Tuesday, 24 May 2011

"...either incoherent or dishonest"

The extract below is by the Revd. John Richardson, from a conservative evangelical perspective, writing about the situation facing traditionalists in the C of E. Of course, he is summing up what many on the Anglo-Catholic wing have been saying for a very long time; but the more time goes by, the greater is the realisation that it makes no difference what is said, the proponents of change have the votes. End of subject. Welcome to 21st Century Anglicanism, which, despite the heading of this post, seems to have finally deserted incoherence and ambiguity - or, if you prefer, "comprehensiveness" - in favour of a more brutal and revisionist clarity.
Yet it's on this premise (a clear declaration of our Church's new stance, even if dishonestly engineered) that those hoping to remain within established Anglican structures will be forced to plan their strategy, and it's on this basis (how can it now be otherwise?) that the direction of the Church will be decided - something worth bearing in mind when thinking of the future.

".........The present Anglican position, therefore, must be deemed either incoherent or dishonest. It is incoherent to declare that a viewpoint lacks either justification or support and then to declare that, nevertheless, it is on a par with the truth. Alternatively, it is dishonest to be saying that everyone will be treated equally when, in fact, there is self-evidently no possibility that this will be the case.
Those of us who have hoped the Church of England’s governing bodies would honour the commitments given since 1993 have probably not been clear enough ourselves about the realities of the situation. But we have taken heart from the fact that ‘incoherence’ is what the Church of England does so well.
Unfortunately, as the recent creation of the Ordinariate suggests, it is something which even the Church of England can only do for so long if the pressures become great enough.
And alongside incoherence we have had dishonesty — I refer to the exclusion of traditionalists from senior office, at first doubtless in response to subtle pressures, but now openly and overtly. Yet as with the pressures for Anglo-Catholics, this can only be maintained for so long, and the proposed legislation reflects the need to ‘move on’.
It is a principle in law that equal parties should be treated equally. Anyone reading the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure will see that it establishes two classes of Anglican — those who will simply be able to go about their church business from year to year without the need to justify their continuance, and those who will regularly have to review and revise their arrangements with the institution.
Those accepting of women bishops will never be asked to consider whether they might be wrong. Those who are not will constantly be having to justify their position to themselves and to others.
Surely no secular legislator would allow such a situation! But in the Church it seems we can — and why not, when one point of view has neither a basis nor a constituency?"
Read it all here

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