|Source: BBC video|
Recalling the diocesan meetings, I think it fair to say that members on both sides of the 'traditionalist' divide must have been shocked and saddened by the bishops' response to Credo Cymru's request to look again at the provisions of the Code of Practice (here).
The elements of Episcopal pique and the vindictive tone did not sit well either with the Christian notion of pastoral care or with the explanatory statement by the Archdeacon of Llandaff that the bishops "fulfilled the trust we placed in them to come up with a Code that will make it possible for everyone to be, and to feel that they are wanted and included and valued." ... "Also there was a requirement on her or any other bishop to make provision for those who in conscience can't accept her sacramental ministry".
Watching the BBC interview here it is difficult to reconcile the Ven. Peggy Jackson's expressed desire for unity with the bishop's 'if you don't like it, leave' response. Up until the time when the Code of Practice was released at Governing Body, there had been no suggestion that provision would be provided on terms unacceptable to those for whom it was intended, especially having referred to the example of the Church of England in the explanatory notes to the Archdeacon's amendment.
The only doubts expressed were by sceptics who were concerned about the Archbishop's ability to be magnanimous in victory after he said that it was for the bishops to decide what provision should be made. The stated aim could not have been clearer: Any member of the Church in Wales who does not want to be confirmed or ordained by a female bishop on grounds of conscience can ask for an "alternative provision" to be made. If the grounds of conscience are not satisfied by the alternative provision made, there is no provision!
If there are areas of doubt in the legislative process, recourse is usually made to intentions expressed in debates leading up to the passing of the legislation for clarification. Nothing in the bishops' original motion or in the successful Jackson/Wigley amendment hinted that there would be anything other than provision acceptable to those for whom it was intended in line with the views expressed at the diocesan consultative meetings; quite the contrary.
Accepting that the Archdeacon was genuine in her plea, she, as architect of the new legislation, and her supporters must join with traditionalists to demand that the bishops keep the promise that all members of the Church in Wales are made to feel wanted and included and valued.