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Monday, 13 October 2014

The worm has turned

Judge and jury: the bunch of Bishops of the Church in Wales

It does not say much for the Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales that their Archbishop, Dr Barry Morgan made his bench sitters complicit in his decision to ostracise any Church members who, in conscience, are unable to accept the ministry of women as bishops on theological grounds. 

Before agreeing to that disgraceful decision they had had an easy ride in the belief that justice would be allowed to prevail. Credo Cymru (FiF Wales) maintained a dignified hope that if the Archbishop had a shred of decency left in his bones he would not oppose what the wider membership of the Church in Wales asked for in the diocesan consultations and what other bishops were believed to be sympathetic to, a chance for all to prosper according to conscience. But just as David Cameron binned the evidence against same-sex marriage with disastrous results, so the Archbishop binned the results of the consultations. He then added insult to injury by allowing two imported heretical women bishops of the US Episcopal Church to conduct illegal Eucharistic celebrations in Llandaff and St Asaph Cathedrals.

Now, at long last, the worm has turned. Here is Credo Cymru's response to the decision.

Response from Credo Cymru to the Bishops' Code of Practice of September 2014

1. The Code enunciates principles, several of which are welcome to us and reflect some things we said in our submission. These state that the Bench wishes every member of the Church in Wales to feel valued and included in the life of the church, and for all legitimate varieties of churchmanship to flourish. Those who cannot accept that the ordination of women as bishops and priests are explicitly recognised as adhering to an acceptable interpretation of the Anglican heritage. However, the meagre nature of the concrete provision made comes then as an entire non sequitur; it simply does not achieve the apparently avowed end of enabling Traditionalists to flourish. There is a clear discontinuity between the initial principles and the actual provision.

2. We cannot accept that the Code as it stands is the last word on the matter. Fortunately the Code itself does not claim to be such. If it were, we would be unable to recommend that the members of Credo Cymru should continue their Christian life within the fellowship and structures of the Church in Wales. We would have sadly to express the conclusion that fully orthodox and catholic life could no longer be lived out under these circumstances, and that our members might well be advised to seek an alternative spiritual home within which to continue their Christian pilgrimage.

3. The Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales should realise one fact, however unwelcome. If we are correct in believing that in the purpose of God the orders of bishop and priest ought not to be conferred on women (and, of course, we for our part recognise that that is a big 'if viewed from the bishops' perspective), then there is no bishop currently on the bench who is acting as an orthodox and catholic bishop should act. That is a large part of our problem. To offer any male bishop as a grudging sacramental stand-in for a female diocesan hardly meets our need to relate to a bishop whom we can recognise as being in the Great Tradition of the Church. It is not true to state, as the Presidential Address did, that we accept only bishops who happen to agree with our own views when, of course, it is the relationship to historic orthodoxy in which bishops stand, and not their 'views', which gives rise to the request for alternative episcopal oversight and care. It is quite improper to impute to a minority views which they do not hold and then to decline a request on the basis that those views are 'uncatholic'.

4. As presented, the Code of Practice is seriously inadequate for Traditionalists who, in conscience, are unable to accept the ministry of women as bishops. We can only conclude from this that the Bench of Bishops have a fundamental difficulty in understanding our theological position.

5. At the least, Traditionalist members of the Church in Wales are going to have to look to bishops outside the current bench as the true pastors of their souls and as their link with continuing apostolicity. 

6. In view of the declining membership of the Church in Wales, perhaps we should all consider the real possibility that our Church currently stands under divine judgement, and that the unrelenting trend towards secular modernity in recent years has simply not benefitted us in any obvious way. These appear to us to have been years in which little serious attention has been given to the divine Word and the Tradition. To plunge on in the same unchecked direction might quite simply be disastrous.

8 October 2014

The 'trend to secular modernity' follows the same downward spiral as the Episcopal Church of the United States where their Presiding Bishop has been busy spending other people's money defending the indefensible with the same disastrous results to the faith. 

The bench sitters appear blind to what is happening under Barry Morgan's headship. Presumably they are waiting for Godot!


  1. "appear blind"?
    AB, I respectfully suggest that "wilfully blind" would be a far more accurate description of the bunglers with whom Bazza has surrounded himself.

  2. Could we appeal to the Church of England to allow us to be a part of them, as 'affiliate members'? (A bit like Colwyn Bay F.C. and Cardiff City, who play their soccer in the 'English' league system rather than the League of Wales!).

    1. The answer 'Evangelical Ed' is a resounding No.

      There would have to be an understanding or agreement between C i W and CoE. According to Rowan Williams' office in 2014, the odds that 'His Darkness' would oppose such a move is rather high. It is similar with movement of priests from the C i W for ordination in the Catholic Church. It can, effectively, for ecumenical reasons,or to use one of their favourite term, 'The common good', be blocked. You'll find that the password is 'CYTUN'.

  3. Paragraph 6 in the Credo Cymru reply says it all. Where the Gospel isn’t proclaimed but is replaced by a liberal secular orientated agenda there is decline, decay and atrophy. As it is written in the Book of Daniel, ‘For we, O Lord, have become fewer than any nation, and are brought low this day in all the world because of our sins.’ And the most creative response that His Darkness’ senior management can come up with is a game of snakes and ladders. I agree that the time has come for us to ignore the Bench and look across the border for episcopal oversight.

  4. Fascinated Outsider14 October 2014 at 09:30

    The truth is that, in England, both Archbishops may be supportive of womens' ordination but their instincts are fundamentally traditionalist (e.g. Welby and Sentamu's support for conservative African bishops). Not surprisingly they are not only generous to traditionalist Catholics, but have pledged to consecrate a conservative evangelical as a bishop. In Wales, you are led (or coerced, depending on your point of view) by someone who thinks we are still in the 1970s and 80s, where liberal Protestantism is flourishing, the ecumenical movement is the panacea, and seems (to quote 1662) wilfully blind to the fact that the ecclesial landscape in Britain has changed over the past 25 years. It is no surprise that you have not had a code of practice commensurate with that in the Church of England, because the Archbishop (aided and abetted by his hand-picked episcopal mandarins) refuses to acknowledge that their form of Christianity has probably had its day. This is just another desperate attempt from the Bunker to shore-up a crumbling and dilapidated institution by marginalising minorities while banging the drum of social justice.

    Like NIgel Farrage, Barry Morgan believes that he is above accountability. His tactics with the media (basically, keep quiet and they will go away) are also worthy of UKIP - especially when uncomfortable questions are asked about defections, resignations, finances, and the decision-making processes that impact on clergy struggling at the coal-face.

    In Wales, I fear you have a primate (interpret that as you will) who is deeply uncomfortable leading a church where diversity is valued. That sounds like the ecclesiastical version of UKIP - and worse - to me.

    1. Sorry, Fascinated Outsider I simply cannot see the comparison with UKIP - it's the only party offering an alternative to the same old tired parties at Westminster (who resemble the tired old parties leading the Anglican provinces of the UK!)

      Be that as it may, there is a fundamental problem with Credo Cymru's Plan A: it will only take one complaint from +Barry to Lambeth Palace, and no bishop from the Church of England will thereafter be able to help us in any practical way beyond Tea and Sympathy. No visitations, Confirmations or anything else distinctively episcopal. They will be banned by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York from "interfering" in another Province.

      And woe betide any Welsh cleric discovered to have crossed the border in such of alternative oversight or ministry: the full weight of the law will descend upon his head along with many tons of s*** from the Bench.

      There are only two realistic options now remaining. 1) to leave Wales for a gentler jurisdiction; or 2) to go underground, Czech-style, with illegally but validly consecrated bishops caring for the true flock of Christ remaining within +Barry's soviet state.

    2. I vote for Option #2. I like living in Wales!

  5. #6 recognizes the facts on the ground as seen from above.

  6. Llandaff Pelican14 October 2014 at 16:51

    While appreciating 1833's assessment of the legal situation, who is to say that people are not already crossing the border in search of sacramental assurance? There are several bishops who want to help, who will not blow trumpets, and incumbents who are generous enough to provide safe havens which are beyond the radar of Byzantine Barry and his spies. Added to which, whatever happens in extra-diocesan settings (e.g. school chapels) is beyond the jurisdiction of any Archbishop. This may betray a lack of essential catholicity but this is no ordinary situation. As one recently retired bishop quipped 'Barry Morgan is an active persecutor of traditionalist clergy and their parishes.'

  7. At the risk of teaching grandmother to suck eggs, LP, I assume you're running two different Confirmation registers? We don't want the archdeacons being sent out to do their visitations with specific orders to look at episcopal signatures and finding anything. No wonder confirmation figures are down 18%!

    And here's me thinking Barry Morgan is a historian, but his ego and his determination to prove himself right every time means he's not learning the lessons of history. The ritualist martyrs of the late 19th century faced legal action for the sake of catholic faith and order and their influence spread like wild fire across the Anglican Communion. They, effectively, built the church here in South Wales after the ignominy of disestablishment. If we have any legal heavy-handedness over this, I think we can predict what is going to happen, can't we?

  8. In addition to all the problems listed here, there is another major issue waiting for further consideration. That is, the question of same sex marriage. The archbishop claims that some people feel unwelcome in our churches because of their sexual orientation. If this is really the case then it is wrong. The church should be open and welcoming to all, irrespective of race, colour, sexual orientation or any form of disability. Where the archbishop is misguided is in attempting to extend his argument to justify same sex marriage. He promises consultation but this will undoubtedly end in a policy expressed in the same weasel words as the recent code of practice. Before this consultation begins, all should be reminded of the established doctrine of the church.
    The Church teaches that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.
    Matrimony was ordained for the hallowing of the union between man and woman; for the procreation of children…
    Bless their marriage with the gift of children…
    On what basis is church teaching and the sacrament of marriage now to be changed? The archbishop claims that the church should adapt its doctrine in order to reflect change in modern society. This means that, whereas the church has for so long provided a beacon for society, society is now to become the determinant of church teaching. If the archbishop drives this through an acquiescent and seemingly toothless GB he will undoubtedly lead the church into error and replace a house of stone with a house of straw built on a foundation of shifting sands! What other changes will occur in order to reflect a changing society? Another question arises. What will be the position of those priests (organists, choristers and vergers) who cannot in all conscience take part in such “weddings”? Will they all be sacked, or taken to court?
    This whole business reflects lack of thought and proper consideration of established teaching. In attempting to be all things to all men the changed church will end up meaning nothing to anybody.

    1. Plus, after each 'gay wedding', the Christians of the parish would have to perform some form of re-consecration, to reclaim the building for God.

    2. With comments like this how can any of you question the reality that most gay people do not feel welcome in church at all. The idea that a gay wedding would require the re-consecration of a building is an extreme suggestion but one that reveals why it is that many gay people feel unable to cross the threshold of the church. Most sensible gay couples find their blessings beyond the life of the church and have kicked the dust off their feet in the process.

    3. Loud and Liberal, I have to agree with you that the idea that a gay wedding would require the re-consecration of a building is an extreme suggestion.
      I cannot speak for 'most gay people', perhaps you can, but in my experience many gay people not only attend church but play a very active part. The real problem is the idea of same-sex marriage replacing civil partnerships which were generally accepted. If that is the price of acceptance it is the idea not the person that causes the problem.

    4. Like you AB I cannot speak for most gay people and similarly I think the idea that a church building would have to be re-consecrated is an extreme suggestion.

      What I would like to add however, is that a very dear and close friend of mine - who happens to be gay - gets quite cross when he gets on to the subject of 'gay marriage'. His argument is that he has always been gay and that he doesn't want to get married because that is something straight people do! In a sense he is standing up for 'gay pride'. Pride in being who he is.

      My friend understands and applauds the idea that all couples who are committed to one another have some sort of civil ceremony to regularise their relationship. He cites the example of a gay friend's family who refused to let a gay partner be involved in a funeral - as one example of why civil partnerships should regularised. His is just another position in a whole spectrum of opinions.

      Please don't imagine that I am in any way opposed to gay people marrying in a church - I'm not - but I do think it is worth remembering that not all gay people regard the right to marry in church as something to be aimed for or achieved.

      Isn't diversity wonderful - I am just so sorry that the opinions that are expressed on these pages cannot be accommodated. Speaking for myself I feel all the richer when I am amongst people I disagree with but who I respect!

      Blessings to all!

    5. Even some women objected to receiving the vote when that particular equality came their way. It is interesting that the oppressed in society can sometimes so internalise their own oppression that they speak in favour of the very thing that oppresses them. So I am not surprised to hear that some gay people can not see that equalitty of marriage is something that marks the liberation of gay and lesbian people in society.

    6. The idea of 'gay' marriage is a parody and an abomination that flies full in the face of two thousand years of teaching, tradition and doctrine.

  9. One of the most irksome things about the über-Liberals (ULs) is their 'do as I say, not as I do' approach. Here in the diocese of Europe we have parallel Anglican jurisdictions with a US-nominated and directed TEC bishop & cathedral in addition to the CofE provision. ULs (of all nationalities) are in no hurry to put their own house in order and an end to the historical oddity of a parallel American Episcopalian diocese of 6 churches and a couple of army chaplaincies spread across the Continent ... yet they decry any notion of parallel jurisdiction for those that they cannot tolerate (and not, as they like to claim, vice versa).

    The notion and understanding of a diaspora - in Europe of Anglicans, and in reality in England of the current ABC parishes even though their legal status & structure as part of the geographical status remains in tact - is a helpful way forward, for those who want to take it. The problem is that ULs do not want to. For them it is all about power and authority, whilst rejecting the source of both and also their fellow Anglicans.

    ULs like to slate the notion of a diaspora approach as 'uncatholic', by their own warped definition. However the notion is firmly recognised in the pastoral provision, for instance, of the Eastern Orthodox churches and hierarchies in the UK and the USA. If the Pope in Rome can make provision for personal prélatures, ordinariates and other such pastoral schèmes, and the Patriarchs of the East can make provision for their diasporas, how is it that the Anglican über-Liberals consider themselves more than Catholic than both the Pope and the Patriarchs when they refuse provision for faithful Anglicans?

    As they saying goes in the States, "Go figure".

  10. Credo Cymru have all the impact of a wilted lettuce leaf.

    Rome is the answer, my friends.

    1. But I can't be doing with all that Hail Mary stuff!

    2. Llandaff Pelican15 October 2014 at 10:39

      It's in the Bible, Ed! Luke 1.28. It's part and parcel of God's discourse of the incarnation and the word being made flesh.

    3. I would find it difficult to go to Rome, it would mean breaking the communion in my family because my wife and kids don't want to leave the church they love.

    4. WP, that is one of the saddest comments I have received. The Bench of Bishops had it in their power to avoid your situation but they chose not to. They should feel suitably chastened.

    5. Ancient Briton, I’m in a similar position to WP. I can see that the end has come for any hope that the Church in Wales can remain true its catholic heritage and so the obvious option is to join the Roman Catholic Church. However my family do not want to leave their friends in our parish. Our parish priest tries all sorts of emotional blackmail to keep people in the parish (“we are better together” or “when Barry goes either John Swansea & Brecon or Greg St Asaph will change things and make us welcome”, etc) but in reality we all know he wants us to remain so that he has a job to see him into retirement and he can collect his pension. He told one of our old parishioners the other day that when he retires he will become a Roman Catholic layman. So all our hard work is only being done to see him into retirement and then off to Rome! Where is the honesty and integrity in that position?

    6. With regard to the "robust response" from Credo Cymru,and point number 5: surely if one is expected to look to England or as it is put " outside the current Bench", then there is going to be a lot of traffic across the Severn Bridge.
      If one receives the Sacraments from a C in W priest, then we are accepting ++Barry as our 'Apostolic link'.
      My understanding would be that to adopt an alternative Bishop from England ,then we should be receiving the ministry of the priests of that Bishop,otherwise it counts for nothing more than adopting the man in the moon.
      I am sad to hear of the feelings of Pip and WP. However, the subscription is not to a social club ,of your friends . Belonging to the One Holy Catholic Church is a subscription to Truth. It is a subscription to God's revealed Truth, and should not be to the modernity as devised by the Bench.

  11. Although my patronymic is 'Morgan', I hope I'm not related in any with with your bishop Barry M! I'm an American from the late 16th century, and an Anglican for most of y life (my ancestors were all Congregationalists so that makes me part Welsh, I suppose.) Anyhoo, I found the Eastern Orthodox Church back in 1986 and have been a member ever since. I urge all loyal Welshmen and women to consider this as an alternative to pettifogging and erastian Anglicanism. There is a true faith out there somewhere.
    Rdr. James Morgan
    Olympia, WA USA

    1. Hear, hear! But you will only be happy in Orthodoxy if you embrace it because you believe that it is (the fulness of) The Church, not just as an escape from Anglican difficulties. Be aware before planning to jump of the differences of ethos (eg strength or otherwise of ethnic identity and clerical domination -- this last is NOT a feature of authentic Orthodoxy although unfortunately not unknown in communities where there are significant numbers of ex-Anglicans and their clergy) between the various jurisdictions, although in practice your choice will be limited by what is available within reasonable reach of where you live. My knowledge of the north is limited, but in S. Wales apart from the (very Greek) Greek church in Cardiff there is nothing east of Swansea. However, there's nothing to stop an enterprising group of (potential) converts getting together somewhere accessible and setting up the beginnings of a worshipping community.

    2. North Wales:-

    3. Yes, I do know about Fr Deiniol's church in Blaenau Ffestiniog, as well as those mentioned in the SW (although not sure Swansea details are up to date). There is also this community:

      which because it is lay led could be a possible model for emulation in the SE.

  12. I believe an Orthodox priest is in Tregaron.

  13. Llandaff Pewster16 October 2014 at 19:58

    The latest PR drivel from the RB website

    You couldn't get a bigger mess than in Llandaff Cathedral!
    "Fresh Expressions"?
    Fresh excretions.
    Whatever happened to the Crossbearers Scheme?