Friday, 9 October 2009

Considering our position?

Forward in Faith has now responded to the latest proposals of the C of E’s Revision Committee:

“Forward in Faith regrets that a majority of the Revision Committee has not supported the proposal for new dioceses put forward by the Catholic Group in General Synod to make provision for those conscientiously opposed to the consecration of women as bishops. We continue to believe that new dioceses would be both a better and a fairer way forward for all in the Church of England.
Nevertheless, we believe that the Revision Committee’s proposal to make provision for the statutory transfer of jurisdiction to complementary bishops could be the basis for a way forward. However, we will need to evaluate the full details of the proposals carefully when they become available in order to assess them properly.”

All this is of purely academic interest to traditionalists in the neighbouring province of the Church in Wales where episcopal provision and, it would seem,all pretence of pastoral care, has been removed from us. The following is part of an answer given by the Bishop of Monmouth to a question asked at last year’s Diocesan Conference (published in the Conference Report 2009.) It needs no further comment from me.

“The first part of the questions is about ecclesiology, but it implies that the Archbishop of Canterbury has some kind of Papal role which neither he nor the Welsh Bench of Bishops would accept. In reaching their decision not to appoint another PAB the Bench took note of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s views about special provision for those opposed to the ordination of women, but also noted that at the recent meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England over two-thirds of the bishops present did not vote with him. In fairness, the Archbishop has not claimed that special provision is good ecclesiology but that he sees it as being pragmatic.

The Welsh Bench also noted that the Anglican Churches in Ireland and Scotland made no additional episcopal provision when they agreed to ordain women as priests and bishops.

The Church of England has created an anomaly by which some diocesan bishops refuse to ordain women to the priesthood but they commission a suffragan to do so on their behalf and then the diocesan licenses them and even institutes them. He can then claim not to have ordained a woman himself although he has commissioned another to do it on his behalf - and yet what he has commissioned another to do on his behalf, he is deemed to have done himself. This is not consistent ecclesiology.

The second part of the question refers to the commitment to pastoral and sacramental care. I have to say that if a priest cannot in conscience accept the ministry of his or her Diocesan bishop then I believe that he or she needs to carefully consider his or her position. Clergy hold a licence from their diocesan bishop or have been given the ‘cure of souls which is both yours and mine’. It does not mean that they have to accept their bishop’s views on all matters, but they must accept the jurisdiction of their diocesan bishops. Either I am the bishop or I am not. The provision of a PAB was never an alternative provision but simply an additional one.

The Bench has indicated that we shall still be prepared to sponsor candidates for ordination who are opposed to the ordination of women as priests and each Diocesan will make such other provisions as he thinks fit. For example, in this diocese I shall be prepared to ordain candidates separately if they do not wish to be ordained alongside a women. The Bishops have indicated that they wish to care for all their clergy and people but pastoral care does not mean giving in to every demand but doing what we believe to be in the best interests of the Church.”

1 comment:

  1. It appears that the trend to relevance has made many churches irrelevant. The need to do the new thing or become more like the secular world has caused many denominations to see a decline in attendance and communicants.

    Womens ordination is the springboard to further apostasy and error, yet many so called orthodox groups like ACNA and CORE have taken the seeds of their own destruction with them in the form of Priestesses and Pastorettes(?).

    When faithful(?) Anglicans began to leave TEC and faithful(?) Lutherans began to leave the ELCA, these groups had ready made sanctuaries of order and orthodoxy that they seemed to have avoided. Though I can't blame Anglicans for dodging the Continuum with it's overabundance of Bishop's and turf battles, I don't understand the Lutheran's starting CORE when they have the LCMS or WELS to go, other than CORE is keeping female clergy.

    Modern church "minds" don't see the data that people seeking comfort in the Church do not want the same as what they can find in the secular world, they want what makes the Church unique, an order that seems to be lost in their daily lives and so the ranks of Rome and Constantinople are swelled by our fleeing Friends or in the worst case, the disillusioned leave the Church all-together.


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