Tuesday, 28 September 2010

WATCH comments on SSWSH

See earlier announcement of the formation of a religious society here.

WATCH Press Statement

The Paradox of the Proposed Missionary Society of St Wilfred and St Hilda

It seems curious if not paradoxical that in proposing to form a Society for those who will not accept women bishops, the bishops concerned should choose St Hilda of Whitby as one of their patron Saints. As Abbess of a double monastery, with men and women “under her direction” (Bede), kings and bishops came to her for guidance and advice. Hilda of all people knew about discipline and loyalty to her church with her acceptance of the decision of the Synod of Whitby to follow the Roman rules and not the Celtic way which she had supported.

The “Society model” (which this proposal seems to embody), was discussed in depth by the Revision Committee when it looked at how best to provide for those who would not accept women as bishops. It was rejected because, ‘Crucially the majority of us came to believe that there was some risk of creating a society that was an even weightier body than a Diocese. This was because some of the representations made to us seemed to envisage that jurisdiction would in some way be conferred on the society itself and through it to its bishops… we therefore voted by 11 votes to 7 that we did not wish the draft Measure to be amended to give effect to a society model.’ (Report of the Revision Committee, page 22 paras 110, 115)

How sad that the example given by St Hilda in her obedience to a decision concerning the ordering of her church is ignored by those using her name, who are themselves unwilling to accept the decision made by the Revision Committee and endorsed by the General Synod.

The Revision Committee report (142 pages, as a .doc file) is available via this page.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 at 9:45pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

I couldn't help noticing that SSWSH invites being pronounced "Swish" - how appropriate for all those red-buttoned and braided cassocks with watered-silk cinctures being flicked out of the way of the unholy regiment of women!

Thank you WATCH - DO NOt surrender Hilda to this lot!

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 at 10:05pm BST

"Swish". You can't make this stuff up. The acronym is not as bad as FoCA, but it seems to me that little forethought was given to possible humorous spins on the acronym.

Posted by: Grandmère Mimi on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 at 11:27pm BST

Well done, WATCH.

Posted by: Lois Keen on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 12:44am BST

I put some similar thoughts on my blog and was told that St Wilfred championed the Roman Church, St Aidan the Celtic (and St Hilda was very close to St Aidan but she chaired the debate), the debate was at the Synod of Whitby and St Wilfred won.. So in the name it shows the Catholics beating the Celtics and the woman humbly submitting. No idea whether this answers the question :)

Posted by: Lesley Fellows on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 8:13am BST

Er, there seems to be no "I" in SSWSH which rather weakens Jeremy Pemberton's observation. Having consulted my invaluable Dictionary of Slang I note that one definition of swish refers to an effeminate homosexual man - another to the sound of a cane descending and, yet a third to a 1920s usage of a distainful ironic exclamation - "is that it" - "is that all"? Surely WATCH would not be so uncharitable as to link any of these definitions to the embryonic SSWSH?

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 8:15am BST

It was clear that such a society would be in the offing, given the Archbishop of Canterbury's comment at General Synod:

"The revision committee explicitly does not rule out (for example) the formation of a society or societies that will give more solidity to minority groups. There’s a recognition that a code will have to deal with this."

Also, please note that the Society is actually the Missionary Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda, so MSSWSH, not SSWSH. Jeremy Pemberton and Grandmere Mimi: your attempt to demean and belittle those you disagree with seems to have fallen rather flat, doesn't it?

Posted by: Fr James on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 9:06am BST

Let no treasure (patrimony?) be lost in the SOSWASH.

Posted by: David on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 9:39am BST

Er, Fr David, I didn't say it was spelt swish, just that the initials seemed to invite being pronounced that way. Which they do.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 11:19am BST

hello, I'm glad you think Sswish is a more user friendly acronym for this society. I shall be using it in a piece I am currently working on
@fatherdavid Society of St WIlfrid and St Hilda = SWISSH or you could have SSWASH..

Posted by: riazat butt on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 11:23am BST

". . one definition of swish refers to an effeminate homosexual man - another to the sound of a cane descending and, yet a third to a 1920s usage of a distainful ironic exclamation - "is that it" - "is that all"? Surely WATCH would not be so uncharitable as to link any of these definitions to the embryonic SSWSH?"

All three apply, so there's nothing "uncharitable" about it.

It's "disdainful," by the way.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 11:43am BST

St Hilda was not in charge of the male monks,and in any case the abbeys were under the jurisdiction of the local bishop.

Trying to make Newman a liberal and now St Hilda a feminist is mind boggling.

Both St Hilda and St Wilfrid were devoted children of the Apostolic See and helped the Celtic Christians to regain their obedience to the See of Rome.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 4:25pm BST

Fr James
The acronym they use themselves on their own website is SSWSH

having just had an encounter with one of the few anti-WO parishes in the Canadian church, I have little sympathy with the childishness they so often display

Posted by: Jim Pratt on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 9:08pm BST

"Swish and FLICK!" -Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Posted by: evensongjunkie on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 9:46pm BST

Oh dear, RIW, having dismissed these side issues in a previous thread, STILL hasn't read his Bede! Unless, of course, his edition has been produced by the society of Pius X and has all the references to AS life that they don't like expunged. I DO wish that people who didn't know their AS Church History would refrain from commenting on it!!!!

I believe that some of the privileges and rights enjoyed in the AS period by women didn't reappear on the Englisc statute books until the 1970's.

My last words on Bede! Promise!!

Posted by: Mynsterpreost (=david rowett) on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 10:14pm BST

Robert, you are constantly reverberating your myth about Saint Hilda not being in charge of male monks. for goodness sake, read some reliable history on the subject - The Venerable Bede, for instance. I think he would know much better than you do about the reality of Hilda's rule over her joint monastery. Repeating shibboleths doesn't make them true!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 11:55pm BST

"St Hilda was not in charge of the male monks..."

Source, please.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Thursday, 30 September 2010 at 12:17am BST

Yes - the addition of a vowel - preferably an "A" - rather than an "E" makes pronunciation much, much easier. Attending the recent Prayer Vigil in Hyde Park prior to the arrival of the Holy Father - Ms. Vordeman had to mildly castigate the young for cheekily shouting out at her appearance on the platform - "Consonant, please Carol" SSWASH - "the sound of washing or rising and falling" (OED). I shall not record how my Dictionary of Slang defines "swash-bucket"

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 30 September 2010 at 7:09am BST

I suppose we may soon be hearing about radical new appurtenances for the liturgical rites of the new SWASH Society - something that might go well with Benedict's little red pumps - Swash-Buckles!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 30 September 2010 at 10:57am BST

Apparently, Bill, his primary source is Butler's *Lives of the Saints*, widely regarded as one of the most reliable texts on actual historical events to be found.

You know, like *Left Behind* or *The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe*.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 1 October 2010 at 8:41am BST

Mark, thanks - I just saw his seemingly out of place comment about Butler's being a "primary source" on another thread.

RIW, is that really the source for your contention? Not meaning to encourage you in regarding it as authoritative or a primary source, but could you please quote the relevant passage? I'm curious to see what it says, and the only version I could find on line skipped right over Hilda.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Friday, 1 October 2010 at 9:42am BST

I wouldn’t want to suggest that Baring-Gould’s ‘Lives of the Saints’ is any more authoritative than Butler, but it does give a very different spin.
B-G says,
‘Nor did the royal abbess confine herself to the government of a numerous community of nuns. According to a usage then very general, but principally prevailing in the Celtic countries, a monastery was joined to the nunnery. And Hilda inspired the monks subject to her authority with so great a devotion to the rule, so true a love of sacred literature, so careful a study of the Scriptures, that this monastery, ruled by a woman, became a school of missionaries and bishops. Bosa of York, Hedda of Dorchester, Oftgar of Worcester, S. John of Beverley, Bishop of York, and Wilfred, the disturber of her declining days, issued from her nursery of great men.’
Interesting reference to Wilfred which he develops later on. he gives an account of the Synod of Whitby, and its acrimony. After the synod, Wilfred was ordained in France. B-G says,
‘The Northumbrians, though they observed the Decree of Whitby as to the celebrations of Easter, refused to have such a firebrand as Wilfred among them as bishop. There can be little doubt that this, to a great extent, was due to the advice of Saint Hilda, who, as long as she lived, never relaxed her opposition to Wilfred....his violence and pride made his presence intolerable, and S Theodore....divided his diocese into three...... It was done for the good of the Church, but it offended Wilfred’s pride. St Hilda, the abbess, and S Theodore, the archbishop, sent messengers to Rome to complain of Wilfred’s insolence.’
Now, Baring-Gould is an idiosyncratic, if entertaining writer. If even half of what he says is accurate, then the hostility, the bickering, the division of dioceses, the appeals to the Pope, and the acrimony are fair indicators of what the new SSWSH can bring to the Church of England.
Happy days!

Posted by: junius on Friday, 1 October 2010 at 11:52am BST

Junius - I think it was Oftfor of Winchester. Clearly B-G is not as reliable a source as Butler;-))

Posted by: Mynsterpreost (=david rowett) on Saturday, 2 October 2010 at 8:05pm BST

Angels and ministers of grace defend us! Apart from a few sensible, scholarly responses, I don't think that I've come across such childishly spiteful remarks with regard to those who genuinely wrestle with conscience for many a long year. And, yes, I do have a life in the real world, and I do get about quite a bit. If this is what the 'new' Church created by General Synod is going to be like, may God defend me from it!

Posted by: Fr. Peter on Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 5:24pm GMT
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