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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Women and the[ir] Church

Affirming themselves + campaigning for themselves + transforming the Church for themselves. Self + self + self.
The six bullet points used in an earlier blog entry on marriage may be equally applied to  WATCH feminist campaigners who demand parity for women in what they now see as their church:
    • Exploit the “victim” status;
    • Use the sympathetic media;
    • Confuse and neutralize the churches;
    • Slander and stereotype [traditionalist] Christians;
    • Bait and switch (hide their true nature); and
    • Intimidation.
Thinking Anglicans yesterday reproduced this press release: WATCH continues to call for complete withdrawal of Clause 5(1)c.

 "Amongst the key points in the[ir] thinking are:
  • We do not agree with the reasons given by Archbishop Rowan for the need for further amendment. Opposition to the priestly of episcopal ministry of women is based foundationally upon theologies of gender.
  • Those who support the ordained ministry of women have already made huge compromises in supporting the unamended Measure that already made provision for those opposed to have a male priest and a male bishop. Accepting the new Clause 8 represents a further compromise on our part.
  • The unamended Measure received an overwhelming mandate from the dioceses. 42/44 have debated and approved this legislation. General Synod should be allowed to vote on legislation that is as close as possible to that which was approved by the dioceses.
  • We are concerned that hasty amendment will again prove to be a hostage to fortune. Any new wording inserted at this stage will not have received adequate scrutiny given the timing of the consultation (25/7 to 24/8). It is likely that the full implications of any new wording will only be discovered later in the autumn influencing Synod voting in unforeseen ways.
  • If further concessions are made, some Synod members will no longer be able to support the draft legislation and the loss of just a few votes from those who support the ordained ministry of women may be enough, in combination with those who would vote against it anyway, to bring the legislation down.
  • With the full support of the bishops and archbishops, legislation with the new Clause 8 but without Clause 5(1)c would have a better chance of passing than any other option.
We conclude that withdrawing 5(1)c is the safest path to the successful passage of this Measure and the only way to keep faith with the diocesan consultation process."
The first point of their 'thinking' boldly states: "We do not agree with the reasons given by Archbishop Rowan for the need for further amendment. Opposition to the priestly of episcopal ministry of women is based foundationally upon theologies of gender." I have written previously here and here that Archbishop Rowan has done everything possible to empower women in the church but unlike the women he has supported, he remains mindful that there are still many Anglicans who adhere to the faith of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and have deep theological objections to the Anglican Communion deviating from the Universal Church, thus hindering the cherished ambition of Christian Unity. The 'huge compromises' supporters of the ordained ministry of women say they have already made are meaningful only to themselves. As the Church of England struggles to find a compromise fair to all, that one small crumb is more than they can bear because it is for others, not self.

The first comment  listed in response to the Thinking Anglicans article makes a fair point:
   "Rachel Weir and members of WATCH have conveniently forgotten that a significant minority of the 44 Dioceses also passed following motions expressing a desire for a proper form of provision for traditionalists. What kind of a church are we developing into, I wonder, where majority rule becomes the order of the day, and there is no place for conscience or space for those with whom we disagree. The Church of England has never been of that ilk, and I suspect that Ms Weir will actually (hopefully) discover that the Bishops will remain mindful of their pastoral imperative to care for ALL in their respective dioceses. If the current unyielding and unbending position of WATCH is any guide to the future with women Bishops, I fear not only for traditionalists but for the Church as a whole. It is definitely not the sort of pastoral care I or others in our local church would wish to receive. Many in the congregation (of both genders) are becoming increasingly irritated at the stance of WATCH. Irritation will lead to refutation and refusal, so WATCH members need to be careful what they wish for. Conscience will never be overriden in these matters. - Posted by: Benedict"

Back in June WATCH asked the question: "What do ordinary people think about the House of Bishops' amendment to Clause 5?" The truth is that 'ordinary people'  haven't a clue what the House of Bishop's amendment to Clause 5 is all about and care even less. In fact, most 'ordinary people' gave up going to Anglican churches long ago, fed up with an institution that has become obsessed with gender politics, preferring to look elsewhere for spiritual fulfilment. When our churches are completely empty we will know who to blame.

For what shall it profit a woman, if she shall gain the whole world, and lose her own soul?

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