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Thursday, 13 September 2012


So the bishops have capitulated. What little comfort was left for traditionalists in the Church of England opposed on theological grounds to the ordination of women has been watered down to one word: Respect. Archbishop Rowan says ‘Respect’ means taking somebody else in their own terms; letting them define what they believe, what they think, who they are. It means trying to find a settlement that allows them to recognise in whatever emerges that their views have been taken seriously. Archbishop Rowan may very well think that but few have the capacity of His Grace for treating their opponents with the same respect. Across the border in the Church in Wales even their Archbishop has difficulty in showing respect for those he disagrees with and far from 'taking somebody else in their own terms; letting them define what they believe, what they think', he obstinately refuses even to appoint a replacement Provincial Assistant Bishop preferring to tell traditionalists what they must accept while, tomorrow, making another bid to allow women to be ordained into the episcopate on his own terms in his vanishing church. 

Consider also the attitude already displayed in England by proponents of the ordination of women in the Church and in Parliament - "No promises were broken, says GRAS" and "Essentially everyone knew that when you had the ordination of women as priests that this would lead to the ordination of women bishops after a decent length of pause. Some would say it has now been an indecent length of pause" said Peter Bottomley. Where is there any evidence of respect? When the House of Bishops proposed an amendment to the legislation which would have "strengthened somewhat the provision for the minority, in the hope that this would allow people in the minority to feel that their position was respected, that they were allowed to flourish, and that they were welcome in the Church of England" Women and the Church (WATCH) found it "deeply offensive " claiming that the vision of women as bishops, and the dignity and security of the position of women when they were ordained as bishops would be undermined.

So what is in a word? Personally I find it offensive to be branded as one of those "whose consciences gave them difficulties with the idea of women as bishops, and would find it difficult to receive their ministry." I would have no difficulty with the concept of women bishops or of receiving their ministry if it were simply a matter of debate or if it were accepted throughout the Church Catholic but it cannot be for the simple reason that in conscience we remain faithful to Christ's example rather than synodical persuasion. Whatever arguments are advanced in support of the ordination of women they can only be opinions not supported by historical fact. They condemn Jesus as a failure for being a captive of His time in not appointing women Apostles but in an age when there were numerous priestesses, Christ showed us a new way which honoured men and women equally, different but complementary. What is difficult about that?

1 comment:

  1. As you rightly point out the militant women who so bitterly oppose the smallest crumb to traditionalists/catholics will have no "respect" for them when the time comes.