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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.

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