Monday, 26 November 2012

Rumours of gerrymandering?

An article [here] by Lizzie Davies at The Guardian suggests that worries about a new gerrymandered vote by the Church of England's General Synod - with, scandalously and indefensibly,  no provision made for opponents - are far from groundless:
"The Church of England faces a "major constitutional crisis" over female bishops and must embrace an "urgent and radical" new strategy in order to see women in the episcopate by 2015, according to an internal memo written for the archbishops in the wake of last week's vote.The memo by William Fittall, secretary general of the church's governing body, written soon after the General Synod failed to pass long-awaited legislation due to a minority of voters in the house of laity, says the blow dealt to morale in the church – particularly among female clergy – is "severe" and that steps need to be taken in July to pass new legislation."We have to do so because time is not on our side," says the memo, seen by the Times. "Parliament is impatient. Unless the Church of England can show very quickly that it's capable of sorting itself out, we shall be into a major constitutional crisis in church-state relations, the outcome of which cannot be predicted with confidence."The archbishops' council, the church's executive leadership body, is due to discuss the crisis when it meets on Tuesday and Wednesday. But an initial decision on how to solve the increasingly pressing problem is not expected to be taken until the house of bishops meets in December.Fittall's memo, titled Women in the Episcopate – Where Next?, urges church leaders to take into account the tide of anger and incredulity in parliament that met last week's failed vote. He suggests ploughing ahead with simpler legislation that would have no provision for opponents and could, he says, be put to the vote when synod meets in York in July..."
Father Trevor Jones [here] wryly seeks to cast 'doubt' on the rumours:
 " It is for this reason that I do not believe these reports, they must be the subversive work of some form of ecclesiastical black ops intelligence group designed to create rumour, counter rumour and confusion. Why do I not believe them? Archbishop Williams has, time again, indicated his actual and real support for an ongoing place, with dignity, for traditionalists. He would never be so cheap and shallow as to renege on his conviction; might he be afraid of the Prime Minister and the force of the State to interfere with the Church? Not he, this is a man who was arrested for his protest against the states policy on armaments. Further he was a member of the Jubilee Group with strong convictions on the nature of the Church and its relationship with state power structures; he  would, I conjecture, suffer martyrdom before he let the state dictate to the Church on a matter of doctrine. What then of the Archbishop elect, who would , one would think, be included in any high level discussion? The Bishop of Durham was presented to the nation on his appointment as a man for whom Moral Theology mattered. Further, the Bishop has himself made very public statements on the ongoing place of traditionalists in the Church of England. These elements together indicate that he could and would not be involved with any plan that was less than morally absolute and fulfilled the Churches historic commitment and his own stated view on the ongoing place of traditionalists..."
"...I apologise to the leading national newspaper whom I do not believe, I'm sure they thought their sources were good, but Christians do not gerrymander they seek the path of integrity and peace, wait and see, I'm bound to be right, am I not?"

There is a useful analysis [here] by Dr Bob Morris of the constitutional issues involved in any Parliamentary 'interference' in the life of the Church - from Anglican Ink
A women cleric, the Red Lynda Rose, gets the implications [here] in a letter to the Evening Standard

With all the current talk about party political deals, it would be tragic if the Church of England were to seek a Faustian electoral pact of its own

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