|"Bishops' hat-trick" Photo: Church in Wales|
“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” ― George Orwell, 1984.
For older Anglicans the year '1984' is most likely to invoke memories of George Orwell's novel 'Nineteen eighty-four' but for 50% of the Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales it is the year that they were ordained by the late Derrick Childs, former Archbishop of Wales and Bishop of Monmouth, in his Cathedral - story here. Who could have imagined that all three would become bishops occupying half the Bench a generation later. Much has changed in the church since Derrick Childs was Archbishop.
In 1984 two were ordained deacon, the third, Gregory Cameron, was ordained priest. Since then he has been out in the world serving the wider Anglican Communion - see here - but not the rest of the Bench which is made up of local boys, safe pairs of hands becoming Barry's apparatchiks putting the ordination of women first before any ability (see here) to spread the Gospel or adding to the church. Inward investment has been limited at the highest levels to Barry's blunders here and here although he has achieved a remarkable success (in his terms) with a convert who has succeeded in robbing faithful Anglicans of the promise of an honoured place in the church secured by statute.
Great Britain has not become the 1984 'Oceanian province of Airstrip One' but 'perpetual war' has broken out within the church and between church and society. This was summed up by the current Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan in 2007 when he said the new phenomenon of "atheistic fundamentalism" in British society was dangerous because it refused to allow any contrary viewpoint and affected public perception of religion. He went on to say: "All of this is what I would call the new "fundamentalism" of our age and any kind of fundamentalism, be it Biblical, atheistic or Islamic, is dangerous, because it allows no room for disagreement, for doubt, for debate, for discussion. It leads to the language of expulsion and exclusivity, of extremism and polarisation, and the claim that because God is on our side, He is not on yours."
The Church in Wales today no longer allows any contrary viewpoint, only expulsion and exclusivity. This was demonstrated by the Governing Body in its decision to make no statutory provision for anyone with a contrary viewpoint as it rubber stamped Dr Morgan's view of his church. The Archbishop should choose his words more carefully if he is to avoid charges of double standards.
|“Big Brother is Watching You.” Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire|
“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” ― George Orwell, 1984