Thursday, 30 September 2010

more on SSWSH and the Ordinariate

Updated again late Friday evening

Riazat Butt at the Guardian published Divine dispatches: bonus edition.

This refers to an article in the Catholic Herald by Anna Arco Britain could have an Ordinariate by new year.

Some more opinions on this topic:

Fr Hunwicke’s Liturgical Notes The Society of SS Wilfrid and Hilda

Sevenoaks, St John the Baptist Of Ordinariates and Societies

The Anglo-Catholic SSWSH …. shhh! and What Is the End Game? and Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush…

The St Barnabas Blog We need answers…

Ancient Richborough Watch it! and Bishop Andrew hits the spot

According to The Tablet as reported here:

Two Anglican bishops opposed to women’s ordination have declared they will leave the Church of England to join the personal ordinariate to be established within the Catholic Church. Bishop Edwin Barnes, the retired Bishop of Richborough, told The Tablet he would join the ordinariate “because the Anglican Church is no longer the one holy and apostolic Church it says it is”. The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Andrew Burnham, said Pope Benedict XVI had made the offer “and I’ve decided to respond to it”.

And Damian Thompson has blogged twice about it, see here, and then also here.

The Bishop of Ebbsfleet’s October Pastoral Letter, published on the web back on 21 September is available here.

The Church Times has a report by Ed Thornton Traditionalists hope for big-society model, courtesy of St Hilda

And, there is now a later report at the Church Times Flying bishops: We’re not going yet.

Two Church of England bishops have denied reports they will resign to take up the Ordinariate before the end the year…

A further report in The Tablet by Abigail Frymann is headed Will they please make up their minds?

Last Friday a few hundred traditionalist Anglicans gathered in a charismatic church in London, a curious collection of dour-looking fellows who describe themselves with words like “pioneer” and “risk” – and heard that a breakaway group within the Church of England for clergy who don’t like the thought of women bishops was to be established. Somehow this is different from Forward in Faith, which already exists, and different again from the Ordinariate offered them by Pope Benedict XVI last autumn, which would require a leap into the Catholic Church. At first this seemed like a warm-up room for would-be leap-ers. Yet as soon as the new group, the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda, was announced, some senior traditionalists were nay-saying on their blogs that it wouldn’t and couldn’t work…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 30 September 2010 at 3:11pm BST | Comments (28) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 29 September 2010

more views of the Times interview

Updated Wednesday evening

Two American views:

BabyBlueOnline has reproduced a significant extract from the recent interview in The Times , linked it to remarks made during the Lambeth Conference in 2008, and added further commentary. Read all this at Rowan Williams tells The London Times: “It’s a question about a particular choice of life.”

… in this interview from The Times he articulates that he is not a political activist, he is the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is resisting the politicization of his office on this matter, instead taking the position that it is a matter of theology, not purely a matter of rights. He does not fall for the tactic of aligning women’s ordination with the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals since he states quite clearly, “the question about gay people is not about their dignity or the respect they deserve as gay people, it’s a question about a particular choice of life, a partnership, and what the Church has to say about that.” He does not agree that homosexuality is like another gender or race (as in the case of suffrage and civil rights), but that we all have choices about our behavior and as far as the church is concerned at this point, those choices have consequences in the matters of ordination and marriage…

Walking with Integrity has Integrity Leader Challenges Archbishop: “Enough, Double Talk”

…Maybe the Archbishop doesn’t actually think that gay (and lesbian, bisexual and transgender) people deserve respect, or that God really loves them. Or maybe, against mountains of scientific evidence, he thinks that people choose their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The most common way of making sense of the Archbishop’s argument, at least among the people who pay attention to Integrity, reflects rather badly on him as a moral leader. Perhaps he really has nothing in particular against gay (or lesbian, bisexual or transgender) people, but he simply doesn’t think that their freedom to live in loving, intimate, and committed relationships is as important as keeping the Anglican Communion together. Keeping the party going with its current guest list is the important thing, even if it means that some people need to be blocked by bouncers at the door…

And now more views from Changing Attitude in Gay bishops still don’t exist in the public domain (except in the USA)

“Gay bishops are all right by me, says Archbishop” was the front page headline in The Times on Saturday. More accurate but far less enticing might have been the line proposed in a comment on Thinking Anglicans - “Single, celibate, preferably virgin and never-once-promoted-gay-equality bishops are all right by me.”

…If there is no problem with a celibate gay person being a bishop, why are none of the 3 gay Primates in the Anglican Communion able to be open about their sexuality and why are none of the 10 to 13 gay bishops in the Church of England able to be publicly open? Some are married, some or single and celibate, some are not, all are closeted. The recently published survey estimated that 1.5% of the UK are gay or bisexual. Eight percent of Anglican Primates are gay and 10% of Church of England Bishops…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 at 8:22am BST | Comments (33) | TrackBack
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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 | Comments (23) | TrackBack
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Monday, 27 September 2010

Women in the episcopate draft legislation referred to dioceses

Updated 9 & 10 January 2011: links updated to refer to the new Church of England website.

The Church of England has announced today that the Women in the episcopate draft legislation has now been officially referred to dioceses. Here is the press release.

Women in the episcopate draft legislation referred to dioceses
27 September 2010

Dioceses have until Monday, 14 November, 2011, to debate and vote on draft legislation that would allow the consecration of women as bishops, according to documents published this week.

The four documents have been posted to Diocesan Secretaries and circulated to General Synod members, as well as being posted on the Church of England website. They are:

- a background note on the history of the legislative proposals;

- the text of the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and draft Amending Canon No 30;

- an explanatory memorandum relating to the draft Measure and draft Canon; and

- a procedural note together with a copy of the response form which diocesan secretaries need to send the Clerk to the Synod recording the diocesan decision by 5pm on Monday 14 November 2011.

The membership of a group established under the auspices of the House of Bishops to prepare the draft statutory code of practice will be announced shortly.

Article 8 of the Constitution of the General Synod provides that certain kinds of legislation may not receive the final approval of the General Synod unless they have first been approved by the majority of diocesan synods. Legislation to enable women to become bishops falls within the scope of Article 8 and hence this reference of the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and draft Amending Canon No 30 to dioceses.

There are actually five documents, which are linked from this page: Women in the Episcopate: Article 8 Reference, the text of which (with links) is copied below.

Article 8 of the Constitution of the General Synod provides that certain kinds of legislation may not receive the final approval of the General Synod unless they have first been approved by the majority of diocesan synods . Legislation to enable women to become bishops falls within the scope of Article 8, hence this reference of the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure and draft Amending Canon No 30 to dioceses.

Key documents

The Article 8 process is outlined and explained in a note from the Business Committee of the General Synod (GS Misc 964). The Business Committee has also circulated four other documents:

  • a background note on the history of the legislative proposals (A8(WE)BACKGROUND);
  • the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure (A8(WE)M);
  • the draft amending Canon 30 (A8(WE)AC); and
  • an explanatory memorandum relating to the draft measure and amending Canon (A8(WE)X).
Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 27 September 2010 at 5:40pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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responses to Rowan Williams interview

Updated again Tuesday evening

There have been a number of responses to the interview in The Times reported below.

Church Mouse as previously reported, here.

Changing Attitude TUCKED AWAY BEHIND THE PAY WALL
and
Yearning for change in the Anglican Communion - discrimination wrong, affirmation right

Benny’s Blog Archbishop’s empty words

Lesley’s blog Why can’t Rowan Williams be candid?
and
Splitting the church over homosexuality?

Significant Truths Archbishop asks to pass…
and
Won’t say, daren’t say

Anglican Mainstream Response to Archbishop of Canterbury’s Views on ‘Gay’ Bishops in The Times

Cranmer’s Curate ARCHBISHOP’S ‘PASS’ WAS SOLD BACK IN 1991

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Saturday, 25 September 2010

Rowan Williams interviewed in The Times

Updated again Monday evening

The Times has published a major interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Because this interview and several related articles are all behind a paywall, it makes no sense to link to them directly here.

However, there are other reports. The most useful so far comes from Episcopal Café which has summarised the material in Rowan Williams: “No problem” with celibate gay bishops.

Other British media reports:

BBC Archbishop Rowan Williams backs gay, celibate bishops

Guardian Rowan Williams backs gay bishops [this headline is obviously inaccurate]

Press Association Williams backs celibate gay bishops

Independent Archbishop supports celibate gay bishops

Telegraph Archbishop of Canterbury: Anglican Church has ‘no problem’ with gay bishops

Damian Thompson at the Telegraph Rowan Williams’s authority goes up in smoke as he replies ‘Pass’ to a question about future gay bishops

Updates

Ekklesia reports Archbishop of Canterbury fails to bridge gay row gap

Church Mouse has written about Rowan’s little communication problem.

…Mouse’s view is that Rowan has two possible reactions to this kind of question. The first is simply to stonewall. That would be Mouse’s advice. Simply respond, “the Church’s approach to this is well known and widely documented” then refuse to go further. This is rather boring for interviewers but doesn’t give them room to make up juicy headlines.

The other option is rather more high risk. That would be to say, “the Church’s line on this is well known and widely documented, but we all know that it is a dreadful fudge concocted to try to avoid total civil war in the Church. I hope to be able to move forward on that in due course.”

The benefit of this is that it avoids you sounding like you’re defending a pretty indefensible position, as the Church’s current line really is. It is inconsistent and illogical, but its what we’ve got. The second is that it puts Rowan on the front foot leading the debate. Of course, it is more high risk, as many within the Church would respond with their usual venom. However, the ultimate virtue of this position for Rowan Williams is that it is actually what he believes…

Update Monday

There is now an ENS report, ENGLAND: Archbishop says there’s ‘no problem’ with celibate gay bishops.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 5:40pm BST | Comments (85) | TrackBack
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opinion

Alan Wilson continues his BCP series in The Guardian with The Book of Common Prayer, part 5: The importance of evensong. “Evensong provides a peg on which to hang deeply personal reflections, most of them nothing to do with Christian doctrine.”

Chris Elliott, the readers’ editor of The Guardian, writes about his paper’s coverage of the pope’s visit and religion in general.

Julian Armitstead writes in The Guardian about Cardinal Newman: Oxford’s soon-sainted son. “The former CoE clergyman’s beatification can be cheered by local Anglicans too – he left a legacy to be proud of.”

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Observer’s book of beauty.

Tomorrow is Back to Church Sunday. Paul Handley marks the occasion with this article in The Guardian: Putting the pull into pulpit. “Do not underestimate the power of a good priest in getting people back to church.”

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 25 September 2010 at 10:36am BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Friday, 24 September 2010

South Carolina disputes clergy discipline canons

ENS carried a report on 16 September, SOUTH CAROLINA: Diocese proposes resolutions to ‘protect’ itself. The diocesan convention meets again on 15 October.

As Kendall Harmon explained it on 15 September:

At the Clergy Conference held at St. Paul’s, Summerville, on September 2, Mr. Alan Runyan, legal counsel for the Diocese, presented a report detailing revisions to the Title IV Canons of the Episcopal Church, which were approved at the 2009 General Convention. These Canons deal directly with issues of clergy discipline, both for priests and bishops. The impact of these changes is profound. It is our assessment that these changes contradict the Constitution of The Episcopal Church and make unacceptable changes in our polity, elevating the role of bishops, particularly the Presiding Bishop, and removing the duly elected Standing Committee of a Diocese from its current role in most of the disciplinary process. The changes also result in the removal of much of the due process and legal safeguards for accused clergy that are provided under the current Canons. For a detailed explanation of these concerns, members of the diocese are encouraged to review the paper co-authored by Mr. Runyan and found on the Anglican Communion Institute (ACI) website.

In response, the Standing Committee is offering five resolutions to address the concerns we have with these changes. View the resolutions. Each represents an essential element of how we protect the diocese from any attempt at un-Constitutional intrusions into our corporate life in South Carolina. In the coming weeks these resolutions, along with an explanation of the Title IV changes, will be discussed in the Deanery Convocations for delegates, as we prepare for Convention to reconvene on October 15th. By these resolutions, we will continue to stand for the Gospel in South Carolina and pursue our vision of “Making Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age.”

The proposed resolutions can be found here (PDF).

The detailed analysis of the canons to which objection is being taken is on the Anglican Communion Institute website, Title IV Revisions: Unmasked.

A group named Episcopal Forum of South Carolina issued a letter on 22 September, addressed to the House of Bishops and the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, titled The Alienation and Disassociation of the Diocese of South Carolina from The Episcopal Church. The text of that letter is here (PDF). It concludes:

“We wish to call to your attention the recent actions and inactions on the part of the diocesan leadership and leaders in parishes and missions within the Diocese of South Carolina, which we believe are accelerating the process of alienation and disassociation of the Diocese of South Carolina from The Episcopal Church.

In accordance with our Mission statement, we feel compelled to emphasize the importance of the issues that we include in our attached documents. Specifically, we enumerate issues that present grave concern to us, as Episcopalians in our Diocese, and we request that The Episcopal Church leadership investigate the situation in our Diocese.”

The Bishop of South Carolina, Mark Lawrence, has responded to this, see Bishop Lawrence Responds to Request for Investigation.

Yesterday a group within the Diocese known as the Episcopal Forum of South Carolina wrote to the House of Bishops and the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church urging them to investigate my actions as Bishop and the actions of our Standing Committee. They have cited seven concerns as the foundation for their request. While these are trying times for Episcopalians and there is much need for listening carefully to one another, I do not want to let these accusations stand or go without response. Perhaps in their anxiety they have done us all a favor—indeed, presenting me with a teachable moment for this diocese and, dare I hope to believe, for others as well who may have read their letter. I will strive to refrain from using ecclesiastical language (Episcopalianese) or unduly difficult theology. Unfortunately, due to the accusations, a certain amount of each is necessary. Nevertheless, I will tune my writing as well as I can for the person in the pew. I will proceed by first putting forth in italics the accusation. In most cases I will just use their language, then, give my response. This could be much longer, but there is little need to try your patience…

The first of two articles criticising the proposed resolutions, by Dr Joan Gunderson of Pittsburgh What the Diocese of South Carolina May Get Wrong is available here (PDF).

…I am truly surprised by the Anglican Communion Institute’s and the Diocese of South Carolina’s sudden negative reaction to the revised Title IV (ecclesiastical discipline) of the Episcopal Church canons. While I do not find the revision perfect and hesitated briefly before voting for them as a deputy at the 2009 General Convention, the time for protest is long past. In fact, these canons were developed over at least seven years in an open process that included posting of multiple drafts. The 2006 draft received numerous criticisms, but questions of constitutionality were not raised. In fact, conservative blogger Brad Drell republished (June 9, 2006), a set of comments made by Province I Chancellors after a careful study of the 2006 draft.

Constitutionality issues were raised neither by Drell nor the Province I Chancellors. General Convention listened to the many critics and, rather than pass the 2006 version sent the draft back to committee for further revision. The intent of the revision was to move away from an adversarial mode based on a courtroom trial model focused on uncovering truth and fostering reconciliation. Its closest model was the professional standards board. Driving the revision were concerns about dealing with sexual misconduct, not theological controversy…

And she concludes:

So why is there such a fuss now? Is it really the changes that worry South Carolina, or is it that some are looking for a wedge issue to drive South Carolina further from the rest of the Church and isolate it more? Were some of South Carolina’s leaders following a strategy based on evading one set of disciplinary canons only to find that the loopholes they had counted on were about to be closed? Were South Carolina leaders so asleep at the switch that for five years they didn’t notice a major revision of the canons until the deadline for implementation of the canons drew near? Whatever explanation you pick, it would seem the problem lies more within the Diocese of South Carolina than in Title IV.

Expect more on this story soon.

Update ENS now has a further report, SOUTH CAROLINA: Bishop says diocese engaged in ‘battle’ for Anglicanism’s soul.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 24 September 2010 at 10:29pm BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Ordinariate or Religious Society?

An announcement today about the formation of The Missionary Society of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda, which has a website here.

Anglican Catholic bishops have announced that in addition to the provision of an Ordinariate offered recently by Pope Benedict there is to be a new Society [of St Wilfrid and St Hilda] for bishops, clergy, religious and laity in order to provide a place within the Church of England where catholics can worship and minister with integrity without accepting innovations that further distance the Church of England from the greater churches of the East and West…

The press release describing it is reproduced in full below the fold.

Also, a news story in the Catholic Herald Britain could have an Ordinariate by new year.

Britain could have an Ordinariate by the end of the year, it emerged today.

Sources say that the Rt Rev Keith Newton, the flying bishop of Richborough and the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, the flying Bishop of Ebbsfleet will take up the special canonical structure, which allows groups of Anglicans to come into full Communion with Rome without losing their Anglican identity, before the end of the calendar year.

Groups of Anglicans are already forming across the country in preparation for joining an ordinariate, according to the blog of the retired Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Rev Edwin Barnes.

In his October pastoral letter, Bishop Burnham wrote that ordinariate groups would likely be small congregations of thirty or so people…

NEWS RELEASE
FROM: ANGLICAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS
Friday 24th September 2010
For Immediate Use
www.sswsh.com

Anglican Catholics Rally to protect and preserve Anglican tradition.
-New Society is announced to refocus ministry & mission

Anglican Catholic bishops have announced that in addition to the provision of an Ordinariate offered recently by Pope Benedict there is to be a new Society [of St Wilfrid and St Hilda] for bishops, clergy, religious and laity in order to provide a place within the Church of England where catholics can worship and minister with integrity without accepting innovations that further distance the Church of England from the greater churches of the East and West.

At two upbeat gatherings this week of over 600 clergy and religious from the northern and southern provinces of the Church of England, there was unanimous condemnation of proposed legislation to allow the ordination of women as bishops that will soon go to the dioceses for discussion, debate and approval.

The unveiling of The Missionary Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda reflects a determination not to accept a Code of Practice as currently suggested by the General Synod but to work for and create a more realistic approach which allows the integrity of those who cannot accept this innovation to be preserved, to flourish and grow within the Church of England. This development represents a constructive initiative on the part of those who cannot accept the innovations proposed in legislation and who are hurt and frustrated by the General Synod’s inability to provide for their theological position.

The Society has been named after two English saints with a passion for the unity of the church and is expected to attract thousands of members. It was quite clear during the gatherings that many wish to remain loyal to the comprehensive nature (within the confines) of the Church of England despite the legislation and are unlikely to join the Ordinariate at least in the foreseeable future.

As with the Ordinariate further details about the Society and its life will emerge in the comings months. In the meantime a group has been asked to do some theological reflection about the identity of the Society, its common life and the way it might have the potential for ecumenical dialogue directed towards the goal of full visible communion with the rest of the Church catholic, both Eastern and Western.

The meetings were called by catholic bishops to allow those with concerns about the future to consult together. The gatherings were united in their concern about the disastrous implications the proposals will have for the cause of Christian unity with the Church both East and West and for the genuine comprehensiveness of the Church of England should the legislation pass. However it was clear that participants at the conferences are likely to take divergent paths in the future. But all are committed to a “parting of friends” and the maintaining of the closest possible relationship.

The Bishop of Plymouth, John Ford, on behalf of the Catholic bishops, said today: “It was greeted with utter incredulity that this debate should be allowed without any clarity concerning the promised provision for those unable to accept this innovation.

In the meantime a group has been asked to do some theological reflection about the identity of the Society, its common life and the way it might have the potential for ecumenical dialogue directed towards the goal of full visible communion with the rest of the Church catholic, both Eastern and Western.

This development represents a constructive initiative on the part of those who cannot accept the innovations proposed in legislation and who are hurt and frustrated by the General Synod’s inability to provide for their theological position.

The Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, published on 4th November 2009, was positively commended to the Sacred Synod of Anglican priests from the Southern Province, meeting at Westminster on 24th September, 2010. The Apostolic Constitution offers Anglo Catholics the way to full communion with the Catholic Church for which they have worked and prayed for at least a century and it is a way in which they will be ‘united and not absorbed’. Pope Benedict spoke warmly about the Apostolic Constitution when he addressed a meeting of Catholic bishops at Oscott College, on 19th September 2010, during his recent State Visit to the United Kingdom. He set the offer firmly within the developing ecumenical dialogue when he described it as ‘a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics’. This, then, is an exciting initiative for those for whom the vision of ARCIC of corporate union has shaped their thinking over recent years.

The crucial issue is the ministry of the Pope himself, as the successor of St Peter. Anglicans who accept that ministry as it is presently exercised will want to respond warmly to the Apostolic Constitution. Those who do not accept the ministry of the Pope or would want to see that ministry in different ways will not feel able to accept Anglicanorum Coetibus. The decision to respond to the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution is not dependent on the decisions of the General Synod or on any particular issue of church order. The initiative should be judged on its own merit. It will require courage, and vision on the part of those who accept the invitation, particularly amongst the first to respond. Although there are few practical details at present in the public forum, discussions have already been taking place as to how the vision of the Apostolic Constitution can be implemented. It is expected that the first groups will be small congregations, energetically committed to mission and evangelism and serving the neighbourhood in which they are set.

Notes for Editors:

www.sswsh.com

Bishop John Ford, Bishop of Plymouth 01752 769836 office; 07917191938 mobile

The Ordinariate:
A personal ordinariate is an intended canonical structure within the Roman Catholic Church enabling former Anglicans to maintain some degree of corporate identity and autonomy with regard to the bishops of the geographical dioceses of the Catholic Church and to preserve elements of their distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. Its precise nature is described in the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus of 4 November 2009 and in the complementary norms of the same date.

The new structure is intended to integrate these groups into the life of the Catholic Church in such a way as “to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared”.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 24 September 2010 at 6:38pm BST | Comments (44) | TrackBack
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General Synod elections

Voting for the Church of England General Synod has started. Voting closes on or about Friday 8 October. The exact date varies from diocese to diocese, so if you are a voter who leaves things to the last minute be sure to check the closing date in your diocese.

All candidates are entitled to have an election address sent to each elector at the diocese’s expense. Some of these addresses are available online, and the General Synod Blog has published this list: Online Election General Synod Addresses/Statements. If you know of any more do add it as a comment to that list.

I have prepared a list showing the number of candidates in each constituency, where I know them, and in due course I will publish the names of successful candidates.
Candidates for the 2010 Election
General Synod List of members
If you have any updates and/or corrections to either of these lists please send them to the email address given at the head of each list.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 24 September 2010 at 10:20am BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Australia and the Covenant

Updated again Friday evening

The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia is meeting in Melbourne. The Synod debated the proposed Anglican Covenant yesterday (Monday) and agreed to send it to the 23 Australian dioceses for comment. A decision on whether or not to adopt the covenant will then be taken at the next meeting of the Synod, which will be in 2013.

There is a report by Mark Brolly at Anglican Media Melbourne Covenant to be debated for three years - Australian Anglicans.

There is also an official press release, which is copied below the fold.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports this as Anglicans try to resolve issue of gays.

Updates

Barney Zwartz at The Age writes Debate on gays brings world debate home.

The Sydney Morning Herald carries an interview with Archbishop Peter Jensen, see Church needs new vision, says Jensen.

Andrew McGowan has written a reflection on the synod, see The Grammar of Fragility: After Australia’s General Synod 2010.

Anglican Church of Australia General Synod
Media Release
20 September 2010

Australian Anglicans back nationwide debate on Covenant

Australian Anglicans today agreed to an Australia-wide process for considering an international covenant designed to enhance the unity of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The Anglican Church of Australia‟s General Synod agreed to ask all 23 dioceses to consider whether to back the Anglican Communion Covenant which aims to clarify how national members relate.

The Covenant – which is endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams – arose out of differences within in the Church in different parts of the world over human sexuality.

The decision by the Anglican Church of Australia came after Bishop Andrew Curnow of Bendigo told the Church‟s supreme decision making body in Melbourne that the Church was “at a crossroad”.

Bishop Curnow asked: “Are we just going to be a series of local autonomous churches that share a common history, or are we going to be a Church that is prepared to struggle with difference but be committed to the mission that Christ has called us to?”

“We need an Anglican Covenant to understand who we are as Anglicans,” he said. “We need an Anglican Covenant to understand what we have in common and how in the future we can work together as a communion of churches.”

Adelaide Archbishop Jeffrey Driver, who proposed the national debate, emphasised that General Synod was not being asked to accept or reject the Covenant but to initiate “a process of debate and discernment” throughout the Church in Australia.

“We owe the Dioceses of our Church the opportunity to give the Covenant careful and prayerful consideration and for us to be in a position to take their counsel seriously,” he said.

Bishop Garry Weatherill of the South Australian Diocese of Willochra said he felt “incredibly ambivalent about the Covenant”.

“I believe the Covenant as we have it now is too little, too late, too tricky and too simplistic but not simple,” he said.

Sydney priest and academic, the Revd Dr Peter Bolt, urged the Synod to reject the motion calling for a national debate saying many people around the world had already rejected the Covenant.

All Australian Dioceses are expected to comment on the Covenant by December 2012 in time for the next meeting of the Anglican Church of Australia‟s national parliament in 2013.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 21 September 2010 at 10:42am BST | Comments (27) | TrackBack
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Colorado Springs: confused reports

Updated Thursday morning

The case of Don Armstrong former rector of Grace Church in Colorado Springs, now a priest in CANA, is back in the news.

Episcopal Café has two recent articles which contain links to pretty much all the reports of the previous few days (see also in the comments).
Armstrong pleads no contest
Speaking of diminishing Christian witness…

The latest newspaper report at the time of writing this is in the Denver Post.
Priest and Pueblo attorney general interpret plea agreement in different ways

The Rev. Don Armstrong, who founded St. George’s Anglican Church after he and his congregation lost the battle for the Grace Church building in Colorado Springs, called the disposition Friday of his criminal theft case “divine intervention.”

Pueblo District Attorney Bill Thiebaut, whose office provided a special prosecutor, called the disposition “just.” And the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, which last year took back Grace Church in civil court from Armstrong after he became an Anglican priest, said the end of the criminal case would bring “healing to all those harmed by Armstrong’s actions.”

Yet reports and interpretation of the plea deal have created confusion…

Update

Episcopal Café has a further report, Truth and clarity about Armstrong’s plea agreement which includes a link to the full text of the plea agreement (PDF) and statements from the Episcopal parish and the diocesan Chancellor.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 21 September 2010 at 9:50am BST | Comments (49) | TrackBack
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Papal visit: later Anglican angles

The Pope did mention Anglicanorum Coetibus in his remarks to the Roman Catholic bishops at Oscott on Sunday. He said this:

…The other matter I touched upon in February with the Bishops of England and Wales, when I asked you to be generous in implementing the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. This should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute postitively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all. Let us continue to pray and work unceasingly in order to hasten the joyful day when the goal can be accomplished.

Last Friday, the Archbishop of Canterbury gave an interview to Vatican Radio. You can read the full transcript of that at Vatican Radio Interview Archbishop after Evening Prayer with Pope Benedict XVI in Westminster Abbey.

The Tablet reported some reactions of Anglican bishops to the visit, see Anglican bishops encouraged by papal visit.

Volumes of articles have been published about John Henry Newman in the past few days, but here are just two items:

Guardian Stephen Bates John Henry Newman: An unlikely candidate for sainthood?

New York Review of Books Garry Wills Stealing Newman

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 21 September 2010 at 9:17am BST | Comments (15) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 18 September 2010

A Vatican astronomer and aliens

Guy Consolmagno, SJ, who is an astronomer at the Vatican Onservatory, is visiting Britain to speak at the British Science Festival today (Saturday). He spoke to the press beforehand.

Alok Jha in The Guardian: Pope’s astronomer says he would baptise an alien if it asked him.

Richard Alleyne in the Telegraph: Pope Benedict XVI’s astronomer: the Catholic Church welcomes aliens.

James Dacey on the Institute of Physics blog: Pope’s astronomer hits the bar.

Vicky Davidson in The Big issue in Scotland: God’s Astronomer.

Clive Cookson in the Financial Times: Pope’s astronomer would welcome alien life.

John von Radowitz in The Sydney Morning Herald Smart aliens ‘would be God’s children’.

David Derbyshire in the Mail Online: I’d love to baptise ET, says Vatican’s stargazer.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 18 September 2010 at 11:19am BST | Comments (55) | TrackBack
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opinion

Doug Chaplin asks on his Clayboy blog: Can you help me with this strange G-d orthography?

Alan Wilson continues his series on the BCP in The Guardian with The Book of Common Prayer, part 4: In the midst of life. “The robust and unsentimental realism of the BCP funeral service is better than modern sanitised sentimentality.”

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times Ground the debate in worship.

Roderick Strange writes in The Tablet about Newman’s diffident holiness.
Stephen Bates writes in The Guardian about John Henry Newman: An unlikely candidate for sainthood? “Victorian academic who will be beatified by Benedict this Sunday was a troubled and conflicted character.”
Also in The Guardian Eamon Duffy writes that Newman offers church a candle in the dark. “Everything about modern Anglicanism bears the marks of Cardinal Newman’s teaching.”

Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian: Pope’s visit: Moral absolutes and crumbling empires. “Rebellion against the pope was the foundational act of English power yet now the pope stands in Westminster Hall.”

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 18 September 2010 at 10:45am BST | Comments (8) | TrackBack
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Friday, 17 September 2010

Papal visit: Church Times reports

Ed Beavan Pope and Dr Williams find accord at Lambeth Palace

Paul Handley in Westminster Hall Religion is not ‘a problem to be solved’, says Benedict

Text of Pope’s address in Westminster Hall

Ed Thornton Dr Williams embraces Pope in Westminster Peace

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Papal visit: Westminster Abbey

A Service of Evening Prayer in the presence of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and His Grace The Archbishop of Canterbury.

Documents:

Press Release

Order of Service (PDF)

Archbishop of Canterbury’s remarks here

Pope’s remarks here

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Papal visit: Lambeth Palace

The Pope visited Lambeth Palace and addressed a joint meeting of diocesan bishops from the Church of England and the RC Church in England & Wales.

Documents:

PDF file of the proceedings

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s remarks (start below the press release) are at The Fraternal Visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Archbishop Rowan Williams.

The Pope’s remarks are here (very strangely, the Vatican website has relocated Lambeth Palace to the London Borough of Richmond).

The Joint Communique issued immediately after the event is below the fold.

JOINT COMMUNIQUÉ CONCERNING THE MEETING BETWEEN THE HOLY FATHER AND THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

Friday 17 September, Lambeth Palace

Fifty years after the first meeting of a Pope and an Archbishop of Canterbury in modern times – that of Pope John XXIII and Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher, in December 1960 – Pope Benedict XVI paid a fraternal visit to Archbishop Rowan Williams.

In the first part of their meeting they both addressed the Anglican and Roman Catholic Diocesan Bishops of England, Scotland and Wales, in the Great Hall of the Archbishop’s Library, before moving to a private meeting.

In the course of their private conversation, they addressed many of the issues of mutual concern to Anglicans and Roman Catholics. They affirmed the need to proclaim the Gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ, both in a reasoned and convincing way in the contemporary context of profound cultural and social transformation, and in lives of holiness and transparency to God. They agreed on the importance of improving ecumenical relations and continuing theological dialogue in the face of new challenges to unity from within the Christian community and beyond it.

The Holy Father and the Archbishop reaffirmed the importance of continuing theological dialogue on the notion of the Church as communion, local and universal, and the implications of this concept for the discernment of ethical teaching.

They reflected together on the serious and difficult situation of Christians in the Middle East, and called upon all Christians to pray for their brothers and sisters and support their continued peaceful witness in the Holy Land. In the light of their recent public interventions, they also discussed the need to promote a courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace, especially the needs of the poor, urging international leadership to fight hunger and disease.

Following their meeting they travelled together to the Palace of Westminster and to Evening Prayer at Westminster Abbey.

ENDS

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 17 September 2010 at 6:12pm BST | Comments (6) | TrackBack
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Baroness Varsi speaks to Anglican bishops

The Conservative Party has published the full text of the address that Baroness Varsi gave to the College of Bishops on Wednesday. (Some Scottish, Welsh, and Irish bishops were also present.)

Read it all at Sayeeda Warsi: The importance of faith to life in Britain.

There has been a lot of media coverage of this, and follow-up appearances by Lady Varsi on various television news programmes.

Bishop Nick Baines who was present at the speech, has commented on his blog, see Kasper, Warsi & Wei.

Ekklesia has a report of the BBC Newsnight coverage, see Churches should not misuse public service ethos, says bishop.

And today, the Tablet has an article by David Cameron Place of faith in British life.

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Thursday, 16 September 2010

Papal visit: more Anglican angles

Giles Fraser spoke on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme today about Anglican reactions to the Pope’s visit to Britain. For the next few days you can hear what he said at Fraser: Anglicans ‘not anti-Pope’.

Kelvin Holdsworth was critical of some of the Pope’s remarks at Holyrood Palace this morning. See Where to find a place to stand?. Earlier he had written What to say to the Pope, which includes a link to the mural displayed outside St John’s Episcopal Church in Edinburgh, which was on the papal route today.

Abigail Frymann has written at the Tablet Blog The Vatican needs a few English lessons. After dealing with the Kasper gaffe, she writes:

What will Benedict say about Anglicans while he is here? Will his affection and respect for Dr Rowan Williams endear him to the troublesome Anglicans who, 500 years after running off with the family silver have opened the door to women priests, supplied the Catholic Church with married priests and seem to take a far fuzzier line on gay issues than does the Vatican? Will he reiterate his invitation for them to join Rome en masse? At best, using carefully chosen words, Pope Benedict could praise what the Vatican calls “Anglican patrimony”. In his homily at Newman’s beatification, or his meeting with the Queen or with Dr Williams and the other Anglican bishops, he could recognise the good the Church of England does, the initiatives for growth it has successfully pioneered, and the parity of its struggles with those of the Catholic Church. At worst, if there is an awkward moment behind closed doors, a subtle criticism, an unfortunate choice of words, between guest and host, let’s hope both Benedict and Koch grasp the use of the line, “More tea, vicar?”

Catherine Pepinster has written at Cif belief Cardinal Kasper take note: the Catholic church in Britain is full of immigrants. This includes the following observation:

…Kasper, like Benedict, is also deeply concerned about the Church of England and fears that it is on the point of schism over women bishops and gay priests. And while people might assume that Rome is keen for that schism if it means hundreds of Anglicans cross the Tiber and become part of what is called an “ordinariate” – a special grouping of Anglicans within the Roman Catholic church – if you talk to people at the pontifical council in Rome and, indeed, to the Catholic hierarchy here in Britain, they want the established church here to be strong…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 11:25pm BST | Comments (10) | TrackBack
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African bishops conference: funding

The Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa has made the following announcement:

CLARIFICATION FROM CAPA SECRETARIAT

This is to follow up the need for clarification on the grant that CAPA received from Trinity in regard to the All Africa Bishops Conference organized by CAPA and hosted by the Church of Uganda (COU). The Church of Uganda was not happy that it was associated with this grant. This is to certify that the Church of Uganda was not the recipient of this grant. The Church of Uganda because of the ongoing disagreement on the doctrinal issues with the Anglican Communion severed its partnership with TEC and its related organs. CAPA Secretariat respects the position of the Church of Uganda with integrity and it is in this spirit that an apology was made to COU. Within the CAPA family however there are Provinces who have continued to partner with TEC and its related agencies in development programs despite their disapproval of TEC’s actions. The CAPA secretariat has the obligation to work and accompany all the member Provinces. In this regard the grant partly made it possible for those bishops from financially challenged dioceses to travel to the conference.

H/T to Episcopal Café which also has links to the background materials here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 1:00pm BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Cardinal Kasper dropped from Papal entourage

Cardinal Walter Kasper, the former head of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, is well known to Anglicans. But today he appears to have committed a blunder. But what exactly did he really say?

Press reports:

Guardian Pope’s visit: aide steps aside after comparing Britain to ‘third world’ and later, Pope Benedict XVI flies in amid row over aide’s race remarks

Telegraph Pope visit: Cardinal drops out after calling UK ‘Third World’

Comment:

Andrew Brown Cardinal Kasper reveals the Vatican’s true beliefs

Catholic Voices has Bishops’ conference distants itself from Cardinal Kasper remarks

“The attributed comments of Cardinal Kasper do not represent the views of the Vatican, nor those of bishops in this country. Clearly, they are the personal views of one individual. Catholics play a full part in this country’s life and welcome the rich diversity of thought, culture and people which is so evident here. This historic visit marks a further development of the good relationship between the United Kingdom and the Holy See. We are confident that it will be a huge success.”

Catholic News Service quotes Fr Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, at length, in Church spokesmen downplay German cardinal’s remarks about Britain

At the Vatican, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the papal spokesman, also issued a statement to clarify the cardinal’s comments, which he said “have no negative intention and do not reflect any lack of appreciation for the United Kingdom.”

He said the cardinal “wanted to refer to the fact that from the moment of one’s arrival at London’s airport — as happens in many great cities of the world today, but in London in particular for its unique historic role as capital of the United Kingdom — one is aware from the very beginning that one finds oneself in a country in which many human realities from diverse origins and conditions arrive and encounter each other: a cosmopolitan reality, a crucible of modern humanity, with its differences and its problems.”

Father Lombardi added: “As far as the reference to atheism, he was referring evidently to the positions of some noted authors who are particularly aggressive and who cover themselves with scientific or cultural arguments, but which in reality don’t have the value that they claim. This doesn’t mean, naturally, that Cardinal Kasper is unaware that these positions and trends are limited, or that he does not recognize the great values of the British culture.”

The closest I have found so far to an actual quote from the article, in German, is below the fold. From this page.

In dem Interview in der aktuellen Ausgabe des FOCUS Kasper hatte auf die Frage, warum so viele über den Papst Unmute Brite äußerten, geantwortet “ist heute ein säkularisiertes England, pluralistisches Land. Wenn Sie am Flughafen Heathrow landen, denken Sie manchmal, Sie wären in einem Land der Dritten Welt gelandet.” Kasper bejahte außerdem die Frage, ob Christen im Königreich benachteiligt würden, und erläuterte: “Vor allem in England ist ein aggressiver Neu-Atheismus verbreitet. Wenn Sie am Flughafen Heathrow landen, manchmal denken Sie, Sie waren in einem Land der Dritten Welt gelandet. “Kasper bejahte außerdem die Frage, ob im Königreich Christen benachteiligt würden, und erläuterte:” Vor allem in England ist ein Neu-Atheismus aggressive verbreitet . Wenn Sie etwa bei British Airways ein Kreuz tragen, werden Sie benachteiligt. Wenn Sie ein etwa bei British Airways Kreuz tragen, werden Sie benachteiligt. Wir wollen aber unseren Glauben öffentlich zeigen. Wir wollen unsere Glauben aber öffentlich zeigen. Jeder, der England kennt, weiß, dass es dort auch eine große christliche Tradition gibt. Jeder, der England kennt, weiß, dass dort auch eine große is christliche Tradition gibt. Europa wäre nicht mehr Europa, wenn es diese Tradition nicht bewahren könnte.” Wäre nicht mehr Europa Europa, wenn nicht Tradition is give bewahren könnte. “

Kasper bezog sich damit auf einen vier Jahre alten Fall einer Angestellten von “British Airways”, der untersagt worden war, während der Arbeit eine Halskette mit Kreuz über ihrer Uniform und damit für Kunden sichtbar zu tragen. Kasper sich damit auf einen bezog vier Jahre alten Angestellten Fall von einer “British Airways”, der untersagt worden war, während der Arbeit über eine Halskette Kreuz mit ihrer Uniform und damit für Kunden zu tragen Sichtbar. Der Fall war seinerzeit auch in Großbritannien kontrovers diskutiert worden. Der Fall war auch in Großbritannien kontrovers seinerzeit diskutiert worden.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 11:09pm BST | Comments (42) | TrackBack
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Monday, 13 September 2010

some Anglican views of the Papal visit

Christopher Hill, who is Bishop of Guildford and chairman of the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity, wrote in the Sunday Telegraph Pope visit: Anglicans and Catholics can share a mission.

…My hopes as an Anglican bishop are twofold. Pope Benedict is a formidable philosopher and theologian. He has spent much of his ministry analysing the ebb-tide of faith in modern Europe. This is also a matter Archbishop Rowan Williams has devoted much attention to.

Instead of slogans on buses pressing an atheist cause, or the reverse, I hope the visit will promote real dialogue between those of faith, those in doubt and those who deny.

Secondly, Pope Benedict will meet his bishops and the Church of England bishops at Lambeth Palace. Anglican and Catholic bishops regularly meet but doing so with the Bishop of Rome will, I believe, reinforce and further encourage our common mission. Differences will remain but what we have in common far outweighs them.

At the grass-roots level, SueM blogged about Protest, prejudice - and the Pope.

I am looking forward to the Pope’s visit to the UK. For a start I am interested to see what reactions it will actually evoke among the British people and in the media. I am expecting to see hostility, appreciation and indifference, but I am not sure which of these reactions will predominate. Another thing that I am looking forward to is the variety of programmes, news articles and radio discussions focusing on the Papal visit. I think that some of these may serve to raise some interesting questions, not only about the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church, but also about the changing role and nature of religion in British society and the huge shift we have seen in attitudes to religious faith and institutionalised religion.

I understand the reasons why many people object to the attitudes and approach of the Roman Catholic (and Anglican) church…

I am hoping the level of coverage (and even protest) that we see will be proportionate, sensible and balanced. I do expect that we will see some excellent and challenging debate; I hope we will not see too much anti Catholic prejudice, disrespect or ignorance, but I won’t be surprised if we do!

Church Mouse writing in An Anglican response to the Papal visit offers four principles for Anglicans:

1. Despite some theological differences, we should treat the Roman Catholic church as our brothers and sisters in Christ, and as such we should share the experience of the visit with them in the spirit of Christian unity.

2. We should not seek to “take sides” in any of the Catholic debates on reforms of the Church. It would be unhelpful to all within the Catholic Church if one side was seen to be ‘backed’ by sections of the Church of England, not to mention hypocritical on our part, given the divisions in our own Church.

3. We should defend the Catholic Church and the Pope from the more extreme anti-Christian attacks on him, which are in reality attacks on all Christians. Bishop Christopher Hill explained that “Today’s opposition focuses on Pope Benedict, gaining some support in the light of the terrible cases of clerical abuse, but intellectually it represents an attack on all Christians, indeed on faith.” Mouse reckons that is true to a large extent, as the most viscous attacks are not based on reason and logic, but on hatred.

4. We should use the opportunity afforded by the visit to move discussion of the Ordinariate from behind closed doors to out in the open. Mouse’s guess is that there are very few people who will be leaving the Church of England under the scheme, but to have the threat held beneath the surface is damaging to the church.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 10:01am BST | Comments (26) | TrackBack
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Five Minutes with the Pope

The Tablet www.thetablet.co.uk has had a series of articles in recent weeks under this title, in which a wide range of people have written about what they would say to the Pope in a short one-on-one meeting. Here we reproduce, with the editor’s permission, two of them.

‘I would like to wash your feet, but not before I have stood up first’

In her imaginary private audience with Pope Benedict, Lucy Winkett, a senior Anglican priest, tackles the subject of the ordination of women in the Church of England head on.

I am aware that you believe my ordination is a serious barrier between us, but I hope we could discuss what unites us in wanting to live an apostolic life. I want to learn from you what you would say are the characteristics and hallmarks of that life. For myself, it’s Christ’s actions at the Last Supper – and if I could, I would love to discuss this with you.

How do you interpret the tradition that Jesus took the bread first eaten by slaves on the run in the Passover story and identified himself so closely with them that he became this bread? The cup is the cup of suffering that he asked to be passed from him, the cup that he offered to James and John when they vied for seats of honour in heaven. One of the aspects that moves me about that evening was that Jesus knelt and washed his disciples’ feet, but not before his own feet had been washed and anointed by the woman from the city. When Christ stood up in the synagogue at Nazareth and read from Isaiah, he was echoing the song of Mary in her Magnificat and, as such, he showed himself to be highly responsive to the example and ministry of women. He was not only his Father’s son, he was his mother’s son too. In this spirit, I would like to find a way to wash your feet, but not before I have stood up first.

Women’s apostolic path is, in this way, different from men’s. Women have to find a way to live a redeemed humility, not a humility based on the nature of a victim or a doormat. Social expectations, particularly within the family, mean that women’s default mode of relating is of self-sacrifice. This is a noble way to live but only if it is chosen, not enforced.

Women’s path to salvation is one that involves standing before we kneel, learning to accept ourselves and delight, as does Holy Wisdom, in the nature of human beings, before choosing to serve others as a sacrifice freely given.

I am not going to try to tell you what it’s actually like to be a woman and a priest, or about the nature of the calling I believe with all my heart I am following, unless you want to know. These personal experiences are vital but they pale before the fundamental truth that God in Christ is taken, blessed, broken and given for the life of a suffering world. Women, half of humanity, take their place alongside men in being a sign and symbol of the risen Christ at the altar when we celebrate the Eucharist. When I celebrate the Eucharist, I am not taking part in a re-enactment of an action by Jesus of Nazareth. I am being caught up in the eschatological foretaste of the heavenly banquet.

The ontological difference in gender between me and Jesus of Nazareth, just as fundamental as the differences ethnically between Gentile men and Jesus the Jew, are not material. It is our common humanity, not our gender differences, that define and dignify our attempts to live such an apostolic life.

I regret deeply that we are not united, but the truth is that, with or without your permission, as a woman and a fellow human being, I walk respectfully with you as a disciple of Jesus Christ and a priest in God’s universal Church.

  • The Revd Canon Lucy Winkett is rector of St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London.

‘Churchmen aren’t at all happy to see gay couples happy’

If you had a one-to-one meeting with the Pope, what would you talk to him about? In the third of our series, the church historian Diarmaid MacCulloch tackles His Holiness on homosexuality and Catholicism.

Given my five minutes with Pope Benedict, I would ask him if he’s ever spent any time with a gay couple. I don’t mean the large number of silently gay Catholic clergy under vows of celibacy, who are not unknown even in the corridors of the Vatican; I mean two people who have met socially, spent time getting to know each other, found that it’s a lot of fun being with the other person, had rows, made up, gone to parties, done the shopping, been polite to each other’s dull relatives, had a good laugh with the unexpectedly entertaining eccentric aunt, and at the end of a day of pleasant trivia, have turned off their bedside lights side by side? And have perhaps done that over months, years, decades, initially despite the huge amount of social pressure to split up and fade into the background of other people’s social and moral expectations.

Has His Holiness sat down with them over a coffee or a beer and discovered how intrinsically ordinary they are? Because if he hasn’t, I don’t think he’s got much business calling them intrinsically disordered.

I think what might disconcert him about such an experience would be that such couples don’t have any problems, at least problems no different from those of other couples, or of human beings generally. The Church rather likes claiming a pastoral ministry to lesbian and gay people, because it sees them as having a basic problem that needs pastoral care. And the Church has been very good at setting up problems for gay people which it can then solve. It has demanded that they feel guilty if they ever enact their feelings for another person of the same sex in a physical way – then it can deal with the guilt. Churchmen really aren’t at all happy to see gay couples happy; it breaks all the rules and of course encourages others to do the same things. Who knows where it will all end? Gay teenagers cheerful, contented and fulfilled? Or at least making the same stupid mistakes as any other teenagers?

But perhaps the Pope will surprise us all on his visit. He is, after all, planning to beatify Cardinal Newman, a distinguished theologian who patently found a way within the conventions of his time of having a deep, committed relationship with another man, Ambrose St John. It was the primary relationship in both their lives and that was expressed by their single grave in death. Because they were both priests committed to clerical celibacy, I don’t suppose that they did much that was physical to express their relationship, and I don’t think that I would greatly care even if there were proof that they did. It really isn’t that important. The relationship matters. For those who aren’t nineteenth-century celibates, there are different means of celebrating such a relationship, and I can’t imagine that the God of love is too worried about the details of what they are.

  • Diarmaid MacCulloch is professor of the history of the Church and a fellow of St Cross College, Oxford, and author of A History of Christianity, published by Allen Lane.
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 9:00am BST | Comments (24) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 11 September 2010

The Equality Act and Women in the Episcopate

Back in June, I wrote an article for the Church Times, Equality Law will affect church appointments. This is a more detailed look at the same subject, with particular reference to the draft legislation on women bishops that is about to be referred to the dioceses of the Church of England.

That draft measure, GS 1708A as amended by synod in July, contains the following clause:

7 Equality Act exceptions

(1) Section 50(1), (2), (3), (6) and (7) of the Equality Act 2010 (2010 c. 15) (“the Equality Act”) do not apply so far as they relate to sex or religion or belief, in relation to —

(a) any arrangements contained in a scheme made by the bishop of a diocese under section 2,

(b) any request made by a parochial church council under section 3(1) or (3),

(c) any arrangements set out in a notice sent to the secretary of a parochial church council by the bishop of a diocese under section 3(8),

(d) any action taken in exercising functions relating to the appointment of a priest in order to take account of a request made by a parochial church council under section 3(3), and

(e) any provision in a Code of Practice made under section 5.

(2) Subsection (1) is without prejudice to Schedule 9 to the Equality Act

Section 50 of the Equality Act 2010 deals with the particular topic of Public offices: appointments, etc. Under the Equality Act, a Public office is defined as:

a) an office or post, appointment to which is made by a member of the executive;

(b) an office or post, appointment to which is made on the recommendation of, or subject to the approval of, a member of the executive;

(c) an office or post, appointment to which is made on the recommendation of, or subject to the approval of, the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the National Assembly for Wales or the Scottish Parliament.

Clearly, this definition encompasses all Crown appointments, which within the Church of England includes among many others all appointments to bishoprics.

Section 50 goes on to specify the various ways in which discrimination is prohibited in relation to such appointments. For example:

(a) in the arrangements A makes for deciding to whom to offer the appointment;

(b) as to the terms on which A offers B the appointment;

(c) by not offering B the appointment.

It is self-evident that several provisions in the draft legislation are, and are intended to be, discriminatory against women appointees. See, for example, the references to a “male bishop” in the text. Unless a clause along the lines of Clause 7 is included in the draft measure, there will be a clear conflict with Clause 50 of the Act. It is worth noting, perhaps, that this requirement is entirely separate from, and in no way impinges on, the various exemptions for religious organisations which are enumerated in Schedule 9 of the Act.

It is also worth noting that the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Tony Baldry MP, and the former MP, Robert Key, both issued warnings to synod during the debate that even with, or perhaps because of, Clause 7, the draft measure might face opposition in Parliament. See my earlier report women bishops and equality legislation.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 11 September 2010 at 3:14pm BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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opinion

William Rees-Mogg writes for the Mail Online about Cardinal John Newman, a hero who restored our faith in truth.
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Cardinal Newman: The Victorian celebrity intellectual who brought Benedict to Britain.

The New Statesman has profiled Christianity’s top 11 most controversial figures.

Alan Wilson continues his series in The Guardian with The Book of Common Prayer, part 3: An excellent mystery of coupling. “With the Book of Common Prayer, marriage takes its place at the heart of domestic and civil society.”

Robin G Jordan at Anglicans Ablaze asks How really Anglican is the ACNA?

Christopher Howse asks in the Telegraph What’s the point of St Sebastian?

Madeleine Bunting writes in The Guardian that The Catholic church is in crisis, but it is still able to influence and inspire. “The pope’s visit to Britain will prompt some noisy protests, but despite that opposition he deserves to be heard.”

Rupert Shortt writes in The Tablet So far and yet so near, a comparison of Pope Benedict and Archbishop Rowan Williams. [Shortt has written biographies of both men.]

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times that Repentance is like going home.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 11 September 2010 at 10:35am BST | Comments (29) | TrackBack
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Friday, 10 September 2010

Church Times on the papal visit

A few weeks ago, the Dean of Westminster wrote an article. See A chance to recall the nation’s Christian roots.

The Pope’s visit could help to emphasise how the state can engage with the Churches, argues John Hall

This week there is a news report, Pope’s state visit won’t be a fishing trip, says Nichols.

THE Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, has said that the Pope will not be “fishing” for Anglicans when he comes to Britain next week.

Pope Benedict XVI will meet the Archbishop of Canterbury next week during the first state visit by a pope to the UK, and the first papal visit for 28 years.

Archbishop Nichols told the BBC that there were “delicate and difficult issues” between his Church and the Church of England. But there would be no “harsh words” between the two church leaders during next week’s visit. The Pope’s creation of an Or­dinariate for those who chose to leave the Anglican Church was made only in response to repeated re­quests.

“Sometimes, people want to say, ‘Oh, this is the initiative of the Pope, who is going fishing for Anglicans.’ That is not true. He is responding to requests that he has received, and those requests we have to handle sensitively on both sides. There are delicate, difficult issues between our two Churches at the moment.”

And there is a Leader, English lesson for Pope Benedict.

…The interest in Pope Benedict’s visit is there, too, but it stems, in part, from negative sources. In place of the Revd Ian Paisley and Pastor Jack Glass will stand, physically or metaphorically, Peter Tatchell and Richard Dawkins, criticising not the brand of Christianity represented by the Pope, but the whole Christian edifice. Where ecumenical endeavour has failed, ignorance has triumphed, so that divisions within the Church are largely unperceived by the general public. The Pope’s views are taken to be the views of all, just as the crimes of a few Roman Catholic priests have cast a shadow over all…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 10 September 2010 at 10:43am BST | Comments (53) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 9 September 2010

Christina Baxter interviewed

The Church of Ireland Gazette reports:

Christina Baxter, the Chair of the Church of England General Synod’s House of Laity, Principal of St John’s Theological College in Nottingham and a lay canon of Southwell, has paid tribute to those preparing for ordination in the Church of Ireland. In an interview with the Gazette editor during a visit at the end of August to the Diocese of Down and Dromore, where she led the Bishop’s Bible Week, Dr Baxter said that the Church of Ireland ordinands were all doing a professional certificate through St John’s College, which prepared them for Master’s level training. She said she had been working with the Church of Ireland Theological Institute Principal, Dr Maurice Elliott, on these arrangements.

For the full interview, go to this page.

Her views on the progress of English legislation on Women in the Episcopate may be of interest.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 9 September 2010 at 11:30pm BST | Comments (4) | TrackBack
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Diocese of Guildford visits Nigeria

According to the Nigerian provincial website:

ON THE UNDILUTED WORD OF GOD WE STAND-ARCHBISHOP OKOH

The Archbishop, metropolitan and primate of all Nigeria Anglican communion The Most Rev Nicholas Okoh has again re-iterated his assurance of unalloyed cooperation and partnership with people who have complete faith and confidence in the undiluted word of God.

Archbishop Okoh stated this during a courtesy visit paid to him by a team of 7 visitors from the Diocese of Guildford, the Rt Rev Christopher Hill and his wife Hilary. He said the challenge the communion is facing at the moment is that of a section of the West who are promoting homosexuality, Lesbianism and approving liturgy for same sex marriage. He said this is an issue that must be seriously addressed if the communion must sustain the unity and oneness that had existed over the years.

The Primate, after reading a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury delivered by the Bishop of Guildford re-echoed the respect the church of Nigeria has for his office and his person and promised that a high powered delegation would visit the Lambeth palace later in the year to discuss issues of serious concern with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The team also visited the General Secretary of the church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) the Venerable Michael Oluwarohunbi who called their attention to the Youth as an indispensable tool, when he observed that in the 7-man team no Youth was present. Venerable Farohunbi said the Youth form the larger percentage in the church today and they must be given a conspicuous place.

The trip was rounded up with a visit to the General Secretary, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Engineer. S.L. Salifu who said Christianity is about 200years old in Nigeria and that CAN has within the 5 Blocs about 201 denominations. He said CAN is making great strides in physical and spiritual growth having conducted them round the National Christian Centre, a symbol of Unity for Christians in Nigeria. The visitors appreciated the magnificent edifice, with a revolving altar, first of its kind.

Earlier the team of 7 visitors have visited Diocese of Kebbi, Sokoto, Ife, Maidiguri, Ideato, Kaduna, Jos, Kafanchan, Minna, Lokoja, and Okrika paying courtesy calls on some Emirs, Muslim leaders, and peaceful co-existence. Divided into 3 groups the team were enthusiastically received in all the Dioceses.

The Dioceses in link with the dioceses of Guildford in Nigeria are Kebbi, Ife, Maiduguri, Ideato, Kano, Awka, Owo, Ekiti, West, Oleh, Orlu, Nsukka and Okrika dioceses. The visit was facilitated by the Archbishop of Kaduna province the most Rev Edmund Akanya. According to Dr. Olusola Igbari one of the facilitators, he said it is believed that the visit will enhance bilateral relationships and cooperation with the Diocese of Guildford and promote gospel of Christ and further enhance his kingdom.

The Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) also thinks that his church is being denigrated in the USA and the UK. According to a report headed CHURCH OF NIGERIA ANGLICAN COMMUNION CAN NEVER BE PUSHED OR DRAGGED INTO THE DITCH - PRIMATE OKOH. He said this:

…He said the outside world especially United states and United kingdom characterizes church of Nigeria Anglican Communion as fanatics, illiterates, and not in line with post modern times.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 9 September 2010 at 7:08pm BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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bus rams Lambeth Palace

A London bus today went out of control and caused substantial damage to the garden wall at Lambeth Palace.

SE1 has a report with dramatic pictures here: Drama at Lambeth Palace as bus knocks down part of garden wall.

Another picture of the damaged wall is available here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 9 September 2010 at 3:06pm BST | Comments (12) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Anglican resources for the Papal visit

The Anglican Centre in Rome has some online resources to help informed relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.

Here’s the press release:

Preparing for the Pope’s Visit to the UK - Continuity, Change and Collaboration
Pope Benedict XVI’s State Visit to Britain in September raises questions about the relationship between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Churches today. This in turn poses other questions about how Anglicanism developed, where it fits in alongside the other Churches of Christendom, and how it is working alongside other Christians at home and overseas.

Two presentations on the website of the Anglican Centre in Rome look at these questions, as part of the Centre’s role in fostering friendly and informed relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.

“Anglicanism and the Western Christian Tradition: Continuity and Change” is an updated version of an exhibition held in the Vatican Museums at the invitation of the Roman Catholic Church in 2002. It provides an overview of Christianity in England from the earliest times and explores some of the stages in the search for unity between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. The story is taken up in “Moving Together in Unity and Mission” which gives contemporary examples of where and how the two Churches are collaborating both locally and nationally.

The presentations can be seen on www.anglicancentreinrome.org/resources

The highly-acclaimed exhibition at the Vatican was instigated by the British Ambassador to the Holy See and planned in conjunction with Norwich Cathedral. It uses Norwich as a specific case study to help unfold a rich and intriguing history. “Despite more than four hundred years of separation since the Reformation”, says the text, “Anglicans remain part of the Western Christian tradition. Living apart has meant, however, that there has been change as well as continuity.”

The presentation of current developments towards closer inter-church relations is inspired by a statement from an international commission of Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops, “Growing Together in Unity and Mission”, first published in 2007. The presentation looks at what has happened to heal the memories of the past, to work together in the present, and to build a less prejudiced society in the future.

The Bishop of Wakefield, The Rt Revd Stephen Platten, Chairman of the Anglican Centre in Rome, says:

“The Pope’s visit is a significant step on the road to Christian unity. The two presentations help us understand the English context: how long that road to unity is, and how positive Anglican-Roman Catholic collaboration is on the ground today. I welcome these new resources which form part of the Anglican Centre in Rome’s role of building friendly and informed relations between Anglicans and Catholics.”

The Anglican Centre in Rome was founded in 1966 to promote Christian unity, following a visit of Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey to Pope Paul VI. Its current Director is the Very Revd Canon David Richardson, Dean Emeritus of Melbourne.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 7 September 2010 at 3:22pm BST | Comments (25) | TrackBack
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Monday, 6 September 2010

Anglican Covenant views

From ENS in the USA we have a report Presiding officers, Executive Council member urge congregations to study the Anglican Covenant.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson and Executive Council member Rosalie Simmonds Ballentine are calling on all Episcopal congregations to engage in discussion of the proposed Anglican Covenant at some time during the next two years.

The Episcopal Church leaders suggested in a Sept. 3 letter that congregations consider organizing a discussion group on the covenant during Advent (2010 or 2011) or Lent (2011 or 2012) or at another time before General Convention in 2012…

There is an official Study Guide, available here.

Meanwhile, from Simple Massing Priest in Canada we have a strongly worded critique, Saying No to the Anglican Covenant.

…The Anglican Covenant is the greatest attempted centralization of authority since the de facto creation of the Anglican Communion due to the final disestablishment of episcopacy in Scotland (1689) and the consecration of the first American bishop (1784). Despite the pretty words of 4.1.3 that the Covenant “does not represent submission to any external ecclesiastical jurisdiction,” nor “grant to any one Church or agency of the Communion control or direction over any Church,” 4.2.7 is very clear that the newly minted Standing Committee (whose creation has been a sideshow of smoke, mirrors and skullduggery) will have authority effectively to direct “relational consequences” to be imposed on recalcitrant Provinces…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 6 September 2010 at 9:05pm BST | Comments (16) | TrackBack
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opinion surveys on the Pope's UK visit

Two separate surveys have been published recently.

Theos has published one conducted by ComRes, see Who’s a fan of papal teaching? and Theos Papal Visit Poll September 2010. Detailed results are available at Theos Papal Visit Tables 4 September 2010.pdf.

The Tablet has published another, conducted by Ipsos MORI see The Pope, the Church and the visit – what Britons really think. Detailed results are available here. Some of the findings:

Perhaps the most surprising finding is the number of people who recognise Pope Benedict from a photograph bearing no clues to his identity. He was correctly named by a sizeable majority of all those polled (65 per cent) who recognised him more readily than the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, identified by only half of the respondents. Curiously, Dr Williams is more readily recognised by Catholics (54 per cent) than by the general public (50 per cent), although surprisingly nearly a quarter of the Catholics polled failed to recognise the Pope…

Awareness of the Pope’s role as head of the Catholic Church is well understood by the vast majority of the general public (93 per cent) – in fact, more people are aware of this than that the Queen is the head of the Church of England…

Overall the public’s view of religion generally is fairly benign. More than half (52 per cent) say that on balance it is a force for good. The figure rises to 60 per cent among those aged over 65. However, when asked the question with specific reference to the Catholic Church, respondents are not so sure, with only 41 per cent of all those questioned either strongly agreeing or tending to agree that the Church is a force for good. Even fewer Anglicans – 39 per cent – believe this. Among all Christians the figure is 47 per cent. However, a big majority of Catholics (78 per cent) hold that the Catholic Church is a force for good…

There is keen awareness of one of the main matters that divides the Catholic and Anglican Churches. Fewer than two-thirds (63 per cent) of those polled understand that women cannot be ordained priests in the Catholic Church while among Catholics the figure is considerably higher (74 per cent). Perhaps this demonstrates interest and possibly concern about the issue.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 6 September 2010 at 6:04pm BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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earthquake in New Zealand

There are many reports of the damage caused by the earthquake in New Zealand. Here are links to some of them.

Diocese of Christchurch Earthquake Update

And there is a collection of pictures of Earthquake Hit Churches.

ChristChurch Cathedral has earthquake news on its front page.

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has Quake damages many churches but spirits are holding up.

stuff.co.nz has a large collection of Latest photos: 7.1 quake.

Bosco Peters has a report Christchurch earthquake.

Timaru Herald Damage closes churches

The Australian Christchurch in lockdown amid aftershocks

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 6 September 2010 at 7:29am BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Saturday, 4 September 2010

opinion

Alan Wilson continues his series in The Guardian with The Book of Common Prayer, part 2: Wetting baby’s head. “Why do we baptise babies, who can’t possibly believe in God? Because Augustine was right about grace and original sin.”

Clifford Longley gave this Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4 on the difference between the secular, the spiritual and the religious.

The Economist looks at Catholics in Britain in The fruits of adversity. “Bolstered by immigration and challenged by the economic downturn, the church is playing an ever more active role.”

Justin Lewis-Anthony (the 3 Minute Theologian) reflects on Greenbelt: 3 Minutes on Greenbelt.
So too does Giles Fraser in the Church Times: A spiritual detox for a City-dweller.

Savi Hensman writes at Ekklesia on Anglicans at cross-purposes.

Eric Priest writes in The Guardian that Stephen Hawking can’t use physics to answer why we’re here. “Modern belief in God is not about covering the gaps in our knowledge, but about answering different types of questions.”
And the Church Mouse explains why Hawking is not saying anything now that he didn’t say 20 years ago: Stephen Hawking and God - lazy reporters make up stuff.
James Dacey at the Institute of Physics blog has this: Talking Hawking and God.
Paul Davies writes for The Guardian about Stephen Hawking’s big bang gaps. “The laws that explain the universe’s birth are less comprehensive than Stephen Hawking suggests.”

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 4 September 2010 at 10:25am BST | Comments (9) | TrackBack
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Friday, 3 September 2010

Church press reports on African bishops conference

Pat Ashworth reports in the Church Times African bishops split over ‘ambushed’ agenda, but together on development and scroll down the same page for African Churches wrestle with their missionary inheritance by Michael Doe.

The Living Church has two articles:

African Primates Support Partners, ACNA

catholic voices: Anglicanism Remakes Itself by John Martin

The Church of England Newspaper has Tables turned in Entebbe by Martyn Minns.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 3 September 2010 at 1:00am BST | Comments (61) | TrackBack
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Thursday, 2 September 2010

Women bishops: valid sacraments and catholicity

Two more articles on this subject from Modern church by Jonathan Clatworthy.

Women bishops and valid sacraments

This article focuses on a central concern of opponents, the conditions for the validity of the sacraments, expressed for example in Simon Killwick’s article in the Church Times in July 2010. My aim is to undermine this concern by describing the historical origins and theological weaknesses of the idea.

Women bishops and catholicity

This article aims to clarify the claims being made. What is the universal Church? In what sense does the Church of England belong to it? How, if at all, does the universal Church make or allow changes? What stops women priests and bishops being one of the changes?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 2 September 2010 at 3:47pm BST | Comments (45) | TrackBack
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