Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Listen and despair

A few days late - it was broadcast as part of BBC Radio's Sunday programme, here is an interview with the retiring Church of England Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Revd James Jones. If you ever wondered what some commentators were talking about when they spoke of a profound theological crisis within Anglicanism, listen and wonder no longer... 
The following passage could act as a kind of commentary: 
".....I am not advocating that, in order to escape contamination by the perverse and ephemeral assumptions of the present day, the Church should cling on to the perverse and outmoded assumptions of the past.  What I am advocating is that the Church should be loyal, both in ordering her own life and in presenting the Gospel to the contemporary world, to the revelation which she has received from God in Christ.  And with regard to the special question with which we have here been concerned, it would be naive in the extreme to suppose that the culture in which we live has been so successful in understanding the nature of sex and applying that understanding in practice as to be capable of providing the Church with principles for deciding such a matter as that of the ordination of women.  On the contrary, the sexual chaos of the modern world would seem itself to show the need of such guidance as only the Christian revelation can give.  No doubt it is true that in matters of sex the Church has picked up in the course of her history attitudes and assumptions that cannot be justified by Christian principles.  It is all the more necessary that, having learnt the lesson, she shall explore those principles more thoroughly and not capitulate to the attitudes and assumptions of her present environment.  And of no aspect of the matter is this more true than of the relation of sex to the priesthood."
E.L. Mascall

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