Comments: another reaction to the vote on Monday

Ahh, AF *should* be happy at this progress down that same road that ECUSA took years ago towards “liberal totaliarianism”... Our liberal heirarchy even seems to have borrowed the ECUSA 'roadmap' - in terms of the order in which to push issues to slice up traditionalists and evangelicals (few of whom, I understand, were allowed to speak in the debate!)

I guess that "*principled ways* to keep dissenters in the church" will turn out to mean that traditionalists can stay as long as the acknowledge women bishops (the very thing that they dissent on) or that existing dissenters can stay ('til they die out) but that no new ones will be tolerated !!

Posted by Dave at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 12:09am BST

Affirming Catholicism is like fornicating chastity. It claims to be supporting a trademark, but manufactures a completely different product--like selling sock suspenders in Famous Grouse bottles.

Since one very large body sets the gold standard for what Catholicism actually teaches, one might take a look at some of its recent pronouncements, like:

from which:

"Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.

Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful."

Since AC specializes in false representation, I should tremble to be a traditionalist who has to suffer their "determination to find principled ways to keep the minority who object to the move within the body of the Church." Sounds like they plan to keep them transfixed by pins in specimen cases.

Posted by austin at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 4:38am BST

Lets get this clear - the majority of evangelicals in the UK support womens ordination. The more conservative they are, the less likely they are to do so.

However, the move to introduce women bishops is far wider than 'liberals' as the voting indicates.

If you wish to have special treatment, Dave, then the same must be made available for the most liberal who are not prepared to discrimnate negatively against gays and lesbians.

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 9:29am BST

Dave bach----

Breathe! you are alive ! :- )

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 9:29am BST


We had a debate some months ago about one extreme ruling it over the other. The conclusion at the end was that neither side wanted that to happen. The issue about GLBTs and women make it harder, in the sense of a person's gender or sexuality is what it is and someone who refuses to acknowledge a woman's authority will have a point blank problem no matter how capable or talented or God blessed she might be. However, the issue goes deeper than that, in that extremists can also refuse to be supervised by people who have a different theosophical flavour to their own. These people struggle to cope in a democracy unless they are the dominant faction or have an agenda to become the dominant and then sole interprative authority.

Thus the mechanisms for how this will be done need to be carefully thought through, and the safeguards for how to protect those with a difference of opinion also closely considered. It parallels the United Nations resolution that has gone through in just the last few days adding the disappearance or suppression of alternative representatives as a crime against humanity.

Some ponderings that came through today is asking why we are in communion with each other. What do we gain by being in communion with each other? Practically, it makes certain administrative features easier e.g. accessing public liability insurance, superannuation funds, locums for when minister is away, recruitment and career paths. In this sense, these are communal services that also apply to say, a trade union, or a chamber of commerce, that represents and advocates the interests of similar groups of people.

Maybe what we are seeing is an evolution towards a separation of the parish function from the services of support and advocacy, where each parish can choose to subscribe to the service provider that will best suit their needs. Decisions are then made on the basis of cost of service provision, quality of service provision, and concordance in publicly advocated positions.

For many lay people this would be an ameniable structure.

I think the biggest screams of objection would come from those careerists who know that fragmented organisations reduce the number of "top" jobs available. Also, those who like to brag about the size or influence of their organisation would also object as it would diminish their oversight statistics.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 10:17am BST

It is an interesting import from the States, is it not — the hypothesis (often without any supporting evidence) that there is some massive secular/liberal agenda driving the universe and that conservatives are an opressed and endangered minority (which then justifies their intemperate language and extreme reactions). Mr Limbaugh exemplifies the phenomenon, and I wonder whether it's getting a foothold over here.

Posted by mynsterpreost at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 11:58am BST

"I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful."

Just up the Trent from here is the place where Canute demonstrated the limitations of his authority when the tide refused to heed him. Just shouting something louder doesn't make it true, even if the guy with the megaphone's wearing a white cassock.

On top of that, it is a total irrelevance for anyone to pontificate from the official RC position on Anglican ordinations on the grounds that Apostolicae Curae has, to my knowledge, never been rescinded, thus even the most 'pure' of flying bishops is as validly ordained as a can of baked beans.

Posted by mynsterpreost at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 12:13pm BST

Its nothing to do with discrimination. The vast majority of those who believe women should not be Bishops do so because they believe that is NT teaching, and the majority who believe there should be women bishops do so because they believe that is NT teaching.
The Bible refers to men and women and episcopos etc, it doesn’t mention or classify people by their sexual desires such as gay and lesbian or straight.

And it is for this reason that one must appreciate that the issue of women bishops is merely going to cause a division within the Anglican Communion, the issue of practicing homosexuals is inevitably going to cause a split of the Communion itself.

Posted by DavidW at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 12:28pm BST

You know, Dave, I sometimes get to feeling the same way about Evangelicals. It seems they are becoming more and more powerful and their "my way or the highway" approach to the faith will mean that the Anglican Church will become, sadly, much more uniform. ++Akinola's an Evangelical, isn't he? I don't think it's all that hard to see the real agenda behind his actions. And while I think it amusing that the conservative Anglo-catholics have made common cause with the Evangelicals over women and gays, when the dust settles, they'll soon find out the depths of Evangelical intolerance.

Then, I realize that this is just conspiracy theorizing, and that God knows what He's doing, and that we should just be still and know that He is God. Fear and loathing of Evangelicals is not at all helpful, and most of them are just doing what I'm doing, trying to live out their faith the bast way they can, nothing evil or nasty about them. I think you really need to come to the same kind of place about the evil scheming liberals. All this kind of attitude does is fill you with fear, anger, and perhaps at times smugness, none of which are conducive to the Christian life.

And Austin, "the Bishop of Rome hath no authority in this realm of England". While I respect the Pope as senior bishop of the West, I don't think he sets the gold standard. After all, we disagreed with him over the marriage of priests, saying Mass in Latin, the nature of the Eucharist, and our understanding of authority in the Church, to name just a few things. The Pope thinks the Church lacks the authority to ordain women. We disagree. How is this different from the other things we've disagreed on? He doesn't think women are priests? Well, he doesn't think Anglican men are priests either, so what's the difference?

Ford Elms

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 1:27pm BST

Is it the fact that there are diocese in the United States where women are not ordained to the priesthood and where they are not licenced as clerics?
I believe there are no such diocese in the UK.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 2:51pm BST

austin I don't know about ****** for virginity -- but I don't see the RC denomination as a Catholic gold standard -- or even specially Catholic, myself. It seems too limited & limiting for that -- at the moment.

As an institution (or really as series of them, & voluntary associations loosely strung together) it is pretty disappointing -- though some of the bits and pieces stringing off here and there can be lovely -- pearly.

One pearl dont make a string and a one string does not make a set. We needn't let that discourage us for long !...

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 6:43pm BST

"Since one very large body sets the gold standard for what Catholicism actually teaches"

...and if you believe that, austin, I humbly suggest you have very little business being on THIS discussion site? (I do believe the Magisterium has yet to place the internet completely on "The Index"? Ergo, there are plenty of Papist websites on which to extoll the BofR's Infallible Wisdom?! *g*)

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 7:26pm BST

Dear Ford et al, You only have to look to ECUSA to see how principled liberal inclusion works... you can be included if you agree - or at least behave as if you do.

Liberal tolerance only extends to tolerant liberals !

Evangelical "intolerance" extends only as far as that which can be reasonable proven from the Bible to be what God rejects as "sin". You only need to visit a few large evangelical CofE churches to see the huge diversity !

ps I am not fundamentally against women bishops, but I am against marginalising people who hold a reasonable alternative interpretation of Scripture... especially when it is being driven by people who, on any reasonable definition of Christian faith and conduct, could hardly be called faithful believers.

Posted by Dave at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 7:32pm BST

Yes, there are three dioceses that do not ordain women to the priesthood or license those so ordained elsewhere. Some others are officially open but far from welcoming and there continues to be concern that the next bishop to be elected will close the door or actually try to dismiss any currently serving.

Posted by Columba Gilliss at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 8:04pm BST

Martin --

The dioceses of Fort Worth, San Joaquin & Quincy do not recognise the ordination of women to the priesthood (not sure about the diaconate). I understand that women in the Network dioceses are now suggesting that they are having difficulty in accessing the ordination process.

Posted by Prior Aelred at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 8:39pm BST

David W wrote: “The Bible refers to men and women and episcopos etc, it doesn’t mention or classify people by their sexual desires such as gay and lesbian or straight.”

And then what is not mentioned in the Bible will cause a split?

Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

That women, who a r e mentioned in the Bible and in no uncertain terms – in deutero-Pauline Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, in the Pastorals and the additions to 1 Cor 11 and 14, in 1 Peter 2:11, not to mention the horrible thäleiai; c***s, in the gloss Romans 1:26-27 – might cause a split, but not certain late modern categories not mentioned in the Bible (if we except a few eunouxoi, and the Roman Centurion and his pais in Matt 8)?

Please explain.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 8:46pm BST

So, Dave, you use different criteria to adjudge levels of tolerance - criteria that by their very nature will only be acceptable to evangelicals.

And then you wonder why we liberals fail to take you seriously and tend to view you as entirely one-sided - expecting you and those like you to be treated according to your rules, and those not like you and who don;t agree with you to also be treated according to your (biased, conservative) views.

Thus, you should not be surprised when others use different criteria - but , again, its you conservatives, not us liberals, looking for suspensions, expulsions, and so on. We can cope with your bigotry , homophobia and sexism, as long as you don't expect us to copy it. If only you could be so magnanimous - but then, your beliefs themselves are looking to exclude all those who don't agree with you. Yet any other perception of the same you count as invalid according to youtr own theology. Talk about a circular argument - still, its what conservatives are good at, given their use of the Bible to justify the Bible!

Posted by Merseymike at Thursday, 13 July 2006 at 1:25am BST

"... for the Bible tells me so..."

Philip Kennedy, Sr. tutor at Mansfield College, University of Oxford, has this to say in his worthwhile contribution of "God's Good News for Gays" in: Gays and the Future of Anglicanism: Responses to the Windsor Report (2005), pp.301f.:

"On sexual relations between males and between females, Jesus as recorded in the Bible is entirely silent--with one possible and remote exception. The very word used for 'fool' (Raqa, Rhaka--Mt.5:21-22)in the warning not to say "You fool" to a brother or sister, might have been a term of abuse for an effeminate male in Jesus' environment... If that is so, and it is uncertain that it is, then the only known reference of Jesus to people forming a minority with regard to sexuality and gender warns of the fires of hell for anyone who abuses them. Had Jesus stood up in defense of individuals mocked for their bodily, sexual demeanor, he would have been entirely consistent with his practice of siding preferentially with outcasts and victims of vilification."

Why did St. Matthew use the Aramaic word RAQA rather than the common Greek words MOROS, KENOS ("fool", "blockhead")? J.Jeremias commenting on RHAKA in Gerhard Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the NT, writes: "The Aramaic term expresses disparagement accompanied by anger and contempt."
J.Jeremias still interprets RHAKA as "blockhead". The alternative translation suggested by Prof. Kennedy is recommended by Louis Crompton, Homosexuality and Civilization (2003) and W. Dynes, W. Johannson, W. Percy, eds, Encyclopedia of Homosexuality (1990), II, p.1093.

Posted by John Henry at Thursday, 13 July 2006 at 2:44am BST

"Is it the fact that there are diocese in the United States where women are not ordained to the priesthood and where they are not licenced as clerics?"
Yes. Few but stubborn.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Thursday, 13 July 2006 at 3:15am BST

not to mention the horrible thäleiai; c***s

Hm,, 'pars pro toto' — but my lexicon associates it with words meaning 'to suckle'. Maybe I just have a puritanical lexicon to add to my meagre understanding of Greek!

Posted by mynsterpreost at Thursday, 13 July 2006 at 10:01am BST

"Liberal tolerance only extends to tolerant liberals !

Evangelical "intolerance" extends only as far as that which can be reasonable proven from the Bible to be what God rejects as "sin". You only need to visit a few large evangelical CofE churches to see the huge diversity !"

First of all, I know about the intolerance of Liberals, I've run afoul of it myself. All the same, the left has not called for the exclusion of anyone from the Church. It's the Right that wants purity. I have also read about some parishes in the US that have claimed to be persecuted by their bishops. In one case, I believe in Maryland, a parish would not allow visitations from their bishop because he wouldn't state that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Now, for a "believe as I do or you're going to Hell" type person, this isn't difficult. But the issue is far more nuanced. I believe Jesus is the only way to salvation, but I don't believe that Hindus and Muslims are therefor going to Hell. Indeed, I hold to the Orthodox view the God is not a punisher, God loves humankind, and that Western ideas of penal substitutionary atonement are at best dodgy, perhaps heretical, and even may be blasphemous! Thus, if I were that congregation's bishop, I would feel I was being set up. I wonder if that was the case with him. It certainly sounds like people who need to be told that being Christian gives them some sort of perk, whether it's assurance of salvation or merely feeling better than everyone who is different from them.

Every case I've read about "orthodox" parishes being "oppressed" by their exclusivist "liberal" bishop has involved something of this nature, where the parish has set up a litmus test it knew the bishop would fail, then caused a ruckus when he did, and claimed "oppression" when he disciplined them, as is his right. In most instances, the litmus test was of the type I just described, an issue that is quite complex but can be made to appear simple on the surface, and indeed IS simple for someone who reads the Bible like a guidebook of how to behave properly. While I am well aware of the intolerance of some liberals, this is not intolerance. I've detected among fundamentalists, and I'm finding Evangelicals as well, what seems to be a need to feel persecuted. There is cachet in standing up to your oppressors, of course, but it's not very helpful. Now the left sees plots and schemes as well, but it seems more endemic in the Right, perhaps because the Right tends to take its cues from the American Right, where such conspiracy theories and feelings of oppression are rampant. It's on a par with people who claim they are oppressed because their kids don't say Chrictian prayers in school or who earnetstly pray before a football game!

As to your other point, I've heard that reading the Bible is like looking down a well, you tend to see yourself looking back. Also, I've heard that you can be sure you've created God in your own image when He hates everything you hate. Must be nice to have God to back you up! And this is the point, I think. Some people need a well layed out book of rules they can follow, either, as I said, so they can be sure of salvation since they obey all the rules, or so they can feel better than those who don't. Well, the latter is just nasty. The former is actually justification by works. We are saved because of God's grace, bestowed by His love. We "follow the rules" in response to that love, not because we are afraid He will send us to Hell if we don't.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 13 July 2006 at 2:10pm BST


Your posting of 13 July 2.10 BST was excellent. It was interesting to hear that things had degenerated to the point that aome orthodox parishes were testing their liberal bishops and then using some theological point to justify trying to exclude them from their parish. (I wonder if that would happen if Sydney if the Synod were to elect a more tolerant leadership in 2007?)

It also reminds me of several Torah studis I've read in the last few weeks, where Moses was challenged by others. God's responses can be found in the book of Numbers and include having the earth literally swallow them up. Don't forget Balaam either, who was forced by God to prophesy a gift for the Israelites even as he opened his mouth to curse them. These related Torah studies might interest some souls:

On the comments amongst various people about other religions. There are religions of Baal flavouring, or wasteful shepherds within otherwise wholesome religions. These can be defined by embracing violence, encouraging abuse, disrespect for creation, slavery, greed, lack of justice. The main fruit of such strands is war, poverty, desecration and humans being reduced to expendable husks.

There are other faiths and shepherds who can renounce such values and embrace reverance, compassion, true justice, patience, endurance, respect for the divine, envisioning what could be rather than wallowing in what is, and are able see the godliness in other souls (even their enemies).

I refer to Jesus as being the express elevator. He takes you straight to the top, and a word from him to the Creator on your behalf acts as a ticket to forgiveness of your sins. The other routes may get you to the top, but you might get distracted or corrupted. The great tragedy of Christianity is that it thought because it had Jesus, that it no longer had to worry about corruption and presumed on Jesus' honour with the Father for forgiveness of their sins (no matter how appallingly they deported themselves). This made them no better than their Jewish ancestors.

Of course, in coming to understand that even knowing Jesus can not protect you from corruption, the Christians have taught a valuable lesson to the Jews. They have also helped fulfill one variation of God's promise to Paul, that at the right time God would soften the Jews hearts through the lessons taught to the Christians (see Romans 11:25-29), which also links into Isaiah 49.

Why use the word variation? Because the Christians have made the same mistake as the Jews as thinking there will be a penultimate end with no minor interventions on the way forward. God moves in fractals, and where a pattern reaches a certain nexus, God will send higher souls to help humanity through a hump (assuming they can find enough souls of righteousness and repentance to work with). John the Baptist proved there were sufficient for Jesus, the degree of repentance by many souls of many faiths in recent months make this a promising time - but there are no guarantees. One can not take God for granted, nor can one rush God, nor can one presume on God's will. Everything will happen at the right time for the right reasons.

One of my biggest rebukes to the ultrapuritans is that they have not only tried to reduce God's absolute divinity (He is after all the God of gods), but that they have tried to block access to Jesus by building blockades across the doorways. In doing this in Jesus' name, they have invoked a question of the honor of God's name (and His divine Will for Jesus). May they repent and remove the rubble for their own sakes.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Thursday, 13 July 2006 at 9:33pm BST

Dear Ford, we are saved *from* sin by God's grace by repentance and the atoning sacrifice Jesus made on the cross; we are saved *to* members of God's family - believers and followers of Jesus Christ.

I agree that Christianity isn't just a set of rules; it [should be] a living relatioship with God through Christ. And the Bible isn't meant to be a rule book... but it does contain the most authentic and authoritative teachings of Christ and His Apostles.

You have to take seriously what the New Testament says if you want to believe and follow Christ... and in particular you have to be extremely serious about what the NT writers say is the true faith and what they call sin - or you need to believe and repent (which, as sinners, we should be doing pretty regularly!)

You can't just reject what the NT says, particularly on faith and sin issues, and still claim to be a true Christian.

Posted by Dave at Thursday, 13 July 2006 at 10:51pm BST


I agree totally with your first statement. As to the Bible, you DO have to attend very seriously to the NT, indeed to the whole of the book, but you also can't pick and choose what you will and won't be strict about. You'd probably say that's what the "reappraisers" are doing, but it's just as true of the "reasserters". They're just reasserting a form of the faith that ignored things other than the things their opponents are ignoring, so they think something awful is going on. You can't be gay, but you can kill people if the government tells you to, that sort of thing.

The Bible is a part of the Tradition, but not all of it, the Church gave us the Bible, the Bible didn't give us the Church, and all that. It is a big part of how we know God, but it isn't the only part.

I get the feeling that even when we use the word 'sin' we mean different things. For me it's doing something that wounds me spiritually, that hurts others, and that, most importantly, grieves God. It is about missing the mark, not living the way that Jesus came to show us was best. I get the feeling that for you, it's about breaking the Law. I don't think Christianity is about law, in fact, I'm pretty sure it isn't, that the idea of sin being "against the Law" came in with Imperial Church of Constantine. St. Gregory of Nyssa said the most important thing is to be God's friend. Well, I don't want to upset my friend.

As to being saved 'from' sin by Christ's death on the Cross, actually, it's the entire Incarnation that matters, most importantly the Ressurection, not the Crucifixion alone, and I don't believe that the Crucifixion was about Jesus taking the punishment we deserve. It is a "ransom' for many. A ransom isn't when an innocent person takes another's punishment, it's when someone buys someone out of bondage. "We were slaves and now we're free", not "we're criminals but we don't have to be punished".

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 13 July 2006 at 11:55pm BST

Göran Koch-Swahne wrote asking me to explain my comments. I am happy to clarify, although I feel it distracts from the specific topic.
The Bible refers to men and women and such as Phoebe in Romans 16 and such as Paul’s references to women in 1 Timothy 2:12.

As to the ‘horrible’ thelus I disagree I don’t think it particularly horrible, and the point of Romans 1:26-27 is the atimia things that the thelus did.

The key point I wished to make in its simplest terms is that the communion will not split over debating passages like Romans 16 against 1 Timothy 2:12, but by some rejecting passages.

When Jesus healed the centurion’s pais are we assuming this pais was a servant or a child? A servant I think. (See also Matt 12:18, Matt 17:18, Luke 2:43, Luke 7:7, Luke 8:54, John 4:51)

Posted by DaveW at Friday, 14 July 2006 at 8:26am BST

Ford, I found this posting on the NT and being ransomed helpful to my understanding, & moving. My thanks, (Was reading over Dave's shoulder ! :-)

Posted by Laurence Robers at Friday, 14 July 2006 at 9:21am BST

Ford, I agree with your comment that one needs to look at not just the crucifixion, but also the whole body of Christ's incarnation. For example, the resurrection as proof of Jesus' success, and the transfiguration in the garden being the proof of the cherubim's prior consent.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Friday, 14 July 2006 at 10:40am BST

"are we assuming this pais was a servant or a child"

Somewhere (and I can't remember where, probably nothing very elevated) I read the suggestion that 'pais' could in contemporary Hellenistic Greek indicate a rather more (ahem) 'intimate' relationship.

Posted by mynsterpreost at Friday, 14 July 2006 at 8:02pm BST


You say 'Affirming Catholicism' is an oxymoron. I don't know whether this is the case; but certainly one does notice an increasing Humpty Dumpty tendency to redefine and have one's cake and eat it: New Labour, for example.

What does 'Affirming' mean here anyway? Everybody affirms some things, and denies everything they do not affirm. One longs for clarity sometimes.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Saturday, 15 July 2006 at 1:39pm BST

Personally , I find affirming catholicsm a lot better than the usual catholicism of denial, I must say.

Posted by Laurence crechwenu Roberts at Saturday, 15 July 2006 at 3:46pm BST

I agree with you mynsterpreost pais as a son. for John and for Matthew. My mistake.

Posted by DaveW at Monday, 17 July 2006 at 2:47pm BST
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.