Saturday, 7 November 2009

Yet more bad news from Wales

Go to the Credo Cymru website for the now published correspondence concerning the bishops' latest and highly predictable refusal to grant episcopal provision to traditional Anglicans in Wales:

It's particularly important that the observations of the Assistant Bishop of Llandaff are not left unchallenged. In claiming as he does a special insight into the intentions of Archbishop John Habgood in helping to frame the Act of Synod in the Church of England, his comments have implications far beyond the confines of the Church in Wales. The Act of Synod itself, if memory serves me rightly, was a matter of discussion and debate in the C of E, even if behind closed doors, and not simply something which was handed down from on high on a 'take it or leave it' basis. That being so, it is vital that the views of traditionalists taking part in that process in the early 1990s are now heard in terms of the temporary nature or otherwise of the provision negotiated.
It's curious, though, how liberals instinctively fall back on a quasi-traditional authoritarian, de haut en bas view of Church polity even whilst claiming to despise it and certainly doing their very best to undermine it. Personally, I prefer authority to have a more sound historical and doctrinal basis.

One other question: given the fact that we all recognise that alternative or additional episcopal care is indeed an anomaly in terms of the theology of holy order, albeit in the service of preserving that delicate balance needed to maintain traditional Anglican "inclusiveness" (although the Welsh Bishops seem to think alternative episcopal oversight less acceptable than either the Eames Commission or the present Archbishop of Canterbury), in what sense can it be regarded as more of an anomaly than unilateral decisions by Anglican provinces purporting to ordain women to the priesthood without having first secured any kind of catholic consensus on the issue and against the repeated advice, requests and warnings from both our Roman Catholic and Orthodox ecumenical partners?

The recent decisions of the Welsh Bench are really nothing more than an exercise in a kind of liberal managerial control (a power grab) over a Church which they themselves are responsible for having divided. A few years ago I made the prediction that soon the bishops of the Church in Wales would have nothing much left in which to believe except the exercise of episcopacy itself. It's not always a pleasant feeling when one is proved to have been right.
Still, “The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
May Our Lady and the Saints of Wales pray for us.


  1. "...whilst the Bench was persuaded that such an appointment may have been necessary then, we do not share that opinion some 13 years later." +Barry.
    In other words, we did what was necessary to get our own way then but with the whip hand we can do as we please. - Hypocrisy is the word that springs immediately to mind.
    Anomalous yes, but if the bench are genuine in their concern they would devote their time to finding a solution acceptable to both sides. If the legal niceties are too complex for the tiny Church in Wales they need only look over the border and of their charity permit a Bishop from the Church of England to answer our prayers.

  2. The comments of the assistant-bishop of Llandaff are interesting. He is a perpetual name-dropper, all of his points seem to be prefixed by John Habgood this, John Habgood that, oh John Habgood you are so wonderful... as if he is so unsure of his own argument that he has to hide behind his former boss. I don't know where he is coming from on the issue of the Act of Synod - that has nothing to do with the CinW. Does anyone know why he came to Wales? +Barry must think that the local talent is so poor that he has to import both an archdeacon and an assistant bishop from across the border. However, with six diocesan bishops, one assistant-bishop and hardly anyone going to church in Wales there can't be much bishop work to do - so it will give the assistant-bishop plenty of time to write his book about, you've guessed it, JOHN HABGOOD!
    +Barry has set a precedent here. If he can bring in someone from across the border why can't we take note of +Edwin's comments in an earlier post about border-busting?

  3. Many of us applauded the import, or should I say home-coming, of the new Bishop of St Asaph given his close association with Archbishop Rowan who is known to have greater sympathy for our integrity than his opposite number here in Wales. Unfortunately he has been unable to break the mould of the Bench's (+Barry's) 'unanimous views' but hopefully he is merely swimming with the minnows until he is the big fish.

  4. Perhaps you are right, but I'm not sure we can wait that long. The difficulty is that because of the bishops' adherence to a kind of collective responsibility in terms of their public pronouncements we don't know what each of them really thinks. It is very clear though that even if they wanted to, no one is prepared (in Mgr Graham Leonard's words when Bishop of London) to "upset the club."

  5. The collegiality of the Bench is interesting. To the outsider it appears that whatever the archbishop wants goes. So there is not much point having another five diocesans sitting with him - let's save some money, sack four of them and flog off their cathedrals, palaces, cars, private health care, staff, call-girls (±boys), travel expenses and other perks.
    Last week the collegiality of the Bench appeared to wind up many of those at the Llandaff diocesan conference. The archbishop wanted them to rubber stamp the Bench's decision ("The Bench have decided that, bla, bla, yawn, yawn...") but he didn't like it when the conference wanted some synodical debate. So they told him to stuff it up his mitre!

  6. Quite so Father, we have already waited far too long.
    The Bench make two fundamental points to support their unanimous view that they do not wish to appoint another Provincial Assistant Bishop, both of which neglect the weightier matters of justice and mercy and faith.
    One doesn't have to be a canon lawyer to understand the technical position of an Assistant Bishop in the Church in Wales, hence the attraction of pastoral and sacramental oversight from across the border which would relieve the Bench of their main fundamental problem.
    As for the second point about a church within a church, Hello!


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