|Bishop of Llandaff (Pritchard Hughes) Source: Wikipedia|
Ignoring the specific requirement for a fluent Welsh speaker enabling the bishop to communicate effectively with all worshippers in a diverse, conservative diocese, the 'election' of someone who can conduct a service in Welsh parrot fashion was deemed to be sufficient.
The Archbishop keeps repeating that Canon Penberthy was elected not because she is a woman but because she is "the best person to be a bishop". This cannot be true if as reported, a fluent Welsh speaker was specified in the diocesan profile.
In a valedictory interview for BBC Radio Wales, Dr Morgan again repeats his assertion in an attempt to convince his listeners that the election was not a stitch up. Believe that if you will despite the fact that Canon Penberthy's name had been circulating as the next bishop for months before her election.
Dr Morgan's interview starts with a promise recorded fourteen years ago at his installation as Archbishop of Wales: Will you be faithful in your ministry in calling the dioceses of the Church in Wales to work in harmony together. And will you so guide us in our work ecumenically that all the churches of Wales may see in our ministry the work of fellow members of the body of Christ?
Dr Morgan answers: With the help of God, I will.
Regrettably, harmony has turned to discord. Motivated more by politics than by the mysteries of faith Dr Morgan has steered a different course to all but like minded liberal primates in the Anglican Communion such as Katharine Jefferts Schori, the disastrous former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States.
People sitting on Dr Morgan's side of the fence will agree among themselves that he has much to be proud of but that is from a secular point of view. For others his tenure has been a disaster. His influence will linger on among those owing their 'success' to him so it is with little surprise that I learn that the options being considered for the see of Llandaff are close to Barry's heart, advancing the role of women in the church, homosexuality and same sex marriage (SSM).
One name which routinely pops up whenever there is a vacancy is that of the Dean of St Albans. His ministry has suffered greatly from church politics but he did himself no favours when he came Out4Marriage, bending scripture in the modern fashion to accord with personal circumstances. Many others, despite what Dr Morgan says in his BBC interview, have suffered more for their faith. Ignored or passed over because they have not gone along with Western Anglicans' obsessions with so-called women's rights, LGBT+ and SSM issues.
Thought to be the favourite candidate is a woman vicar serving in a parish in the centre of Cardiff. If elected she will of course have to accept that she is second best despite her superior CV because 'the best person to be a bishop' according to Dr Morgan is the Bishop-elect of St Davids regardless of her being a monoglot in a Welsh speaking diocese.
With a second female bishop in place, women on the bench will still lack parity so that will be the next feminist clamour dressed up as an equality issue. Parity could be achieved next year if the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon retires at 65. That would leave one male bishop, the Bishop of Monmouth, to cover the whole of South Wales under the flawed Code of Practice which was designed solely for the advancement of women in the church, hence the urgent need for some sort of Society similar to that operating in England to support faithful Anglicans who have been marginalised for their faith in their own church.
When feminisation of the Bench is complete there will of course be no male bishop to provide "appropriate sacramental episcopal ministry" under existing rules. But the provision is a nonsense anyway because none of the existing bench sitters shares the conscientious beliefs of those for whom provision was intended.
To provide some semblance of choice on this occasion a third name is in the frame, that of one of the Llandaff Cathedral canons so unless there is a translation the choice is gays v. wimmin so spare a thought for all those loyal, straight male priests who Barry says he listens to but has ignored like a backfiring bishops' consultation.
Striking a positive note for the New Year, as church attendance continues to shrink, at least Barry Morgan can be proud of his promise to work ecumenically. Thanks to his efforts, much of the Church in Wales is becoming indistinguishable from chapel so we are all in it together.