate as the place where they can find a home in which to live and proclaim their Christian faith, in communion with the Holy Father, yet retaining something of the blessings they have known and experienced in the Anglican tradition. Of course the Ordinariate is a new thing, and not all of us are trailblazers or can imagine what it might be like. Some will undoubtedly want to wait and see how that initiative develops before making a decision.

Yet others will make their individual submission and find their future as Roman Catholics.

Were the present proposals not to be substantially amended or defeated, many more of us will need to seriously consider these options.

A number will remain, perhaps even reluctantly because of personal circumstances, family loyalties, even financial necessity, but with a deep sense of unease about the long term future, an unease that is surely well founded. There are faithful Catholic clergy and lay people, though deeply opposed to the likely synodical decision, who cannot currently imagine themselves being anywhere else but the Church of England. They wonder how they can stay, yet cannot imagine leaving their much loved church and parish. They do not want to be forced out of the Church they love, and will persevere where they are, whatever the theological or ecclesiological ambiguities, and seek God’s blessing on all they do.

Those who are not actively seeking a home elsewhere must work to defeat the currently proposed legislation. It is essential that traditionalists engage in the debate and discussion in their diocese and are active in the election process for the next quinquennium on the General Synod when the two thirds majority in each House will be required if the legislation is to pass. Whatever our individual futures, and however disheartened we might feel, the Church of England needs strong catholic hearts and voices.

The text quoted at the beginning of this letter was the one used by John Keble in his famous Assize sermon, often regarded as the starting point of the Oxford Movement. It seems remarkably apposite, and gives a clue to an appropriate attitude of heart for this process: prayerful and gracious, but clear.

We are all bishops united in our belief that the Church of England is mistaken in its actions. However, we must be honest and say we are not united as to how we should respond to these developments.

Nevertheless we are clear that each of the possibilities we have outlined has its own integrity and is to be honoured. We are resolved to respect the decisions made by laity, bishops, priests and deacons of our integrity, and call on you to do the same. It would be a sad and destructive thing indeed if we allowed our unhappiness and wondering to drift into unguarded or uncharitable criticism of those who in good conscience take a different path from our own. We must assume the best motives in one another, and where there are partings let them be with tears and the best wishes of Godspeed.

You will we hope know of the clergy meetings in both provinces to take place in September when there will be opportunities for discussion and an exchange of views about the future. Be assured of our prayers as you reflect about how best to respond to the challenges which face us, and we ask your prayers for us too as we seek to be faithful to the Lord, and to the Faith once delivered.

Rt Revd John Hind, Bishop of Chichester
Rt Revd Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Europe
Rt Revd Nicholas Reade, Bishop of Blackburn
Rt Revd Martyn Jarrett, Bishop of Beverley
Rt Revd John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham
Rt Revd Peter Wheatley, Bishop of Edmonton
Rt Revd John Goddard, Bishop of Burnley
Rt Revd Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet
Rt Revd Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough
Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Pontefract
Rt Revd John Ford, Bishop of Plymouth
Rt Revd Mark Sowerby, Bishop of Horsham
Rt Revd Martin Warner, Bishop of Whitby
Rt Revd Robert Ladds
Rt Revd Lindsay Urwin OGS

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 7:34am BST | TrackBack
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Comments

Irony.

There are three episcopal names that are "doubled" in the Anglican Communion. There are two Bishops of Newcastle (England and Australia), two Bishops of Rochester (England and the United States) and two Bishops of Edmonton (England and Canada).

The irony is that the Bishop of Edmonton (England) has signed this letter, while the Bishop of Edmonton and her predecessor (now Bishop of Christchurch) are both women.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 8:30am BST

"Nevertheless we are clear that each of the possibilities we have outlined has its own integrity and is to be honoured."

...integrity to be honoured, EXCEPT for that of those taking the "actions" that these bishops believe are "mistaken." In their view, the CofE pro-WO majority has no tradition deserving of being allowed to "grow and flourish", only subverted and destroyed.

And these 15 bishops, thank you very much, are demanding a separate---separate from Canterbury that is, but w/ the encouragement of Rome---reinforced snipers nest from which to do that subverting/destroying.

They will "tell [us] the good and proper way"?

No thanks.

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 9:10am BST

And do these bishops--some who seem so eager to cross the Tiber over this issue--think that Rome will ever make "accommodations" to them should they ever have a disagreement with the pope regarding some matter of doctrine? They won't even get to vote on anything or try to persuade their fellow bishops to support their position as they do here.

They have had some two decades of "accommodation," while those they would deny ordination and consecration have endured a lifetime of denial of their calling in many cases.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 11:57am BST

"... those of us unable in good conscience to accept that any particular church has the authority to admit women to the episcopate."

Just WOW...

What became of the power of the Keys?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 12:23pm BST

"The faith once delivered." Tell me, to whom was it delivered first?

Posted by: Jeremy on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 1:04pm BST

Just curious: when did +Gibraltar come to be styled "Bishop of Europe?"

Posted by: Oriscus on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 2:58pm BST

And the Rt Revd Lindsay Urwin OGS, who I see is actually an Honorary Assistant Bishop, commented in his farewell sermon about his appointment at the age of 37, without a degree, as bishop of Horsham:

'I know that in the highest offices in Church and State my appointment was regarded as ‘risky’ which in a perverse way I regarded as a compliment and challenge.'

It is a great pity that he cannot bring himself to consider the possibility that the appointment of women bishops might in its own way be equally 'risky' but also a compliment and a challenge to be worked at, not rejected...

Posted by: chenier1 on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 4:16pm BST

Oriscus
The formal title is Bp of Gibraltar in Europe, but this is customarily reduced to Bp IN Europe. I feel sure that the person compiling the signatures for the letter was simply unaware of this custom.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 4:43pm BST

Goodness me, what a grovel from such a ragbag of bishops.

In spite of the platitudes "to respect the decisions made by laity, bishops, priests and deacons of our integrity", what are they trying to get at in this letter?

The letter neither works as a clarion call to defeat the ongoing legislative process, nor does it work as a justification for the signatories' position, who want their understandably deeply held beliefs to be accommodated at everyone's expense, yet are paying no attention to those who would cease to engage or associate themselves with the Church of England without women in its episcopate soon.

Posted by: Tim Moore on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 6:04pm BST

The arrogance of these people. My paraphrase of their letter,
"We acknowledge that your point of view is one you feel is proper for you, ... but you're WRONG! Trust us, God personally told us we're right and you're wrong!"
"We won't make any accommodations for you, but you must accommodate us, in the manner we prescribe, or we'll upset the tea cart, overturn the chess board, destroy the clock, and go home!"

Posted by: peterpi on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 6:32pm BST

Is this the general position of the CoE parishes in Europe? They are against women bishops?

The American Cathedral in Paris, where we have often worshiped, is clearly on the same side as the majority of the Episcopal Church at home.

Posted by: Andrew on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 6:53pm BST

"A number will remain, perhaps even reluctantly because of personal circumstances, family loyalties, even financial necessity, but with a deep sense of unease about the long term future, an unease that is surely well founded."

The spirit of the Vicar of Bray still lives.

Putting money and families before Our lord...shows both a lack of Faith and true love for Him.

Its the rich young man over again.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 7:14pm BST

Obvious to all and among us, staying on in an Anglican province which believes God can call women bishops, and then devotes itself critically and prayerfully to discern those women whom God is calling forward, is likely a vexed and contrary occasion.

But it is surely no more difficult than the precedent fundamental occasion, in which believers both affirm that God works wonders in women - as long as they are virgins who lived and died in far gone centuries; and simultaneously, that God cannot work wonders in women alive now because of their, ahem, awkward embodiment.

Pulling out the familiar distracting-deflecting spin dry cycle - something to the effect of saying, Well, don't blame me, blame God, he did it when he made women like that - doesn't help all that much. If we take a categorical hint from conservative-traditional Either/Or habits, we might be tempted to say, Well you cannot have it both ways - either God created you as male to lord it over women because women don't have the right anatomy-physiology; or you might possibly be mistaken?

What's missing is that all believers are living through a Great Time Of Great Change, right now. That is everybody: All of Us. Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a least useful tool for modern faith?

Who indeed can possibly instruct a man about how to proceed with his mother or sister or wife or daughter when she finally tells him in no uncertain terms that she is weary of the high, closed pedestals to which he has allegedly consigned her via his studied mistaking of her; maybe adding in, Oh by the way, I am coming down now, off the holy pedestals, to join the current global human fray by no longer lying about God's call to me, inside my very heart and body and mind?

Can that mother, sister, daughter, or wife really be asked to tell you: What you must in all good conscience do to avoid and police her, now that she is foolish enough to think God called her to the sort of ministry you as a man can sweetly take for granted, thanks to the impenetrable holy mystery of your male anatomy-physiology as such? How can this real woman who is real dirt and real danger be permitted to advise you in the least?

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 9:34pm BST

Am I alone in wondering whether, as four of these episcopal signatories are, erm, unmarried, (a high proportion of all the C of E's current unmarried bishops) there would appear to be a correlation between being an, erm, unmarried C of E bishop and being opposed to the ordination of women?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 10:13pm BST

It's about time someone pointed out that there are many ordained women who serve in and value the catholic tradition, and many women in their and other catholic congregations, who are hoping and praying for women to be consecrated bishops as soon as possible, in the full apostolic succession which stems from those women who were first at the tomb, first to meet with the risen Christ and first to bring the news to His companions.

Posted by: Vigilant Mouse on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 10:34pm BST

It is sad that none of your commentators seems to recognise the betrayal we feel having been told we had "an honoured place" within the Church, to be told now "put up or get out - preferably the latter". Lambeth Conferences have said there are two views on women's ordination, both acceptably Anglican; and that the Anglican Communion by itself cannot resolve the matter. So are you and your readers, like the Episcopal Church in the USA, saying you are no longer Anglicans?

Posted by: Edwin Barnes on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 10:35pm BST

'Ragbag'. What/who do you know? Not sure if your comment was a rhetorical dismissal or a targeted insult. I do not know them all...but Nicholas Reade, Keith Newton, Mark Sowerby and Martin Warner are not as you describe.

Posted by: Neil on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 10:42pm BST

'Is this the general position of the CoE parishes in Europe?'

No; the proper title of the Rt Revd Geoffrey Rowell is Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, and Simon has noted above that he thinks it was a slip of the pen, not a deliberate attempt to suggest that he has more authority than he actually does.

I must confess I am somewhat baffled as to what the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe was doing in Turkey, as reported by George Conger, but perhaps someone can enlighten me.

http://geoconger.wordpress.com/2008/01/17/anger-as-bishop-ordains-turkish-man-to-priesthood-cen-11808-p-6/

Posted by: chenier1 on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 11:03pm BST

Aren't any of the anti-WO crowd in the CofE swimming the Bosporus instead of the Tiber? It's been very popular here in the States (the Antiochians in particular are crawling with former Episcopalians).

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 1:37am BST

"So are you and your readers, like the Episcopal Church in the USA, saying you are no longer Anglicans?"

I don't remember TEC "saying" any such thing. What do you mean?

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 1:44am BST

1. THE letter - snakespeak which we have heard a million times before. And duplicitous snakespeak in that they absolutely do not 'honour' the integrity of those who differ from them. Clearly implied is the judgement that not even Rome has the authority to decide to ordain women (I wish) without an ecumenical council - which is a bit like promoting the use of gas-lighting in the streets. Since when did Anglicans have a valid opinion about the authority of the Church of Rome except to dismiss it? How can these people think they are the valid Catholic remnant in England. Move on, wake up, smell the coffee, you're Anglicans! Like the rest of us. Some of us may think and do Catholic things, but we're not Catholics in the way you imagine.

2. The signatories ARE a bit of a rag-bag, though one of them is my bishop and another is my much-valued training incumbent. They didn't all write the letter: they just signed it. Oddly only 4 of the 15 are commended as not being rag-bag. That's a bit of a slight on MY two - neither included. As far as I am aware, only one of the unmarried bishops (whatever that really means) would frighten the CANA horses. But I DO think he should have kept schtum whilst signing a letter which includes messages about Catholic orthodoxy & poping. Of course 'we' don't want them to leave, as they have a place in the C of E, but not at any cost, not least to women ordained over the last 16 years. How Catholic is it for those whose Orders are not recognised by Rome, nor indeed our Church as a Church, to ordain priests who cannot become bishops? Orthodox maybe if they are unmarried...

3.It might be a good thing if some of the so-called traditionalists kept away from this site, just as we don't trespass on the FiF website. We'd be edited out. Of course, the name of this Thinking website is confusing..

4. The Bishop in Europe article is dated Jan 2008.
He was in his diocese - which is not quite the same as the EU - ordaining a Turkish priest to lead a Turkish-speaking Anglican community, down the road from an English-speaking community. And a mightily impressive priest he is to have got to that position. Know the man. Know his story. Know the facts. Storm in an Istanbul teacup, and clouded by opinions about the future of St Helena's.
God bless us all.

Posted by: Peter Edwards on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 2:13am BST

"Am I alone in wondering whether, as four of these episcopal signatories are, erm, unmarried"

As being "erm, unmarried" *suggests* Something Different in an Anglican context, than in a Roman one (whether not it's actually different! ;-/), I'm betting Rome will wonder! [i.e., the "erm, unmarried" should not plan on a red hat, if they take up the Ordinariate offer]

*****

"It is sad that none of your commentators seems to recognise the betrayal we feel having been told we had "an honoured place" within the Church"

Bishop Barnes,

I've no doubt that among deep-sea divers/deep-underground workers, the Decompression Chamber has "an honoured place" in the profession(s).

...however, that place is for ADJUSTING TO NORMAL CONDITIONS, ***not*** someplace in which one lives permanently!

You've spent 20 years adjusting, and the CofE was happy to give you those years. If that's not long enough, may I humbly suggest that---rather than *institutionalizing* the Decompression Chamber --- you have another condition, requiring the Great Physician's healing? (I believe that is "the good and proper way")

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 6:02am BST

Theres an interesting clip from 100 years ago in this weeks Church Times, where Anglo Catholics are horrified at the name Anglican and refuse to accept it. Now they are fighting to own it.

They love the perks, and only a few retired persons like Bishop Barnes will probably take up the Ordinariate. There will be even fewer laity , it will be a real farce.Its sad that the Catholic media who are fed with stories from the Anglo-Catholics are expecting thousands!They are unwitting dupes of the FIF propaganda machine.

The so called Traditional Anglican Communion in Britain has less than 100 members and most of these will not convert.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 6:21am BST

To chenier1:
I don't know Ian Sherwood personally, though I know there have been controversies. However I do know Yengin and he is a lovely person, a deep Christian and a convinced Anglican. His congregation is wholly Turkish I believe and their services are in Turkish.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 6:47am BST

Dear chenier1, there are chaplaincies in Istambul, Ankara and Izmir ( and possibly others) under +Europe's care. Women priests are ordained in Europe by the suffragan bishop. I do not know off hand how many there are.I suspect the number of male priests opposed to the ordination of women priests in the dioces is relatively high.The Bishop, of course, has a long standing sympathy with the Orthodox which, perhaps, colours his point of view.
I agree with Tim Moore that the purpose of the letter is rather unclear.It does, I suppose, show who the episcopal opponents are from the traditionalist catholic side.While describing them as a ragbag is clearly unkind, there are certainly not that many of them compared with the situation in the early 90's, which I suppose says something.... and five are over 65 and four are over 60..one is retired and Lindsey Urwin is Administrator of the Shrine at Walsingham.
They admit they are not of one mind in facing the future and it seems likely three at least will move into the Ordinariate.perhaps some of the others will simply retire?
Pace Bishop Barnes..it would seem that after 16 yrs of women priests and the workings of the Act of Synod ( which as we know from Bishop Burnham's post appears to have changed character from what was intended) many in the C of E have decided that to offer an honoured place for traditionalists if it means a third province or something approaching it, is simply too high a price to pay for the overall integrity of the C of E as a national, parochially ordered Established Church.I'm rather suprised proponents of a Third Province didnt realise that a fair while ago.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 8:22am BST

It is interesting to read Bishop Edwin Barnes's comment on being promised an "honoured place" in the Church. I wonder how he interprets the meaning of the word "honoured" when he makes such dishonourable,scurrilous and highly inaccurate comments about the elected women in the House of Clergy as he did in the Radio 4 programme on John Broadhurst last week. It highlighted how the ordained women are really regarded and treated with has little to do with theology or Sacramental Assurance!

Posted by: Kate Stanford on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 9:07am BST

Father Mark's comment interests me (as similar observations of his have in the past). It boils down to: on what ground(s) do homosexual priests (bishops etc.) who see nothing wrong with their sexuality (i.e. priests who both think the orientation OK and the appropriate sexual acts) oppose WO? Presumably, if they do the former, they are committed to 'liberal' interpretation of the Bible. Why not then in the latter case also? I'm baffled, because most gay men I know like women (i.e. there's no visceral distaste).

Please enlighten, Father Mark.

Posted by: john on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 9:29am BST

RIW
"Putting money and families before Our lord...shows both a lack of Faith and true love for Him."

Oh please, can you not just for once stop being so pompously condescending and judgemental?
What would you have them do, these young men who are married with children? If they follow your conviction that the Roman prohibition of contraception is right under any circumstances, many of them will face growing families in the future.
Would you really insist they must not hesitate to live on a stipend of a Roman Catholic priest designed for a single man? That it shows a lack of love of God if they are worried about feeding the children God brought into their lives?
Would you rather they brought their children up on benefits? Or in abject poverty?

Just what is it that removes some Catholic converts so comprehensively from the reality of real people's lives and has them live in a parallel universe where no conscience is ever troubled by facing impossible decisions?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 9:32am BST

regardless of the rightness or wrongness of your arguments your complete lack of love for those with whom you disagree when they have just suffered so, as reflected on these boards, is a very, very poor advertisement for your faith.

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 10:08am BST

Correction to Perry Butler: The Bishop in Europe ordains women as deacons and allows his suffragan to do so, but he doesn't ordain women as priests and doesn't allow his suffragan to either (though Suffragan Bishop David Hamid is in favour of women priests). I was priested by one of the honorary bishops in Europe (there are several) who was Director of the Anglican Centre at that time.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 10:35am BST

Edwin Barnes:

First of all, when did we Episcopalians ever say we are not Anglicans? Second, an "honoured place" does not translate to "dictate to the rest how things should be run".

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 11:24am BST

Ed Tomlinson:

"Suffered"? How? By being told the church they have vowed to obey has made a decision they disagree with? A decision they had every opportunity to participate in? By that definition, I "suffer" every time a candidate I support loses the election.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 11:30am BST

As someone who swam the Tiber the opposite way in 1974, and has been blessed in the ministry of the C.of E. since then, I strongly object to the arrogance of those who give themselves the title of true Catholics in the Church of England, and accuse the rest of us of abandonment of the true faith and ministry. They share the same ministry as we do, a ministry which, by the way, is unrecognised by the Church which they admire so much, and a ministry which, they will have to disown when and if they are re-ordained in the Church of Rome or in one of the Orthodox churches. They constantly vilify the Church which feeds them, a privilege they would not enjoy in Rome. On the other hand, they do share the present Pope's inability to tolerate any form of dissent, especially in the laity, and his misogyny as exemplified in his recent statements on the ordination of women.

Posted by: Gerry Reilly on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 11:52am BST

It is astounding to see the "threat" of going to Rome espoused by people whose orders Rome does not recognize and who would never have the positions in the Roman Church they occupy if they were to convert. They would be lay(men). The idea that solace and refuge are to be found in a Church that does not believe that they are Catholic and barely admits that they are Christians seem ludicrous. They may well find a closed fist within the velvet glove they now find so appealing. One wonders who is manipulating who - the Romans who offer refuge to people they do not now accept or tolerate, or the Anglicans who use the Roman Church as a convenient threat. Why would Rome want people who obviously don't believe in the claims of their Church, since, if they did, they would be there already.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 1:48pm BST

"Oh please, can you not just for once stop being so pompously condescending and judgemental?"

Amen. In Robert's defense, though, it's really part and parcel of the affliction from which he suffers: fulminating convertitis.

"Would you really insist they must not hesitate to live on a stipend of a Roman Catholic priest designed for a single man? "

But doesn't this assume that CofE priests who swim the Tiber must continue to be priests? Surely there are few people who are unqualified to do anything except pastoral work. And since they're considered laymen by the RCC now, it wouldn't be a matter of being laicized or defrocked. I'm sympathetic to people who find themselves having to make major changes in their lives, but the idea that their continuing to be priests is the whole purpose of submitting to Rome seems a non-starter. If Rome is right, then Rome is right, even if you don't get to be an RC priest.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 2:02pm BST

Ed's protestations against meanness would be more convincing if he did not publish such a venomous blog.

Posted by: JPM on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 2:06pm BST

John: I don't know whether I can enlighten you any further, perhaps it is more likely to be the other way round...

I suppose that gay people in the Church either choose to be open and out; or they remain in the closet or in denial. Those who choose the former path include Jeffrey John, and look what happened to him: he is ipso facto not able to become a bishop.

So, I can see that if one were gay and either a bishop or would-be bishop, the latter path is a more likely choice. Now, being in the closet or being in denial entails trusting no-one beyond a very narrow circle of friends, always being on one's guard, endlessly going through angst over what people might be saying about one; in short, a life of continual discomfort and unease with oneself, and therefore with others.

There is a large subculture of clergy such as I describe above within the C of E (and indeed the RC Church), and the FiF/SSC nexus provides for many of them a safe space where they may find and befriend others in a similar predicament. Why this is, I know not. But I do think that it is important for the Church to reward those gay clergy who choose the more difficult path of openness rather than those who stay in denial, and thus to encourage a more healthy psychology, for the sake of all concerned.

I am aware that one is treading upon eggshells in this area, and I am also aware that Fr Ed will jump in with the cry (possibly even in a Kenneth Williams voice) of "Ooh, outrageous! There are no gays in the SSC/FiF!"

Posted by: Fr Mark on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 4:40pm BST

So are you and your readers, like the Episcopal Church in the USA, saying you are no longer Anglicans?

Posted by: Edwin Barnes on Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 10:35pm BS

Oh please - get real. This kind of manipulation no longer works on me.

The truth of the matter, is that Edwin Barnes and his fellow signatories tend to be Anglican in name only -showing scant regard for the Protestant nature of the C of E.

I find the spirit behind the letter to be vicious, as has been the behaviour of many anti-Ordination of Women groups. The viciousness is covered over. but not far beneath the surface.

This letter is from the Me,me, me 'generation'. I find their use of the Bible cynical.

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 5:13pm BST

I still hold my comments valid. They should trust in the Lord and he is always true to his promises and will reward them a hundredfold. None of them face destitution , just a drop in their standard of living... and by the way, Erica, not many of them are young.. and many have working professional wives.

However most of them have milked the Anglican system for years.

And remember that none of those that convert are guaranteed a right to subsequent Catholic ordination.. I know some former Anglicans turned down. One had to go to the USA.

However I have to praise this blog for tolerance. You have never banned me, as I was by Stand Firm and the Anglo-catholic. I think that shows your strength rather than your weakness.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 5:41pm BST

Bill
correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the whole point of the Ordinariate that whole parishes including their priest move to Rome?

But if someone whose vocation is to be a parish priest doesn't get to be one in Rome, and if he's not trained to do much else, he's even more likely to be completely torn about his future.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 5:53pm BST

Father Mark,

Thanks for your response. The 'conclusion' would seem to be: gay priests who accept their gayness but opt for 'closet-ness' compensate for the latter by being hyper-orthodox in other respects, including (public) rejection of WO, in which 'rejection' they don't privately believe.

Anyway, I greatly admire your blog and everything you stand for.

Posted by: john on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 6:41pm BST

Yes, R. I. Williams is correct, Thinking Anglicans is very tolerant. And reading his posts will probably take years off our time in purgatory.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 6:49pm BST

"If Rome is right, then Rome is right, even if you don't get to be an RC priest."

I thought that was RIW's point? (I often watch EWTN's convert show "The Journey Home", and overwhelmingly, most of the converted male ministers do NOT become priests)

Fish or cut bait: I recently read (sorry I do not have the citation) that Rome now regards sharing Consecrated Elements w/ a Protestant (and in their POV, that includes *us* y'all) in the SAME category as ***throwing it away***.

To BOTH believe "Rome is Right" AND that "I can't cross over for financial reasons (etc)" is just not intellectually/conscientiously tenable.

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 7:17pm BST

"correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the whole point of the Ordinariate that whole parishes including their priest move to Rome?"

But not every Anglican clergyman has to find paying work as an RC priest for the Ordinariate to work. Even if they all end up being ordained, what's wrong with the concept of working priests? St. Paul made tents, as I recall.

"But if someone whose vocation is to be a parish priest doesn't get to be one in Rome, and if he's not trained to do much else, he's even more likely to be completely torn about his future."

I understand what you're saying, but it doesn't fit with the logic of the situation. If someone has a vocation to be a parish priest and believes that the RCC is really the One True Church, then he ought to know at some level that he is in fact not currently a priest - because that's what Rome says. So his choices are either stay with what he considers a heretical and wicked organization, weekly repeating a blasphemous imitation of the Mass and pretending to be a priest, or union with Catholic Church as a layman. What's to be torn about?

Of course, the fact that people are torn suggests that perhaps they do not view union with the Holy See as quite the indispensable item they have been claiming that it is.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 8:07pm BST

Over half the population are women. Some people are gay. Get over it.

If you are a gay male priest, and against WO, and continue to accept the tolerance that the CofE offers you then you need to take a long hard look at yourself. Seems you want tolerance for yourself but not for 50% of the population.

Some time ago, I sat at a church meal in london with some 12 be-collared CofE (gay, as I slowly realised) priests and their partners. Next to me was the bishop of europe. 26 of us round a church hall table. And I was the only woman. After discussing a variety of topics I found myself being somehow "glossed over". The conversation turned shallow and weather oriented. I, in my naivety, realised I was the only person in the room who approved of WO. I felt deeply uncomfortable that these gay men priests + Bish of europe were so against WO. It was so odd. LIke stepping back in time to an accountancy office of the 1950s where the partner comes home and wifie has his slippers waiting and his tea ready. It was so not like any part of society I've ever met - a weird and exclusive club. They want toleration - but only for themselves.

I'm waiting with interest to see the rush to Rome. It's too cushy in the Cof E. Careful though gents of any moves to Rome: gays don't get red hats there. Neither do straight men get to get married or be a priest with a half decent salary. neither do things get decided by a vote. rejoice in the bounties you have.
But then if the cofe is so hard...........you don't have to stay. We are all God's children but there comes a time to shut up or put up. Letters like this just keep the whinge going. Nobody is dying over this. Nobody is not going to heaven over this. Big deep breath now and........there, it's not so bad is it?

Posted by: Rachel Holmes on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 8:50pm BST

I agree with Perry Butler that it is surprising that some opponents of the ordination of women thought a third province might be granted. It wasn't in 1992, when, as he rightly says, there were more orthodox bishops, and it is even less likely now. However, we are now in uncertain waters of possible chaos, because if nothing is 'granted' then at least 'something' will be 'taken'. And it will not be neat.

Posted by: Neil on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 11:01pm BST

"if nothing is 'granted' then at least 'something' will be 'taken'."

You mean *taking* up the offer of the Ordinariate, right Neil? Right???

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 2:46am BST

I take exception to the word "orthodox" as the description of those who reject the ordination of women. It is also used by right wing-charismatic types (in Canada) to describe themselves as opposing same-sex anything. This word has become a condescending, self-inflating, pompous word that really means that "we're so right and you're hopelessly wrong". It may even be short form for "We're going to heaven and you're going to the place where non-believers and heretics go". It has nothing to do with who gets ordained or blessed and is an invented term, usually by people whose views on most matters are far from what is considered usual or normal in Anglicanism. It is most unorthodox for Anglicans to call themselves orthodox. It actually means "right praise", and is not applied specifically to belief, but to worship.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 4:12am BST

The Tomlinsons of the world! How amusing!

They refuse to accept the arguments of those they oppose, engage in covert, sniping nastiness, arrogantly proclaim who is and is not Christian - or Anglican - and condemn the "dysfunction" of those who hold different views or sexuality and say that it's all love.

However, criticism of them, a refusal to accept their self-made martyrdom, an expectation they will trust in their fellow Christians, failure to "honour" them as they wish, well, that's lovelessness.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 5:21am BST

there was a very telling piece in the Church Times this week by Canon Killwick trying to justify the FIF view of what he calls sacramental assurance. Beside the fact his Reform allies would repudiate his view of apostolic succession and priesthood within Anglicanism, he stated that the Catholic Church consists of the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and certain of the Anglican provinces. The last clause is the clincher.. obviously a church which ordains women bishops ( priests?) is no longer part in his view of the Church.

See how dangerous it would have been for the Church of England to give FIF their own Church within a Church. A knife at its very heart.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 6:57am BST

Bill
“Of course, the fact that people are torn suggests that perhaps they do not view union with the Holy See as quite the indispensable item they have been claiming that it is. “

I don’t know how you personally grow and change in life, but I don’t know anyone who suddenly changes what they believe and then also has the ability to change his whole life round within the next few seconds just to stay intellectually consistent.
Being human is much more complicated than that. We first suspect we’re being drawn to somewhere else, later we can know we’re on the right path and still be wracked by fear or uncertainty or simply a lack of practically valid openings at that time. And there's always grieving for what we leave behind.

On an every day basic level, you get engaged before you get married, and you can have pre-wedding nerves. That doesn’t mean that your wholehearted decision to spend the rest of your life with that one person was wrong. It simply means that the actual process of getting there is slow, long winded, full of conflicting emotions and important preparation time.

On TA and other blogs we only ever see the religious side of a person, and very often only the intellectual aspect of it, not the devotional or spiritual. That gives a very skewered idea of what faith and faith journeys are actually like. And we certainly don’t know anything about each other’s full daily lives, the people, the obligations, the responsibilities, the tensions.

I dare say that even our rather rigid RIW didn’t wake up one Monday morning suddenly believing in all things Catholic and entered the Catholic Church by lunchtime.

Just because “follow me” reads so neatly in the Bible doesn’t mean that God expects our actual life journeys to be as precise as changing a switch on a machine. For them to be genuine and deep, I reckon they probably have to be the exact opposite.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 8:40am BST

Rachel Holmes: "I felt deeply uncomfortable that these gay men priests + Bish of europe were so against WO. It was so odd. LIke stepping back in time to an accountancy office of the 1950s where the partner comes home and wifie has his slippers waiting and his tea ready. It was so not like any part of society I've ever met - a weird and exclusive club."

These are incredibly accurate observations - you've hit a lot of nails on the head here, I think. I can cope with the idea that Christianity might involve us in being a bit weird, but the sense of being an exclusive club that you describe here seems to me to run so much counter to what Our Blessed Lord taught and to what Catholicism actually means.

That's why it is so important that we are able to model an accepting Catholicism, and to help those such as you describe to feel sufficiently comfortable with themselves that they do not need to seek out the atmosphere of a cosy clerical club in order to survive. I think a lot of gay clergy, in all three orders, would suddenly come round to the idea of WO if only the Church were encouraging them to come out and live happily, instead of to conceal and repress.

John - thanks for your kind words above. Yes, outvying one's neighbour in hyper-orthodoxy is a sport indulged in by a lot of those wishing to prove their credentials in churches in crisis, both Anglican and RC at the moment, isn't it?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 8:40am BST

Adam: I'm not sure that's right. Orthodoxy is to do with belief -orthopraxy is to do with worship.

Erika: a very thought-provoking post. Thank you.

Rachael and Fr Mark: it's a bit much to suggest that this dinner party among friends somehow runs counter to God's teachings. Were you singled out for your beliefs? Ridiculed? What if the situation were reversed, and there was a single opponent of WO at a dinner party of you and your like-minded friends? I'm sorry to say I've been in that situation and have been made to feel just as uncomfortable. Read the letter in this week's Church Times which says it's about time the traditionalists suffered, and you'll see how vitriolic your "side" can be.

Posted by: Fr James on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 10:24am BST

Fr Mark - thanks for your comments and I agree with you comletely. I am wholly in favour of gay people having the same rights and blessings as anyone else in our church and being fully accepted.

Fr James: I don't recall suggesting a dinner party amongst friends runs counter to God's teachings. Just my personal experience of a rather strange, to me, situation. That these gay clerics could want ordination and tolerance for themselves but not for me (should I ever pursue a clerical career!)

I was not singled out for my beliefs - rather the conversation just abruptly stopped when I innocently voiced a view on WO (I just did not realise people such as gay men could possibly be against it given their pressumed personal experiences and understanding of lack of toleration).

I have heard much vitriol against women and history shows shocking inequalities. I see no place for the legacy of such discrimination in the church. There is just no place for singling out women for not being capbable, fit or whatever words you choose to use of being priests/bishops. We baptise girls. We should have women priests and bishops.

Posted by: Rachel Holmes on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 2:17pm BST

Fr. James has misread me. I said that "orthodox" means "right praise", NOT right belief. Orthopraxy, a word we seldom hear, means "right process", the means whereby a skill is learned. Some might apply it to "practice". "Doxa" means "praise" (think Doxology), but has tended to be viewed as right belief, but at its heart it is not. When we say "lex orandi, lex credendi" (pardom me for changing languages), it means "the law of prayer is the law of belief", which means something similar. Our faith is derived from our praise (or prayer), but not the reverse. Praise comes first.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 2:43pm BST

"I am a man. But I can change. If I have to. I guess." This is the Mens' Prayer, recited at every meeting of the Possum Lodge, a regular feature of the Canadian comedy series, The Red Green Show. Among much light-hearted and satiric trivia, the lodge members offer one another support and advice on how to handle wives and women in general. Imagining themselves to be grossly mistreated by the opposite gender the all male Possums are helping one another to get on with things, nonetheless. Routinely, in the show, absolutely everything is made to hang together by means of duct tape.

While I am sure this satire did not originally have in mind the Church of England, it's not altogether clear to me why not. It does seem that, with suitable adaptation to the pledge, an English chapter of Possums [+AMDG+] might usefully be formed. Perhaps one of the fifteen bishops could volunteer as Founding Patron.

Indeed, the spirit of willingness to change, albeit reluctantly, bears a certain humility that Christians in general might agreeably practise and benefit from. Incidentally, I would be willing to donate a whole shipload of duct tape - if it would help. If I have to. I guess.

Posted by: Cal McMillan on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 2:49pm BST

Rachel

Your dinner party reminds me of Mansfield Park, and the passage where Fanny asks her cousin Edmund "'Did you not hear me ask him about the slave trade last night?' and then adds: '—but there was such dead silence!"

There often is 'such dead silence' when people hold their prejudices with great pride...

Posted by: chenier1 on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 3:17pm BST

I've been looking at websites for these men. Right at the top of the one for the Bishop of Chichester, John Hind, it says; 'The formal mode of address of the Bishop of Chichester is “My Lord Bishop”.'
That just about says it all, I think. Get the basics right.

Posted by: junius on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 4:38pm BST

"I don’t know how you personally grow and change in life, but I don’t know anyone who suddenly changes what they believe and then also has the ability to change his whole life round within the next few seconds just to stay intellectually consistent."

The problem with this, Erika, is that Fr. Tomlinson has not suddenly changed what he believes. He and his fellow FIFers haven't recently been converted to the idea that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, and that union with Rome is indispensable - they've been claiming this all along. The only thing that's changed is that what they have told us they so ardently want has been offered to them.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 5:13pm BST

My goodness! One wonders when the Right Reverends will wake up and realize that they live in the 21st century.

Posted by: Grandmère Mimi on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 5:38pm BST

How right you are Erika..and I fought it every step of the way. At the end of the day conversion is an act of Divine Grace.However there are some Damascus road type conversions.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 5:55pm BST

Dear Neil,
I suppose chaos could be possible..but I think chaos is too strong a word. Yes ,in 2014 if a woman bishop is consecrated, we will be in uncertain waters but we are where we are because the majority of churchgoing members of the C of E accept women priests and aren't quaking in their boots at the prospect of women bishops.Something has been "granted" namely a Code of Practice which we have yet to see. I suspect this ( together with ecclesiastical inertia) will keep most opponents in the fold. Yes there will be heavy hearts and some uneasy consciences but that is nothing new ( think 1559/ 1643 /1689 etc). Some will join the Ordinariate including three or more of the bishops who have signed this plaintive letter, but I suspect not that many.Even where the parish priest opposes women priests he usually has a congregation with a significant minority of those who favour women priests or at least wont leave the church over it.Most members of the C of E simply don't want to go to Rome ( except in Fr Eds parish! ) In some dioceses it will involve more painful adjustments ( and there will be some "bolshy" elements than in others but lets wait and see before assuming chaos is on the horizon.Establishment and the legal framework it provides makes for a greater degree of resilience than other ecclesiastical contexts ,it seems to me.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 6:47pm BST

Perhaps the entire charade of theological "reasons" the Religious Right are putting out there regarding women's ordination to the priesthood and episcopate will be exposed when the next Archbishop of Canterbury or York is a woman. There are many eligible women priests in The Church of England that would make truly remarkable Archbishops of either or both of these Sees. Maybe the Holy Spirit will make this a realty much sooner than most would expect. A woman might be the real answer to exposing the phony theological arguments against women in leadership in the Church.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 6:52pm BST

'To...believe "Rome is Right"'in any global , unique way, at this point in the C21st is to have taken leave of one's senses -surely ?

For these 2 reasons if no other (but of course there are others -this is the clincher) :--

1. the appalling, prolonged and trans-national child abuse scandle

2. the appalling like of care or kindness for the children then, and the children grown-up now

3. the appalling cover-up and abysmal lack of moral sense

And this true right up to the minute of Ratzinger who cares only for 'The Church' but not the true church of children and peasants, and workers, and the vulnerable and lacking in worldy clout.

Right up to the imminent cover-up being forced upon Eire and NI -albeit under an elaborate and arrogant title.

Btw

cf the purge being attempted in America right now of institutes of women religous to bring them back in line with The Vatican on contraception, lgbt and their general commitment to the poor,

and to intellectually robust and liberal thinking and action...

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 11:35pm BST

Pace Rachel Holmes on Monday, 2 August 2010 at 8:50pm
such failure of gratitude staggers me - next you'll be telling us you failed to fetch them the various dishes !

Seriously though, thank you for such a telling, and true picture of life in the C of E. My experiences have been similar. I can see it must have difficult as it gradually dawned on you, what you were up against.

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 11:43pm BST

'what he calls sacramental assurance'

Does not exist ! It is one of those terms dreamed up by FiF et al to sound fancy and ponderous. But it is newly minted term unknown to the C of E till now !

Until now, no one has ever doubted that reaching out for the Broken Bread and the Cup that this could be anything other than the Sacrament of Holy Communion. How on earth could it be otherwise (knowing as always have said) the 'Unworthiness of the Minister' is neither here nor there.

If these good bishops need assurance, maybe they need to Prepare, searching their Consciences of what Doth Hinder them ? Not some sin of uncharity or unkindness ? Do they know that the BCP does say, they may open up their grief, with a Minister if they need Assurance, and may even receive a special, personal Form of Absolution to put their concerns to rest, once and for all.

THE BCP also assures us that we need not receive the Sacrament with our lips, but may make an act of spiritual communion in our hearts.

These are riches.

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Tuesday, 3 August 2010 at 11:59pm BST

A tune has been running through my mind ever since I read this letter, and particularly this part:

"A number will remain, perhaps even reluctantly because of personal circumstances, family loyalties, even financial necessity, but with a deep sense of unease about the long term future, an unease that is surely well founded. There are faithful Catholic clergy and lay people, though deeply opposed to the likely synodical decision, who cannot currently imagine themselves being anywhere else but the Church of England. They wonder how they can stay, yet cannot imagine leaving their much loved church and parish. They do not want to be forced out of the Church they love, and will persevere where they are, whatever the theological or ecclesiological ambiguities, and seek God’s blessing on all they do."

Let's see; how does it run, "In good King Charles' golden days, when loyalty no harm meant ..."; that's it, the Vicar of Bray.

Posted by: William Tighe on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 2:54am BST

"He and his fellow FIFers haven't recently been converted to the idea that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, and that union with Rome is indispensable - they've been claiming this all along." if they have been claiming it, they haven't behaved as if they actually believe it, except when it is convenient, especially as a threat. Since Rome considers Anglican orders and sacraments invalid, why has this ardent belief bothered their consciences enough to enable them to leave? The obvious reason is that the only real advantage they see in Rome is "no women allowed" when it suits their needs. This is "pick and choose" Catholicism and they may find that their new home, should they go there, is much less accepting of the games they try to play as Anglicans. Either the Pope is the Vicar of Christ and his word stands, or he is not. Straddling the fence does not become them as Catholics nor does it seem sincere, whatever side of the Tiber or the English Channel they inhabit.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 3:56am BST

To...believe "Rome is Right"'in any global , unique way, at this point in the C21st is to have taken leave of one's senses -surely ?

Sounds like a statement straight out of Free Presbyterian Ballymena?

The worlds greatest and largest private provider of and health care.

Hundreds of thousands of men and women dedicated to serving God, having made themselves eunuchs and virgins for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.

A church that will not bend to political correctness.

Could we keep on track with the letter.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 5:19am BST

"Could we keep on track with the letter."

Really?!

You . . . YOU . . . are going to take someone to task for going off on a tangent about the Roman denomination?

Apparently, it's fine for you to go on endlessly about a Roman fantasy-world, but if Pantycelyn shows it in the light of the real world, we have to retreat into fantasy!

Rome is right? Yes. And Boise is left. Helsinki's up. Buenos Aires is down.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 8:48am BST

RIW
You know, you're right, we should keep track with the letter.
But the underlying malaise is exactly the same as that displayed in your post. This desperate need not only to be right but also to be condescending about the others and to refuse, absolutely, to live side by side in a spirit of generosity.

Why is something "political correctness" until a single old man in Rome says it’s an expanded understanding of truth?
How about it's at least “the genuine attempt of others who believe differently to create a fair and just society, although I personally do not agree with them”?

We could all do with becoming a bit more liberal in the true sense of the word, accepting that other people are also people of integrity even if they aren’t as enlightened as we believe ourselves to be, and that we can afford to live in genuine tolerance and with a genuine attempt affection and understanding without it changing one iota of what we each hold to be God’s truth.

This self-righteousness and appalling smugness and intolerance of everything but our personal view is not exactly a good advert for any supposed Christian truth, and it’s poisoning every single branch of Christianity.

The letter, to get back to that, is just the latest appalling example of it.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 8:55am BST

"(I just did not realise people such as gay men could possibly be against it given their pressumed personal experiences and understanding of lack of toleration)."

Which reminds me of the words of Eleanor Roosevelt who famously pointed out, that to be oppressed is first and foremost to accept the distorted values of the oppressor.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 8:59am BST

"I just did not realise people such as gay men could possibly be against it given their pressumed personal experiences and understanding of lack of toleration"

That is probably because to them, it has nothing to do with tolerance or social justice but with biblical truth.
You can disagree with them, you can believe they are attracted to those theologies because of a deep seated misogyny, but to paint it purely in the light of an unwillingness to grant equal rights is missing the point, and therefore not helping the conversation.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 10:36am BST

Alan Armstrong: The fundamental meaning of "doxa" is "opinion". So "orthodoxy" is holding the right opinion. In the Platonist theory of knowledge doxa is somewhat inferior to gnosis, being based on the shadow not the reality. But this is fairly abstruse stuff, though quite important in the development of a doctrine of revelation in the 2nd/3rd centuries.

"Praise" is a secondary and derived meaning The opinion held about someone, and a tertiary meaning is glory" (which is where "doxology" comes in) See Liddell & Scott.

Posted by: cryptogram on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 10:53am BST

I have to say that, like Erika, I too think the letter is an appalling example of self righteousness, arrogance and hypocrisy. They write: “we ask your prayers for us too as we seek to be faithful to the Lord, and to the Faith once delivered”

We are all seeking to be faithful to the Lord and the faith once delivered, and the implication that somehow they, and people who share their view, are the only ones who are faithful is simply hypocrisy.

There has been an alliance between Conservative Evangelicals and 'Traditionalist' Catholics (a term I hate, as they simply have a different tradition, no the only one). That alliance was formed when Jeffrey John was appointed as Bishop of Reading. Conservative Evangelicals failed, it seems, to notice that many 'Traditionalist' Catholic clergy were also gay and partnered. The Catholics hoped that the alliance would simply keep out women bishops. As it does not now seem to be working, it is interesting that the letter does not contain the names of any conservative Evangelicals. Has the alliance now gone cold?

Posted by: Canon Andrew Godsall on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 11:10am BST

Erika
"That is probably because to them, it has nothing to do with tolerance or social justice but with biblical truth". Apologies if you feel I'm not "helping" the conversation.

.......and here's me thinking that tolerance and justice were things Jesus and therefore God want us to honour in our dealings with others. I must have had that wrong all these years. I think I must have a very different view of what being a Christian is from those anti WO.

Posted by: Rachel Holmes on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 11:20am BST

Pantycelyn: My overall experience of the anglican communion is an excellent one - but did open my eyes to a different world and one which seems to have too loud a voice and impact for the numbers involved. The London experience was a one off. I belong to a church that accepts women fully (and people of different sexual orientation). I feel completely at home there. Overall I think the talk of disaster is overplayed. The Bishops letter talks in such dire tones one could be forgiven for thinking the end of the world was nigh! I have faith that the communion will continue.

Posted by: Rachel Holmes on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 11:32am BST

Adam: I think my point has been clarified by Cryptogram.

Rachel: My comment referred to your post about stepping back in time to the 1950s, to which Fr Mark responded - 'the sense of being an exclusive club that you describe here seems to me to run so much counter to what Our Blessed Lord taught.' It just felt like hyperbole to me.

Also, I note that you were not singled out or ridiculed - only that the conversation stopped. Perhaps they did not wish to enter into an argument? Perhaps they were doing you a favour by not continuing what they knew would be a fruitless discussion?

No one answered my other comment about the letter in the Church Times from Susan Stead. I quote: "I am angry with you at the Church Times for pushing the pity line that the poor old traditionalists are suffering. To be honest, it’s about time they did. Women have been suffering for a very, very long time." I'm sorry, but how can we recognise the Christian faith in statements like these? Is this the line that you liberals are pushing?

Oh, how easy it is for the oppressed to become the oppressor...

Posted by: Fr James on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 12:21pm BST

I'm with Erika here, of course (given my general views), but I'm afraid I've become tired of arguing the case, partly because of some of the responses.

But I admire Erika's fortitude and pertinacity, and I do most earnestly believe that, although divisions between 'traditionalists' and 'liberals' are real, they are far from being the only divisions that matter; that it is our job within the C of E to 'manage' all these divisions as best we can (within certain broad - disputable - limits, of course); and that there is constant criss-crossing between the divisions, which seems to me not only to reflect the essential character of the C of E but also to be inevitable in ANY church (even if some pretend otherwise).

Example: a few Sundays ago, at our Patronal, the star preacher was David Jenkins (suggested by me). We unfortunately could not attend, but everyone I have asked subsequently was bowled over, even though Jenkins is now very infirm and indeed in the first stages of Alzheimer's, as apparently he freely stated. The most enthusiastic of all the responses came from our leading FiF member, who said Jenkins was 'inspired' and 'inspirational'. QED. I am reminded also of an extremely eloquent endorsement of Jeffrey John by an FiF priest (whose name I forget) in response to one of Fr Ed's more ill-advised postings.

Posted by: john on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 12:35pm BST

"Our theological convictions, grounded in obedience to Scripture and Tradition, and attentive to the need to discern the mind of the whole Church Catholic in matters touching on Faith and Order, lead us to doubt the sacramental ministry of those women ordained to the priesthood by the Church of England since 1994."

Note in this little pericope (from the PEVs and their supporters) the absence of the tenet 'Reason', one of the three charisms upon which the Church of England was founded. Instead, they are implying that there had been no split from the Roman Catholic branch of the Church in the 16th century. This argument has cut no ice with Rome so far, nor is it ever likely to - under the present magisterium.

Why they still cling to the skirts of Roman patronage, when clearly the Anglican strand of the Church Catholic and Apostolic has put into place many of the fruits of the Enlightenment (which Rome still persists in rejecting) is just one of those amazing feats of legerdemain that defies human logic - except to those (like the PEVs) who still believe in the papal magisterium.

To give in to the their blandishments would further exacerbate the reprehensible quality of debate which continues in the Church about the validity of women and gays as human beings, made in the Divine Image and Likeness, who have been, and are being, called by God into the ministry of God's Church.

Those of us who have already experienced valid ministry from both women and gays can only be disappointed by such lack of vision as would deny the validity of such ministries. All human beings have fallen short of the demands made of us in the Gospel, but God has given us a Redeemer, who is capable of taking up what is lacking in us as Servants of God.

The 'high-morality' stance of the Sola Scriptura school of theology bears poor witness to the fact that God chooses whom God wills into ministry in God's Church. The Spirit is still alve and active in the business of reformation and renewal.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 12:54pm BST

May I be allowed to intrude a little in relating to the current Anglican v. Rome controversy which does seem to obsess the writers of this current Letter to the Archbishops of the C.of E.?

On a cruise ship recently, in the Mediterranean, I asked the R.C. chaplain (a Pole born in Cracow -the birthplace of Pope John Paul II), If I could be allowed to receive the Sacrament of H.C. at the service he was to conduct on the Sunday morning of our voyage (there was no Anglican or Episcopalian Celebration on board). I explained that I was an Anglican priest, believing in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. After asking where I came from (N.Z.) he smilingly accepted my request.

During the Mass, at which about 50 of us were present - I suppose most if not all were Roman Catholics - the priest, after the consecration of the Elements, brought one half of the priest's intincted Host and administered this to me as a gesture of priestly solidarity, accompanieed by the words "You are a fellow priest" - prior to communicating the rest of the congregation.

I was humbled by this potent gesture of priestly collegiality, which - to me in the circumstances -seemed to demonstrate that Christ breaks all barriers to sacramental grace - when His ministers allow of that spiritual and filial convergence that He desires for His Church.

This all happened at the level of a common human interaction that can so often be denied to us by the barriers of hierarchical magisterialism.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 1:35pm BST

Rachel
"I think I must have a very different view of what being a Christian is from those anti WO."

Yes, you do. So do I, I happen to share your view.
But what I'm saying is that they genuinely do have a different view. And we have a choice. We can either just repeat our own arguments into the void and end up talking cross purposes or we can at least try to take their arguments at face value in order to have a conversation.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 1:57pm BST

"That is probably because to them, it has nothing to do with tolerance or social justice but with biblical truth". The idea of anglo-catholic and mostly gay clergy standing for "biblical truth" on the single issue of te Ordination of women is bizarre. In none of their opinions do they trumpet the Bible over anything else, although Tradition certainly gets mentioned. Anglo-catholics who are gay using a literal view of scripture to prohibit women. Now that's a concept.

On the issue of the true meaning of the word "orthodox", even if I am not literally correct, my real point still stands, which is that I resent the word beong appropriated by people who use it as their slogan for hating gays and/or women.

As a Canadian, I can't help but wonder why anglo-catholics are now making such a fuss over women as bishops. Have they been in fantasyland or comatose since 1993 when women became priests in England? Haven't they noticed that women have been doing all the things they condemn for nearly twenty years alongside them? Do they really believe that all the people and parishes have been receiving invalid sacraments and if their souls are thereby in peril, how can they have supposedly ignored this? If they are still here, why is it now such a crucial issue? If they didn't "pope" before and if "sacramental assurance" is now the issue, what are doing being Anglicans? Weird.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 2:01pm BST

John
"I do most earnestly believe that, although divisions between 'traditionalists' and 'liberals' are real, they are far from being the only divisions that matter"

I am always astounded what happens when the topics on TA change away from WO and same sex relationships to something else, and suddenly, all our well-known allegiances in the comments are thrown up in the air and change.
People I thought were as liberal as I am and "in my camp", have astonishingly different views on other, equally important topics, and suddenly side with those they haven’t spoken a kind internet word to in years.
Only when we’re back to taking about gender, sex and sexuality do we fall neatly back into our comfortable camps and resume our battles with relish.

It just confirms that whichever topic become the flavour of the decade develops into “the one and only first order issue that determines whether you’re in or out”. It is blown out of all proportion and completely obscures everything else we might share. And it also obscures the truth that we are, usually, very good at living side by side in difference. We only have to want to.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 2:11pm BST

"That is probably because to them, it has nothing to do with tolerance or social justice but with biblical truth."

That's possible, but there is also (lamentably) a certain amount of old-fashioned misogyny among some gay men, and some of the opposition to WO is precisely that.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 2:18pm BST

"Oh, how easy it is for the oppressed to become the oppressor..."

Honestly, how anyone can claim they are being oppressed because the CofE has decided to consecrate women bishops is beyond me. There really are people who are actually being persecuted and oppressed, Father, not a few of them actually suffering for Christianity in prison and slums in the developing world. Pretending that you are one of them is not only untrue, but it's the worse possible PR for your views. Every time a CofE priest opposed to WO claims that they are being oppressed and persecuted, eyes roll and the mutter can be heard at a hundred laptops, "Drama queen."

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 2:26pm BST

Adam

“As a Canadian, I can't help but wonder why anglo-catholics are now making such a fuss over women as bishops. Have they been in fantasyland or comatose since 1993 when women became priests in England?”

No, it’s not weird at all.
Anti WO Anglo-Catholics believe that it is not given by God for women to be priests. It’s a impossible as men having babies. No value judgement, just fact. So an ordained woman, for them, is an impossibility, and it has nothing to do with her ability or wonderful pastoral ministry etc. It is therefore not an objection that can melt away once they see just how effective women priests are.
I don’t agree with that view, but it’s the view they hold. And if we truly want to understand where they’re coming from and not just feel superior about our own views, it helps to start whey they are, not with what we think about it.

When the CoE started to ordain women priests it also ensured that there were special provisions for Forward in Faith parishes who could not accept women bishops, but who accepted that their church had voted for them and who did not want to leave their church because of that. Quite a mature response, if you think about it. The essence of living side by side in disagreement.

Women bishops cause a real problem because if you believe that women cannot be priests, then to have a female bishop is, in effect, the same as not having a bishop at all.
And they cause another problem because any male priests they ordain is, by that definition, no more ordained than if my next door neighbour ordained a priest.
Again, we don’t have to agree with that view, but again, to understand the debate and not just get all sarcastic about FiF, it helps to see where they’re truly coming from.

Of course, Bill is right, there is an awful lot of (possibly unrealised) misogyny in all of thisAfter all, we all chose to believe in those theologies that speak most deeply to our own hearts! And the victim language is almost unberable.

But even where we suspect different motives, we still ought to engage with the actual arguments, otherwise we’ll never be heard.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 3:26pm BST

Yes Fr James, they may just have been trying to be polite. I'm not saying I was angry or hurt at their response or that anyone was uncivil at the meal. Just quite surprised and somewhat puzzled at the situation.

Tolerance and understanding, justice and equality are what I thought Jesus was about. And that is what I am trying to explain to you is most important to me,one of "you liberals" to quote your term, with WO. I'm not sure what is so "liberal" about that to be honest and I cannot see much tolerance and understanding, justice and equality when a minority of male (often gay) priests insist that women cannot be priests or bishops. If we are talking "biblical truth", as Erika is keen for me to grasp is the reason for the anti WO view, then we can find lots of "biblical truths" in explicit anti gay refs in the bible and we should not be following these and persecuting or excluding gay people. these arguments have been thrashed out many times. I'm not really sure what else is to be said on the matter, given the drama of the letter written by the bishops and despite Erika's request to "keep discussing". We've been discussing it for 20 years now. Meanwhile many women's vocations have been kept at a standstill.

Posted by: Rachel Holmes on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 3:33pm BST

Adam Armstrong has it correct, technical definitions of "orthodox" aside, reactionary and socially conservative voices in the church have appropriated, or perhaps more accurately ex-appropriated, the term. Doing so is an attempt to gain moral ascendancy by identifying one's positions and the "true faith once delivered" as one and the same. The tactic is intended to leave people to draw the conclusion those who advance anything progressive are heretics and morally suspect. Not much of a starting place for any kind of dialogue. Why is it that every major issue involving change in the church ends up being a Pandora's box, a hornet's nest, prima donna-ism, acting out behavior swirling around in a sea of "high drama"? There is a lot of rhetoric about faith, truth, and what God does and does not want presumably, but it tends to betray the presence of a hollow core devoid of trust, both in god and one another. There has got to be a better way forward than this.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 4:24pm BST

My Diocesan (though not a PEV obviously) is one of the signers, and though he (evidently) doubts the ministry of women, he licenses quite a few of us .... as ...??? And so do the other non-PEV signers I would guess.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 4:46pm BST

Rachel
I don't think we necessarily have to thrash out the same arguments again and again. We can declare the conversation closed. In fact, that is what is actually happening, as that is in effect what General Synod has voted for.

But if we still talk, and here on TA the conversation seems to be going at high octane, it's not helpful to talk at each other rather than with each other, or even to misrepresent what the others are saying – what’s the point of that?

You have said you were surprised that gay men don’t support women’s ordination given that they should know about toleration.
Seeing that they have said for over 20 years that, for them, it is not about toleration but about theology, I don’t really know why you would be surprised.
And it surprises me that someone who has followed this debate for longer than 20 years is genuinely surprised by the arguments put forward and by how they play out in practice.

As for using the bible for gay bashing – yes, that is what people are doing. As a civil partnered woman I am deeply aware of it. But when I talk to homophobic Christians it’s no use me talking about equal rights etc., the only way I’ll ever get them to listen to me is if I use similar biblical arguments. It tends to turn to bible mining and is absolutely childish. It takes better people than me to continue to do it effectively. But again, the question is whether I want to convince them, or whether I simply want what’s my due and move on regardless.

I don't know how many women's vocations have been at standstill. I have heard anecdotal evidence that one woman was not ordained because FiF didn't like it.
The reality I see around me is that more women are being ordained then men, so I would love to see some real evidence that having made provisions for the comparatively few if noisy FiF parishes has genuinely stopped women in their vocations.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 6:31pm BST

"But even where we suspect different motives, we still ought to engage with the actual arguments, otherwise we’ll never be heard."

My problem, Erika, is that other than the flat-out statement "women cannot be priests", I've never heard an argument for their position. I've never seen a citation of scripture that supports their view, other than "well, Jesus chose only men as apostles, so...." The whole "women are not proper matter" for the priesthood is, first of all, based on a cultural assumption that is more than 2000 years old and, second, wrong on every scientific level. Women and men are the same "matter", divided by a single chromosome.

An argument that boils down to "we've always done it this way," is no argument at all.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 7:12pm BST

"The reality I see around me is that more women are being ordained then men, so I would love to see some real evidence that having made provisions for the comparatively few if noisy FiF parishes has genuinely stopped women in their vocations."

A true vocation offers the chance to advance, to move upward in the ranks of those in that vocation. If women cannot be bishops...or if the number of places where they can operate as bishops is limited...than their vocations are effectively stopped, halted at the lowest levels.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 7:16pm BST

Erika posted "Anti WO Anglo-Catholics believe that it is not given by God for women to be priests. It’s a impossible as men having babies. No value judgment, just fact" Yes, this argument was heard a lot in Canada back in the day. I'm sure some Anglo-Catholics are sincere when they make it. However, sincerity does not beget responsibility in others to accept one's premise. The only "fact" in this argument, despite the disclaimer, is that it is indeed a value judgment, in this case a very negative one, based on unstated premises grounded in gender bias.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 7:22pm BST

'Every time a CofE priest opposed to WO claims that they are being oppressed and persecuted, eyes roll and the mutter can be heard at a hundred laptops, "Drama queen."'

Amen to that, Bill. I agree with Erika's general point that we need to first have a better understanding of the substantive con-WO arguments if we want to have any hopes of convincing those who hold them of the rightness of the pro-, but I do not consider any such empty posturing about 'oppression' to be an argument at all.

'Adam Armstrong has it correct, technical definitions of "orthodox" aside, reactionary and socially conservative voices in the church have appropriated, or perhaps more accurately ex-appropriated, the term.'

That's the really sad development. I don't think that being pro-WO is mutually exclusive with being orthodox at all. But I think we pro-WOs do share some of the blame for that in that we grant legitimacy to such ex-appropriations of the language of our Church when we abandon the term and fail to insist that Christian orthodoxy consists in, first and foremost, following the path of Christ - up to and including his recognition of the full humanity of women and the 'unclean' in his radically-inclusive table fellowship.

Posted by: Matt F Cooper on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 7:28pm BST

If the Bible is used for gay-bashing, then gay Anglo-Catholics must interpret scripture in a gay-positive way. Why, the, would anyone suggest that they are following scripture in opposing the ordination of women? Apart from old argument that Our Lord had only male disciples, scripture is silent on whether women should be ordained. It is less silent-or at least St. Paul is less silent- regarding homosexual sex (as opposed to homosexuality)if taken literally. If it is "not given by God for women to be priests", this is an arrogant assumption that they know God's mind. Fortunately, when God and I agree, then God's intentions are clear. And I am right.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 7:50pm BST

Of course you are correct Erika. There is no way either common sense arguments about equality or complex theological arguments (and bible mining) will change the minds of those who are against WO. So there's no point as you say in discussing it further. I don't feel high octane is a fair description - there's nothing wrong with some honest open discussion and this is an open page.

You are right FiF form a tiny minority and make more of a noise than their numbers merit. And to be honest if a parish decides to want only a male priest then they should have what they wish. No doubt this will blow over regardless as time goes by. We still do not have women bishops and so vocations for women so far have not been recongnised at the same level as vocations for men. And it will be another 5 years before that happens and there are hurdles still to overcome.

You will forgive me however if I remain surprised and uncomfortable at long standing basic injustices for as long I happen feel that way. If we feel nothing then we are truly lost.

Posted by: Rachel Holmes on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 7:59pm BST

"The reality I see around me is that more women are being ordained then men, so I would love to see some real evidence that having made provisions for the comparatively few if noisy FiF parishes has genuinely stopped women in their vocations."

But how can you adequately measure such things? What about the girls who are told *of course* they can't be priests, and internalize that lie - are their experiences less valid or important than the women who actually make it to the official discernment process? Surely nipping vocations in their adolescent bud is quite as bad as not letting an adult enter the program?

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 8:30pm BST

Sara MacV: your diocesan does not just "doubt the ministry of women", he thinks you are not a priest.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 8:40pm BST

Erika

That would depend on what you mean by vocation; in practical terms women of remarkable ability, sorely needed in leadership roles, are not in those leadership roles because the hard-core Creationists of Reform on the one hand, and on the other hand the rather softer core of Anglo-Catholics, who seem to possess rather more gay guys than a representative sample of the population would suggest, are opposed.

And, whilst I am all in favour of conversation, there is no point in feeding the delusion that Parliament will agree to any demands for finance to ease the parting of the ways; all that does is make the final realisation even more painful.

Nor, for that matter, are the Charity Commissioners going to stand by whilst the Church hands over buildings and funds, as suggested by Ed Tomlinson in his Guardian article on 7th July. You might like to look at the Charity Commissioners' guidance on the disposal of land to see why that is not going to happen:

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/publications/cc28.aspx#E

The admittedly failed attempt to bounce the General Synod into agreeing to Paul Benfield's amendment 542, which sought to require a provision for the relief of hardship to be made available before the measure comes into effect, suggests that Forward in Faith has not consulted lawyers with the necessary expertise.

It would be sensible if they did so; in the meantime it is not kind to refrain from drawing people's attention to reality in the hope of cheering them up...

Posted by: chenier1 on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 9:06pm BST

As a supporter of and pray-er for WO

I also need to place on record here (if printed)that I do recognise that the ordination of women is no panacea.

Much else about and of, the Church will be required by Love and the 'Kingdom'* to change if Church in some form is to continue in some way of faithfulness.

There are NO guarantees.

Ordination of women and acceptance of lgbt people and couples will be as nothing compared to this Demand upon us

See the Beatitudes and Matt 25

* see even our language is inadequate. Riddled as it is with gender, class, colonial and other assumptions which are themselves unredeemed and not of Gospel. So that, it is hard even to find a language for the central image in the (neglected) message of Jesus.

Have we noticed that ?

How on earth shall the peoples of the world be fed, clothed, housed, nurtured and represented ?

Laurence

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 10:09pm BST

how can Pat claim time and again that he never has heard an argument against when I repeatedly post this link for him or her?

http://sbarnabas.com/blog/on-the-ordination-of-women/

No asking you to agree Pat just to have the manners of Erika and try to read and understand it. Consistently pretending we have no arguments or theology just makes you look ignorant or uncaring from where I stand...

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 at 11:00pm BST

Erika,

I still have to ask, though it is purposeless, I know, what you think the "conversation" will accomplish.

Most of us get it. We really do. Honestly. We're not blind or stupid. We know the "traditionalists" have a completely different worldview.

So what? What does knowing that do?

A paranoid schizophrenic has a different worldview. What? Are you suggesting CofE make little "asylums" for traditionalists to be treated? Do you think they'll agree to that - a place they can be kept and cared for until they are cured of opposition to WO?

Otherwise, if CofE is not seeking to change the opposition, what is lost - apart from numbers - by telling them that there are groups that already accept what they believe and they'll be happier there.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 5:24am BST

"It is less silent-or at least St. Paul is less silent regarding homosexual sex (as opposed to homosexuality) if taken literally."

The current anti Modern translations are. NOT the Bible itself.

For the rest, I'm with Pat O'Neill and Rod Gillis.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 7:15am BST

"Not asking you to agree Pat just to have the manners of Erika and try to read and understand it. Consistently pretending we have no arguments or theology just makes you look ignorant or uncaring from where I stand..."

Sorry, I haven't either. And I remember reading your link about a year ago. Didn't make me any wiser.

I live in what must be one of the first anti Modern Dioceses in the World where WO was un-thinkable for a very long time (the Bishop was an ex-atheist). I have never heard a reason.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 7:25am BST

I find Ron's cruise communion story very sad. Did he tell the priest that he believes in contraception,WO and gay liberation. No he did a typical Anglican chameleon, which confuses overseas Catholics.

A Reform cleric on the same cruise would not have attended the Mass, let alone asked to receive Holy Communion.

Its not just Ron's belief in the real presence, which should have been the sole criterion, but the state of his soul. As for his priestly solidarity, what subjectivism. What counts is the Magisterium's view, not the opinion of any individual Catholic.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 7:42am BST

Rachel
"If we feel nothing then we are truly lost"

You're clearly a better woman than I am. I have so truly given up on some of these people that I am genuinely not surprised. I would like them to have a space where they can be themselves, but I would not want to set foot inside their churches or have much else to do with them. Understanding their argument means they can no longer hurt me. It does not mean that I agree with them. But it does allow me to see their integrity and at least treat them politely and with some degree of compassion.

Bill and Chenier1
I can possibly believe that there are some girls who will initially internalise things like that. We all internalise a lot of nonsense when we’re young and we spend most of our adult life making up our own minds and changing. The underlying assumption here is that women who hold the same beliefs as Reform and FiF men are, by definition, suppressed and oppressed. Could it not be that they genuinely believe those things? I think they’re wrong, but I have to allow that they are mature adults who believe they’re right, and not just because they have been wrongly programmed.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 7:49am BST

Mark
For me, it’s a fundamental thing. We have an obligation to see Christ in our neighbour and to accord him as much respect and integrity as possible. You get it, I know, and so do others. But even on this thread, there has been a question from someone who has clearly never heard the arguments yet has a strong view about the opponents of WO.

And yes, I would have very much liked the CoE to create a space for them. I had been very torn about this for months and months, but talking to them and understanding what they’re actually saying and their history in the CoE made up my mind. We would have lost nothing by doing that. Well…. we would have postponed the ultimate solution until the first female lesbian archbishop of Canterbury is on the cards… true CoE muddle that some contemptuously call fudge but that I call compromise and true tolerance.

At the very least, I hope it might be possible that we can either live side by side or part amicably, without the amount of contempt for each other that is so clearly palpable on both sides. It’s simply not necessary and it diminishes us all.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 7:49am BST

Father Ron and RIW,

Father Ron's experience is not at all unusual in many places in Europe and the US and no doubt elsewhere as well. Nor is it just a priestly thing: many lay people in Italy and in Greece are surprised and discomfited when they hear that Christians of other denominations are not supposed to receive communion with them and they think it's stupid. When Father Mark proclaims that the true Catholicity welcomes gays and gay and women priests he's absolutely right. The true Catholicity also welcomes Christians of all denominations to communion - as of course the Church of England already does (QED). The Magisterium is dying; the walls are tumbling down.

Posted by: john on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 9:02am BST

I don't see much Christ in promising them what they can't have, and even less in telling others to just sit back and wait while the slower children catch up.

Again, we're left with the idea that the "space" you're creating, is, in fact, a padded cell. I have no problem with that. I think they are operating from delusion. Yet, the idea that you're going to cure them is rather naive. You will have to either force them to accept the "treatment," or simply lock them away until they die out. The theory you're talking about is unworkable. You may "see Christ" in the paranoid schizophrenic - but you also keep a straitjacket on him. You certainly don't give him weapons, your address and telephone number, a list of your fears and an invite to the ol' cabin by the lake for the weekend.

I'm sure you find the metaphor uncomfortable. However, you are left with the fact that you - by persisting in the denial that the parting *must come*, whether amicable or no, are left with two alternatives which should be equally uncomfortable. Either you will be keeping the opponents like Tomlinson as a form of therapy, with the idea that they will change to your view - which is not honouring their place at all, and should be frankly-stated if the case - or you will be forcing the Tomlinsons and Broadhursts on everyone else, insisting that the harm they are doing is less important than the harm they perceive being done to them - in which case, you really *aren't* sure that WO is the right thing to do and the justice issue isn't at all pressing and not really worth standing up for.

Since you are writing from Britain, I'm sure you'll understand the hollowness of promises of "Peace in our time." Religions are human institutions, and the idea that you can press Paradisal ideals on them is not going to work.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 9:17am BST

"A Reform cleric on the same cruise would not have attended the Mass"

Isn't that true! The fundamentalists in every faith have more in common with each other than they have with the middle ground or the mystics of their own tradition.

Thankfully, the others exist too - everywhere.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 9:30am BST

The C of E has tried to create a space for those opposed to WO ever since 1992. In that it's behaved very unusually. If you belong to most organisations, whether a political party or a voluntary organisation or a company, you can argue for a particular policy, but once that policy has been decided in a way you don't like, you either implement it or, if your conscience demands it you leave. You rarely get opt outs.

The problem isn't whether there should be accommodation for those against WO: that's been agreed by Synod. The difficult is how far accommodation can be made without damaging the organisation. And while the majority of those at Synod accepted the need for conscience clauses (parishes didn't have to have clergy they wanted, priests could be ordained by bishops they considered in the apostolic succession) they felt that parallel structures (which is what FiF want) would be too damaging for church unity. I accept that WO opponents may not feel they've been given enough, but I don't see how they can be without creating something that is no longer the Church of England. And when they then say that because they haven't been given all of what they want, they're being driven out of the church, I rather lose patience.

Posted by: magistra on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 9:48am BST

"A true vocation offers the chance to advance, to move upward in the ranks of those in that vocation. If women cannot be bishops...or if the number of places where they can operate as bishops is limited...than their vocations are effectively stopped, halted at the lowest levels."

Pat - I have never heard such a description in my life. I can assure you that if you were seeking ordination in the Church of England and presented this as your view, you would never get past the selection process! Your argument is ridiculous - you say that basically if your vocation is to be ordained, your vocation is to become a bishop. What about people who have a vocation to the permanent diaconate? Or those called to be life-long parish priests? You don't seem to have any real understanding of vocation.

Posted by: Fr James on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 10:04am BST

FWIW, in regard to the question of gay men and WO:

In my younger days, I simply held the view that women *could not* be ordained priests. If you tried, some subtle or overt horror would come of it, and they'd be "shown up" for their inability to function in such a way. I saw no hypocrisy nor hatefulness in such a view - nor did I have a blind view; I honestly believed that "God didn't have women apostles so they can't be priests." I also never questioned this, and came up with elaborate and paranoid reasons I couldn't answer more realistic and thoughtful people who questioned my beliefs.

My thinking began to change when I actually experienced the ministry of women in the priesthood, and found them no less - nor more - competent to act in pastoral and liturgical capacity. This, coupled with the fact that there seemed no immediate threat to my becoming a second-class citizen in the church convinced me that I might be wrong. That led to realizing that there really was no valid objection to WO. This was clenched by my experience of an elderly couple who *both* loudly proclaimed at every opportunity in the hearing of our female deacon that "If God had wanted women ordained He would've said!" - indeed, the wife of the couple took great pleasure in recounting how she helped talk the vestry into blocking a female candidate to the postulancy from our parish. Both pointedly got up and crossed the aisle at communion to make sure the male priest was the one who communed them (note: they never changed their seat from the diaconal side to lessen the public embarrassment).

It takes the realities of the world and reflections of our own ugliness to change us. Conversation won't change the opponents to WO. They see the arguments as mere utilitarianism. This is as true of gay men as straight, and magical thinking is very important to those who are impotent and fearful they'll be buried by history.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 10:06am BST

Just to clarify: vocation is not about advancement - it's about service to God and the Church.

Posted by: Fr James on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 10:15am BST

"What counts is the Magisterium's view, not the opinion of any individual Catholic."
- Robert I Williams -

And this Robert, is presumably why you became a Roman Catholic - to live under the illusion of the immutable infallibility of a Pope. Just a tad of historical research would inform you of the hubricious uselessness of such a cult following.

As an Anglican, I don't expect to have to leave my brain at the door when I attend Church or hear a Sermon. That's precisely why many of us could never subscribe to any sort of Anglican doctrinal Magisterium. I have my own conscience to deal with, and following Christ involves the use of my own intelligence to discern where His call best lies - for me, personally. The blandishments of a personal conscience-free religion does not appeal.

My relationship to the R.C. priest on board the cruise ship was 'en Christo' not 'en Papa'.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 10:39am BST

Pat
"If women cannot be bishops...or if the number of places where they can operate as bishops is limited...than their vocations are effectively stopped, halted at the lowest levels."

Yes, but women are going to be bishops despite protests from FiF and Reform.
Whether they would have been bishops sooner is open to debate, it can certainly not be proven. It could be that all of the CoE needed that time to get used to women priests.

I had a fascinating conversation with 3 women priests the other day who all said that they found it a very strange experience when they first saw a women priest celebrating the Eucharist, despite their own clear calling.
The slow breaking down of barriers may not be how it's done in other countries, but we have often enough been told that we do not fully understand TEC's polity, so maybe the reverse is true here?

What has happened is that women will now be bishops… well, in a few year’s time at least. And all we’re talking about is whether that means FiF and Reform will have to leave the CoE or whether we can find ways of accommodating them. Yes, they may not be effectively bishops to the comparatively few FiF parishes. I wouldn’t call that “effectively stopping their vocations”.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 10:50am BST

Ed:

I've read it; I just read it again. And for me, your whole argument boils down to exactly what I said in my earlier posting: "we've always done it this way".

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 11:32am BST

'.. paranoid schizophrenic has a different worldview. What? Are you suggesting CofE make little "asylums" for traditionalists to be treated? Do you think they'll agree to that - a place they can be kept and cared for until they are cured of opposition to WO?' (Quote)

I'm not sure St Luke's Hospital could cope !

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 11:53am BST

I too would have been in favour of a special enclave, but for the misuse and abuse of the Act of Synod and PEVs. The Act was never meant to create an enclave, a ghetto, as it did.The PEVs have in my view, behaved disgracefully. They were never authorised to foment discontent and to become focii for disloyalty to the intentions of General Synod and of Parliament in this respect.

I have no wish to see this perpetuated , entrenched or enshrined in law.

I think that under a code of practice* the current congregations and vicars could continue on their chosen path, until the end of their natural lives.

I would not wish Candidates for ordained ministry to be sponsored, who have no intention of serving in the generality of ordinary C of E. I would not wish to see the opt-out parishes preserved beyond 'their natural', by the ordination of new blood / (young fogeys ?) to those parishes.

Many ABC parishes have people who have no conscientious objection to women ministers, and who in fact, would welcome them. A parish I know well Signed AB and C after my time, and yet those attending services and on the Electoral Role and PCC were down to earth, hard working families, who cared nothing for the gender of clergy, but were tender to the sensitivities of their Rector, a charismatic character,and hard worker, whom they loved - and went along with. Same as when he brought in holy water stoops and pricket-stands (etc). I was very surprised to find he no longer attended the Diocesan Chrism Mass, but one thrown by his PEV- things seemed to be closing down. A withdrawal from participation in the dynamic diocese. At the time the local people were more excercised about unemployment and other cuts brought in by the Thatcher and Major governments, than arcane and mystifying issues of church polity.

On his recent death, the new Rector appointed was more hard-line, and I don't believe the parisheners were ever offered an opportunity to think again- let alone re-visit the issue.

It is very sad.


Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 12:30pm BST

Goran: I'm not sure what you are saying. Modern translations are accurate translations and change nothing. In fact, they are probably better. I don't want to get into an endless verse by verse argument. Just a couple of notes: The OT looks negatively upon homosexual acts, just as they do upon many cultural, dietary, sexual, and cultural practices. We cannot slavishly accept this view of sex and them say that the rules touching everything else are no oinger in effect. Even Jews don't follow these rules, and the ones they do are modified. They aren't stoning people any more. St. Paul, a Pharisee, accepts the view that homosexual acts are to be prohibited, although the Bible seems to think that only males actually do them. He has no concept of homosexuality as a person's identity or nature-he sees homosxuality only as a chosen sexual activity. This cultural view has been accepted by Christianity and gay people have been seen as sub-human, sinfuul creatures who have chosen the wrong path in defiance of God, their families, etc. However, homosexuality is not an activity nor a choice. Neither St. Paul nor anyone else could have understood this. In fact, he uses words that exist nowhere else in ancient Greek and it nis unclear what he is actually saying. However, the prohibition of (male) prostitution, probably in pagan religion, is his likely motive. It is impossible to apply the non-scientific, cultural, and religious rules of Judaism, as well as the world view of the first century and apply it without understanding to the modern world. We have abused and abased people for being the way they were born, without any sense of their humanity and their status as God's people, made by God, including their homosexual attraction. This is a gift and not a curse. God did not make a mistake, nor does God hate those He has created.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 2:01pm BST

QUOTE: "Fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote".
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/05/opinion/05thu1.html?_r=1&hp

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 2:12pm BST

Regarding Ed Tomlinson's rejection of WO (found on his website listed above):

He provides the usual litany of reasons to reject WO, the first apostles were all men, etc. However, in reason #13 he states that "God does not do U-turns. Why would the Holy Spirit teach that women's ordination is wrong through scripture and the teachings of the early church - only to declare such practice valid in the 21st century?" Then in reason #14 he states, "Only when Rome and Constantinople agree can we possibly proclaim the ordination of women as a decision from God."

So, it would appear that if Rome and Constantinople agree that WO is OK, all of his other reasons condemning WO become rubbish, or as we say on this side of the water, crap. Ultimately, Ed Tomlinson's argument doesn't appear to be over whether WO is really wrong, but about the circumstances under which he would accept it. I suspect he believes that it's invalid only until the Pope says its valid.

Posted by: Doug on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 2:46pm BST

"Did he tell the priest that he believes in contraception,WO and gay liberation." - Robert Ian Williams

Mr. Williams flat earth approach to Roman Catholicism seems to know no bounds. Anglican priest Fr. Smith told the Polish RC priest what was essential for the matter. Fr. Smith, and I and most Anglicans, believe in the real presence of the Eucharist.

That was, and is, the essential issue.

If there were ever a litmus test in the RC Church - and others - based upon one's beliefs, there would be almost no congregants, including many (if not most) of the RC priests themselves.

Mr. Williams may see himself as a vanguard volunteer for the Roman Thought Police, but other than some hyper-conformist clerics or adherents of fringe extremist RC societies, he may find few other volunteers for such an effort.

Very sad, and very troubling, indeed.

If some CofE bishops are heading off to Rome, it is not because of disputes concerning the real presence, as they themselves have been making clear. I may feel that they are way off base regarding matters of women's ordination to priest and bishop, but I do not feel that we are significantly at variance regarding our beliefs about the Eucharist.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 4:51pm BST

Erika

'The underlying assumption here is that women who hold the same beliefs as Reform and FiF men are, by definition, suppressed and oppressed.'

No. That is not a view I hold, not least because some women derive positive pleasure in being dominated; some women in these communities may be suppressed and oppressed, but most certainly not all.

But dominance and submission is an expression of sexuality which may not be healthy; Peter and Iris Robinson are not exactly a good advertisment for this sort of marriage...

Posted by: chenier1 on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 4:54pm BST

Well, well.. watching this makes me sad for the Church of England I left in 1996... what has happened to her? My typical English market town had six parish churches. My own, FinF parish, another 'high church' non FinF parish, three middle of the road and one liberal evangelical. We all got along... we all still took part in town evensongs together in each other's churches, women priests and deacons included. We went as far together as we possibly could and we respected each other when convictions led us to walk apart, not just over women's ordination but other things too - the evangelicals would always get up and leave our building between the town evensong and benediction for example.

Even now I'm an RC in the heart of liberal Canada, I still have a friend who's a priest in the Anglican Church of Canada. She knows my views but we still can get along and respect one another. Seems there is only one poster here who is able to rise above vitriol and do that.

The pro-WO forces: you won, the battle is over. Even FinF wasn't fighting to stop you, merely to secure their own future. Why the malice after the victory? Is it not possible to savour the victory and yet be gracious to those you have beaten? They are not asking you to agree with them, they're not trying to stop you living your conviction; they simply want to lose as little as possible from your gains. When did you become so bitter as to make my old home town experience of respect and cooperation into an impossible dream of days gone by?

Posted by: Clive on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 6:48pm BST

Response to RIW: If a goodly number of RCs who communicated told their clergy of their support for the things you mention (Gay liberation? You seem to be stuck in the 70s), there wouldn't be many communicants anywhere. RC clergy are well aware of support for these things among their people, but still give them Communion. Since the Anglican priest was forthright and the RC priest communicated him without any qualms or interrogation, we can assume that the RC priest would be aware of the possibility of these things. RC clergy do not refuse Communion to people who disagree with them or with Church teaching-many RC clergy could not themselves receive the Sacrament if that were the case.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Thursday, 5 August 2010 at 9:37pm BST

Father James:

You misunderstand me. It is not that every priest is called to be a bishop...but those that are should not have their vocation halted because of their gender. A true vocation offers the chance of advancement if advancement is desired; if advancement is impossible by the rules of the organization, then there is no true vocation.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 12:18am BST

"And for me, your whole argument boils down to exactly what I said in my earlier posting: "we've always done it this way"."

Pat, you are seriously mistaken - you must have missed this little gem (item #8):

"This difference in role leads to the Mass. At the Eucharist the priest stands ‘in persona Christi’. “The person of Christ”. (hence Orthodox priests have beards and long hair!) Christ cannot be ‘sacramentally’ represented by a woman because Christ’s ‘maleness’ is not incidental- its revelatory. (It tells us something about God) It would be silly on stage to cast a man in the role of Mary. It seems equally silly at Mass to ask a woman to stand in the place of Christ. He was a man- and there is not avoiding that fact."

See? It's just silly to ordain women, because they can't represent Christ. Forget all that "As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" nonsense.

There are theological arguments against WO. And they all seem to be specious.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 3:13am BST

Item #9 is quite as good as #8, with muddling of Trinitarian relationships thrown in to boot:

: Jesus is bound to his role as Father not mother. This revelation of a ‘male God’ says something subtle yet profound. We see this in the following: Pagan religion used priestesses to promote the ‘mother god’ who gives birth to creation. (Hence nature worship) But Judaism challenged this- making God life giver instead- revealing a separateness to created order. Nature created by him not of him. The priest ‘in persona Christi’ symbolises this at a deep, unconscious level. A woman priest leads us back to the pagan understanding of the feminine divine. (And its interesting how –where women have been ordained- a more earthy, pagan spiritually seems to have arisen.)"

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 3:15am BST

[I know this is off-topic, but at 117 posts, who's counting (so to speak)?]

"what subjectivism. What counts is the Magisterium's view, not the opinion of any individual Catholic." - Posted by Robert Ian Williams

But RIW, your *entire statement* is SUBJECTIVISM.

Just because you agree w/ the Magisterium, doesn't make the perspective any less subjective!

Joseph Ratzinger (aka "Pope Benedict XVI") has a brain. His brain has been formed by the DNA of his parents, the environment in his mother's uterus, and ALL his experiences since he came into this world (Being a Hitler Youth, only one of the more interesting. But hey: we were all young and stupid---and possibly evil---once).

ALL of that shaped the person you call Pope Benedict. To insist that, "somehow", the Holy Spirit circumvents all those factors to convey an "infallibility" (yes, yes: "in faith and morals") of the Ratzinger Brain, is not only *profoundly irrational* (ironically, what B16 insisted religion ought to be in his infamous 2007 Regensburg speech), it's an insult to the very concept of the Incarnation: God created "the human from the humus", and then BECAME ONE OF US (i.e., Jesus of Nazareth had a real, human subjective brain too---omniscient objectivity being one of those things that the 2nd Person of the Trinity emptied himself of).

The problem w/ converts, is not that they "(subjectively) think themselves" into another religion---it's that they (all too often) then STOP that thinking.

Think about it!

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 3:29am BST

John:The Magisterium is not crumbling because it is guaranteed by God.

Erika:The Reformed cleric would believe that he is in the Reformed Protestant tradition, and he would not attend a service he sees as blasphemous. He doesn't pretend what he is not.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 6:27am BST

RIW
The liberal Christian believes that she is a member of the body of Christ which is constituted by all churches. There is nothing blasphemous about Roman Catholic worship for me, it is as valid as any other worship. Why wouldn't I attend?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 9:37am BST

Magistra
I know! The objections to creating space a hugely valid, there is no simple right or wrong.
For me, there's a weighing up of two very difficult decisions, each with pros and cons.

Mark
I don't happen to see these people as needing therapy or being put in a padded cell. And I am definitely not against WO, most of my priests from when I was a small child have been women and all my priests in the CoE were. When I first arrived in England and read about people debating women priests I looked at the paper to check it wasn't April Fools Day!

But I see these people as adults like me. Not as little pesky problems or as sick deviants who need therapy or locking away. What arrogance!
They are adults like me who don't disagree with me.
Like all of you here I don't find a single one of their arguments convincing, to say the least.
So what?
They have done all the harm to the WO debate they can do, they are now a small remnant. Must I really be superior and demand submission just so I can keep my church nice and pure?

I've absolutely had it with pure churches. As a bisexual woman I have been subjected to people's ideas of pure church to my own personal detriment. I don't ever ever want to do that to anyone else.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 9:46am BST

Adam - a few notes -

"We cannot slavishly accept this [OT] view of sex and then say that the rules touching everything else are no longer in effect."

However Leviticus 18:24-28 make it clear that God applied this rule to the nations surrounding Israel too - which he didn't with those other rules. That to my mind disposes of the overcirculated quip about shellfish and cotton-polyester shirts.

Moreover the rest of the chapter consists of prohibitions of adultery, incest and bestiality. Which of these is now irrelevant?

"...the Bible seems to think that only males actually do them."

By this logic the Tenth Commandment allows women to covet their neighbours' husbands! The language is synecdochical: it naturally assumes that what applies to the gander goes for the goose. And I think God expressed it this way partly to refute the common sexual double standard that expects women to be good girls but lets men do whatever.

“However, homosexuality is not an activity nor a choice. Neither St. Paul nor anyone else could have understood this.”

Didn’t they clearly understand and teach the concept of temptation?

“In fact, he uses words that exist nowhere else in ancient Greek and it is unclear what he is actually saying.”

If it’s unclear, why all your dogmatic statements about Paul that precede this? Are you still in two minds about the issue?

If you mean “arsenokoitai” in 1 Corinthians 6:9, that’s just the verbal noun from the LXX at Lev. 18:22.

“We have abused and abased people for being the way they were born, without any sense of their humanity and their status as God's people, made by God, including their homosexual attraction.”

Generally agreed – although it’s oversimplifying things to refer only to genetics. Anyway how meaningful is it to talk about babies sexually?

“This is a gift and not a curse. God did not make a mistake, nor does God hate those He has created.”

What is your doctrine of the Fall? Does he love Satan?

Posted by: Dan on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 10:49am BST

@ Adam Armstrong: ”I'm not sure what you are saying.”

Try reading it again! I am saying what I am saying – and, moreover, I mean it.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 11:04am BST

Erika I agree with you: "There is nothing blasphemous about Roman Catholic worship for me, it is as valid as any other worship. Why wouldn't I attend?".

Clive:

I'm heartily glad I remain in the Anglican Communion which allows for debate and discussion and a voting process for change. I'd rather have debate, heated or otherwise, with those of differing views from me, than not at all. I hope I'd hold that view too were I against WO.


Posted by: Findlay on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 11:53am BST

"What is your doctrine of the Fall? Does he love Satan?

Actually, some saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church say that he does.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 2:14pm BST

Taken as a bald statement this unsupported contention reported in Bill Dilworth's post is interesting "its interesting how –where women have been ordained- a more earthy, pagan spiritually seems to have arisen."

Let's all make sweeping unsupported statements. I would contend that the precarious state of the environment, the exploitation of the planet, has been aided and abetted by a "theology of dominion" embedded in a patriarchal theology. Men no longer adequately symbolize God as "creator". Clearly its women because they have a womb (symbolizing the earth our fragile oasis of life in space) and breasts (remember the pelican feeding her young)who really effectively symbolize the relationship between the persons of the trinity and the human family. In fact, breastfeeding is not all that far removed from statements like,living water welling up within, and if anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink. Indeed the water and blood from Jesus side is kind of analogous to breast feeding, don't you find? I often thought when my wife was breast feeding our children, she was doing such Christ like kind of thing, consistent with the "high Christology" symbolism in John.

The statement above in Bill's post is also conditioned by a material, almost mercantile culture. First Nations people in North America have given us a very renewed understanding of the relationship of God as creator, and our links to the earth. But let's not go there for insight. The people upset by the consecration liturgy in L.A. are still in recovery.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 2:38pm BST

Ancient Greek physicians believed that "hysteria" in women was caused by the womb breaking its bindings and "free floating" inside the body. How ironic that the epicenter of hysteria in the modern church is located among male prelates.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 2:42pm BST

Anglicans view Scripture through the lens of intelliigence and reason and do not make it their only guide. We are not a 'scriptura sola" (scripture only) Church. We add tradition and Reason. Remember that everyone interprets scripture, conservatives and fundamentalsits just as much as anyone else. The references to homosexual acts in the Bible, or their proscriptions, view this as an activity for males only. Equating this with the tenth commandment is irrelevant. Apples and oranges. No Church uses scripture without interpretation and this view has changed. Many evangelicals now accept divorce. You don't find Jews carrying on about Leviticus the way fundamentalist Christians do.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 2:51pm BST

Dan
you need to do some serious reading.
Especially if you believe that God actually wrote the Ten Commandments and physically handed them to a man called Moses.

There's absolutely no scope for a sensible conversation until you've caught up with a bit of the biblical research over the last 150 years.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 3:01pm BST

Goran: Why not tell us what you are saying. I assume that it is basically that the Bible condemns gays and forbids them to have any happiness in life that might involve a human relationship. End of story. Ditto for Dan. Well, that settles it then. let's all go home, gays back to their closets where they can be miserable and denied any of the aspects of life involving intimacy that straight people feel so entitled to. You were born gay-tough-we hope you die sad and alone. Or you decided to do things that make you sub-human and unfit for life. God hates you and we do too.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 3:19pm BST

Dear Dan, Goran, et. al. There is no point in getting into a debate on Scripture re. homosexuality, etc. Why you have waited until over a hundred posts to weigh in, let alone why you are doing so at all, is a mystery. On many issues, but especially those concerning sexuality, people who use the Bible to support their views and who view it through a literalist/fundamentalist lens will never allow themselves to be contradicted. For some reason, they seem to have a lot a stake. It is impossible to talk further with you. if you are in this place now, after the past decades of debate, there isn't much point. We could go on for pages and get nowhere. Perhaps it is easier for you to consign gay people to outer darkness where you don't expect to go, or to project all your anxieties and issues on to them. If you consider gay people and their lives to be inferior, especially if you think they are great sinners, you always have someone beneath you. You must find that comforting.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 5:43pm BST

'But I see these people as adults like me. Not as little pesky problems or as sick deviants who need therapy or locking away. What arrogance!'

Well, there is a difference between questioning whether someone is doing something which may harm that person or others, and viewing them as sick deviants; that seems to me to be the inherent problem with the extremist response to glbt church members.

So many people claim to be concerned about whether someone is doing something which may harm that person or others, whilst what they really mean is that glbt people are sick deviants.

But if one is going to invoke sexual normality as an appropriate means of classifying people, then one has to accept that the definition of sexual normality is something determined by evidence-based reasoning, and evidence-based reasoning is very clear that dominance and submission are not 'normal'.

I personally do not wish to classify people in this way; I do, however, regard the Reform view of marriage as morally flawed since it provides around half of its adherents with a means of abnegating personal responsibility for their actions. At the risk of someone invoking Godwin's law, I note that 'I was only following orders' has been decisively rejected...

Posted by: chenier1 on Friday, 6 August 2010 at 11:49pm BST

Adam, you have seriously misread Göran. He's on the side of the angels.

While his English is excellent, his first language is Swedish, so go back and read what he wrote again, but with the understanding that he's one of the good guys.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 12:31am BST

No need to get all snippy with me, Erika.

You're the one who's suggesting keeping them on in a little fantasy world all their own. Throw them a bishop every now and then, wait for them to die out. That's what it amounts to. I think it better to simply say, "No. This is the decision, and if you don't like it, the door to Rome or Constantinople or Geneva is that way." It's more honest and allows actual dignity and potential for them to prove their view than a ghetto of flying bishops. If you really are that concerned about them, personally, make sure they get any benefits transferred. Give them the buildings if you like. But you are hurting both them and they oppose with this "honoured place" stuff.

You're offering them a place to rot. They think, in their part, they're being given leverage to completely overturn the WO movement. Where is the good in either view or the outcome of it? All I've heard is that it makes you feel better, making an "honoured" place for them. Meanwhile, while they are given this honoured place, they use it to dishonour others and disrupt the process.

Where is the good in it?

The mystery school of "just be nice to each other" sounds great. It's very self-satisfying. Unfortunately, it's not self making the sacrifices.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 5:23am BST

Did you read what I wrote Erika? I said that a Reform member would not attend the Mass.They would certainly not wish to receive Holy communion in the context of a Mass.

As for Ron, I would argue that his Christ, is a construct of his imagination, rather than the Christ who has revealed himself. A Christ who would embrace the woman caught in adultery and say, if this is your natural inclination, there is no need for change! And as for the money changers there is room for you too.Universalism dressed up in a liturgical dress.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 6:18am BST

Dearest Adam Armstrong, you get it all wrong, as you confound (!) the forged translations of the Bible with the holy Texts in themselves.

Do have a look a my Blog!

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 6:58am BST

Chenier1
I wasn't referring to sexuality but to the letter of this thread which is about women bishops. I was replying to Mark's comment who said "A paranoid schizophrenic has a different worldview. What? Are you suggesting CofE make little "asylums" for traditionalists to be treated?" and as I re-read his comment I realise I misunderstood his choice of words and themes and therefore misrepresented him in my reply - apologies, Mark!

But, Mark, neither do I want a place where FiF people can slowly die out. I would love it if it were possible to keep them as a valued part of the church, just as they have up to now.
It's not likely, I know! But that doesn't mean I can't wish it had been.

As for benefits and buildings - I hope so, but agian, in the current atmosphere against them, I don't think it's likely. Sadly.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 1:12pm BST

RIW
yes, but you first mentioned the Reform cleric as a positive example of someone who would not have "transgressed" as Fr Ron did on his cruise.

Only, for many of us the beliefs of Reform clerics on worship are as irrelevant as those of the RC church.

We are not bound by what you or the Magisterium believe about the efficacy of the Sacraments. Your exclusion theology is your problem, not ours.
Only one of us is right, I expect, and we may eventually get to discover who.
Until then, I shall joyfully worship wherever God is being worshipped by Christians of all traditions.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 1:16pm BST

I will go Erika one better. I will cheerfully worship wherever God is being worshipped.

Yes, I am a Christian; but I am not so arrogant as to believe that other religions do not have some insight to the Divine. As Paul said, "we see through a glass darkly," but I believe every glass gives a different view...and if we experience some of all of them, perhaps we get a better look.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 5:35pm BST

Pat
I second that!!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 7:30pm BST

The last two comments on this thread are a perfect witness to how "modern Anglicans," driven by a desire to justify sexual perversion and/or religious syncretism, are transforming their religious bodies into a form of Neo-Gnosticism unrecognizable by any historical analysis as Christian.

Posted by: William Tighe on Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 7:38pm BST

Dear Goran (and Bill Dilworth)-What are the "forged translations" of the Bible? Anything other than the original Hebrew and NT Greek? I continue to be confounded. I understand that Bill says you agree with me, but you obviously do not. I'm just confused.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 10:55pm BST

We've wandered quite a long way from the content of the original letter. Please avoid further attacks on the beliefs of other commenters.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 7 August 2010 at 11:26pm BST

William:

Perhaps your problem is that you insist on a "historical analysis" to define Christianity. I prefer a definition that relies on belief in the Creeds.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 12:21am BST

Simon, I wish posters would take your advice. I see no possibility of dialogue with posters who think there are two kinds of people (1) those of their particular confessional faith and (2) those who wish they were. Clearly, posters who were previously Anglicans, or who flirted with Anglicanism, and use this site to beat the rest of us over the head with the "truth" of the their current denomination, have some unresolved issues.
Makes me wonder how secure they are in their new faith.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 2:45am BST

Adam

For some ideas of the thrust of Göran's thinking look through the comment threads here:

http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002374.html#comments

and

http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002535.html#comments

The topics are slightly different and the comments aren't specifically about homosexuality, but you'll get an idea of how Göran approaches Scriptures.

Basically, his contention is that all the terms we now translate in a highly specific sexual way did not have that meaning originally and were used in a different context.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 9:02am BST

Dear Adam, the current translations are not the original Hebrew nor NT Greek (koíne)! Words have been d e l e t e d, words have been a d d e d and words have been c h a n g e d...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 9:48am BST

Mr. Tighe posted " ...Neo-Gnosticism unrecognizable by any historical analysis as Christian". The world must be a scary place for you, what with "neo-gnostics, erastians, Totskyites, anabaptists," and the like under every rock and behind every tree,no? Instead of hurling unsubstantiated labels at posters, try putting some actual analysis in your posts. Beam in your own pal. Thankfully its not up to dilettante historians to decide what is and what is not Christian.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 12:21pm BST

Pat & Erika, let me 'third' that !

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 3:24pm BST

It is hard to know what Adam, means by 'homosexual' acts in the Hebrew Bible, given that the HB contains no word equivalent to 'homosexual', and that the word 'homosexual' was only concocted in English in the C19th.

Btw As I type, Choral Evensong is on the radio, and we have just been treated to a man being stoned, for collecting sticks, on the Sabbath -- appalling to hear suddenly; and casual listeners etc will have no idea that this reading was only chosen, as a foil to the 2nd reading, which has Jesus standing up to the mob with the 'woman taken in' 'the very act of adultery'. (I always thought it took two to tango).

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 3:36pm BST

On the matter of the role of history which has been raised in this thread, I'd like to draw attention to this footnote, written by the late Dr. Raymond Brown. I highlight this opinion from Brown here for several reasons (1) He is a highly significant NT scholar who enjoys scholarly support both within his own Roman Catholic Church as well as ecumenically (2) He represents an attempt to honor his own church tradition in a way that opens up rather than closes down dialogue with those of other traditions and (3) he is indicative of a range of "orthodox" voices in Roman Catholicism that are not shrill or dogmatic. In commenting on the infancy narratives, Brown makes an important distinction regarding historicity and the gospels when he writes. "Those Catholics who maintain the factual historicity of the infancy narratives is affirmed by The Second Vatican Council's statement about the four gospels 'whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts' (Dei Verbum 19) are wrong on two scores.First everything in that statement applies only to the accounts of Jesus MINISTRY for which there were apostolic witnesses; and second the 'historical character' of the Gospels, the statement goes on to make clear; must be understood in a modified sense--modified by by the manner of transmission and the intent of the evangelists which was not to write literal history." [Birth of the Messiah. Appendix VII. p. 562, footnote 11.] Brown also notes the presence in Scripture of a variety of types of literature besides history, and notes this affirmation is in accord with "Divino Afflante Spiritu" by Pius XII.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 4:06pm BST

It occurs to me that the argument that women priests leads to paganism because of a confusion about the relationship between Creator and creation ignores how biological reproduction was conceived (pardon the pun) of in earlier times. Women weren't seen by Europeans as being the originators of life so much as the passive field that accepts and protects the Man's seed.

I also don't understand how it relates to modern ideas of biology. Conception isn't something that one party does to another, or does on his/her own. It's the joining together of two equally important strands of DNA. Why would female priests make people think that God gives birth to the world any more than male priests make us think that God begets the world?

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 5:46pm BST

"It is hard to know what Adam, means by 'homosexual' acts in the Hebrew Bible".

I am quite aware of this, but I am simply speaking to people who are using the Bible to condemn gay people in a language I assume they understand. Whatever they may not know about the OT, they have a favourite "abomination" passage from Leviticus we hear ad infinitum. I did point out that there was no concept that a person could have same-sex attraction and that their nature was what we would now call homosexual. Short form-some people are gay. The idea that this was a person's nature was inconceivable. The NT only has a word that may be translated as "effeminate". Instead, they thought (as some still do) that homosexuality was only a chosen/optional sexual/genital behavior. Paul criticises men (never women) who "exchange" natural for "unnnatural" affections, as if same-sex attraction does not exist and is a sexual activity that can be "changed back". (Please no debate about the re-progamming people). You are quite correct, but this is lost on people who just see the Bible as being "anti-gay".

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Sunday, 8 August 2010 at 10:50pm BST

"Dear Adam, the current translations are not the original Hebrew nor NT Greek (koíne)! Words have been d e l e t e d, words have been a d d e d and words have been c h a n g e d..."

This is impossible to discuss or comment on and veers far away from our discussion.

To Ed T. and others who say that priests must be male because Christ had only male apostles:

1. In the Hebrew view of women and gender differences, any other possibility would be out of consideration-yet Jesus had many female supporters and disciples who are named and are never seen as inferior to the male disciples. If Jesus chose his male disciples, how can we assume he did not choose his female disciples?

2. The assumption that Jesus chose disciples based on their gender would also imply that they were heterosexual. If maleness is the issue, then the definition of maleness must exclude homosexual persons. Of course, they didn't exist in the NT. This seems irrelevant to the males-only crowd. and it hasn't prevented gay clergy and bishops from insisting on maleness, including their own (especially their own), as a prerequisite for ordination. if the definition of maleness is based on anatomy and not heterosexuality, their arguments are ridiculous and embarrassing.

Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Monday, 9 August 2010 at 5:03am BST

"The NT only has a word that may be translated as "effeminate". It may not.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 9 August 2010 at 5:50am BST

Thanks Adam, yes I see that. Sorry I missed your nuances. (I was too quick by half).best wishes

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Monday, 9 August 2010 at 12:29pm BST

"The Magisterium is not crumbling because it is guaranteed by God." - Robert I williams -

I'm afraid your exegesis is a little short of the mark here, Robert. Just a little more discipline in hermeneutical research would reveal that the promise of Jesus was that the Church would prevail - not the successor of Peter - even if the present pope may believe that the Kingdom of God is his personal fiefdom.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 9 August 2010 at 8:56pm BST

"I would love it if it were possible to keep them as a valued part of the church, just as they have up to now."

That is entirely up to *them* - but to be a valued part of a group, you must discipline yourself to adhere to the group's rules, even if you disagree with the principals. If you cannot, you cannot be a part of that group.

I am interested, though, to know what it is of "value" that they offer, as you see it?

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 6:03am BST

Mark
It's not about whether I think they contribute anything of value. That's the point where you and I differ fundamentally.
There is no superior "I" who decides whether the lower "they" contribute value or not.
There are two equal "us" who have always been living side by side until the system was changed.

And by suggesting that this is simply about a few niggly rules someone doesn't want to stick to, you make me think you've still not understood what they are saying.

This is not the Episcopal Church, this is the CoE, where completely different traditions have always lived side by side, disagreeing with a lot of what the others are about but willing to share that which can be shared.
If "they" are willing to continue to do that, on the basis that "we" are willing to continue to give them the space they need for themselves, then the one value they're contributing is a heck of a lot more understanding of what genuine tolerance is about.

Your argument might have made sense when the CoE first discussed women priests. But this church has since shown that it can create structures that allow for even major theological differences to be accommodated. To me, that's a success story and not something we should now throw away just because we believe ourselves to be morally and intellectually superior.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 8:32am BST

"But this church has since shown that it can create structures that allow for even major theological differences to be accommodated."

It's a strange sort of accomodation, though, this Church within the Church that the PEV represents. It seems to be have served to give the "traditionalists" sort of a reservation of their own, where they could profess loyalty to both the CofE and the RCC simultaneously without actually having to actually abide by the rules of either. It certainly does not seem to have strengthened "traditionalists" sense of loyalty to the CofE, but to have insulated them from it (outside of their own conventicle).

The capitulation to Donatism (not only are women priests forbidden, but bishops who ordain women must be shunned as well) was especially unfortunate.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 3:39pm BST

"where they could profess loyalty to both the CofE and the RCC simultaneously without actually having to actually abide by the rules of either"

I've said it before... Why do you all think that traditionalists are Roman Catholics in disguise? It's quite irritating and offensive actually. It's obviously comforting to think that "real" Anglicans are all pro-WO. The truth is that the issue of WO is not the thing which defines whether you are Roman Catholic or Anglican.

Posted by: Fr James on Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 5:12pm BST

"Why do you all think that traditionalists are Roman Catholics in disguise? I... It's obviously comforting to think that "real" Anglicans are all pro-WO..."

It has nothing to do with WO, Father.

Judging from their web presence, there seem to be a good number of English priests in what they insist is the "Catholic Movement" (God forbid you should call them Anglo-Catholics) who never use any of the liturgies or offices of the CofE, disparage anything specifically Anglican, and profess their complete adherence to current Vatican versions of Catholic teaching and practice (minus that priestly celibacy business, of course). They look to Rome for moral guidance. For all intents and purposes they seem to conduct their lives as if they were RC priests. If these very visible and vocal priests are not typical of those in the PEV, then I stand corrected.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Tuesday, 10 August 2010 at 10:16pm BST

I have always valued the breadth of C of E but find things have taken a difficult turn now (in terms of Church within Church). I tended to take the closeted-ness and misogyny in my stride as best I could - I loved the rich devotional warmth an stuff.

There was a time, when I used to go to my Evangelical parish church for 'the early service' (0800hrs BCP neat, said) and on to Tridentine high mass at 11.00

Those were the days !


Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 6:22pm BST

As a N.Z Anglican priest on holiday in the UK, I decided to attend the Parish Mass at one of my former haunts (as a member of the G.S.S.) in the City of Coventry, which was my birth-place. To my astonishment, this Church which could hardly hold the number of young people (as well as others) in its Anglo-Catholic heyday (1950's) was sparsely attended by a most over-60's F.i.F. congregation.

Despite some liturgical modifications, there was little in the worship to convey the sense of deep spirituality that I remembered from my youth. The choir consisted of 2 elderly females (where once there was a choir of men and boys), and 2 elderly male servers supplemented by 2 young women who were allowed to carry candles in the procession.

This spoke to me of a disappointing anti-climax to the supposedly vibrant constitution of the F.i.F. claim to the ascendancy in Anglo-Catholic worship in England. From conversations afterwards at the tea and coffee gathering, I happened to ask whether there was any sign of the acceptance of women as clergy within the parish. The Parish Priest immediately declared his allegiance to 'The Holy Father's' ruling on this issue, indicating that there was little chance of anyone in his parish who would approve of women bishops. Furthermore, he declared his intention of moving to Rome should such an eventuality take place.

I am deeply saddened that a once vibrant parish church - which used to be a cradle for would-be ordinands - should be reduced to such a state of defensiveness in its attitude against the prospect of women clergy in the Church. The priest even had the temerity to preach on the subject of common justice!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 11 August 2010 at 10:16pm BST

Yes, Father Ron, the picture you paint is indeed sad. But honesty and realism compel one to state that the same size of congregation is found in thousands of churches which do accept women priests. The reasons for the decline of the church are many.

Posted by: john on Thursday, 12 August 2010 at 8:57am BST

Fr. Ron: Sad story indeed, although not necessarily related to the 'FinF' ness of the parish - my old haunt in fact went the other way. In 1990 it had a congregation of about 5 every Sunday. After adopting FinF and Resolutions A, B, C, a new incumbent was appointed and grew it to a thriving family parish, with well over a hundred every Sunday, active Sunday School and many social and community outreach activities. It still thrives today under what you would no doubt see as the malevolent influence of the PEV +Richborough.

These things often have more to do with demographics (how many immigrants of other faiths now populate your Coventry neighborhood?) and the individual priest, as well as a general decline in church attendance.

On labeling, I thought I would invite everyone to lighten the mood and watch one of my favorite clips from one of my favorite shows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nxo0fS2VMM

Posted by: Clive on Thursday, 12 August 2010 at 8:41pm BST

And the liberal congregations are even smaller... Ron should visit the tiny liberal congregations in his own Anglican diocese and contrast them to the overflowing evangelical ones.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Friday, 13 August 2010 at 8:29am BST

Do numbers matter that much, when we recall that Jesus is reported to have remarked,

"Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 13 August 2010 at 4:35pm BST

The numbers game is a stupid diversion. There are thriving FiF parishes, thriving evangelical parishes, thriving liberal broad church parishes and thriving affirming catholic parishes. And there are declining FiF parishes, declining evangelical parishes, declining liberal broad church parishes and declining affirming catholic parishes.

Ecclesio-theological party affiliation is a p*$$ poor predictor of parish health.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Saturday, 14 August 2010 at 6:51am BST

None of the so called thriving FIF congregations have anything like the thriving evangelical congregations. Indeed some FIF congregations are in fact low Church evangelical!

FiF is on average an elderly, declining but well organised group. I have to admire their New Directions magazine and the way they present themselves. I hope we get the best of them.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 14 August 2010 at 2:38pm BST

I've been on holiday, so come late to this - but I would want to note that 'an honoured place' within the Church of England is different from 'a separate Church' "within" the Church of England. It seems to me that there are some for whom only a separate Church would appear to suffice.

To those who are opposed to the ordination of women, I would ask - what makes you part of the same church as the rest of us, and the women whose ordination we celebrate and rejoice in, and who lead us in the celebration of the sacraments?

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Saturday, 14 August 2010 at 8:17pm BST

Mark, How about, "I was baptised into this church and when I was baptised into this church it still believed the same tradition that had been handed down for centuries; the apostles were male and hence, apostolic succession is male.
One of our deaconesses got in a rather heated discussion about WO with an elderly member of the parish and tried to use the baptismal covenant to prove her point. His answer was that it wasn't the baptismal covenant he became a member of the church under. The "hippies" were doing whatever they wanted and changing the rules they didn't like after the fact. And since the first women priests in America were ordained "irregularly," he's technically right at least about this argument.
People like him would ask, what makes these women "priests" a part of the church that they were born and raised in? Why can a bunch of anarchists force "priestesses" on people?

Posted by: Chris H. on Sunday, 15 August 2010 at 4:55am BST

Chris H:

I would answer that person: The church you were baptized into and brought up in has and has had for all that time a process of discernment--meetings in general convention (or synod, depending on the province), at which matters are voted upon by elected representatives of every diocese. Through this process, the church--as a whole and in keeping with its canon law--has discerned that women can and should be priests. It also--many years ago--changed the words (if not the meaning) of the baptismal covenant. If you are truly a loyal member of this church, you accept the discernment process and its results.

If you cannot accept them, then the door is always open...for you to leave and, hopefully, return. You do not get to pick and choose which discernments you will accept and which you will reject--any more than you get to pick and choose which secular laws you will obey and which you will not.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Sunday, 15 August 2010 at 11:33am BST

Chris, my answer would be the same as Pat's. If one can no longer accept the Holy Spirit's direction of one's particular Church family, it may be time to say goodbye - and move on to something more palatable to one's own taste. The other alternative would be to believe that God is 'doing a new thing'.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 18 August 2010 at 11:46pm BST
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