Comments: Synod day one

A first glance at these press reports makes disturbing reading. The Scotsman and the Guardian (the first couple of reports I looked at) are respected broadsheet newspapers, and the author of the Guardian piece at least is its specialist religious affairs reporter.

The Scotsman manages a couple of egregious solecisms - referring to clerical members of General Synod as "the Reverend Surname" and at least one uses "the reverend" as a noun. This doesn't inspire confidence. Assuming that the Scotsman accurately cites David Houlding - and the report contains enough detail to indicate that it does - Stephen Bates' gloss on his speechin the Guardian seems to indicate a level of enthusiasm for the forthcoming nuptials which would be rather out of line with Prebendary Houlding's conservative Catholicism.

After the recent debacle in which the Telegraph attributed disbelief in God to +Rowan Cantuar:, it really seems that bishops and other clerics speaking on controversial issues need to weigh every syllable.

Oh, and for what it's worth, I do think that this "blessing but no marriage" line is farcical. Apparently Chazza and Camilla are adulterers, since Col. Parker-Bowles is still alive, and therefore can't be married, but their adultery can subsequently be blessed. Daft or what?

Posted by Alan Harrison at Tuesday, 15 February 2005 at 11:50am GMT

With so many big items on the Synod's agenda it would be easy to miss the significance of the House of Laity's vote in favour of heresy trials.

This was thrown out (albeit on a small majority) once in this Synod already - to be brought back so soon hints at bureaucratic manipulation to keep the issue alive.

If heresy trials are made easier, and even more so if a trial is held, it will mark a significant narrowing of the CofE. It will be a victory for those who see belief in terms of lists of porpositional statements to be ticked off, and will mark a real and symbolic step forward for an anti-intellectual, anti-exploratory ethos in the church.

Thinking Anglicans who want to be able to express their views with integrity and in public should not only oppose this measure - but also propose alternative ways through which doctrine (and orthodoxy) can be celebrated and embedded as a vital part of the engagement of the Church with society.

Posted by Paul Bagshaw at Thursday, 17 February 2005 at 8:07pm GMT
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