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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Vindictive, conniving, manipulative - Is this the Church of England?

Unlike women in religious communities who put God and mankind before self, Women and the Church (WATCH) exists only to serve themselves. The fury exhibited after losing the vote in a Synod specially convened at considerable expense for the purpose of reaching a conclusion under agreed procedures is extraordinary. Their performance is matched only by the high priestess of schism who is busy tearing apart The Episcopal Church  in the United States of America.

WATCH gambled recklessly, constantly raising the stakes until they lost. Having done so they cry foul and blame everyone but themselves. It was a calculated gamble. They were expected to win with the support of bishops and clergy and assumed they could manipulate the laity in the same way but they have more about then when it comes to keeping the faith. Having gambled and lost, WATCH are deperate to throw the dice again but this time loaded in their favour. It comes as no surprise that they want a single clause measure which makes no provision for dissenters, the sort of vindictiveness we have come to expect from an organisation that claims to be doing one thing but does another.

In a recent TV programme Christina Rees referred to "those who are opposed to this [measure], who have completely refused to accept all the arrangements that we have worked painstakingly over years to provide" with no hint of responsibility for the fact that WATCH have scuppered every attempt to reach agreement unless it is on their terms

The bishops have given every reason to believe that they are conniving with WATCH. A statement on 28 November after the Archbishops' Council read as follows:
 "As part of their reflections, many council members commented on the deep degree of sadness and shock that they had felt as a result of the vote and also of the need to affirm all women serving the church - both lay and ordained - in their ministries. In its discussions the Council decided that a process to admit women to the episcopate needed to be restarted at the next meeting of the General Synod in July 2013. There was agreement that the Church of England had to resolve this matter through its own processes as a matter of urgency".

One wonders what the council members had in mind when they commented "
of the need to affirm all women serving the church - both lay and ordained". Does that include the women, almost half of those in the House of Laity who voted against the measure? They have already been condemned for being out of step not only with with the diocesan synods but with wider society as if secularism guides our faith. If everyone was supposed to vote in accordance with the wishes of WATCH, the House of Bishops and the House of Clergy, what was the point of debating the measure all day or, indeed, even of holding a special Synod? This is an abysmal example the Church of England has set for society. If we all rejected established procedures when we don't like the result there would be total anarchy.

It beggars belief that WATCH claim to have done everything in their power to accommodate others when they have vetoed every concession that has been suggested. Let us be clear about this. There is one word for saying one thing but doing another. That word is Hypocrisy which is condemned throughout Matthew 23. Further manipulation must be expected but it must be countered. We belong to Christ's church not to a women's church as asserted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In the TV programme mentioned above orthodox Christians were referred to as being toxic. The bishops who serve them by exercising our credal belief in the Apostolic Church were described as 'Flying Bigots' by the Rev George Pitcher who is a former public affairs advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury no less. The Archbishop was correct when, speaking after the vote, he said: “We have, to put it very bluntly, a lot of explaining to do,” but he added, “Whatever the motivation for voting yesterday, whatever the theological principle on which people acted and spoke, the fact remains that a great deal of this discussion is not intelligible to our wider society. Worse than that, it seems as if we are wilfully blind to some of the trends and priorities of that wider society. We have some explaining to do, we have as a result of yesterday undoubtedly lost a measure of credibility in our society." 

It is clear that Archbishop Rowan was admonishing worshippers in the Church of England who acted out of conscience because Synod had reneged on a pledge. Some of those in favour of women bishops but who voted against the measure have explained their reason: “Our vote against stemmed from the Measure’s failure to honour the inclusiveness which we believe fundamental to the future of Anglicanism. The Church of England needs all the voices it currently has, and to hear them all. Unity has never been unanimity.”

The Church of England has lost a very large measure of credibility. She has broken a solemn promise of care for all and has become vindictive, conniving and manipulative. Is a Church of England with women bishops to be a Church without honour? 

Many in our constituency had faith that Rowan would not abandon us. That is now wearing very thin.  If he too keeps the faith, this could still be his finest hour.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Women in distress: An apology

"I don't have a latrine. Sometimes I go to the bush.
 It's quite far and there have been a lot of people going.
 Sometimes I feel ashamed and go back without defecating.
 Sometimes I wait until dark so no one can see me.
 To reach the bush, first there is a bridge.
 Sometimes people fall off the bridge and then they die.
 At night it is very dangerous. A woman I know has been raped."

Monday, 19 November 2012 was World Toilet Day. Like many others I was too concerned about Mother Church and what the future might hold for around one third of Anglicans in the Church of England who feel that they are being squeezed out so the email I received from Water Aid sank further down my in-try. It made this plea: "1 in 3 women worldwide risk shame, disease, harassment and even attack because they have nowhere safe to go to the toilet. That's 1.25 billion women – daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmothers. In April, the UK Government pledged to double the number of people they would reach with water and sanitation to 60 million by 2015. Now is the time to turn that promise into action and every voice adds pressure, so please add yours today."

As the Church of England Synod counted up votes on the women bishops measure, both sides praying that the Holy Spirit would shine upon them, one third of the women in the world were praying for rudimentary sanitation. It is hard not to feel ashamed that an unnecessary controversy deflected attention form the genuine need and suffering of one third of all women. They cannot be dismissed as a small minority. If you have not already done so, please sign-up to Water Aid and help the 1.25 billion women who are in desperate need of our vote.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Ungracious losers

Click HERE to watch while there is still time.
Too late to view but see end note for a good summary.

This morning I was alerted by Anglican Mainstream to the BBC's 'The Big Questions' programme. With only five days left to view I thought I had better tune in. I was shocked. The anger and untruths coming from the losers convinced me more than ever that Jesus knew what He was doing when He appointed only male Apostles. Sitting opposite them were the objects of their anger, those who had secured the vote under the agreed rules. The 'opposition' appeared almost apologetic by comparison but I realise now that what I was witnessing was a living example of the Christian faith revealed in Galatians: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Ruth Gledhill was very keen to emphasise that our failure to play their game will ensure that we will be subject to the law. But the law they speak of is of this world, something that they are unable or unwilling to grasp. 

Thank God then for Peter Hitchens who, from a position of neutrality, met force with force and considerable candour in refuting the disingenuous claims of Christina Rees and the Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin that every concession has been made to accommodate traditionalists.
Ms Rees spoke of 'trust' suggesting that opponents should leave the church if they do not trust their bishops. She quoted Archbishop Rowan Williams to reinforce her point: "When you say to your neighbour I don't trust you, what do you say next to them?" She continued, "Those who are opposed to this, who have completely refused to accept all the arrangements that we have worked painstakingly over years to provide is that if you don't trust us, what are you doing in the church where you do not trust the authorities.....? "

Ms Rees is economical with the truth. Back in July, in defence of the climb down by the bishops over Clause 5(1)c, Archbishop Rowan said: "The bishops had only been trying to help when they tinkered with the draft legislation in May. He remained unconvinced they had got it wrong but they should question why they failed to anticipate the outpouring of anger from senior female clergy and campaigners for female bishops. So the bishops changed their minds not because they had got it wrong but because of the outpouring of anger repeated in this programme and at every stage through the process. The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin even condemned the arrangements which allowed women to become priests as making them second class. That "fudge" as they called it will no doubt become another arrow in their quiver

In answer to the question posed by Ms Rees, yes we do trust the authorities. The authority of scripture, reason and tradition all of which put the authority of the Church of England into perspective. Many have already left the church of their birth which, in charity, allowed a minority of liberals to prosper and gain control. Now those who find themselves in a minority within the Church of England are invited to leave. It is increasingly clear that this has been the liberal agenda all along resulting in torn-up promises, deceit and, I can't think of another way of putting, lies. That WATCH have been invited to attend the meeting of the House of Bishops after their climb-down suggests that they enjoy a higher authority in the Church of England but whatever their standing the ungracious losers should meditate on Galatians before they speak.

A revealing summary of the programme can be found HERE.

Monday, 26 November 2012

The Church of England: A new Sect

"The Church of England's decision to reject the introduction of
women bishops makes it look like 'a sect'." - Sir Tony Baldry

 The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Tony Baldry, displays an unusual understanding of the word sect which in Christian terms means a group of people with somewhat different religious beliefs (typically regarded as heretical) from those of a larger group to which they belong. In our case that means the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church which Parliament, the House of Bishops and a majority of clergy in Synod choose to ignore for purely political purposes.

Much has been made of the Commissioner's buffoonery in sporting a male-only, club tie while he was berating orthodox Christians for being sexist. What he had to say about sects was equally ridiculous. It is the rejection of Christian orthodoxy that will turn the Church of England into a Protestant sect, not the other way around. As mentioned in my previous entry, the new Dean of Llandaff wrote that "We should listen to Parliament". Why? MPs have demonstrated that they have no understanding of the issues involved. Every member I heard made false accusations on the lines of that peddled in the press by 'over one thousand clergy' when they suggested that orthodox Anglicans believe women are inferior to men. What utter nonsense and from senior clergy!

Comments made in Parliament showed an abysmal ignorance of the theology involved. This offering from David Winnick was typical: I am not involved with the Church of England and I am a lifelong non-believer, but I want to say to the hon. Gentleman, whom I greatly admire for the stance he has taken, that it is simply impossible to understand how on earth it can be argued that if women are considered appropriate to be deacons and priests, as they have been in the last 20 years, they are not worthy to be bishops. It is simply impossible to understand that. Will the hon. Gentleman also accept that, for many of us, this opposition to women bishops bears comparison with the opposition 100 years ago to women having the right to vote and to sit in the House of Commons? It is an anti-women attitude—a feeling that women have no place in public life, in religion or in politics—that I find contemptible.

It is contemptible that an Honourable Member is allowed to get away with such statements such as "they are not [considered] worthy to be bishops" and "It is an anti-women attitude—a feeling that women have no place in public life, in religion or in politics" when nothing of the sort has been suggested. That is not the position of the church but it remains unchallenged because clergy and bishops in general hold their positions not for their belief in orthodox Christianity but in the church being relevant to society. Typical of the bishops' response came from the Bishop of Sheffield who told the BBC that 'he hoped the news would not affect congregation numbers' when the most vocal don't attend church anyway. He should wake up to the fact, as one historian put it, 'God doesn't do relevance'. What has affected congregation numbers is the use of half-truths and even lies to promote a liberal agenda at variance with Christian teaching. 
There are far too many women who experience real suffering and desperately need our help instead of squabbling over imaginary injustices. Although illegal in the UK Female Genital Mutilation goes on because of "respect" and "cultural sensitivity" which makes detection in the UK almost impossible. Also, gender inequality is one of the main reasons for early and forced marriage: women and girls often occupy a lower status in societies as a result of social and cultural traditions, attitudes, beliefs that deny them their rights and stifle their ability to play an equal role in their homes and communities. Young girls are forced into marriage as child brides. It is ironic that immense suffering is allowed to continue out of respect for other cultures while a lack of respect for our own culture sees Christian orthodoxy overturned and genuine believers marginalised.

Women and men who complain about the supposed pain and suffering of women because they are not yet able to be bishops in the Church of England should focus on the real pain experienced by women and even girls in this country and far beyond. If they had had any thought for others they would already have secured the vote they crave for. All that is needed now is to allow orthodox Anglicans to practice their faith as it has been received. If they would only do that they could direct their considerable talents into helping to ease real suffering among women. That is the challenge. As Christians they should have the humility to accept it.

Not a good start for the new Dean of Llandaff

Unfortunately for readers of my previous entry, the oddly titled 'Inevitably' post under The Women Bishops Debate link, mysteriously disappeared - see here. Fortunately I have a copy (below) so readers can make of it what they will. [Note - the post has reappeared as mysteriously as it disappeared so I have removed the reprint but will keep a copy - just in case!]

It is intriguing how posts come and go in the secular integrity. In this context the women's lib movement has a strong affinity with Islam where one awkward verse is abrogated by another so peace will reign when we all abide by the rules of the oppressor. 

The soon to be Mr(s) Dean concluded her entry thus: The Second Estates Church Commissioner has given purposeful leadership which showed itself in the open debate in the House of Commons yesterday. We should listen to Parliament. They may yet help us salvage something from this and reform the governance of the church so that it is better fit for purpose. If I may paraphrase Mrs Thatcher: You listen to Parliament if you want to; this integrity is not for turning. Watch this space for my thoughts on the performance of the Second Estates Church Commissioner.

Lest it be thought we cannot agree on anything, I commend the Venerable Janet Henderson for remarks in an earlier post: "We all make mistakes and act from mixed motives that are sometimes a great deal less pure than we would like to admit. Most of us find it very difficult to walk a balanced line between justice and compassion, loyalty to tradition and response to new developments. The art of being church is to live repentantly and graciously with those with whom we disagree". Also: "The Holy Spirit is able to work through the church's honest debate and interaction, through its members' pain and frustration and to bring to resonance the voice of the voiceless. Listening requires full attention and the ability to put aside our own ideas while we listen". Having lost the vote that becomes: "The debate on Tuesday was no more than the logical conclusion to the fact that we have spent 20 years encouraging people not to change their position on this issue, not to listen to each other, and not to work together, but to feel safe in which ever set of beliefs they hold".

Do I detect an abrogation?

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Just up his street

An announcement has appeared on the Church in Wales web site that Bazzer of Neath has now picked a girl from Neath to be the new Dean of Llandaff. - That must be another morale booster for Church in Wales clergy. An imported Ass Bishop and an imported lady Archdeacon although it has to be said that 'Peggy pilot' puts the Ass Bishop in the shade, not that that would be difficult according to local sources. So two out of three senior appointments to the ladies in Bazzer's campaign to feminise the Church in Wales along with the Church of England.

At least the new Dean was born in Wales but like Dr Morgan's other senior appointments recently, she has performed her ministry in England. Any suspicion that the Archbishop has simply picked a local girl is quickly dispelled after reading her blog where she writes about The Woman Bishops Debate. Based on a rudimentary knowledge of psychology she has decided that the tradition of the church is wrong and that solemn promises made to ensure that she was able to be ordained were made in error! The misrepresentation is on a scale that assured her of the favour of her new Archbishop. In his response to the outcome of the Women Bishops debate Dr Morgan had the gaul to use the motto of Credo Cymru ('Forward in Faith' in Wales), "Keep the Faith", in another simplistic piece in which he compares the holy priesthood of the one who stands at the Altar with a school teacher. For orthodox Anglicans such comments belittle our creedal catholic faith for purely political ends. 

Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King, the One who senior clergy, bishops included, would see dethroned in the cause of secularism. That will not happen because those who think in such terms are but a tiny minority in the universal church however much they like to brag about their brand of secular Anglicanism.

Today is also Stir-up Sunday. How very true.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Women and the Church demand the right to attend the all-male House of Bishops

The full story here

Blind guides

Members of two Houses, Bishops and Commons, have been singing to the same tune over what they see as the wrong vote in an agreed democratic process of Synod. The lyrics hark to a narrow world of their own making but these are the very people who should have a sense of proportion, impartiality and care for all. None of these has been in evidence. Just a one sided chant based on misguided concepts of making mother church 'intelligible to our wider society'. Rowan Williams was correct when he said 'it seems as if we are wilfully blind' but mistakenly he was referring to the 'trends and priorities of society', not to the House of Bishops or to Parliament

It is disgraceful that there should have been such wilful misrepresentation of the orthodox position but it is time to move on. There has to be a solution that first of all is consonant with the faith of the Apostolic church however quaint that appears to modern society. Secondly we recognize that the Church of England has taken a different view from the Universal Church and that the majority of Anglicans in England are content to see women at the Altar and, therefore, for them to be bishops. If Women and the Church (WATCH) had not erected so many barriers to agreement they would have already achieved that objective but we must start afresh. 

WATCH must give ground. Talk of removing 'concessions' is ludicrous. Also, talk of a 'divided church' and a 'Church within a Church' must be forgotten. That is where we are. The Anglican Church is divided throughout the Communion and, more importantly we are divided from the rest of the Catholic church. The creation of a Third Province covering both England and Wales would enable us all to live together in a spirit of unity and Godly love, to prosper or to fail according to conscience, giving greater hope for the survival of the Anglican Church in England and Wales in one form or another if not both without any grounds for regarding some bishops as 'second-class' bishops, something that Parliament says it will not tolerate. This solution would give the Holy Spirit a chance to work God's grace without wilful impediment. If a solution on these lines is not acceptable it will confirm that both Houses representing the Establishment are hellbent on turning the Church of England into a form of secularism.

A compromise suggested here.

Friday, 23 November 2012

I really am appalled

Older readers will recall how, in pre-PC days, comedy was used to defuse a stressful situation. This clip about another ministry humourously conveys a feeling of utter disbelief. My reaction to the ungracious reaction of the losers of the vote was the same. The performance of the press, Parliament and, most distressingly, of our own church to the lost vote in Synod was appalling. The vote was secured by the agreed democratic process with a margin three times greater than that which secured the ordination of women as priests - clearly a colossal mistake in hindsight. The winners of the vote are representative not only of the majority of Anglicans in the world, but of the view of the Apostolic Church to which we claim allegiance. That we have been treated with such contempt truly is appalling. The reaction of the press was to be expected since they are more interested in a good headline than the facts but Parliament! MPs are used to being whipped to vote without having listened to the debate but had they done so on this occasion they would have heard much stronger reasons for voting against the measure than for it.

I don't know whether the MPs who condemned the vote ever enter a church but whether they do or not, I would have expected a greater understanding of what is involved, not a misplaced view of equality of opportunity in the workplace as if they were considering female representation on the board of Tesco. Having demonstrated an extraordinary ability to fiddle expenses in many cases, one would have thought they would at least have been able to acquire a rudimentary understanding of the church's democratic process before condemning it whether they agree with it or not. Had they been dealing with Muslims instead of Christians there would have been outrage at their criticism. Their hypocrisy is on a level matched only within our own church. 

The baying crowd reminded me of a biblical scene: 'And he said, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they kept shouting all the more, saying, "Crucify Him!" ' Matthew 27:23. Few are interested in the facts. The expressions of outrage were continued in BBC 1's Question Time. As in Parliament, there was a perceived 'inequality' but no-one admitted to being Anglican. We have come to expect people to have an opinion on everything in the media age whether or not they have any understanding of the underlying issue but the church should know better. The clergy have shouted the loudest and have been matched by the crowd. Most appalling for me was to hear our Archbishop tell Synod: "The fact remains that a great deal of this discussion is not intelligible to our wider society. Worse than that, it seems as if we are wilfully blind to some of the trends and priorities of that wider society. We have some explaining to do. We have as a result of yesterday undoubtedly lost a measure of credibility." [My emphasis]. 

Promises of 'respect' quickly evaporated. Is that what the Church of England has come to? In the Church in Wales Dr Morgan has also taken up the cry, mimicking the Archbishop of Canterbury who, when asked what he would say to women in the Church following the result, said: “I can well understand that feeling of rejection and unhappiness and deep disillusion with the institution of the Church. "But I would also say: it is still your Church. Not mine, not Synod’s, but yours. Your voice matters and will be heard. It’s important not to give up.” This is the crux of the problem in England and in Wales. The Anglican church is being transformed into a reformed, women's church.

There is some explaining to do. First and foremost to orthodox Anglicans who have been pilloried by their own church for defending the faith of the Apostolic church.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

They have only themselves to blame

Just one small wafer Ms Creosote?

As every Sunday school pupil knows, greed is one of the seven deadly sins. When Rowan Williams was humiliated by Women and the Church (WATCH) in July I sensed that the tide was about to turn. Every concession had been a step too far for WATCH. From 'a divided church' to 'demeaning women' then 'second class bishops', any excuse has been used to squeeze the opposition further. Listening to yesterday's debate it was clear that those in favour of women bishops wanted more than just that. Those opposed to the measure had no place in the church despite so-called assurances and solemn promises. Had they not been so greedy WATCH could already have achieved their goal and Archbishop Rowan could have retired a happy man. As one speaker put it, he would have voted in favour at every previous compromise but what was now on offer was not good enough. That summed up the mood. Enough was enough, so they lost. 

Contrary to the hysterical headlines in the press, it was NOT a vote against women bishops. It was a vote against a lack of charity towards a substantial minority whose faith means more to them than their bishops and clergy realise. Going back to 1992, there were jubilant scenes among supporters of the ordination of women priests. That was passed by just two votes. Yesterday's vote dwarfed that margin by 200% a substantial majority! One could well argue that if the Holy Spirit was in favour of women priests, a popular cry, then the Holy Spirit must be categorically opposed to women bishops. But as we know, there is no logic in the ordination of women campaign, just prejudice. There is an honest assessment of the vote by a female trainee chaplain here. Without retracing ground covered this comment was very interesting: 'One argument kept ringing true: the claim that the pro-women campaigners were too quick to try and make the church like the world. Uncomfortably, I had to agree. Too many of those in favour of women bishops just sounded too… well… worldly'.

Writing in the Telegraph, Tim Stanley made a similar point: 'In the 21st century, what is the purpose of the village church? For much of the establishment of the Church of England, the answer seems to be “relevance” – they must earn their status in society by reflecting society's diversity of background and opinion. The great irony is that they want to make relevant something that is actually devalued by the attempt to make it relevant. God doesn’t do “relevance.” He just is – and, for most religious consumers, that’s what makes him so appealing'. Precisely!

In what I thought was a disappointing contribution to the debate after all the previous hype, the Bishop of Durham, Justin Welby, said: “It is time to finish the job and vote for this measure...the Church of England needs to show how to develop the mission of the church in a way that demonstrates that we can manage diversity of view without division; diversity in amity, not diversity in enmity”. Nothing was offered beyond the same old devalued promises. So far as the mission of the church is concerned Bishop Welby should reflect on the figures here. The mission of the church has accelerated rapidly downhill since 1992 following the introduction of women priests, so what is his point?

How the world sees the vote is illustrated by this coverage by Channel 4 News. It shows such appalling ignorance that one would have thought bishops and clergy would be keen to correct the misrepresentation but unfortunately they are part of the same problem, secularism. The Ch4 reporter Kattie Razzall remarked that "the secular world will not understand the decision that looks so out of step with modern society". She went on to describe the debate as 'a straight forward case of discrimination'. Interviewed by Jon Snow who showed an abysmal level of ignorance and understanding, Tony Baldry MP was at a loss to know how he would explain the vote to Parliament. Obviously the wrong man for the job then. This is the response to the vote from Parliament, again showing a lamentable understanding of anything sacred.

Looking at today's reaction to the vote, the House of Bishops has learned nothing. Statements such as "it seems as if we are wilfully blind to some of the trends and priorities of wider society" imply a form of secular Christianity in which scripture is useful only for mis-quoting selected verses while tradition and reason are forgotten. Our bishops and clergy are no longer fully representative of the church which is the problem where proper provision is concerned. Advancement is denied to those not singing from the same sheet. Ordinands are deterred by blatant discrimination. It should have come as no surprise therefore that the fair minded would see this for what it is, a gradual elimination of clergy opposed to the ordination of women. So much for their majority which is achieved by manipulation.

To illustrate how these secular Christians are obsessed with their own agenda, the Church in Wales has been brought into the controversy by the former Bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries of Pentregarth. He has called for the Church in Wales to take the lead. He said: 'I think it would be very interesting and salutary if the Church in Wales over the next year or two had women bishops and the Church of England didn't' but what happened in England yesterday was a re-run of what happened in Wales in 2008 when their Governing Body rejected women bishops because proper provision for a significant minority was refused by their Archbishop. Dr Morgan maintains that position while advancing another cunning scheme he hopes will be approved in September 2013.

This goes to the heart of the problem. There is no negotiation; only a statement that 'this is as good as it gets'. There is more sympathy and support from Africa than we have from our own Archbishops. If they genuinely want to make progress this must change. There must be genuine negotiations to ensure that all may flourish in the church.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Time for reflection

Lying and cheating for Christ!

In yesterday's entry I referred to the open letter to The Independent signed by over a thousand clergy from the Church of England supposedly giving the biblical case for women bishops when there is none. The letter has attracted some well deserved criticism here, here and here to quote a few examples. The lead signature was that of the Rev'd Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes which may account for the tone but the fact that existing bishops could add their names to such a statement of beliefs is a disgrace since the list should provide an aide memoire of those not suitable for consideration as a bishop of the church. 

Monday, 19 November 2012

Sorry Rowan but you are wrong this time

I have long been an admirer of Rowan Williams and never thought I would have to write this but I have to admit to being gravely disappointed by his Enough Waiting campaign which is designed to achieve a 'Yes' vote for women bishops regardless of the ramifications. It smacks of getting the issue out of the way to progress other things. I could understand that if it meant advancing the Gospel of Jesus Christ having made satisfactory provision for those who remain loyal to the tradition of the Apostolic Church but sadly it is not. Anyone who doubts this who hasn't already seen it should watch this heart-wrenching video to experience the devastating effect in South Carolina where the ruling liberal elite in The Episcopal Church (TEC) is destroying traditional Anglicanism

Up until now Rowan has always been even-handed while being clear in his support for the ordination of women, even when he was slapped in the face by them. No doubt in his heart he has reconciled himself to the notion of 'respect' believing that everything will be resolved after the vote but other people do not think like him. The truth is summed up in this report. Anyone and everyone is invited to join the bandwagon by contacting 'their' synod representative to press for a Yes vote. The Dean of Salisbury told The Independent on Sunday, "There's no sense at all – not theological, not rational – in making women priests if you are not going to make them bishops." Quite so. It was neither theological nor rational to make women priests because that is their only 'justification' for being made bishops. 

Today The Independent publishes an open letter signed by over one thousand clergy: 'The Biblical case for women bishops'. But there is none. The reasons given for their belief have nothing whatsoever to do with the appointment of bishops yet these people stand at the Altar In Persona Christi, the One who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.

Is there no shame in the Yes campaign?

Sunday, 18 November 2012


You have to hand it to them, the campaign by Women and the Church (WATCH) has been well executed but it is entirely self-centred. It is misplaced in a Christian setting because it looks inward with the aim of satisfying their own desires regardless of the effect on others in the church. Their subtle campaign plays on the respect due to Christian women but it is deceitful. It uses secular criteria to pursue false claims of inequality gathering support from members of the general public who have no religious affiliations whatsoever.

WATCH is a feminist pressure group which presumes to dictate the direction of the church over the heads of the House of Bishops. Most of the bishops are incapable of coping with this pressure as demonstrated by their constant capitulation, latterly taking refuge in the notion that 'respect' is the way forward when none has been in evidence so far. Their retreat in the face of opposition by WATCH has been relentless. The pledge by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to attend to ‘unfinished business’ has been neutered leaving not so much as a glimmer of hope for opponents of the ordination of women. Surprisingly for a bishop admired for his conciliation abilities I was disappointed to read a report in The Telegraph that the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is treading the same path:
“Bishop Welby’s vocal endorsement of the measure last week, moments after being announced as the next Archbishop, is being seen as a potential “game-changer”.
He is understood to be spending much of this weekend drafting his speech, striking a balance between saying that it is time for the Church to move on and offering assurances to those with theological objections to women bishops that there will be proper “provision” for them.”

Mere assurances are worthless. What is described in the Synod agenda notice as ‘some provision’ will be based on what is acceptable to the provider. To assure proper provision would be to agree enforceable terms in advance of the vote but such a solution is unacceptable to WATCH. They demand a solution only on their terms to avoid having what they would regard as second class women bishops. It matters not one jot to them that a substantial minority of Anglicans will be made second class members of their church under current proposals despite being assured of an honoured place. Anyone who has settled a bill with an assurance that problems will be rectified afterwards will know that such promises quickly evaporate after payment. 
It is obvious that Christ's commandment to love your neighbour does not figure large in the WATCH camp. They claim to be inclusive but have done everything in their power to marginalise those who find themselves in a minority for staying loyal to the tradition of the Apostolic church. If they succeed in persuading Synod to pass the measure then WATCH OUT!