Friday, 19 October 2012

'Hamlet' no longer...?

The Archbishop of Canterbury, despite having argued repeatedly and unavailingly for greater provision for those opposed to the legislation, is now actively campaigning for a 'yes' vote on women bishops in the November Synod:

"...And in this context, it is important to be clear about what the wording of the legislation does and doesn’t say.  In a culture of instant comment, it’s all too easy for a version of what’s being said to gain ground and dominate the discussion even when it doesn’t represent what’s actually there.  We saw this in the widespread but mistaken assumption that the amendment proposed by the bishops in May gave parishes the right to choose their own bishop.  We are seeing it now in the equally mistaken assumption that the word ‘respect’ in the new amendment is little more than window-dressing.
The truth is that the word does have legal content.  If you’re required to show ‘respect’, you need to be able to demonstrate that what you do takes account in practice of someone’s conviction.  You will need to show that it has made a difference to how you act; it doesn’t just recommend an attitude or state of mind (‘with all due respect…’).  The word leaves enough flexibility for appropriate responses to different circumstances, but it isn’t so general as to be toothless.
The legislation isn’t perfect; all legislation for complex communities embodies compromise and unfinished business.  The tough question for those who are still undecided is whether delay would produce anything better.  For those who think the legislation has compromised too far, it may be important to note that conscientious opposition has not grown noticeably weaker; it can’t be taken for granted that any delay would guarantee a smoother passage. And those who think that the provision for dissent is inadequate have to reckon with the extreme unlikelihood, given the way things have gone in the last few years, that any future legislation will be able to find a more acceptable framework.  The chances are that there will in fact be greater pressure from some quarters for a ‘single clause’ measure..."
Read it all here  

On the one hand, Dr Williams doesn't sound entirely convinced by his own arguments, but, on the other hand, yes, 'enough waiting;' faced with a fog of doubt, hesitation and uncertainty as to the implications of what is being proposed, now is exactly the right time to put your foot hard on the accelerator - and drive the vehicle off the edge of the cliff... 

The Catholic Group on General Synod has voted unanimously to oppose the measure.


  1. I can't help thinking that if he had his time over again he would take a different path. Just imagine if he were leading us into unity with Rome along with the Orthodox church rather than leaving the stage a disappointed man with the Covenant rejected and, hopefully, the women bishops vote lost.
    I was disappointed to read: "Dr Williams argues that 'rectifying the anomaly' of having ordained women as deacons and priests while denying them access to the episcopate is good news for women, for men, for the Church, and for the world." When considering whether women should be ordained priests we were told that it didn't mean that they would be ordained bishops! What is clear now is that they shouldn't have been ordained priests. Is Rowan blind to the feminisation of the church?


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