Readers may have observed that I find it difficult to be 'slow to anger' where the Anglican church is concerned today. What makes me particularly angry is the complete absence of compassion for men and women in the church who, in common with the majority of Christians, simply want to practice their religion in accordance with tradition, something that should be a human right. I have witnessed and valued women's ministry for its dedication in many areas of church life but much has now changed setting one against another. I didn't see the need for Deaconesses to become Deacons any more than actresses needed to became actors or heroines to became heroes but whereas actors and heroes of either sex were equal in pursuit of their ambitions, so called equality in the church meant something different, a change in our understanding of the priesthood using faith as a vehicle for gender politics.
The appointment of women bishops shatters the tradition of the Universal Church of which Anglicanism has been part. In England, 2012 sees the culmination of a process of deception and lies using false promises to achieve this objective. In Wales their Archbishop is determined to reintroduce the measure in 2012, ignoring the earlier defeat on the basis that the Holy Spirit is only at work when the Archbishop finds the result favourable. Out of spite he went on to deny traditionalists acceptable pastoral and sacramental care by imposing oversight by a bench of bishops none of whom shows any sympathy towards traditionalists. The Church of England has been more tolerant in consecrating replacement PEVs but what of the future given the intransigence of members of Synod, particularly the hard edged women of WATCH and GRAS?
I have to accept that not everyone shares a traditional understanding of the sacred ministry but I cannot understand why, as Christians, new Anglicans would want to deny traditionalists the opportunity to continue to practise their religion as they have done well before many of the new breed of Anglicans entered the church. While some traditionalists may be able to look to the Ordinariate or possibly to the Western Rite of Orthodoxy many will find themselves in the wilderness as their own church adopts a take it or leave it approach, carefully crafted to offer only something known to be unacceptable on the basis that anything else would imply that women would be seen as second class bishops. I was particularly saddened over Christmas to receive a card from a very devout lady with a message that she had had enough and given up going to church. Like many disenchanted souls before her, she had been receiving the sacrament regularly before many of the new breed of Anglicans were born. Does people's faith count for nothing in the gender politics that now obsess our church?
In my previous entry I again highlighted the plight of traditionalist Anglicans in the Episcopal church of the United States and the road to ruin the liberalised Episcopal church there has embarked upon. There is another report here which well illustrates what happens when liberalism replaces the traditional faith of the church. Our once tolerant, broad church should look again to the faith of the Universal church and end its obsession with gender politics while there is still Anglican church in which to hold the office of bishop.