Comments: MCU on the Revision Committee

"that the ‘theology of taint’ - the idea that a bishop who has once ordained a woman priest is no longer an acceptable bishop - is not acceptable and no allowance should be made for it;"

Frankly, I'm surprised that it has been allowed to flourish in the CofE for as long as it has.

Posted by BillyD at Monday, 16 November 2009 at 3:02pm GMT

This whole piece from MCU makes great sense to me. I think it is helping me begin to see things more clearly.

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Monday, 16 November 2009 at 4:06pm GMT

It seems that a new religion has been created but, instead of starting it honestly from outside, it has insinuated itself inside the Church of England and taken it over. Now it has become so powerful it wants to crush all who hold to what was previously known as orthodoxy.

Posted by Neill at Monday, 16 November 2009 at 6:24pm GMT

Amen to this!

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 16 November 2009 at 7:23pm GMT

An interesting piece from MCU - but this about the Eucharist isn't quite right.

There is a Catholic-magical view, indeed, but there is also a Catholic-supernatural view which also requires orders and actions to be right, but may include women as celebrants (it's equivalent to speaking well so that the sign points properly), and then there is a Protestant-supernatural view that allows the intention to be more spiritual and therefore the actors and actions to be freer, as well as a naturalistic view that produces a celebration that has certain reflective, binding ritual processes that can make many changes and have all sorts of possibilities.

Posted by Pluralist at Monday, 16 November 2009 at 8:11pm GMT

They don't mince their words, do they? They also write extremely well, with authority and clarity. I was very impressed by their response to the response of Wright and William to ECUSA back in August.

Posted by Sue at Monday, 16 November 2009 at 10:16pm GMT

"•that resistance to change, while characteristic of many reactionary religious campaigns, is unrealistic since churches do, and need to, make changes;" - Modern Churchpeople's Union -

Let's hope that we don't have to be a Union member to be able to agree with this statement. If the Church is content to resist all change, in the name of irrevocable tradition, then there could never have been a Reformation of the Church in the 16th century. And although some advocates of discrimination against women and gays would prefer that to have been a part of the Continuum,
the world has changed - irreversibly.

Women, like men, have been created in the divine Iamge and Likeness, and nothing the Church can do will ever gainsay the reality. The fact that women, slaves and gays have not been recognised by 'The Church' hitherto, does not mean that this is what God wants for all eternity.

For the Church to keep on pronouncing dogmatic utterances, resisting the emancipation of all God's children - regardless of gender, race, social class or sexual orientation - would seem to be contrary to the Gospel emphasis of charity to all.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 16 November 2009 at 10:49pm GMT

While the CofE dithers, the rest of the world moves on.
With the recent consecration of Barbara Andrews in the Central Interior BC, from now on every new Canadian bishop will have at least one woman as a co-consecrator, and those who did not have female hands laid on them have all joined in consecrating one or more women as bishops. Those who hold to the "theology of taint" have nowhere to hide (they can't even go to ANiC, because Don Harvey was a co-consecrator of Sue Moxley).

There's a difference between respectfully declining the ministrations of a female bishop or priest, and the childish avoidance of anyone involved in the ordination of women.

Posted by Jim Pratt at Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 3:28am GMT

In all this debate which gets sillier by the moment, as folk question who laid hands on who. and who is tainted.We forget that the sacraments administered are not dependent on the status, sanctity of the priest/bishop, but are God's grace to us through the sacraments.

Another point I wish to make is that from the days of the early church women have been not only companions of Our Lord, but played a pivotal role at his Resurrection.

Finally from the early days of the church we have had no problem with women Saints, so what is the difficulty with women in orders.

Fr John

Posted by Fr John E. Harris-White at Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 8:24am GMT

This MCU proposes to accept the RC view that one is obliged to inform one's conscience before making moral judgments. But instead of informing it with the moral teachings of one's church, or presumably of Scripture, one should ignore these as belonging to a former world and should inform one's conscience with the norms of contemporary society. I don't know much about England, maybe that would work there. It's a flaming disaster whenever it's tried here (in the USA).

Still, they seem right that when the church, following it's own polity, makes a moral decision, it should not then make exemptions based on individuals' personal contrary beliefs. It is up to the dissenters to conform their consciences to the teachings of the church. Or shake the dust off their feet.

There really wasn't much about religion in that article. I can't understand where they are coming from in general. What do they think is the purpose of the church, as opposed to, say, UNICEF or Oxfam? Or Alcoholics Anonymous? Interesting. I need to read more of their stuff.

Posted by anthony at Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 9:22am GMT

"In all this debate which gets sillier by the moment, as folk question who laid hands on who. and who is tainted.We forget that the sacraments administered are not dependent on the status, sanctity of the priest/bishop, but are God's grace to us through the sacraments." - Fr. John -

Amen and Amen! It is sometimes forgotten that the status of the priest does not impugn the effectiveness of the Eucharist. The Church has always known this. So why the sudden and irrational fear of receiving the Sacraments at the hands of a woman - a fellow Believer in Christ, who has been called by the Church, and by God, to minister? "In Christ, there is neither male nor female" - true or false?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 9:29am GMT

Religion has a sociology and a theology, there is science and the arts. The most naturalistic view of ritual, consistent with social anthropology etc. is also religious but it is open to criticism and demands an ethical basis. If anthony can't see that, well then the supernatural or the magical is the only way for him, and as we know from elsewhere the supernatural and magical can invent any ethical position it likes, including ones that recommend death and life imprisonment for minorities.

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 2:17pm GMT

Pluralist - I guess you are responding to my statement that the MCU article did not contain much about religion. Maybe I should have said Christianity rather than religion.

"Religion has a sociology and a theology": many religions have an identifiable theology, but a sociology? They have a social role and function, and may be societies in themselves. So they are objects for study by sociology. Otherwise, I can't find a sociology as part of any religion I am aware of, unless you are referring to something like the Papal social encyclicals. I stand to be corrected on this if you could point out what you are referring to.

"There is science and the arts." Yes, so what?

"The most naturalistic view of ritual, consistent with social anthropology etc. is also religious but it is open to criticism and demands an ethical basis." This statement is pretty hard to interpret, but again I say, so what? Also, it is hard to see why a naturalistic view of ritual requires an ethical basis. But how did ritual get into this?

"If anthony can't see that, well then the supernatural or the magical is the only way for him" Ad hom, ad hom. Also name calling.

Still, I would not like to rule out the supernatural from discussions of religion. Perhapss the MCU does, I don't know, that is why I said I need to read more of their stuff. If they do, I will still take their opinions seriously, but evaluate them as philosophy rather than religion.

I agree that the traditional view of the sacraments is magical. That is why I do not believe it.

"As we know from elsewhere the supernatural and magical can invent any ethical position it likes" I agree, because everyone is able to adopt various ethical positions. However, I do not know from elsewhere the particular view of supernatural ethics you mention, and I don't know what elsewhere you are referring to.

"including ones that recommend death and life imprisonment for minorities." Both supernatural and non-supernatural world views have stood behind ethics that recommend death and life imprisonment for minorities. This has probably been the majority view throughout history, as you well know. It is not limited to those with the high view of the sacraments that you erroneously impute to me.

Posted by anthony at Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 10:19pm GMT

Agree with Sue re MCU's strength of presentation.

Around the issue of women bishops, the Church of England is coming across as extraordinarily dysfunctional.

Posted by Jeremy at Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 1:49am GMT
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