Saturday, 24 October 2009

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth!

The Forward in Faith National Assembly can be followed online.
There have been some very interesting contributions to the debate, and there was clearly on display a commendable and truly Christian concern to care for the coalition of Anglo-Catholic opinion reresented by Forward in Faith and to try to provide for the future of all Anglican Catholics whatever their eventual decisions may be as to their future.

I was somewhat less impressed with some of views put forward by one of the keynote speakers, the Bishop of Chichester, who, despite his obvious and deeply held commitment to the Petrine Primacy as being at the very heart of ecumenical dialogue, expressed hopes that somehow the Anglican Communion could once again (once again – was it ever?) be made into a reliable ecumenical partner with Rome and the East.
Many of us would say that that is to fly in the face of our whole experience of Anglicanism over the last twenty years. How could that happen? Will the provinces of the Communion reverse their decisions to ordain women to the episcopate and priesthood? Will they return to a recognisably orthodox moral theology? Will they bring an end to the marginalisation and victimisation of orthodox clergy and parishes? Perhaps not this side of the eschaton!
Many provinces are dominated now by theological modernists and liberals – meaningful dialogue leading to reunion with Rome and Orthodoxy simply isn’t on their radar. We saw last year the complete impotence of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in the face of an utterly intransigent Synod completely in thrall to the revisionist agenda. Where are the indications that this will change?

Unfortunately, we should never underestimate the propensity of some of our brethren to try to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and to hold out hope that the tide is about to turn even as the waters rise above our heads. To be charitable I suppose it is an expression of their love and affection for the Church of England that they will believe the best of it despite all evidence to the contrary. But now is the time to stop the endless bargaining and horsetrading and utterly pointless discussion, however learned and however erudite, and introduce a little reality into the situation.

The speeches from the Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough were, as expected, much more positive and much more realistic in terms of the new prospect before us. Thank God we have them with us!

UPDATE: Saturday morning

Some of the reporting and comment from the Forward in Faith National Assembly has been understandably negative. I hope today's proceedings wil redress the balance and that speakers will have some thought as to how their words come across to the world outside.

So "Lord Carey of Clifton," the former Archbishop of Canterbury has given us the benefit of his experience and wisdom in ("bitterly" according to the BBC) criticising Pope Benenedict for the timing and the manner in which the Apostolic Constitution was announced. It's wonderful to see + George's new found solicitude towards his successsor, but I seem to remember him being at least partly responsible for the mess in which we now find ourselves as Anglican Catholics. Presumably he still feels Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church, together with the rest of us, to be guilty of a most "serious heresy" over the ordination of women.
In the 'Readers Digest' wasn't it?

And now I really will do what the PEVs recommend and take some time for reflection and quiet prayer and discernment. Photos of the countryside and poetry - I promise, honestly!

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