Monday, 5 January 2009

Weasel Words

This is the text of the Archbishop’s letter; the punctuation and style are inimitably his own.

"Dear Mrs Stephens,

Thank you for your letter. I thought that I had responded but in any case your letter arrived just as the pastoral letter sent by the Bench was distributed to all the parishes in the Province so I would have thought that was an answer.
I am afraid that you have misunderstood the nature of the undertaking given by the Bishops 12 years ago. We agreed that there was a continuing place for those against the ordination of women in the church. We did not agree to appoint in perpetuity a Bishop specifically to look after them. We did appoint a Provincial Assistant Bishop but we did not promise that this provision would be permanent. Pastoral care of all clergy and lay people are in the hands of the Diocesan Bishop, just as the pastoral care of all parishioners are in the hands of parish priests to whom the care of parishioners has been entrusted. The fact is that this was an unanimous decision of the whole Bench and the fact that it was depleted is, in fact, irrelevant. For such a provision to be made every single Diocesan Bishop needs to give his approval. At the time there were four Bishops on the Bench and we voted unanimously not to continue this provision. Even if two Bishops were in favour, we could not have such a person as a Provincial Assistant Bishop.
The matter has been discussed fully and the answer is that we will not be making another appointment.

Yours sincerely,

+ Barry Cambrensis"

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