Monday, July 07, 2008

The Church of England. . .what now?

The Church of England Synod is meeting this week and Ruth Gledhill is live-blogging it. I haven't really kept up with what's happening there, other than knowing that they refused to vote on a resolution stating that "salvation is through Christ alone" and are voting on women bishops and whether the "Catholic" branch will have adequate (or any) safeguards or be forced to accept what to them would be unacceptable. It looks like the assurances that the Church of England gave in 1994 are being pushed out (sound familiar?) and I thought this quote from the Telegraph article was most appropriate for us in the U.S.:

"There is a majority in the Synod who welcome the idea of women bishops, but we should consider the unintended consequences of this decision," said Mr [Gerry] O'Brien [a lay member of the Rochester diocese].

He said that people had assumed that the dissension would have disappeared within 15 years of women being ordained, but instead it has grown.

So what he's saying is that 15 years ago, when women's ordination was first agreed to in the CofE and promises were made to "traditionalists" that they would never be forced to recognize women priests or bishops, those promises were given just as a placebo with no intention at all of being kept, because after all, the assumption was "that the dissension would have disappeared" eventually.

Surprise! Those darn Anglo-Catholics didn't do what they were supposed to and morph into something else, or discover the error of their ways. They actually stuck to their understanding of Scripture and church tradition, and wanted to remain part of the "one holy catholic and apostolic Church." Well, they are going to have some hard decisions to make over the next little while. Prayers for all.

Ruth is reporting that a motion has passed, but I don't know the exact wording - there were so many amendments from the floor, I don't see how anyone could keep track. I hope she will post the complete text of what actually passed. It looks like women bishops are a go, with a "code of practice option" which, to me, means just enough to get the Anglo-Catholics to sign on and then it will gradually disappear (after all, that's what the CofE did with women's ordination). Still, maybe it will be enough for some priests to remain.

Some comments on her blog from Anglo-Catholic priests:
Agree about the great work Mark but what the votes this afternoon mean is that we (Trads as Ruth so succinctly put it) have been sold out.

This will mean the end of my and many others ministry perhaps not today or tommorrow but almost certainly an end as we decide to move on before we are pushed and driven from a church that has clearly indicated it has no place for us or our outmoded fidelity to Revelation and the Scriptures over temporary and changeable secular views.

I hope you manage to get a break Ruth and rest your weary fingers.

I will keep praying because the one thing I am sure of, perhaps the only one, is that the resurrection is at its most powerful in the midst of disaster and death and what we are witnessing here is the death of the Church of England.

What I wonder will God raise up from the dry bones that are left?

Fr Bill

Ruth,

You have done a magnificent job today, albeit rather a depressing one for those of us who are Catholic.

Two sad things to note....

1. The lack of theology... all the talk is on discrimination and fair play, never mind Gospel Principles and the tradition revealed to us, I always believed the Church was a spiritual as opposed to a secular place.

2. Following my evening Mass tonight, one of my parishoners, who has only been confirmed this past fortnight, asking 'Father, what are we going to do now?'

My honest answer was 'i dont know....'

Still the Catholic faith is truly universal, so who knows where the Lord may lead us home to.

Fr James

Look at the tone of the debate and you will see two things the first is no Catholic speaker, as far as I could see is denying the Good work done by women priests or that they should in their own turn be eligible to be Bishops. All we want is something solid to enable us to continue to be faithful anglicans.

From the other side of the debate however there seems to be no concern nor even the basic attempt to understand just how important this issue is to those 1300 priests who signed the letter and, I suspect to many more who didn't as well as many thousands of the laity.

A stronger code of practice is still just that and not enough.

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