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Saturday, 17 August 2013

A period of reception or deception?

Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales                                                                Picture: WalesOnline

From WalesOnline: "The Church in Wales is set to have a crunch vote for the first time in five years on whether to allow women to be ordained as bishops. Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan said: “Since we ordain women as deacons and priests it makes no theological sense not to ordain them as bishops since we believe in the three fold order of ministry. That is why I and my fellow bishops will be asking members of the governing body to vote in favour of the Bill". "

Of course the Archbishop's fellow bishops agree with him; otherwise they would not be bishops in the Church in Wales. But Dr Morgan's logic is not shared by the wider Holy Catholic Church of which the Church in Wales professes to be part. His belief that there is no theological sense in not ordaining women as bishops is dictated by his secular obsession with the ordination of women, an obsession well illustrated by two quotes from supporters:

"Plaid Cymru’s Rhodri Glyn Thomas, a Minister of Religion and a member of the Assembly’s equalities committee said: “Our party has played an active part in the fight for women’s equality, because we recognise that this is important in allowing everyone in Wales to play a full and active part in their communities. I hope that the members of the Church in Wales will recognise if they are asked to vote on the matter, and that they deliver equality for women within the Church.”

Eluned Parrott, the Liberal Democrat AM for South Wales Central, said: “This is welcome news and I applaud the bishops’ attempts to reform and modernise the Church in Wales.

The vast majority of Christians hold to the biblical faith of the church. Adapting Christianity to make the church 'more relevant to society' under the pretext of equality is nonsense. There is no inequality in the church. There are different ministries, lay and ordained. To equate the ordained ministry with secular employment to justify women bishops is to appeal to secularists who have no interest in religious belief. It is not that "it makes no theological sense not to ordain [women] as bishops", rather, it made no theological sense for a tiny minority in the Anglican Communion which is a relatively small church within the Holy Catholic Church, unilaterally to ordain women to the priesthood in the first place.

The new vote comes following a trail of false promises and deception both in the Church of England and in the disestablished Church in Wales. When women were ordained to the priesthood pledges were made that provision would be made for those opposed on theological grounds to the ordination of women. Opponents have since been deceived and marginalised. As Sir Peter Bottomley so frankly put it: "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." Presumably he meant everyone without a conscience.

Despite all the deception, some provision has been maintained for opponents in England through the continued appointment of Provincial Episcopal Visitors. Not so in Wales. Their Provincial Assistant Bishop was not replaced after his retirement because the goal of women priests had been achieved. The following extract from 'A Noble Task' written by Bishop David Thomas helps to clarify the situation in Wales. Read it in full here.

The  appointment of a PAB reflected the scale of the problem in 1996: the suggestion  that the PAB would need to be replaced by a bishop with jurisdiction simply  reflects the scale of the problem that would arise if women were admitted to  the episcopate. The fifth  recital of the 1996 bill made reference to the pastoral guidelines, and the  guidelines were distributed at Governing Body before the vote. Being no lawyer,  I therefore assumed that the arrangements contained in the guidelines were  constitutionally guaranteed. Several months later, I discovered that this was  not so. I mention this because any arrangements of the kind outlined above  would need to be enshrined in legislation. A new episcopal jurisdiction is, by  definition, not the kind of thing that can be brought into being simply on the  basis of goodwill and mutual agreement to disagree, essential though those  things would undoubtedly be. I would argue further that the necessary  legislation should be part of any bill, or possibly a schedule to any bill,  opening the episcopate to women. To fail to do this would create untold  confusion and anxiety. It might also lead to a situation where the election or  appointment of a woman bishop meant that appropriate legislation had to be  prepared in a great hurry. That would be most undesirable from all points of  view, including, one suspects, that of the bishop-elect or -designate  herself.

Under proposals to be presented to the Governing Body, the Archbishop and his fellow bishops are asking for a "blank cheque" to achieve Dr Morgan's cherished ambition of approving women bishops while offering unspecified provision for those opposed on theological grounds. To date the track record of the revisionists has been appalling. In the Church of England there was outrage at the lost vote. The guidance of the Holy Spirit which they prayed for has been ignored and a new approach is being engineered by the bishops under the guidance of WATCH.

In Wales Dr Morgan is insistent that there will be no provision for opponents which he regards as a 'church within a church'. So what provision can there be? Without a complete reversal it is clear that there is nothing for opponents in these proposals other than ultimate exclusion if the Bill is passed.


  1. Historical issues arise here:

    A) What on earth has this to do with Barry's caddie Rhodri Glyn Thomas or the Welsh Government for that matter? This is not 'The Church of Wales' but the 'Church in Wales', a private body - or have I missed something whilst I slept?

    B) The idiotic attempt in 2010 by'His Otherness', Lord Dafydd Ellis Thomas, to sponsor the Church in Wales in the Welsh Assembly, coupled by the Judgment of Mr Justice Latham 1998 Regina - v Bishop of Bangor reinforces the commonly held view and legal stance of the Church in Wales, which is, 'We continue as we please'.Repetition is the mother of success.

    Who was it who said "Hit me again, I can still hear him".

  2. “Since we ordain women as deacons and priests it makes no theological sense not to ordain them as bishops since we believe in the three fold order of ministry."

    I am afraid that (looking around and seeing that something is already being done by a Church) is not how one makes theological sense out of something. Who is to say that the proper theological groundwork had been done to allow for those lower level ordinations in the the first place? He is building his castles on a bed of sand.

    1. No, 'His Darkness' does not build castles on sand.One has to give him credit. He builds them on 'Himself'- silly. For it is written:

      "I am the way............ no one becomes a bench sitter lest they agree with me". (Exemption from blasphemy laws)

      Supplemented into the holy writ, (Constitution Church in Wales) will be the provision, "including females".

      It is the writers own legal opinion that His Darkness suffers from the condition known as the 'Hubris Syndrome'.