Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Updating: More comment from the Bishops of SSWSH and many others

This post will be updated throughout the evening as further reaction comes through 

The Bishops of The Society react to the defeat of the draft Measure

The failure of the General Synod to agree on the legislation to allow for the ordaining of women bishops reflects Synod’s lack of consensus over this matter.  It has uncovered a stubborn unease, particularly among lay people, about the Measure that was presented. . 
Acutely aware of the profound anguish that will now be felt by so many, we believe that it is wise at this point to refrain from analysis of the past or speculation about what the future might hold.
These are testing times for the Church of England.  We pray that we who, between us, have held different opinions on this great matter will be able to find in each other the wisdom and humility we shall need to build a common future. 
+Tony Pontefract   +John Plymouth
on behalf of the Bishops of The Society of S. Wilfrid and S. Hilda

Triumphant? Not I
Fr Trevor Jones has these comments about the defeat of the legislation on his blog [here]

The Church of England has been plunged into its biggest crisis for decades 
John Bingham in The Telegraph has this report which raises the alarming prospect of parliamentary interference in the Church's autonomy. For those who continue to assert that the C of E is a 'parliamentary Church,' please remember that the Oxford Movement began as a protest against such secular intervention in the affairs of the Body of Christ
However the report repeats the canard about major compromises having been made to traditionalists: that's not so - that is why, in the end, the vote failed. Traditionalists must repeat that until they are blue in the face - this was a vote for the principle of diversity and equality in the Church and not against it.

Emergency session of Bishops to be held tomorrow to discuss the consequences of the vote: 
An official  press release from the Church of England can be found here

Predictable and bitter disappointment from the advocates of change -- from The Guardian:
Andrew Brown [here] accusing the opponents of the measure of 'bad faith.' 
Canon Lucy Winkett: 'By again rejecting women bishops, the Church of England has detonated its credibility with modern Britain' [here]
Unfortunately in her article she repeats the most appalling slanders about traditional - orthodox - Christianity (actually one could see some of her comments more as a veiled attack on the Reformation, but let's move on) - hardly the way forward to a real and constructive compromise on this issue, but probably indicating the truth of Damian Thompson's prediction of an Anglican 'civil war.'  [here]. 
Wiser and saner heads must surely prevail.... there must be time and space given for prayer and reflection and an attempt at a genuine accommodation of the convictions of both (all) sides. Synodical politicisation of the Church has been an unmitigated disaster; that's never been more evident than in the series of votes on this issue in England and in Wales dating back to the early 1990s 

Jeremy Taylor in The Independent [here] has reaction from proponents of women bishops and a comment from WATCH - "Today’s vote is a devastating blow for the Church of England and the people of this country..”

More from the Guardian [here] including this statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury:

"This vote of course isn't the end of the story, this is not an issue that is going to go away. About three quarters of the total membership of Synod voted for this, the dioceses voted for it, there is still the will for this to happen and so what the Church of England now has to do is find a way forward.
Adding that "nobody wants to go on talking about this indefinitely," he said:
I think one of the things that is most sobering, most saddening about today is that it does commit us to a long process of focusing on this question when so many people would like to be talking about something else and doing something else.
Asked for his message to women who were thinking of leaving the ministry following the vote, he said:
I would say first of all that I can well understand that feeling of rejection and unhappiness and deep perhaps disillusion with the institutional Church that many women may be feeling.
I would also say it is still your Church and your voice matters and always will be heard and it is important therefore not to give up.
It is easy for me to say that, I don't have to carry it in the same deeply personal way that these women particularly will but I still want to say it is your Church, not mine and not Synod's."
But the prize for the stupidest comment of the evening - so far - has to be awarded to this tweet from another journalist, Ruth Gledhill of The Times:

The Church of England has forfeited right to speak on assisted dying - because it has just committed suicide, assisted by 

Thy will be done?
An early reflection from conservative evangelical, the Revd John Richardson [here]
"...The smart move, I suggest, would be rather to recognize the mistake of July, to ask Traditionalists what would actually satisfy them, to hammer out a deal both parties can accept and then, but only then, to bring it back to Synod at the earliest opportunity.
I find myself asking what could be wrong with that. Unfortunately, I suspect there will be those out there only too willing to tell me."

 "...We recognise there is now a need for everyone to take stock while working together to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God as Advent approaches."
A statement from the Chairman of Reform [here

(Roman) Catholic comment from across the pond from Anglophile (but not 'anglicanophile' -not that there are many of those left) Father Z [here]

More from The Telegraph
Tim Stanley - 'Anglicanism in the raw'
"Wow – we truly live in an age of miracles. The Church of England just voted in favour of tradition. To be precise, its Synod failed to garner the necessary two thirds majority to allow for women bishops. A majority did want change, just not a large enough one – and most of the opposition seems to have come from the laity rather than the clergy......The Synod really was Anglicanism in the raw – and seen from the outside it is a very strange creature. As a Roman Catholic, I don't understand its "evolving" attitude towards scripture and tradition. God, I always thought, is not for turning. But the Anglicans not only allow for change (which surely concedes that God makes mistakes?), but it also seem to have decided that building a consensus that accommodates that change is a sound alternative to a consistent theology. “Whatever happens, no matter how far we depart from Scripture or tradition … we must all stand together!”"   [Read it alhere]
That seems to be it - undoubtedly there will be more to report in the morning. 

If I have a early reaction to this vote myself, it is that both in England and in Wales there has been an attempt to bring about change in the apostolic ministry without sufficient safeguards being given to those, both Evangelical and Catholic, who in conscience cannot accept such a move. In both countries, the measures failed to achieve the necessary majorities only because adequate provision (that provision actually needed by the opponents) was lacking. The way forward now is clear. Those who are in favour of women bishops must - in the interests of an inclusive and historically recognisable Anglicanism - overcome their abhorrence at the prospect that orthodox Anglo-Catholics and Conservative Evangelicals have as much right to remain within their Church as do the proponents of change, and grant us what we need to survive and prosper. Can that really to too much to ask?
We must now pray and work toward that goal - urgently - with generosity and charity towards those who disagree with us.  

1 comment:

  1. Father Trevor,

    You are a guiding light in the Christian Church.
    I thank God for your wisdom and loving kindness.
    Perhaps we might all be inspired to make more time for prayer and silence.
    This is the way forward now.

    'Thy will not mine O Lord.'



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