|Ivan Glazunov "Crucify Him!" - 1994|
"Crucify Him!" There is no more powerful a statement of man's inhumanity to man than in this cry captured in the work by Ivan Glazunov in 1994, the same year that the Act of Synod was 'promulged' then claimed subsequently by the Ass Bishop of Llandaff to be the blueprint for an act of treachery in the Church in Wales.
He cites the Act of Synod 'promulged in 1994' in his contribution to the refusal by the Bench of Bishops to re-appoint a Provincial Assistant Bishop (PAB), an appointment that cleared the way for women to be ordained to the priesthood in Wales. - See the documentation on the Forward in Faith Wales (Credo Cymru) site here (tab down to Appendix 2, e-mail from Assistant Bishop.)
There is a vague reference in his submission to "several key people in the Church in Wales" who thought the PAB's appointment was "consonant with the spirit of the Church of England's Act of Synod" but who were those 'key' people and what were the motives of their flawed understanding? If the appointment had not been intended to be permanent surely it would have been more honest to have said so directly. Looking at the revised interpretation of the initial appointment it now has the appearance of a devious plot to gain votes for the admission of women to the priesthood, a process repeated at the meeting of the Governing Body when the Bench of Bishops voted unanimously for women bishops after their own Bill had been amended to remove the statutory provision they thought necessary to see the measure accepted.
Not only have the Welsh bishops shown a distinct lack of charity in their interpretation of alternative Episcopal oversight but their assertions have been strongly contested by Credo Cymru - see the documentation here (Submission to the Bench of Bishops 11 July 2009 and the supplementary submission (para. 14) 29 September 2009).
This is not a re-evaluation in hindsight reporting the claimed intentions of others but based on fact:
We turn now to the question of how provisional the arrangements of 1996 were meant to be. It should be noted that the first holder of this post in response to comments by Lord Ellis Thomas wrote in a letter to the ‘Western Mail’ that he would not have accepted the post if he had understood it to be a merely temporary stop-gap with him as the only holder.
Despite what the Ass Bishop had to say on the matter Archbishop Morgan confirms that there was no suggestion that the position was temporary in his statement on behalf of the Bench of Bishops in response to Credo Cymru's request for a new PAB:
I confess that this matter was not even thought about one way or another in 1996, but we now feel that whilst the Bench was persuaded that such an appointment may have been necessary then, we do not share that opinion some 13 years later. (Para. 2 of Response from the Bench)
Is that just another callous deceit designed to ease the passage of women to the Episcopate in the Church of England or a genuine desire to honour original intentions? PEVs continue to be replaced in England suggesting that what is happening in Wales is a deliberate act of sabotage. A few weeks ago the new Bishop of Ebbsfleet was consecrated:
"Bishop Goodall has been commissioned by Archbishop Welby to serve, in line with the 1993 Act of Synod, as one of two Provincial Episcopal Visitors for the Province of Canterbury, who work with diocesan bishops to provide extended sacramental ministry and pastoral provision on the Archbishop’s behalf, to ensure that “the integrity of differing beliefs and positions concerning the ordination of women to the priesthood should be mutually recognised and respected”.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams of Oystermouth, preached. He said:
Failed churches, fragmented churches: all in a day’s work in a sense. But the continuity and health, the spiritual vitality and integrity of the Church lies quite simply in the promise and act of Jesus Christ.
The present Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, wrote in his "Response from the Bench":
As you know, we have virtually a new Bench. I am the only member who agreed to the previous arrangements.
Also on the Bench at that time was the former Archbishop of Wales, Rowan Williams. Readers will draw their own conclusions.