Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A few random thoughts about provision for 'traditionalists'

What follows is  a very tentative suggestion and I expect it to be shot down by all sides.

The blog Catholicity & Covenant (from an essentially 'Affirming Catholic' standpoint) has a new post about the revival in an Episcopal diocese in the U.S.A. of  'canons regular.' [here]
Without wishing to accept the self-described "post-modern" nature of the existing American model, would not this kind of 'secular' community in outline offer at least a partial solution to the vexed question of how to 'embed' acceptable provision for traditionalist Anglicans within existing structures whilst both protecting their theological integrity and ensuring active involvement in the life of the wider Church? The question of episcopal sacramental and pastoral oversight could be dealt with by the appointment of a priestly 'superior' and a traditionalist 'episcopal visitor.' I cannot stress the irony enough: this would be, in effect, a kind of 'ordinariate' model but within Anglican dioceses and provinces.
There is one particular problem (there are clearly many others, but in attempting a 'constructive' proposal, let's not go there at the moment...): the creation of such a group / community would be very close indeed to the 'Society' model already rejected by the Church of England's General Synod which has proved hostile to any kind of provision which would imply (or be interpreted as implying)  the existence of a sacramental and administrative 'no-go area' for women bishops... that is, hostile to any real provision at all.

But what about in Wales? No previous synodical rejection lies dead on the table to haunt us and prevent further exploration. If those pressing for the ordination of women bishops in the Church in Wales are indeed serious about wanting an agreed solution and avoiding further division or the unchurching of traditionalists (and I remain highly sceptical about that, but nonetheless willing to be convinced) could this not be a possible way forward? 

There is nothing really new here, but it would be interesting to be able to  evaluate just how real the reported willingness to talk constructively actually is and, most importantly, to establish a basis for anything further....


  1. It would certainly be a way forward But I'm afraid I agree with your skepticism as to whether this would be seen as an acceptable option. Or indeed any other option. 'Mainstream' Anglicanism is too concerned with being 'relevant' to our modern secularist society to risk leaving any space at the table for those who hold to an orthodox expression of the faith.

  2. Replies
    1. Don't get too excited - I'm just trying to fly a kite - and one with an Anglican precedent! I don't really think it will get off the ground... the 'prevailing wind' is too strong; but I remain very happy to be proved wrong.

  3. Joseph Golightly2 May 2013 at 11:42

    Nice to see that the leading AC (sic) bishop is being more than friendly with the AffCaths!!

  4. Fr Edward Bryant SSC2 May 2013 at 23:24

    Trouble is, Father, however much we may like to kid ourselves, they really want to be rid of us, and can't understand why we haven't all taken the Roman option. One of the tragedies of the present situation is that we do not use words to mean the same thing. For us, women priests and bishops are firmly outside the Tradition; for them it is an enrichment of the Tradition, etc etc

  5. It will, no doubt, be considered impolite to say so but, yes, that sums up the problem we have quite succinctly.


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