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Friday, 16 November 2012

A sense of proportion

Holy Catholic Church showing the 2% accepting the ordination of women (OW)

In the face of claims by advocates of the ordination of women that they now command a majority in favour of women bishops in Synod we should retain a sense of proportion. Using published figures the Anglican Communion accounts for just 6% of the total membership with whom we closely identify in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. In the above chart the Anglican Communion is sub-divided into those who do not ordain women (4%) and those who ordain women to the episcopate or claim a two-thirds majority in favour (2%) so they are out-numbered by two to one in the Anglican Communion and overwhelmingly marginalised in the wider church. 

Addressing the 2008 Lambeth Conference, Cardinal Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, observed that in breaking with the apostolic tradition the Anglican Communion is moving away from not only the Catholic Church but also the Orthodox churches. More and more, he said, the Anglican stance appears to resemble that of the Protestant churches born of the Reformation rather than a branch of the older Christian tradition. He said that despite 40 years of cordial and often productive talks between Rome and Canterbury, "full visible communion as the aim of our dialogue has receded further."  

Similarly in a recent letter congratulating Bishop Justin Welby on his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church commented: "Regrettably, the late 20th century and the beginning of the third millennium have brought tangible difficulties in relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Churches of the Anglican Communion. The introduction [of] female priesthood and now episcopate, the blessing of same-sex ‘unions’ and ‘marriages’, the ordination of homosexuals as pastors and bishops – all these innovations are seen by the Orthodox as deviations from the tradition of the Early Church, which increasingly estrange Anglicanism from the Orthodox Church and contribute to a further division of Christendom as a whole."

The message could not be clearer. The Anglican Church is moving away from unity in direct contradiction to Christ's prayer 'that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me'. If the issue were before a Church Council it would be decisively rejected. Instead the self-interested constantly chip away at the foundations church by church so weakening the body of Christ in the world. How can anyone vote for that?

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