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Saturday, 12 October 2013

No deceit was found in his mouth

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.) 

The Ass Bishop's intervention asserted that provision for the Provincial Episcopal Visitors (flying bishops) in the Church of England's Act of Synod was intended to be of a "temporary nature". Claiming insider knowledge, he testified as to what was meant. What he actually succeeded in doing was proving that if his interpretation was correct, it was not understood by those for whom it was intended leaving them with just an inferred promise. If the intention had been as he claims then it should have been spelled out; otherwise it was a deception.

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)

If it was the case that provision of PEVs in the Church of England's Act of Synod Measure was intended to be temporary, it is very odd that in the May 2013, in a Report from the House of Bishops GS1886, the Church of England includes a clear statement that no time limit is set:

"Pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will be made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England." [My emphasis ED.]

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.


  1. Ass Bishop’s contribution is entirely consistent with his unimpressive ministry in this diocese. The usual features are excessive name-dropping, always prefixed with something about John Habgood, and a plug for one or more of his tedious books.

    1. Anon - I totally agree, having heard the chap bang on in numerous sermons along the lines you describe, I am of the opinion that he is a complete second-rater, real B-team material.

  2. Be it 1994 or 2009, the past is a another country, they do things differently there. The best historical research or reminiscence simply notes that difference, so it can impact on our present. In 2009 the Church of England was paying two PEVs to spend a significant time briefing against her in Rome, a Le Carresque twist which even you would have to admit was hardly in the the spirit of the 1994 Measure. Nor did that Measure envisage seeing the post of PEV as a convenient park for Lambeth personnel whose time was long since up.

    1. Beach Boy, your cheap gibe about Lambeth personnel is at odds with the valuable ecumenical work done there by the new Bishop of Ebbsfleet and the Bishop of St Asaph neither of whom was a political appointee to further the work of a political master.
      If the Church of England and the Church in Wales had shown the same magnanimity as Pope Benedict in creating an Ordinariate the Anglican Church would not be in the mess that it is. In stead we have the Archbishop of Wales and his followers along with WATCH and the like in England spreading falsehoods about a church within a church and how the authority of women would be compromised if the promised provision were to be continued.
      It should be obvious that in the cause of unity, feminism comes a very poor second to ecumenism.

  3. Joseph Golightly13 October 2013 at 17:35

    I think we need to wait and see what the new bishops of FIF come up with. The one thing that was missing form their CVs pre appointment was membership of FIF and I suppose that has been rectified but it does make you wonder why members of FIF failed to get the pointed hat!

  4. Joseph, didn't you know ? Preferment and promotion are unavailable in Wales & Llandaff unless ++Bazza's micro-managed line is toed unquestioningly and unhesitatingly, the alternatives being 'tough' or unexplained resignation within 2 months. Surely you've heard the latest Llandaff grapevine whispers that, having finally 'retired' the long serving and faithful Diocesan registrar (allegedly over an investigation and report into the issue of monies allegedly skimmed and diverted from the Organ appeal that his Darkness desperately needs to conceal from the pew-sitters) that the new Disocesan Registrar is to be Mrs ++Bazza ?