Wednesday, 14 July 2010

It would be unkind to reference Mr Micawber....

This is the latest statement from the Catholic Group in the Church of England's General Synod:

"The Catholic Group in General Synod is encouraged by the remarks of the Archbishop of Canterbury that there is still ‘unfinished business’ and that ‘the Church is only part of the way through the process’ of determining the way forward for women bishops legislation.

The Group was, however, disappointed that there was a lack of support for financial hardship where clergy feel by conscience that they need to resign from the Church of England. The onus now is on the Church of England to provide for its clergy to remain within the Church for which we have always fought as loyal Anglicans.
We remain committed to both the process and our Church, and would wish to play a major part in helping the Church in its ongoing journey in a spirit of unity that is Christ’s way."
I hope they are right for the sake of the Church of England itself, and for all of us whose provincial synodical agendas will now reflect the decision taken in York.
However, there has to be considerable doubt over the ability (rather than the willingness - no one questions that) of the Archbishop of Canterbury to resolve the "unfinished business" in any way which is satisfactory to traditionalists. Does he now have the necessary influence?
I suspect not - until he puts his job on the line - and that's always a high risk strategy, and there will be plenty of people telling him not to do that. In any case, why should he? No one has a right to suggest it, least of all expect it. As one of the founders of Affirming Catholicism, Dr Williams is by no means a traditionalist and he completely shares the view of the majority on the necessity to ordain women to the episcopate, while, I suspect, at the same time looking with abhorrence on the prospect of a Church which has expelled its traditional Catholic element during his time as Archbishop. That's a cruel dilemma to be in , but nevertheless, on balance, perhaps preferable to being consistently lied to, losing one's occupation, the roof over one's head and a spiritual home without even the offer of any kind of compensation. It may not be particularly charitable or gentlemanly of me to say so, but my sympathy is somewhat limited under the circumstances.
So - we'll see.
It would, then, be a little unkind to end with this passage from David Copperfield:

“I am most delighted to hear it,” said Mr. Micawber. “It was at Canterbury where we last met. Within the shadow, I may figuratively say, of that religious edifice, immortalized by Chaucer, which was anciently the resort of pilgrims from the remotest corners of—in short,” said Mr. Micawber, “in the immediate neighbourhood of the Cathedral.” 
I replied that it was. Mr. Micawber continued talking as volubly as he could; but not, I thought, without showing, by some marks of concern in his countenance, that he was sensible of sounds in the next room, as of Mrs. Micawber washing her hands, and hurriedly opening and shutting drawers that were uneasy in their action. 
“You find us, Copperfield,” said Mr. Micawber, with one eye on Traddles, “at present established, on what may be designated as a small and unassuming scale; but, you are aware that I have, in the course of my career, surmounted difficulties, and conquered obstacles. You are no stranger to the fact, that there have been periods of my life, when it has been requisite that I should pause, until certain expected events should turn up; when it has been necessary that I should fall back, before making what I trust I shall not be accused of presumption in terming—a spring. The present is one of those momentous stages in the life of man. You find me, fallen back, for a spring; and I have every reason to believe that a vigorous leap will shortly be the result.............
....................I am, however, delighted to add that I have now an immediate prospect of something turning up (I am not at liberty to say in what direction)......... "

1 comment:

  1. The Catholic Group may hope for a spring in Mr Micawber's sense. I would rather work for Newman's Second Spring in the Ordinariate! Roll on next Spring!


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