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Wednesday, 29 February 2012
But never mind the facts. This shabby campaign has little to do with religion and everything to do with secular feminism with their aim of "achieving equality within its ranks". In a Parliamentary debate on Women in the Church of England yesterday, Diana Johnson MP opened by "[paying] tribute again to the women and men who have been fighting for justice and equality in the Church of England for many years". She spoke about the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Equality Act 2010, international women’s day, the suffragette campaign, and "the legislation in relation to women priests [which] went through in November 1992, but it specifically said that women could not become bishops".
No impediment there of course, merely the opportunity for another campaign. Contrary to the assertions that women priests are treated as second-class Christians, Ms Johnson stressed that: "There are now 3,000 women priests. The talents and abilities of both women and men are now being recognised and utilised by the Church. There are four female deans of cathedrals and many others in senior roles." Surely Ms Johnson would not mislead the House!
There was no surprise to see Sir Peter Bottomley quipping his way through the debate to make the point: "However, from 1928 to now, we have had arguments over the ordination of women as deacons rather than deaconesses and the decision, eventually, to ordain women as priests. Now we come to the decision—this could have been taken at the same time as the decision to ordain women as priests, but out of kindness to the last ditchers it was deferred —about women being ordained as bishops [my emphasis - Ed].
The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Tony Baldry) made an interesting point: "Leaving nothing to chance, I have already had discussions with my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House of Commons. Using the precedent of what happened in respect of the Measures for ordaining women as deacons and priests, it is deemed to be appropriate to consider this Measure on the Floor of the House, rather than upstairs in Committee. The understanding that I have reached with the Leader of the House is that we will set aside half a day—we hope, some time in November—to approve the Measure in this House. It has to be approved separately in the House of Lords, and I hope that it will do similarly. If the Measure is approved by General Synod in July, it is my ambition to do everything possible to have it pass all its legislative stages before the end of this year. We would therefore hope to see the first women bishops appointed as early as 2014."
In her opening speech Ms Johnson remarked: "As I said, the draft Measure goes to the House of Bishops in May, and it can amend the reforms as it sees fit. If it does, that would be unacceptable to WATCH [my emphasis -Ed] and most senior women [can't be second-class then], because it would change the episcopacy in ways that would undermine the Church’s integrity and mission, as well as limiting female bishops’ ministry too far."
So it is all laid out. Carefully crafted claims that women bishops will be second-class bishops unless WATCH have their way and exclude all who disagree with them. Ms Johnson spoke of a 'broad church' but not broad enough to accommodate 'yesterday’s people', or Sir Peter's 'last ditchers' as they refer to their fellow Anglicans. Dishonour, deception and outright balderdash is the recipe for change 'to serve the people of today and tomorrow'. It almost makes one glad to be un-churched.
Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
|Photo credit Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk|
"So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes." Daniel 9:3
Anglicans who regard themselves as 'Catholic and Reformed' face a new dilemma this Lent now that the Anglican Church which provided the middle way for them declared itself to be hell-bent on reducing the once great Established Church of England to the status of a protestant sect on the wane.
John Henry Newman was a committed Anglican who made a conscious decision to leave the Church of England and tread a new path to spiritual fulfilment. Today, for many cradle Anglo Catholics, the way is not so clear cut after finding that their church has left them, creating a sense of abandonment.
The Personal Ordinariate launched under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman is the obvious starting point for those seeking a new spiritual home in the Apostolic Church. For Anglo Catholics able and willing to make the journey, this Lent will have an added poignancy as they strive to reconcile their 'reformed' beliefs with the demands that separate them from their Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. Failure to do so will leave them effectively un-churched.
Thursday, 9 February 2012
The Church of England has been reminded in various Synod debates this week that the timeless faith of believers has little relevance in their 21st Century church. Weighed down by complexities of their own making designed to appeal to those with imported beliefs or none at all, they cast their votes leaving the Lord's disciples to make of it what they will with no hint of thought or compassion.
'Give me the child...I'll give you the man' was the cry of old but the male role model, already whittled away in primary education, is declining in the Anglican church along with attendance while the influence of the Anglican Church wanes. Sexuality over reason has seen Christian marriage devalued to the level of a political ball game which takes all and gives nothing with the implication that there must be something seriously wrong with people who share spiritual values beyond current flights of fancy. Who cares? Those men and women of conscience who do so are characterised as misogynistic bigots. They are forced to defend themselves against false accusations of discrimination clearly designed to appeal to secularists who see no place in society for a church that shaped our history; people who are content to see mosques replace our churches in the misguided belief that Islam is, as one commentator put it, just another 'Old Testament religion' or an Arabic version of the Bible. Traditional Christian values are being destroyed. The extremists who occupy our church insist that they are being generous as they strangle the life out of all who oppose them. They show utter contempt for those who do not share their distorted values and reward those who have shown them generosity by excluding them from the church they now see as their own.
The women at the cross stood weeping under Christ's broken Body as His garments were divided. In today's Anglican Church they simply divide His garments among themselves.
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
|Picture: DAVE PERRY|
Monday, 6 February 2012
Writing for Ekklesia in favour of the move with customary secular feminist fervour, Savi Hensman makes an excellent case for its rejection. It is so far removed from the voice of Jesus that her plea would be laughable were in not so serious, particularly for women and men who see their church being stolen from them for political ends.
Friday, 3 February 2012
Generosity is a word that trips easily from the tongues of the liberal elite. Bishop Pritchard says, "I think the code of practice is a generous, rigorous way of making sure that bishops honour both those who want women bishops and those many fewer people who disagree with it in conscience and I think the code of practice interpreted properly by bishops will be more than adequate to do that." Fr Edward Barnes unpacks these meaningless, self-serving assertions here.
As our Church slips evermore towards obscurity, the latest liberal cause célèbre to hit the headlines is the report that one hundred clerics in the diocese of London have signed a letter stating that they should have the right to host civil partnerships on grounds of “individual conscience”, just as they can choose to marry divorcees in their churches. The protesters ignore warnings of the descent of the Anglican Church exemplified in the US, dismissing them with a fleeting, 'Oh that's America, it couldn't happen here!'. I doubt that the Archbishop of York sees it that way having come under attack for his views on the meaning of marriage with one protester handcuffing himself to a lamppost like a modern day suffragette with a sign at his feet bearing the words “Homophobia is so gay”, illustrating how twisted protesters misrepresent Christian values. In common with many Christians, Dr Sentamu welcomes civil partnerships but insists that the state does not have any power to 'change the long-settled definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman'.
We are all made in the image of God so it is understandable that we all want to be respected but to respect one another does not imply sameness. God's creation sees male and female coming together as one flesh in the sacrament of marriage for the procreation of children. To pretend other is a disservice to those who championed the cause of civil partnerships despite some misgivings that the 'progressive' brigade would soon want more than was asked for, a not unfamiliar situation in today's church. Speaking before the Washington state legislature hearings on the definition of marriage in, Washington, on the subject "Redefine marriage and history will not be kind to you", Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse said, 'Let me remind you that a vast majority of African Americans completely reject same sex marriage. They are deeply offended by the high-jacking of the moral authority of their civil rights movement'. [My emphasis Ed]. Her profound witness to the love of God through the sanctity of marriage can be read here.
The place of women in the Universal Church has been distorted for political ends. There is no discrimination of women in the Apostolic Church. Women 'choosing freely' do 'witness to the love of God for all humanity', a view exemplified by Doctor, lawyer and theologian, Priscilla Noble-Mathews in a broadcast linked here, testimony that this is our church, this is our faith, the faith that binds us to the Holy Catholic Church which says NO to women bishops.