Thinking Anglicans

General Synod – reports on day one

Updated again Tuesday evening

The official summary is at General Synod – Summary of Business Conducted on Monday 9th February 2009 PM.

This includes links to audio recordings of all the sessions. (When I tried, only one of them was working properly. Dave Walker had a similar problem with the live feed.)

There is also a link to the text of the speech by Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor. The press release from his office about this speech is here.

See also Archbishop introduces His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, to address the Synod.

The Questions session is pretty difficult to understand on the audio, as the Questions, which are submitted in advance, and are available to everybody on the floor as a printed document, are not read out. It’s unclear why this document is not routinely made available beforehand on the web. The prepared Answers, which are read out, are not available in written form to those on the floor, but are available to the Press Gallery!

As the summary linked above says

46 written questions were submitted by members of the Synod. The text of these questions, alongside the written responses, will be available here within the next week.

For more colourful reporting of the afternoon, try some of these:

Ruth Gledhill General Synod Feb 2009: Day One and Times Online Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor: All churches “impoverished” by Anglican divisions

Martin Beckford Telegraph General Synod Day 1: Key Church of England meeting starts with debate on Catholic church and Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor calls on Anglicans to work with Roman Catholics against secular society.

Also George Pitcher Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor: United we stand and Damian Thompson Cardinal’s General Synod speech uses the loaded phrase ‘Ecclesial Community’ – meaning ‘not a Church’

BBC Cardinal ‘regrets’ CofE divisions

Justin Brett So what do you actually do at Synod, then?

Andrew Brown Is the Church of England together enough to split?

Tuesday updates

Comment is free Giles Fraser A week of terrible headlines

Unfortunately, during this synod, the Christian spirit is likely to be overshadowed by infighting and obscurantism…

Guardian Riazat Butt Calls for ecclesial unity amid homosexuality row (scroll down for this)

The Diocese of Lichfield has reports of two items in Questions, here, and here.


  • name says:

    Depressing piece by Andrew Brown. Depressing because such attitudes are widespread. But they’re also, I believe, profoundly wrong. Disagreements of the kind that beset the C of E and the Anglican Communion are absolutely inevitable and indeed occur in just the same way (though admittedly less loudly) in other Christian denominations. We need to keep trumpeting that good old unity-in-diversity line and to keep insisting that it is a virtue. And forget about official Catholicism. Too few C of E people have self-respect.

  • Lots of belligerent Catholic sectarianism on the combox to Damian Thompson’s piece. Benedict XVI seems to receive vocal support only from such wacky quarters. Anglicans do well to ignore this new virulence of sectarian measles and to go on building church in the midst of modern society, with its real problems and real promise.

  • Father Ron Smith says:

    “The Anglo-Catholic opponents of women priests have dreamed of this moment for 20 years. The rumours that they will be received as a body, under their present leaders, have been around for at least that long. But the question is whether they are inside the Church of England now in any meaningful sense. Their leaders do not regard themselves as being in communion with women priests – of course – but neither do they regard themselves as being in communion with bishops who will ordain women, and that includes the Archbishop of Canterbury” – Andrew Brown –

    Andrew Brown, to my mind, is here stating what ought to be obvious to the rest of the members of the C.of E. – and perhaps more importantly, to the membership of General Synod.

    There is already a coterie within the Church that sees itself as ‘out of Eucharistic communion’ with the rest of the Church – in its refusal to acknowledge the priesthood of women. That this situation has been allowed to flourish, and be
    tolerated by the main body of the C.of E. is one of the reasons why the same coterie wants to extend this shameful impasse to the prospect of recognising God’s call upon women clergy to be raised to the espicopate.

    One of the reasons given is that Rome would never countenance such a possibility. The truth is, that since its inception as a separate part of the Body of Christ, the Church of England has no need to ask permission of the Pope to do what it sees, in all good conscience, it needs to do to enhance the outreach of the Gospel to all people.

    One suspects that these ‘Anglo-Catholics’ who look to Rome for a model of discipline, may not be ‘Anglo’ at all, but rather Roman Catholics – as would seem to be evidenced by their constantly looking towards Rome for rescue from what they consider to be the rather disreputable and questionable catholicity of their parent Church.

    To refuse to ordain women to the episcopate at this time in the history of the Church would be to denigrate the ministry of those faithful women who are already providing much-needng ministry as priest and deacons. The degree of misogyny that this implies is altogether anachronistic in the modern world – where women take their rightful place as co-leaders, together with men, in any meaningful enterprise – even the law, which used to be the last bastion of male chauvinism.

    Christ’s treatment of women in the New Testament, which was revolutionary in his day, ought to tell the Church how it should harness all the human resources God has provided for the Gospel mission which Christ initiated and augmented by his own example. Good Pope John XXIII was not averse to thinking of this particular motif for the mission of the Church – ‘Semper Reformanda’. Rome is resiling from that challenge, must Anglicanism do the same?

  • john says:

    I can’t be the only one here to be sustained and emboldened by ‘Spirit”s support. Many thanks.

  • Mike Smith says:

    Fr Ron Smith appears to led by the spirit of the age rather than the Holy Spirit, given what he has said. It’s not just Anglo-Catholics, but Conservative Evangelicals too – are they too bound and awestruck whenever the Pope opens his mouth? No. They are Bible-believing Christians. It’s either ignorant or blasé to call it misogyny, showing a lack of understanding or consideration for the issue. Please please please, particularly with your reverent attributes and titleage, think about what you have written concerning your fellow believers.

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