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Friday, 19 September 2014

True to his word: "Over my dead body!"

Archbishop Morgan, now unofficial
supreme governor of the Church in Wales
I keep asking myself the question, is Barry Morgan deluded, a hypocrite or simply a liar? My wife's view is that he is consumed which would explain why secular issues consistently cloud his judgement on religious matters and why he has remained true to his word that there would be alternative Episcopal oversight 'over his dead body'. 

Consistency in victory when some dared hope that he would show magnanimity is the saddest commentary on his reign as Archbishop. The long awaited announcement giving details of the Code of Practice creates a smokescreen of generosity but in reality there is to be no alternative to one of the existing bishops, all of whom dissent from the Apostolic tradition of the Holy Catholic Church.

The Presidential Address which the Archbishop read on behalf of the Bench of Bishops must be one of the longest execution notes in history. The heading 'Code for Women Bishops aims to keep all included' defines it. It is a Code of Practice written for women bishops, not for loyal Church members with conscientious doubts about their authenticity.

The disingenuity in the Presidential Address does the Church no credit. Dr Morgan laughingly speaks of compassion. He uses scripture and tradition in the most disingenuous way to suggest that his view can be justified by the Bible and life in the early Church, completely ignoring Christ's example and the more authoritative views of The Church, East and West.

Not surprisingly this is how the Code is represented in the press: "It states that anyone who objects to being ordained by a woman bishop can make a written request for it to be carried out by a man" (here).

Let me make this abundantly clear to the Archbishop and the Bench:

  Acceptable provision is NOT about sex, it is about FAITH

What I found most appalling was the way pieces favourable to the Archbishop's views have been cherry picked, twisting them to his own advantage. For example, the explanatory note starts by mirroring the arrangements adopted in the Church of England but instead of going on to make similar provision for those for whom the Code is intended, Dr Morgan's terms are substituted. 

 [Provision 3] A diocesan bishop shall make for such members within their dioceses all reasonable provision for appropriate sacramental episcopal ministry on such occasions as necessary upon submission of a request in writing from those individuals supported by their parish priest. 

Leaving aside how 'reasonable' may be interpreted, supposing a woman Bishop of St Davids receives a request which one of the two remaining male bishops, in Bangor and St Asaph, would be willing to fulfil. If those bishops were unable or unwilling to travel, presumably the candidate(s) would have to travel to Bangor or St Asaph at his/her/their own expense. But, more importantly, what is the position when all the bishops are women or is it assumed that the Church in Wales will be dead by then based on continuing decline?

Making provision for a woman bishop to request a man to officiate represents NO CHANGE to the position since the first and only Provincial Assistant Bishop, the Rt Rev David Thomas retired. What is needed is a bishop who believes in the same Apostolic tradition. Dr Morgan is correct when he says that the appointment of another Provincial Assistant Bishop is not appropriate, not for the reasons he outlined but because he could not in conscience be an assistant to a bishop whose faith differs from his own.

The remedy is simple. Allow a Society Bishop to cross the Welsh border to provide the sacramental assurance lacking in the Bench's scheme. It didn't bother the bishops when women bishops from the Episcopal Church crossed the border to celebrate un-canonically in Llandaff and St Asaph Cathedrals so what's the problem?

Compassion is defined in the Oxford dictionary as "Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others" from Middle English via Old French from ecclesiastical Latin compassio(n-), from compati 'suffer with'. 

Dr Morgan said:
The gospels are also full of stories about the compassion of Jesus – for Him, compassion was God’s defining characteristic. To be compassionate means feeling the feelings of someone else at a level below the level of the head. It is entering into somebody else’s pain and being moved to do something about it. Yet, for the chief religious leaders of Jesus’ day, the chief characteristic of God was not compassion but holiness and holiness meant separation from everything that was unclean. Ancient Jewish society was based on a system of purity where everything was classified as either impure or pure, clean or unclean.

He added:
The Code of Practice we have produced has not been produced for the benefit of one side or the other in the debate but for the whole church. That is what you asked us to do. The Bill explicitly says that the Code should be drawn up in such a way that every member of the Church in Wales might feel secure. In other words, this Code is not just for those who in conscience dissent but is a code for every member of the Church in Wales.

It is difficult to see how the majority of members of the Church in Wales could feel insecure. They have what they want. What this Code of Practice achieves, by accident or design, is to give the impression that the minority are the new 'unclean' but without the Petrine vision.

That is a disgrace which needs to be rectified. Under the Code "the Bench reserves the right to amend the provisions of this Code as may be necessary". I hope the Bench will, on reflection, have the backbone to do so with or without Dr Morgan's approval. If he believes in the collegiate view, let's hear it or will they all go down in history tarred with the same brush?


  1. Barry is breeding an apostate church.

  2. Does anyone read Vassula Ryden's messages?
    She has recently republished and clarified the following paragraph :

    "do not listen to false prophets who keep stroking you with caresses, telling you that all is well and that you have improved, just because you are parading yourself as a Christian, when truly you are hardly acting on My Words; I tell you, if your virtue in being a Christian goes no deeper than the godless ones, My Father, not recognizing Me in you will never allow you to enter into Our Kingdom! "

  3. I decided, as soon as I heard the news of the non-canonical celebrations in Llandaff and St Asaph that I would simply invite a bishop of the Society of St Hilda and St Wilfrid across the border. If Byzantine Barry resorts to any of his nonsense of legal/disciplinary action, I will simply make a complaint under the Code of Practice against him and (I'm sorry to say) +Gregory (which may result in flushing-out where pressure had been applied to have the fandango in St Asaph). Otherwise, I see no problem in bussing confirmation candidates across the border to England. One holy catholic and apostolic church is not a reality that can be constrained by lines on a map. As for Byzantine Barry seeking to lecture us about the catholic nature of episcopacy, without offering sacramental assurance, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. And this is a man who claims to be a historian, for heaven's sake!

  4. The situation is now clear for all to see. And so is the solution: elect a Bishop for Wales, and bypass the current Bunch. Faithful Anglicans abroad are waiting to assist.

  5. And this is what will soon happen to "dissident" clergy unprotected by the Orwellian Code of Practice" -


  6. Now guys - you are dealing with a rogue and a despot.
    There is no relationship of communion between the Church in Wales and the One Holy Catholic Church: for this relationship to exist there has to be a mutual understanding and agreement of such between the parties.
    The Church in Wales says it is committed to ecumenism , and if you are baptised in any of the non- conformist churches ,you can share in Holy Communion in Anglican Churches. Ok so far! This has given rise to the alarming fact that hospital chaplains are 'mix and match', and a sick communicant may be fortunate to receive the Body of Christ, but sadly you may just be administered bread from a non-conformist minister.

    So let us get real ! If it is only the Church in Wales that claims to be part of the Holy Catholic Church, (and the Holy Catholic Church do not accept this) ,then it cannot be true. The Church in Wales is now Protestant ; this is what ++Barry aspires to be. And he is forging union between his church ( yes 'his' not yours!) and the Presbyterian,Methodist,United Reform and some Baptist Churches, which is played out in practice under the title of 'The Gathering'. As the web page says " more together less apart". So less worry about figures and declining numbers in the near future!

    ++Barry clearly has no truck with the idea of the Apostolic Succession, because he is now seeking to create ecumenical Bishops ,coming from the non- conformist churches within 'The Gathering'.
    At the end of the day a woman priest and bishop will not matter any less than a non-conformist bishop.
    I am sad to say that Anglo- Catholicism in the Church in Wales is almost moribund.

    1. Simple - you need to get a laminated little sign to put in your hand bag which reads "Nil by non conformist" attach a chord to it and if ever you are feeling a little queer then slip it on over your head (clean underpants in your bag might also be required). You might also put on the otherside of it (whilst you are at it) "Nil by anyone ordained by a Bishopess". That should have it covered. Alternatively you might just find the good grace to accept the sacrament as God's gift whosever the human hand it is offered from. What would Jesus do, do you think?

    2. @fart - Why would Jesus be receiving the Sacrament? Interesting lack of understanding there.

    3. I see. Now we have a clear sense of the theological rigour Fart is bringing to these discussions. As I predicted, nothing more than stale, recycled and sulphur impregnated air.

    4. Nah, what we see here is childish literalism. The pharse "what would Jesus do" is a situationist stance in theology. For you literalists, it means bringing the spirit of Jesus to present day situations and asking, "from what I know about Jesus what he do if he were in this same situation as I am in now". Faced with a non-conformist minister offering the sacrament, if I responded in the spirit of Jesus, I would accept it with grace. Just a thought - did not Jesus receive the first sacrament of the eucharist the re-enactment of which (day by day, Sunday by Sunbday) being an eschatological paricipation of the one eucharist just both enacted and partook or have a completely misread Zizioulas? If so, I stand corrected.

    5. Hello f**t : ( don't really like your name ,sorry).
      "Faced with a non- conformist minister offering the sacrament...." is an erroneous statement. Speaking tautologically - that is precisely the problem, a non- conformist minister is not able to consecrate the Sacrament . If, he or she is ,in fact ,acting as an appointed Eucharistic minister ,then all is well.
      P.s - I suppose both sexes do use handbags these days.

  7. Is this silly idea still alive? I have spoken to several nonconformist friends who know nothing of it and who are absolutely opposed to it. There has clearly been no discussion or consultation with the congregations of those churches. I suspect that any attempt to make it a "fait accompli" will lead to confusion, mayhem and disaster!

  8. I do believe that this silly idea is very much alive!

    Well here is just a couple of links, but if you search on Google for "The Gathering Church in Wales", then you can enjoy a whole page of references.
    No it is not dead!
    And what about the following event on November 21st ?
    It is mentioned on the Church in Wales website ,but the agenda is not mentioned.

  9. Still no sign of the choirboys or Musical Director of Llandaff Cathedral and another guest choir last Sunday.

    Is this a replay of the Janet Henderson unexplained absence followed by an unexplained resignation?

    Doesn't anyone on the Llandaff Cathedral Chapter give a sh*t?

    1. The Chapter are too afraid to ask any awkward questions because Darth ++Insidious and the Golf Caddie are conducting a witch hunt over their suspicions concerning all the ears in the walls, the leaks to this blog and the stories published by Martin Shipton.

      Just to add to the comedy, Bonaparte is back in town and took the 12:30 Eucharist last Sunday.

  10. Nah, what we see here is childish literalism. The pharse "what would Jesus do" is a situationist stance in theology. For you literalists, it means bringing the spirit of Jesus to present day situations and asking, "from what I know about Jesus what he do if he were in this same situation as I am in now". Faced with a non-conformist minister offering the sacrament, if I responded in the spirit of Jesus, I would accept it with grace. Just a thought - did not Jesus receive the first sacrament of the eucharist the re-enactment of which (day by day, Sunday by Sunbday) being a profound eschatological paricipation of that same eucharist. If I know my Gospels, Jesus ate. Or have I completely misread Zizioulas? If so, I stand corrected. [Thought i would correct myself]

  11. Sorry, Fart, now it's you who is engaging in childish literalism. Dominic Crossan would take issue with you here as in "…Jesus and those closest to him would have had a last supper… a meal that later and in retrospect was recognised as having been their last together… I do not presume any distinctive meal known before hand, designated specifically, or ritually programmed as final and forever…. It is also necessary to calculate very carefully what was lost and gained in moving from Jesus’ real meal with open commensality to its continuance in a ritual meal with Christian commensality (Crossan 1991). A more conservative NT scholar like Tom Wright would also want to bring in the archetype of Passover and the earliest Christian liturgical practices, certainly up to around 180AD. As for misreading Zizoulas, I'd go back to Being As Communion if I were you - and read it all rather than pluck isolated bits of it - because, on present showing, you know as much about theology as I know about being a Minister in the Uniting Church of Wales!

  12. Llandaff Pelican - you are right, you always are (always the way with the bully).

    1. I don't think bullying comes into it, Fart. I'm simply highlighting the fact that you are making claims for yourself that you seem unable to substantiate. Mind you, we're all used to that in this Diocese which is presided over by a pseudo-theologian and bully par excellence.

    2. As some bloggers will know, I'm just a fascinated, non-partisan outsider who looks in from time to time, because I am saddened by abuses of power. So I have no axe to grind. But I am struck that it was rather unfortunate that the gentleman contributing to this thread chose to call himself 'Fart.' It doesn't exactly invite others to take him seriously. And, if I have read a previous threat correctly, it was 'Fart' who admonished this blog for a lack of theological seriousness. When Llandaff Pelican (who, by this stage, was beginning to display his exasperation) highlighted 'Fart's' lack of theological acumen, the knee-jerk reaction was to accuse Llandaff Pelican of bullying. My observation is that, if 'Fart' wants to be taken seriously, he needs to write (and present himself - I assume he's male but I may be wrong) in a way that inspires confidence that we are dealing with a person of substance.

    3. James, hot foetid air always gets the attention it deserves!

  13. I see that there is a letter in the Church Times today:

    "From Dr Christopher Wilkinson

    Sir, - After reading the Code of Practice issued by the Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales, to provide for that (sizeable) minority of the few communicants left in this province who are, apparently, valued, but in conscience reject the innovation of women priests and bishops (News, 19 September), I write with a heavy heart.

    I have to ask why we went to the time and expense of meetings in every diocese, which were well attended and ... "

    An excellent point.

    A Church Times subscription is not one of my luxuries but from what I am able to read the message is loud and clear. My understanding from reports of the diocesan meetings was that all showed support for provision which would be acceptable to those for whom it was intended. Dr Morgan's abuse of power led him and the Bench to base their decision on prejudice by taking into account only those comments from GB favourable to Dr Morgan's view that he alone is right even when it is contrary to all the available evidence.