Thinking Anglicans

post-Synod opinion

The Comment is Free section of The Guardian has several General Synod related articles.

Christina Rees Faith in the future: This 35-year debate has become tortuous. But one day soon, women will become bishops.

Judith Maltby Synod: messy, imperfect, but ours: General Synod is a product of a tumultuous history. Flawed as it is, it is rooted in and reflects our traditions.

Andrew Brown Why is the Synod so boring? A reflection on this most urgent question; submitted for wider consultation.

Rosemary Hartill The adversarial model doesn’t help The General Synod suffers because of the way it replicates Parliament – it breeds factions, and disagreement.

Andrew Brown Recoiling from nastiness The General Synod has shown that the Church of England rejects homophobia even if it can’t accept gay people on their own terms.

Andrew Brown Are science and atheism compatible? Science brings no comfort to to anyone with dogmatic beliefs about world.

Dave Walker General Synod The general synod as observed from a lofty vantage point.

And here’s some comment on other topics and from elsewhere.

Giles Fraser in the Church Times Face to face with a man I’ve just had a pop at.

Roderick Strange in a Credo column in the Times We need a blessed filter to make sense of our lives How can wealth, comfort, pleasure and a good name be suspect?

Aaron Taylor in The Guardian A season of bright sadness For Orthodox Christians, the penitential season of Lent means much more than fasting.

Nick Spencer in The Guardian Cherie Booth, faith and religion Why it was reasonable for Cherie Booth to take Shamso Miah’s religious committment into account when sentencing him.

Christopher Howse in the Telegraph Our Sound Is Our Wound by Lucy Winkett: Hearing alarms, listening for angels What we can hear, or choose to hear forms a theme in the Lent book of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

And finally a leading article in The Independent The ignored gospel message

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Chuck Inglis
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Chuck Inglis

Christina Rees’ article “Faith in the Future” is linked to this site. It is an insightful article. Rees writes in her conclusion “It will come. Within a few years there will be women taking their place among their brothers. As women have been integrated as priests over the last 15 years, now representing nearly 40% of all Church of England clergy, so too will women be appointed as bishops. When that happens, there will at last be parity for women, but what will remain is the more important work of transforming people’s understanding of what it means to be human… Read more »

Jim Naughton
Guest

I want to have a go at my friend Giles here. Living in Washington I observe a dynamic that is precisely the opposite of what he describes here. The talking heads who excoriated one another on television go out to dinner together afterwards. How nice for them that they get along. But who is served by this comity? Not the people they represent. Same holds true in church fights. The fact that I got along well with David Virtue at our General Convention came as a pleasant surprise, and made those two weeks pass more easily, but it didn’t help… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

@Chuck Inglis (who bears the name of Canada’s first bishop, Charles Inglis). I think, though, that the active opposition to women generally, including women bishops, is losing its steam. Edmonton, hardly a hotbed of liberal or progressive thinking (except in comparison to the rest of Alberta) has now elected two women in a row as diocesan, and the previous +Edmonton led through three ballots in the last primatial election. (Though, yes, it’s possible that her sex made the difference in the narrow fourth ballot.) Nova Scotia, formerly a hotbed of WO opponents, now has a female diocesan. Seems to me… Read more »

BillyD/Bill Dilworth
Guest

“No one who is excluded has been included because he and I thought about having a drink together.”

Maybe not. But maybe the way that the process is carried out in the wider world is made better by the both of you putting more of a human face on the other side. Maybe if we got to know people more in person over a drink we would treat each other more like siblings in the Church.

I acknowledge it might take buying mutliple rounds in many cases…

Chuck Inglis
Guest
Chuck Inglis

Malcolm + wrote, “Seems to me that the handful of [Canadian] women bishops are tactically correct to be charitable to their fading opponents. A less charitable response would be counterproductive.” This is a telling way of analyzing the situation. It is analysis from the perspective of the individuals involved. This way of sizing up the situation is most helpful if avoiding conflict at all costs in one’s goal. There is another way to evaluate the situation and that is from the perspective of the church as community and society. Preventing one’s bishop from presiding at the parish Communion Service has… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

” A church that acknowledges that women should be allowed to be bishops cannot also say that it has doubts about it.” – Christina Rees – And this is why any special accommodation for the opponents of women bishops must be resisted – in the interests of the very ‘Church Order’ premise on which opponents appear to state their case. In today’s climate of gender equality, to ordain women as priests without the possibility of them becoming bishops is, at best irrational, and at the worst an ecclesial disaster. To give them a different status, where their episcope extends only… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Giles’ story reminds me why I became an Anglican, the sheer diversity of opinion was its crowning glory – though I do not remember the “bonds of affection” were ever a visible characteristic, rather a deeply frosty acceptance of the others existence hardly verging on tolerance. No, what characterised the relationship between Fr Dan Sonderier and The Revd Mr Ian M Northend was the certainty the other was barely Christian and leading their flocks into Hells of varying temperatures. But I have more than a modicum of sympathy for Jim’s position – in fact I would say that I have… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

I don’t disagree with you on the overall principle, Chuck. I described the matter as tactical for precisely that reason.

In Canada, the opposition to the ordination of women is a fringe element with no particular breadth and certainly without the destructive influence we see them exercising in the Church of England.

It isn’t (as I see it) about “avoiding conflict at all costs,” so much as declining to humiliate the already defeated.

john
Guest
john

I’m strongly with Malcolm +. Christina Rees’ is a typical piece of overstatement. ‘Provision’ for those unable to accept women priests and bishops does not imply ‘doubts’: it merely gives space to those who in good conscience are opposed to them. As for bishops and unity, if that unity does not exist 100%, as it does not, you cannot simply coerce people into acceptance of majority policy. I am always surprised at how liberals (of whom I am one), who constantly avail themselves of liberal freedoms, cannot see the absolute moral requirement to extend that same freedom to non-liberals, or… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

Father Ron is correct that opponents of women as bishops must be resisted along with their premise regarding “church order.” The Baptismal covenant demands that we “respect the dignity of every human being”. This demand is to be taken seriously; it is a demand that is at odds with patriarchy and all of its special pleading. Once women gain a real credible numerically strong voice in the episcopate of the Communion a lot of the homophobia, that is male driven in the first place, will subside. In fact, we may see far more emphasis on genuine Communion and far less… Read more »

Christopher
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Christopher

The problem Jim speaks of is one of the personal and the public. With the ABC, his personal has been used time and again to set aside his use of words that others take as permission for contempt toward lgbt persons. This disconnect of personal and public, or as the ABC puts it, personal and ecclesial won’t do. And to argue for the disconnect means to argue for it fully. I don’t give a rats fig how nice the ABC is in the personal if he continues to use words in the public light that allow for dehumanization and contempt… Read more »

john
Guest
john

I’d like to add:

For historical reasons (descent from the Oxford Movement revival, e.g.), many FiF churches are in poor inner-city areas. Against the odds, they maintain a church presence. As a whole, the C of E is pathetically, disgracefully, criminally (etc. etc.) incompetent at engaging with society at large. Paradoxically, and against liberal prejudices, many of these churches do so. Can the C of E afford to throw them out? Absolutely, certainly, NOT.

Chuck Inglis
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Chuck Inglis

As a rejoinder to john (writing in support of Malcolm) I’d like to focus on the article by Christina Rees. I don’t find the article to be an example of overstatement. Rather, I find it to be a concise piece that requires careful reading. The heart of the matter, with regard to female bishops, is not about “liberal freedoms” being “extended by liberals” or anyone else—certainly not the church. It’s not a situation in which “I’ll give you this if you give me that”. The issue is about recognizing the fundamental equality of persons. Ms. Rees writes in her article… Read more »

Oriscus
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Oriscus

just a note to Rod Gillis:

We in TEC, baptized or confirmed according to the rites of our 1979 BCP, are covenanted to “respect the dignity of every human being.”

Other Anglicans are not so obliged by their baptismal covenants. This is sadly evident.

Chuck Inglis
Guest
Chuck Inglis

I agree with you with you Malcolm + that the opposition to the ordination of women is a fringe element in Canada in the south (well perhaps with the exception of New Brunswick). However I can’t agree with your observation about declining to humiliate the already defeated. Remember the “conscience clause” in Canada? One of the reasons it was grand-fathered (no pun intended) was because guys were using the clause, not simply to quiet their conscience but as cover in a continuing battle over the nature of the holy orders of female colleagues. When a bishop, or a priest for… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“I say all of this because as Rowan Williams and others attempt to focus attention on the character of the debate on LGBT issues rather than on the injustice that gives rise to the debate, we move toward a point at which which ***calling someone a bigot is considered a greater sin than bigotry***.” Fantastically well-said, Jim . . . and the problem is far larger than just Rowan Cantuar and the “character of the debate” at the CofE’s General Synod. As in the ACNAist (thread below) who characterized TEC’s and the AngChCanada’s polity as “atrocities”, as the Bishop of… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

John, thanks for agreeing with me, but I don’t think I agree with the me that you’re referencing. I think it is entirely appropriate for the female diocesan in Canada not to insist on being the principal celebrant of a Sunday morning at that FiFish (we don’t really have FiF here) parish. I’m not convinced that it makes any sense – strategically or tactically – to create ghetto structures for the propagation and preservation of the perverse theology behind opposition to the ordination of women to the episcopate. In Canada, all there ever was was a conscience clause. The world… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“If hundreds, perhaps thousands (including congregations), of FiF people leave the C of E because they do not secure ‘provision’, I think they will be wrong to do so, but I also think a heavy burden of guilt will rest on the shoulders of those who did not give them ‘provision'” – John, on Sunday – John, with all due respect, I doubt very much that ‘thousands (including congregationas) of F.i.F. people’ will leave the C.of E. ‘because they do not secure provision’ – simply because many of these Anglo-Catholic clergy and people will think very hard before such a… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Oriscus wrote:”…We in TEC, baptized or confirmed according to the rites of our 1979 BCP, are covenanted to ‘respect the dignity of every human being.’Other Anglicans are not so obliged by their baptismal covenants. This is sadly evident.” Thanks, point taken. You likely are aware that The baptismal covenant found in the 1979 American BCP was imported into the Book of Alternative Services of the Anglican Church of Canada in 1985. This particular rite of Holy Baptism is virtually the norm in Canada. As in the American BCP so in the Canadian BAS it also forms the basis for the… Read more »

john
Guest
john

‘the perverse theology behind opposition to the ordination of women to the episcopate’ I happen to agree with you that the theology is wrong. But when you are arguing with someone, you only do justice to their arguments, if (a) you take them (themselves) as sincere, and (b) you take their arguments in their best forms. Your description here does not do that. In fact, I think it profoundly uncharitable, especially as coming from a priest. The facts of the matter, I still believe, are that (a) theology is very plastic (intellectually, it’s a rotten discipline), (b) people are very… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

In my work on Great Lakes ships I befriended a priest in East Chicago, Indiana. To say he was a high-churchman was an understatement, he came complete with a maniple for a low mass he said in is small (but effective) parish in what was largely a forgotten ghetto in the shadow of steel mills and refineries. When I first met him, he was dead set against women’s ordination. Through the years of our continuing long-distance friendship he has come around, and I can only attribute that to not my gift (or lack of, more precisely) of persuasion, but my… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“a particular community may decide “x”, and for very good reasons, there may be people within that community who should be absolved from observance of “x”, particularly if they are a small minority and pose no threat to “x”, because they too have their reasons and some of them are not contemptible.” – John on Monday – John, while I agree with the sentiment behind your argument here, I have to take issue with your ecclesiology. If the issue of women clergy is so offensive to the anglican conscience, then it behoves the offended not to allow themselves to be… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

Chuck, I don’t disagree that any refusal to have a woman bishop preside in a parish is a problem. All I’m saying is that the given woman bishop is in a better place to decide what might be gained – or lost – by getting drawn into a fight about it. Most often, in most of Canada, it would probably be counterproductive. Since the office of ordinary does not depend on episcopal orders, so long as they give her due and canonical obedience as ordinary, it may make perfect sense to be gracious on the orders issue. (That works for… Read more »

Chuck Inglis
Guest
Chuck Inglis

Well Malcolm if you’re saying that expediency and “why can’t we all just get along” are a pair of Canadian traits,it’s hard to disagree. Yet look at what happened in Eastern Newfoundland. Don Harvey retires from the Anglican Church of Canada, gets himself transferred canonically to another ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and proceeds to pontificate.The outcome? The clergy who used to serve under him while he was diocesan are required to attend a mandatory renewal of ordination vows as a condition for keeping their licenses. The common denominator is what is good and expedient for a particular bishop is good for the… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

Chuck said: “The common denominator is what is good and expedient for a particular bishop is good for the whole community. Is that what you are arguing for?” Malcolm responds: I probably wouldn’t push it that far, no. But I do think expediency is not always a bad thing. And I’m saying that I trust Sue Moxley and Jane Alexander to judge when to push the issue and when it isn’t helpful. From the outside, Cy Pitman’s action in ENL seems a trifle extreme, but I gather from a couple of contacts there that there were reasons for his to… Read more »

Chuck Inglis
Guest
Chuck Inglis

so, Malcolm we are at an impasse. You’re back to working the problem from the point of view of the individuals and variables involved. I prefer looking at the issue from how it affects the church as a community of the whole–which is why I support the analysis in the Rees article. Notwithstanding, I understand on the core values involved you seem to be in a similar place. -Chuck Inglis

Malcolm+
Guest

Indeed, Chuck. Our difference is tactical, not strategic. It is about means, not ends.

john
Guest
john

‘we’d all better accept that there are many good people that have wrong ideas on WO.’

Good sentiment, ‘Choirboy’.

By the way, ‘hombre’, I’d like to know your name. I’m not intending to die any time soon, but one never knows. If you’d care to reveal it, I’m on:
j.l.moles@ncl.ac.uk.

Chuck Inglis
Guest
Chuck Inglis

Malcolm + “Our difference is tactical, not strategic. It is about means, not ends” Means and ends have a dynamic relationship however. In the Canadian Church context the tendency to default to negotiated (and often non-transparent) face saving arrangements, as a means to tranquility, outweighs the advancement of ends in which principles are clarified (and transparent) for the common good. As a practical application, not upsetting the gentlemen usually trumps adherence to principles such as gender equality.Christina Rees is wise in pointing to the implications of this way of doing business. Speaking of transparent, my friends here in Ontario tell… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

Means and ends can often be in tension, and while generosity to a defeated adversary may sometimes be the right call, that isn’t always the case.

I’m curious to know what you mean about the anxiety barometer for GS2010.

If you’d rather have that discussion offlist, let me know.

Chuck Inglis
Guest
Chuck Inglis

Malcolm + asked about the barometric pressure for General Synod 2010.If you know anyone in the Canadian HoB and or CoGS you might ask them some pointed questions. Do you watch jeopardy? Under the category of human sexuality “What is micromanagement? -Chuck Inglis

BillyD/Bill Dilworth
Guest

“I happen to agree with you that the theology is wrong. But when you are arguing with someone, you only do justice to their arguments, if (a) you take them (themselves) as sincere… Your description here does not do that. In fact, I think it profoundly uncharitable, especially as coming from a priest. “ I disagree. While there may be some arguments against the ordination of women that make sense (after all, there are people I admire and respect cannot accept it, so they must have their reasons) some of the theology behind it is, I believe, inimical to the… Read more »

john
Guest
john

Not sure what you’re disagreeing with, BillyD. The theory you’re talking about in the language you use does not fall within ‘their best forms’. I’m perfectly happy to join with you in attacking it. To describe ALL the theology against WO as ‘perverse’ is just too broad-brush.

Malcolm+
Guest

Chuck, comments at Simple Massing Priest are moderated. If you’d leave me an email address as a comment over there, I won’t publish it to the website, but I’ll email you so we can carry this forward offline.

Chuck Inglis
Guest
Chuck Inglis

Thanks to Malcolm+ for the offer but its not necessary. But,look forward for another Canadian GS in 2010 in which hours and hours will be devoted to human sexuality and related issues. Some of the same players who brought the Council of General Synod to deadlock on this issue last year now want a crack at General Synod. Now, this is where, like in the movies, I race out of the parking garage. “Follow the anxiety”. -Chuck