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Monday, 9 January 2012

Mean-minded gender politics v. traditional Anglican faith

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. 

Women deacons became priests on the dubious pretext that there was no biblical objection and the assertion that there was little difference between deacon and priest other than the utterance of a few words (such regard for the sacred ministry!). Now it is the 'stained glass ceiling' that has to be shattered in the guise of equality. Such is the success of this secular based campaign that even some opponents of the ordination of women express sympathy for their position, one which has been manipulated to appear one of prejudice. If they succeed in their goal the next step will be parity which is the aim of Women and the Church (WATCH). Only when we have a woman Archbishop will cries of injustice be allowed to fade.

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.


  1. With respect, there is no such thing as a "Universal Church"in the way you think of it.

    If you want to be part of the church that claims universality, go and convert to Roman Catholicism, but be aware that that it is a markedly different faith to the protestantism of the Anglican church.

    So I end up asking myself what do you actually believe - the 39 articles or the catholic catechism?

  2. I use the term 'Universal Church' to embrace the Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church - the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of our Creed.
    Geoffrey Fisher has often been quoted as stating that 'We have no doctrine of our own'.

  3. The Church which I love has died! I am a woman and Lay Reader, but could never be a priest. My priest is "Father" (followed by a male name not a female one, which I have seen in my diocese) What about the fact that God never changes, despite what the church might think. Where is the prayerful consideration of important issues? Where is the reliance on the Holy Spirit? We women have a ministry, but it is complementary to that of a priest. Which does not mean that I am a lesser mortal.

  4. What you have to decide, Ancient Briton, is whether you are an absolutist or a pluralist. Your posting combines the propositions: (a) women priests and bishops are absolutely wrng; (b) but I could live with those who advocate them and with them themselves, provided I and those who think like me get adequate provision. I'm pretty sure that (b) is where your heart lies. So proclaim it loud and strong. As you probably know, I (a very liberal Anglican) constantly support (b).

  5. Reading as you describe John, I am both (a) and (b). First and foremost I am an absolutist but realism dictates that since women priests are established in the Anglican church I have to consider a way forward which takes me to (b), but not if that involves 'horse-trading'. I could not vote in favour of women bishops even if a third province were promised and written in blood. What is wrong is wrong; 'lead us not into temptation'!

  6. Thank you.

    As you know, I don't think it wrong - I think it right, but I am extremely anxious that a way forward can be found for such as yourself (and I have friends such as yourself) to remain with integrity within the C of E/Church of Wales.

  7. a good debate brewing!

  8. Life in the old blog yet!

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