A resounding NO to the ordination of women is the decision of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic church, the universal Body of Christ from which the Church of England seems hell-bent on separating itself, not over any deep-rooted theological dispute regarding our Creed, but for secular reasons, specifically, misplaced feminism. If proof were needed, consider the opinion of one of the front runners predicted to be the first woman bishop in the Church of England, the Rev Lucy Winkett, who 'writes, speaks and debates on a wide range of issues reflecting on culture, gender and religion', presumably in that order. Read her account of 'A Half Changed Church' here. I shall pick-up on only one point, although I could challenge all. When the Rev Lucy Winkett writes about "A distinctive Christian women’s contribution to the current debates in society" she makes five points for the benefit of her WATCH audience, the second of which I find the height of hypocrisy:
"Second: a sense that sacrifice is not a dirty word, even though it might be incomprehensible to a self-satisfied society. A conviction that when it is chosen freely, we witness to the love of God for all humanity." [My emphasise - Ed]
In a breath-taking piece of arrogance in the Telegraph article linked above, prejudging the vote of Synod, the faith-by-numbers Bishop of Oxford described the ordination of women to the episcopate as 'inevitable'. No matter that Christ, the New Covenant, defined the Way, the Bishop and his chums have to second guess Christ's example and do things their way. But more disappointingly, the subject of the article, the Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Rev John Hind, who has led opposition to ordaining women as bishops also said that it was now 'certain to happen', perhaps forgetting that the only certainty is death when we all shall have to answer to God for our misdeeds. Better then to remain true to our Baptismal promise to:
"Fight valiantly as a disciple of Christ
against sin, the world and the devil,
and remain faithful to Christ to the end of your life."
What is wrong is wrong. Women bishops in the Church of England may appear to be a political reality in terms of gender politics but this has no part in faith, the faith that has sustained men and women for two millennia until a self appointed group of feminists decided to usurp the authority of mother church. In a recent blog entry I wrote about the treatment of a highly respected priest and former Additional Curates Society Chairman, the Very Rev Jeremy Winston. In a Telegraph obituary he was referred to as "the best bishop the Church in Wales never had". In fact he had been told in no uncertain terms that "there is no place for you in this church." Read a moving tribute here. It illustrates the attitude of the Church in Wales towards those whose conscience does not accord with the tunnel-vision views of their Archbishop, views more extreme than those of the Archbishop of Canterbury who at least has made some effort to honour pledges given when women were accepted for ordination to the priesthood. All the liberal propaganda about wasting talents can be seen for what it is when one of the Anglican Church's brightest stars can be eclipsed by secular political correctness.
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.