Monday, 12 July 2010

A question of trust?

This is prompted by a discussion on yesterday's Sunday programme on BBC Radio 4 between Prebendary David Houlding and Canon Celia Thomson. Link here (about 37 minutes in)  The interviewer, Trevor Barnes, put the question to Canon Thomson as to whether the mere code of practice which the Church of England has now opted for could not just be guaranteed "out of the goodness of your hearts."
It's never a good idea to begin a Sunday morning with so much cynically hollow laughter.
Canon Thomson's reply wasn't one to reassure anyone with doubts about the new feminised ordained ministry of contemporary Anglicanism:
" We have been gracious, us (sic) ordained women, for the last twenty three years. There is no reason to suppose we would stop being gracious to those who oppose our ministry.

And the experience of other parts of the Anglican communion having women bishops has shown that there have been some very fruitful and constructive relationships in the way that those women bishops deal with parishes and priests opposing their episcopal ministry."
But there is every reason to do so. Firstly, the (deliberate) portrayal of those who hold to traditional faith and order as being somehow "opposed to the ministry of women" (rather than simply believing that our part of the Church doesn't have the authority to sanction changes to apostolic order - and that's a vital distinction) doesn't exactly augur well for any future relationships guaranteed out of the goodness of the new establishment's heart.
And secondly, her appeal to other parts of the Anglican Communion where women have been ordained to the episcopate also doesn't ring true. What of the experience of traditionalists in the the USA and  Canada to name the two obvious examples? The coming into existence of the ACNA didn't occur as a result of mutual respect and trust, but because of a deliberate and ruthless policy of marginalisation and exclusion by liberal revisionists of traditional Anglicans, whether anglo-catholic or evangelical. Try speaking to them about "graciousness" or the "goodness of heart" of their opponents.
So the onus is very much on those who ask us to trust them to explain exactly why things would be different here, and why they are so afraid of giving a legislated structural basis for such trust. Structures are a guarantee of good behaviour and provide for appeal and redress where that good behaviour is lacking. Yet structures are the very things our opponents are determined not to grant. Why would this be I wonder? Even given liberal elasticity about the existence and meaning of post-baptismal sin, they cannot be so naive as to believe that a Christian community has no such need of checks and balances to protect the vulnerable against the powerful. So the question remains.....

1 comment:

  1. >>portrayal of those who hold to traditional faith and order as being somehow "opposed to the ministry of women"<<

    Una Kroll was also at it in The Guardian yesterday with: "...the Act of Synod introduced structural discrimination against women...".

    What does it say of their ministry that these people have to distort the truth to achieve their aims?


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