Tuesday, 27 July 2010

A parting shot

Back again, if only briefly. Can blogging become a compulsion?
This ('Persons of Harlech') is the last word on the theological hands-across-the-ocean love affair between the revisionist leaders of the Church in Wales and TEC - Christopher Johnson's take on it in the MCJ. Trenchant and absolutely true. This is how he ends:
“The gift of Anglicanism has always been to hold in tension, to hold in the same house, people with radically different understandings, because there is value in that whole spectrum.

“There is something good and blessed about that range of positions that we miss, that we lack, when some range of the tradition departs.”
The key words there, of course, are “value” and “good and blessed.” Allow me to translate that into English for you: as long as your pledge checks clear, you can hold any stupid, bigoted opinion you want to since you no longer have the power to influence TEO in any way whatsoever. Hey, silver is silver even if it has a swastika on it."
And a final word from me. Traditionalists (of all kinds) are almost always portrayed in our present culture as buttoned-up, intolerant purveyors of unprovable and arrogant certainties. Yet in the modern Anglican (Christian?) culture wars we are the hestitant ones. We are those who shy away from certainties which tie the hands and chain the minds of future generations.
Anglicanism has fallen apart purely and simply because the post-enlightenment certainties of the liberals are set in stone (handed down to them by the implacable deities of modernity) and outweigh each and every other consideration - the authority of Holy Scripture, apostolic tradition, sacramental certainty (not that that one plays particularly well to the protestant "all-age family worship"  generation.)
All the 'issues' upon which traditionalists and Catholics are hesitant, and believe we simply do not have the authority to impose irrevocably upon the Church, are the matters about which liberals allow no doubt whatsoever and are even prepared to misrepresent the past in order to inflict upon us and upon our children's children.
Sorry -  who are the arrogant ones?

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Ave atque vale (if only for the summer)

The "dog days" (dies caniculares, which the ancient Romans associated with the period in which the dog star, Sirius, in the constellation Canis Major, rises and sets with the sun)  are about to begin.
Coinciding with the long hot days of summer, "the silly season," so called because of the lack of any real news - everyone is on holiday at this time of year - is already with us, if such stories as 'female Anglican priest "communicates" alsatian dog' or the recent ridiculous and quite meaningless Times poll (a representative sample of the unchurched?) on the inevitable ecclesiastical subject of the hour - at least for Anglicans, blinkered and insular lot that "we" are - are anything to go by.
And thanks to Ancient Briton for this. The last paragraph in the report about the love in between the equally revisionist Welsh and TEC  primates is remarkable only for the sheer exuberance of its hypocrisy!
So, earth-shattering news being the only exception, it's time to close down the blog for the summer; normal service will resume (I hope) at the beginning of September.
At this point it's hard to sum up my own state of mind about our present situation and what the future will hold for us. Of course, psychologically, if not yet in physical reality, we have been saying our goodbyes to our present spiritual home for a while now. I fully expect that process of disengagement and discernment to continue over the months ahead, encouraged by the clear victory of our revisionist opponents in this part of the Lord's vineyard and cheered by the prospect (however long it takes for each one of us) of a wider and more apostolic unity.
I hope everyone will have the opportunity to pause, pray, reflect and even relax in the sunshine over the next few weeks or so before the chill winds of autumn begin to blow once again.

This is Pope Benedict, surely one of the most accessible and human pontiffs of modern times, speaking about the Gospel at last Sunday's mass - sound, sane, spiritual advice as always.

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We are now in the heart of summer, at least in the northern hemisphere. This is the period in which schools are closed and the greater part of the holidays are concentrated. Even the pastoral activities in parishes are reduced and I myself have suspended the Audiences for a while.
It is therefore a favourable time to give priority to what is effectively most important in life, that is to say, listening to the word of the Lord. We are also reminded of this by this Sunday's Gospel passage with the well known episode of Jesus' visit to the house of Martha and Mary, recounted by St Luke (10: 38-42).
Martha and Mary are two sisters; they also have a brother, Lazarus, but he does not appear on this occasion. Jesus is passing through their village and, the text says, Martha received him at her home (cf. 10: 38).
This detail enables us to understand that Martha is the elder of the two, the one in charge of the house. Indeed, when Jesus has been made comfortable, Mary sits at his feet and listens to him while Martha is totally absorbed by her many tasks, certainly due to the special Guest.
We seem to see the scene: one sister bustling about busily and the other, as it were, enraptured by the presence of the Teacher and by his words. A little later Martha, who is evidently resentful, can no longer resist and complains, even feeling that she has a right to criticize Jesus: "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me". Martha would even like to teach the Teacher!
Jesus on the other hand answers her very calmly: "Martha, Martha", and the repetition of her name expresses his affection, "you are anxious and troubled about many things; only one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her" (10: 41-42).
Christ's words are quite clear: there is no contempt for active life, nor even less for generous hospitality; rather, a distinct reminder of the fact that the only really necessary thing is something else: listening to the word of the Lord; and the Lord is there at that moment, present in the Person of Jesus! All the rest will pass away and will be taken from us but the word of God is eternal and gives meaning to our daily actions.
Dear friends, as I said, this Gospel passage is more than ever in tune with the vacation period, because it recalls the fact that the human person must indeed work and be involved in domestic and professional occupations, but first and foremost needs God, who is the inner light of Love and Truth. Without love, even the most important activities lose their value and give no joy.
Without a profound meaning, all our activities are reduced to sterile and unorganised activism. And who, if not Jesus Christ, gives us Love and Truth? Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us learn to help each other, to collaborate, but first of all to choose together the better part which is and always will be our greatest good."

A couple of busy weeks ahead  in the parish and then the Vendee beckons!

I've always associated this piece of music with long, sunny summer holidays.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Freedom of speech & "thought crime"

A Cardiff City councillor is facing a local government ombudsman's enquiry and possible disciplinary action following a post on the Twitter network calling the Church of Scientology “stupid.”
Astonishingly, Wales’ public standards watchdog said John Dixon is likely to have breached the code of conduct for local authority members with his short message last year. It said:  “I didn’t know the Scientologists had a church on Tottenham Court Road. Just hurried past in case the stupid rubs off.”
"The Church of Scientology," made an official complaint after spotting the posting.
 As Wales Online says:
"The church, created by American science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard in the 1950s, has a reputation for being fiercely litigious and has been accused in the US courts of trying to use the legal system to destroy critics."

Many of us are deeply concerned about unfair and biased anti-religious comment in the media. We have seen over the last months extremely questionable material trying, for example, to link Pope Benedict personally with the crimes of those guilty of child abuse. But many of us are equally concerned about using the sledgehammer of the law to crack the nutshell of "unfair" comment, particularly when it amounts to reinforcing the new legal category of thought crime which has the capacity to undermine the entire basis of freedom of expression in a representative democracy.
There are adequate laws dealing with violence against the person (and conspiracy to commit such violence), there are also remedies against libel and slander, there is ample and effective legislation against racial hatred and discrimination. The discussion has never taken place in the wider society about the perceived need to extend almost ad infinitum that worryingly elastic category of "hate crime."
So when it comes to extending such unnecessary "protection" to organisations such as Scientology (and the modern secular state will, like it or not,  increasingly tend to treat all "religious" groups more or less on the same footing), I would prefer to take my chances as a Christian in free and unfettered debate on the basis that Catholic truth ultimately has a strange way of becoming evident, whatever the forces lined up against it.
Essentially, if you can't cope with being called 'stupid,' then the real problem is yours. Deal with it.
We all really need to grow up before 'social liberalism' infantilises and enslaves us all. And the worst form of slavery is that which imprisons the mind, the heart and the soul.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Pots and kettles

A busy Sunday in the parish, but the day began with one of those wildly funny modern Anglican moments which never fail to cheer me up. A discussion on the BBC's fairly dire early morning "Sunday" radio programme about the singing of  Blake's Jerusalem in church (of all the things to get worked up about - "the whole creation groaning........" )  culminated with Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark, accusing Bishop Stephen Platten of Wakefield of  promoting "a recipe for religious anarchy."
Presumably the Dean (the wielder of one of the biggest wooden spoons in the Church of England) is only in favour of religious anarchy when it relates to his own pet issues.
Priceless. Once again way beyond irony.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

BBC radio "Profile" of Bishop John Broadhurst

As advertised by Bishop Edwin Barnes a few days ago, the BBC Radio 4 profile of Bishop John Broadhurst was broadcast this evening. I thought it was fair, balanced and essentially very favourable and, despite the gruesome attempt at cod psychology by Ms Christina Rees, perhaps among the most sympathetic coverage we have received from the BBC - it had to happen sooner or later! Perhaps now the liberal takeover of our Church is complete we are perceived as being no longer a political or cultural threat - powerless enough to deserve a modicum of sympathy.
I did start to object to all of us being described in the broadcast as "dissident" priests - but since the cuckoo now reigns supreme in the Anglican nest, that's precisely what we are now. O tempora o mores!
Well worth a listen. There is as yet no "listen again" or podcast link.
Link is now up here
The programme is repeated tomorrow at 05.45 and at 17.40 (BST)

Our Lady on Saturday

Olivier Messiaen: Premiere communion de la Vierge from Vingts Regards sur l'Enfant Jesus

An interesting (and English) explanation of the origins of the Saturday commemoration of Our Lady from Christian Campbell at the Anglo-Catholic here 

Friday, 16 July 2010

The opening of the last movement of Mahler's 7th Symphony. Bernard Haitink & the Berlin Philharmonic.
Just because!

This last movement of Mahler's Seventh  has often been interpreted as a superficially optimistic ending to a symphony full of brooding mystery and nightmarish visions. This is to ignore the deliberate sarcasm and parody of much of the score which underlies the clearly overstated triumphalism; perhaps it's more a  defiant  gesture of ultimate hope in the future in the face of overwhelming odds. After the macabre visions of the night comes, in Mahler's own words, "the broad daylight" of the new morning.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Patience: mourning takes time.

A very carefully worded statement from the Bishop of Fulham, in his capacity as Chairman of Forward in Faithhere.
Many people are impatient with the various holding statements now being issued by Anglo-Catholics in England and beyond. 'If they haven't made their minds up yet about the impossibility of a future in the Church of England, then they never will,' seems to be the widespread reaction. But for those who might be tempted to be critical, we have all seen very differently expressed reactions from 'establishment' C. of E. diocesan bishops up and down the country, which only prove that after decades of debate and controversy they have little desire to understand either the theology or the sacramental needs of catholic-minded Anglicans. Some amount to barely disguised expressions of glee with a thin camouflage of crocodile tears.

As you know,  like a growing number of Anglo-Catholics, I don't think there is now, after the events of  the last week - long before that, really - any kind of Anglican future which will not very soon utterly compromise our Catholic beliefs. Yet, we shouldn't be completely dismissive of those who, like all of us, are on a  journey of faith, and whose loyalty to the Church of England (and Church in Wales) is part of their spiritual DNA. They need space to mourn the death of the Church they have loved and within which they have striven to serve the Lord as faithful, catholic clergy and laity all their lives. We know, too, from our own experience of life and of pastoral care that even when we know someone has been terminally ill for a long time, the fact of their death still comes to those closest to them as a tremendous and often crushing blow.
We do now have over the summer some time for prayer, reflection and study, and a chance over the next few months to consider and discuss together the realistic options (are there options in the plural?) before us. In the cold light of day, when the shock and pain of bereavement have subsided a little, the reality of our situation will become clearer and the way forward easier to discern. I hope.
"Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem"

A sense of disconnect

Looking around the 'liberal' Anglican websites, particularly Thinking Anglicans (I still think they have a nerve to call themselves that ) and WATCH ( see Ancient Briton's take on them here) and most particularly at the comments left on the various posts, I'm struck by the sheer deracinated nature of the 'liberal' ('radical,' perhaps even 'mainstream' now in our new and final reformation settlement) view of the Christian faith - disconnected, uprooted and owing virtually nothing to what has gone before.
In comparison, the founders of the latitudinarian tradition in Anglicanism (even Tillotson) could seek immediate admittance to the Ordinariates (maybe that's stretching a point). Of course, they were largely Platonists, not like today's revisionists with their strange concoction of philosophies ranging from the frankly gnostic, and what sometimes reads like a compendium of patristic era heresies, to a kind of post-marxist, politically feminist, sub-Derrida deconstructionism, taking in virtually every 'Enlightenment' and post-Enlightenment opinion on the way. It's very hard at times even to trace the link between some of these attitudes and those of historic Christianity.
I suppose because of this our reaction should be one of prayer and profound sympathy to those who have been so deceived, an attitude conspicuously lacking in the sheer ruthlessness of their response to us.
But that no longer matters in a "democratic" synodical structure, something which increasingly seems incompatible with the nature of a true Christian Communion.
Never mind the theological 'debate.'  It never mattered. They had the votes. We didn't.
It's time to turn our minds to another process: that of shaking the dust from our feet and moving on.

Saint Swithin's Day

                     The site of St Swithin's Shrine in Winchester Cathedral

Here's something for the meteorologically superstitious.
I know most of us will be celebrating St Bonaventure in the liturgy today, but this is also traditionally, in England,  the feast day of St Swithin, the ninth century bishop of Winchester. This is from the 'Golden Legend' (online here) :

"by his holy living he caused the people to live virtuously, and to pay their tithes to God and holy church. And if any church fell down, or was in decay, Saint Swithin would anon amend it at his own cost. Or if any church were not hallowed, he would go thither afoot and hallow it. For he loved no pride, ne to ride on gay horses, ne to be praised ne flattered of the people, which in these days such things be used over much."
St Swithin died on 2 July 862, but on 15th  July 971 his remains were exhumed and moved to a shrine inside the cathedral. St Swithin's feast day is, then, the date, not of his death but of the transfer of his remains.
All kinds of miraculous cures were associated with the event; but popular legend says that at the time of his body's removal there was a great thunderstorm and it rained heavily for forty days and forty nights.
This gave rise to the following piece of traditional weather lore:

 St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain
Full forty days, it will remain
St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair
For forty days, t’will rain no more.

But according to the British Meteorological Office (spoilsports!),  there is little substance in the rhyme's assertion. I suppose British pessimism about our weather just makes it feel like that.
But happy St Swithin's day! It's raining, of course (or does it just have to rain in Winchester for the rhyme to come true?) - this is a British July after all.
Despite the Met Office, I'll keep an umbrella handy for the rest of the summer.

It's things like this that make the difference

Soviet tanks on the streets in Prague August 1968

Last week, listening to the radio in the car (again) between parishes, I was struck by the kind of things people regard as formative influences on their younger selves. Suzanne Vega, the pop singer (and, I suppose, a near contemporary) was speaking about the radicalising effect of the student revolts and anti-Vietnam War protests of 1968 - all very standard affluent western leftish fare, I suppose, even for someone who would have been about nine at the time.
And then I got to thinking about an experience of my own. It was again 1968, my last year at primary school. My parents had given me a transistor radio the Christmas before to replace the old crackly and superannuated wireless set I had in my bedroom, and I  became addicted to listening (through the new headphones so as not to wake up the household) to the news at all hours of the night.
I remember the first chilling reports coming through of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in the August of 1968, the tanks in the streets of Prague, the arrest of Dubcek  and the brutal snuffing out of the 'Prague Spring' and of "socialism with a human face," a development my rather odd and precocious ten-year-old self had been following avidly.
It's curious how western governments and the various elected democratic establishments became the propaganda "bad guys" of 1968, while a determinedly blind eye was turned in the direction of the true Marxist reality of tanks on the streets and the crushing of dissent. These things stay with you: it's radicalisation of another kind - "1968" with a difference, and probably the reason I never wanted to wear a Che Guevara 'T' shirt or, even now, to sign up to the various smug 'progressive' agendas currently doing the rounds in both Church and State. The Berlin Wall eventually fell and the Warsaw Pact simply dissolved into nothingness but not before "cultural Marxism" - the bastard child of 1968 - conquered the west, and now we are reaping the whirlwind.
We are told, ad nauseam, stories about the Woodstock generation, the peace movement, the student riots in Paris. But what I remember most about that year is hearing about the tanks in the streets of Prague. So, in a way I'm a child of '68 too - just not their '68.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

It would be unkind to reference Mr Micawber....

This is the latest statement from the Catholic Group in the Church of England's General Synod:

"The Catholic Group in General Synod is encouraged by the remarks of the Archbishop of Canterbury that there is still ‘unfinished business’ and that ‘the Church is only part of the way through the process’ of determining the way forward for women bishops legislation.

The Group was, however, disappointed that there was a lack of support for financial hardship where clergy feel by conscience that they need to resign from the Church of England. The onus now is on the Church of England to provide for its clergy to remain within the Church for which we have always fought as loyal Anglicans.
We remain committed to both the process and our Church, and would wish to play a major part in helping the Church in its ongoing journey in a spirit of unity that is Christ’s way."
I hope they are right for the sake of the Church of England itself, and for all of us whose provincial synodical agendas will now reflect the decision taken in York.
However, there has to be considerable doubt over the ability (rather than the willingness - no one questions that) of the Archbishop of Canterbury to resolve the "unfinished business" in any way which is satisfactory to traditionalists. Does he now have the necessary influence?
I suspect not - until he puts his job on the line - and that's always a high risk strategy, and there will be plenty of people telling him not to do that. In any case, why should he? No one has a right to suggest it, least of all expect it. As one of the founders of Affirming Catholicism, Dr Williams is by no means a traditionalist and he completely shares the view of the majority on the necessity to ordain women to the episcopate, while, I suspect, at the same time looking with abhorrence on the prospect of a Church which has expelled its traditional Catholic element during his time as Archbishop. That's a cruel dilemma to be in , but nevertheless, on balance, perhaps preferable to being consistently lied to, losing one's occupation, the roof over one's head and a spiritual home without even the offer of any kind of compensation. It may not be particularly charitable or gentlemanly of me to say so, but my sympathy is somewhat limited under the circumstances.
So - we'll see.
It would, then, be a little unkind to end with this passage from David Copperfield:

“I am most delighted to hear it,” said Mr. Micawber. “It was at Canterbury where we last met. Within the shadow, I may figuratively say, of that religious edifice, immortalized by Chaucer, which was anciently the resort of pilgrims from the remotest corners of—in short,” said Mr. Micawber, “in the immediate neighbourhood of the Cathedral.” 
I replied that it was. Mr. Micawber continued talking as volubly as he could; but not, I thought, without showing, by some marks of concern in his countenance, that he was sensible of sounds in the next room, as of Mrs. Micawber washing her hands, and hurriedly opening and shutting drawers that were uneasy in their action. 
“You find us, Copperfield,” said Mr. Micawber, with one eye on Traddles, “at present established, on what may be designated as a small and unassuming scale; but, you are aware that I have, in the course of my career, surmounted difficulties, and conquered obstacles. You are no stranger to the fact, that there have been periods of my life, when it has been requisite that I should pause, until certain expected events should turn up; when it has been necessary that I should fall back, before making what I trust I shall not be accused of presumption in terming—a spring. The present is one of those momentous stages in the life of man. You find me, fallen back, for a spring; and I have every reason to believe that a vigorous leap will shortly be the result.............
....................I am, however, delighted to add that I have now an immediate prospect of something turning up (I am not at liberty to say in what direction)......... "

Brave New World?

Isn't it part of the story of Huxley's 'Brave New World ' (I've not read it since I was a teenager, so please correct me if I'm wrong; I may be thinking of another novel altogether)  that the authorities supply the populace with a drug which prevents them from recognising the reality of their situation?
Is it just me or do official Anglican pronouncements (episcopal or otherwise) increasingly have the same flavour....?
Bur compare and contrast:
Here is a report from The Catholic Herald. Nature abhors a vacuum - if "our own" authorities refuse generosity or Christian charity......
This is from the end of the article:
"Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham met about 70 Anglican clerics at Holy Cross priory in Leicester to discuss the possibility of an English Ordinariate.

He told the Sunday programme that he discussed “the details of the Apostolic Constitution and the complementary norms which were published last November”.
He said he was answering Pope Benedict XVI’s request to the English bishops “to offer warmth and a welcome and to facilitate their questions and their general direction, their impulse, if you like, to come into the Catholic Church”.
He said the main concerns at the meeting were “practical … about property, wages and how they would live and so on. What came through more than anything was their genuine desire to do what God has called them to do”.
To return to Huxley's quotation from The Tempest:
"How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in't!"

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

I'm sorry to be so critical, but this seems to be the Bishop of London's take on the General Synod vote. Disappointing.
"General Synod – What actually happened?

Dear Friends,

Most of us get information about what is happening in the rest of the church beyond our own patch from the mass media. Understandably in a fierce ratings war and in the struggle to get religious news of any kind reported there is tendency to hype and dramatise and to give undue prominence to extreme voices.
Almost every week we are told that that the Church of England faces “the greatest crisis since the reformation” and “that a split is imminent”.
Actually the weather at the 2010 General Synod in York was much more temperate than in July 2009. I was very proud of the way in which your representatives from the London Diocese, speaking from different viewpoints, made a constructive contribution to many of the debates. The Bishop of Willesden in particular
with his characteristic candour shone a bright light on the complex business before us.
The outcome is that the measure to permit women to be consecrated to the episcopate has been remitted for consideration in the Dioceses. This process will take about eighteen months before the matter returns to the General Synod.
There is no doubt that a substantial majority in the Synod and in the Church is strongly in favour of this change and for many, the Synod’s decision will be a cause for heartfelt rejoicing. It was also significant that only a very few of those opposed to this measure sought to delay the process. There is a general
feeling that it is urgent to conclude a debate which can appear somewhat introverted when our real focus must be on our unity in mission and in service to a country facing turbulent times.
In consequence much of the discussion was about how to secure an honoured place for those who cannot accept such a decision as one authorised by scripture and tradition and who believe that it will erect new obstacles in our relations with other parts of the “one, holy catholic and apostolic church” to which we claim
to belong.
It is emphatically not true to say that the measure as it stands contains no provisions for those who hold such a view. Attempts during the two days of debate to amend the draft measure to remove any arrangements to assist those who adhere to the present practice of the Church were decisively rebuffed.
The draft as it stands offers a “statutory code of practice” to protect the position of those opposed to this development. The question which occupied much of our time was – “Is it enough?”
There was clearly an anxiety in some parts of the Synod that given the sense among a number of supporters of the proposal to ordain women as bishops that this was a gospel and justice matter, “a code of practice” would not be strong enough to ensure respect for the minority who on theological and biblical grounds continued to resist the change.
It is a complex question particularly given the fact that the contents of such a code have not been worked out. At the same time a number of words which have been used in the debate thus far, such as “delegation” and “transfer” have become freighted with negative connotations.
The Archbishops attempted to clear a way through the impasse by introducing the concept of “co-ordinate jurisdiction”. The contents of such a “co-ordinariate” would also have to be settled by reference to the, as yet undrafted, code of practice. Although I voted for the amendment, it is unsurprising that there was a good deal of confusion about what such a concept might mean in practice.
The Archbishops’ proposal failed to secure a majority in the House of Clergy although it passed the Bishops and the Laity. The important point is that valiant attempts are being made to open the way for women to be consecrated bishops without excluding from the church those who adhere to the present position and who share the faith which inspires our mission......
         The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard Chartres KCVO DD FSA"

To sum up his argument, here's Ethel Merman

Thanks to a correspondent for the following official link.
It wasn't an outrageous parody, then

Another update:
This is TitusOneNine's report here
See the first comment for a wickedly funny (and completely accurate) commentary on Dr Chartres' letter.


It's very sad indeed in this week of crushing news to read of the demise of Fr Trevor Jones' blog at St Peter's London Docks - one of the very first of the Anglo-Catholic blogs,  always informative and prayerful and never taking the easy or conventional option in the debates raging around us. Yet I do agree with him that there is something faintly disasteful about living out one's future personal tragedies and spiritual struggles online and in the full glare of publicity.
But for the time being at least, I'm not going to follow his example; someone has to turn the lights out when everyone else has left the building.

Well, that didn't take long!"

That has to be a record - see Sunday's post predicting the 'eventual' removal of exemptions from 'equality' legislation. Even I didn't expect a call for this to come quite so soon.
Ruth "comment is not free" Gledhill, has this report. It will cost you a £1 to view it, but here is her summary.

"Robert Key, the General Synod member and former Conservative MP, speaks exclusively to The Times about women bishops and why he believes strongly that any legislation that makes women 'less than' men or that attempts to guarantee the Church of England exemption from the 2010 Equality Act should not and probably will not get through Parliament's Ecclesiastical Committe, or the Lords and Commons"
But if you don't want to hand your money to Mr Murdoch it will spare you the sight of the egregious Mr Key and his own 'Arnoldian' brand of State Religion, presumably believing in the Father, the Son and the Zeitgeist, although the first two will be increasingly optional - for that see John Richardson's comments here on the theology of WATCH.

As we slowly make our way to the exit, let's do so calmly, in an orderly way and, above all, together.
'Sauve qui peut' is not a particularly Christian reaction to any defeat, much less to a crisis of this magnitude.

The Bishop of Ebbsfleet's pastoral letter for August, a sober and clear reflection on the situation in which we find ourselves, can be found here. This is required reading. And for those of us in Wales he is, after all, our geographically nearest 'orthodox' bishop. I seem to remember something in the early history of the Church about that.......
"For now, the prescription is for some serious summer rest and to get some praying and thinking done"
Some seriously good advice.

Not even dumbed down, just willfully perverse...

I can't believe I just heard a BBC newsreader invent the word "ordainment" in a report on the C of E's General Synod decision on women bishops! It was the midnight news, but even so...... perhaps it should catch on,  because I don't think it actually will be ordination....
I had similar thoughts about last Thursday's afternoon play, 'Gerontius' (listen to it here for another two days) supposedly inspired by the impending beatification of John Henry Newman, but predictably and almost exclusively occupied with Newman's friendship with Ambrose St John.  Despite a distinguished cast, it somehow failed to convince; even with the frequent use of his own words, it just wasn't the Newman we know so well from his writings or from his biographers. Sex, or even - as here - the complete absence of it, is a desperately restricting twenty-first century preoccupation, whatever one's 'orientation.'
I really wish contemporary writers and the media itself could be a little less conventional in their responses to the past. They seem to think the Victorians were exactly like us but only in fancy dress. Repeat after me - for as long as it takes: "The past is another country, they do things differently there." In this context I actually agree with that rather notorious sentence of L.P. Hartley.

Monday, 12 July 2010

No cause for satisfaction

This post was published on the Anglo-Catholic blog earlier today

Whatever our views may be on the subject of the Ordinariates, and my own convinced view is that they are the only future for those Anglicans who are the natural successors of the Oxford Movement, we should not portray the recent decision of the Church of England as anything other than a serious reversal for the cause of Christian orthodoxy everywhere. Whatever one might think of Anglicanism, (and those of us who were brought up within its structures, yet professing the Catholic faith of the undivided Church, have at best an ambivalent relationship with it)  its wholesale and irreversible defection to the cause of revisionist liberal Protestantism can only harm the cause of orthodoxy wherever it might be found.
So this is Newman's prediction come true in our time and on our watch:
"In no other sense surely; the Church of England has been the instrument of Providence in conferring great benefits on me;—had I been born in Dissent, perhaps I should never have been baptized; had I been born an English Presbyterian, perhaps I should never have known our Lord's divinity; had I not come to Oxford, perhaps I never should have heard of the visible Church, or of Tradition, or other Catholic doctrines. And as I have received so much good from the Anglican Establishment itself, can I have the heart or rather the want of charity, considering that it does for so many others, what it has done for me, to wish to see it overthrown? I have no such wish while it is what it is, and while we are so small a body. Not for its own sake, but for the sake of the many congregations to which it ministers, I will do nothing against it. While Catholics are so weak in England, it is doing our work; and, though it does us harm in a measure, at present the balance is in our favour. What our duty would be at another time and in other circumstances, supposing, for instance, the Establishment lost its dogmatic faith, or at least did not preach it, is another matter altogether. In secular history we read of hostile nations having long truces, and renewing them from time to time, and that seems to be the position which the Catholic Church may fairly take up at present in relation to the Anglican Establishment.
Doubtless the National Church has hitherto been a serviceable breakwater against doctrinal errors, more fundamental than its own. How long this will last in the years now before us, it is impossible to say, for the Nation drags down its Church to its own level......"
What I am saying is that now the Church of England is rapidly losing this role as "a serviceable breakwater," the task of orthodox Christian apologetics becomes more urgent, not less, because we are engaged in a battle against heresy which will inevitably follow us wherever our final ecclesial destination may be. The victory of liberalism in the Church of England can only give encouragement to its supporters elsewhere.
Perhaps I'm an incurable romantic, but I don't believe this defeat was inevitable. If over the last fifty or sixty  years Anglican Catholics had been better organised, better and more consistently led, and less easily convinced of both our own success and of our opponents' sense of  honour, and all of us less enamoured  of the spirit of the age, things could have turned out very differently. What has now happened is in no sense whatsoever a victory and it should not give us cause for any kind of satisfaction, much less rejoicing.

But this is Newman again, once more from the Apologia, summing up what many of us are - with infinite regret - now feeling:
"...and, unwilling as I am to give offence to religious Anglicans, I am bound to confess that I felt a great change in my view of the Church of England. I cannot tell how soon there came on me,—but very soon,—an extreme astonishment that I had ever imagined it to be a portion of the Catholic Church. For the first time, I looked at it from without, and (as I should myself say) saw it as it was. Forthwith I could not get myself to see in it any thing else, than what I had so long fearfully suspected, from as far back as 1836,—a mere national institution."

Reactions to the C of E's decision

This is the latest statement from Forward in Faith:
"The draft Measure to permit the ordination of women as bishops, approved today by the General Synod and sent for discussion and approval by Diocesan Synods, contains nothing which can satisfy the legitimate needs of members of Forward in Faith.
Now, though, is not the time for precipitate action. There will be ample opportunity for priests to take counsel together at the Sacred Synods called by the Catholic Bishops in each province in September, and for Forward in Faith to take stock at the National Assembly in October."
And this brief comment from the Bishop of Ebbsfleet:

"In the meantime, be tranquil and say your prayers: God is working his purpose out."
And some thoughtful comment here and here, from Roman Catholic and Anglo-Catholic sources.
I've just heard that my colleague, Fr Mark, will be taking part in a discussion on the BBC's 'Good Morning Wales' radio programme tomorrow morning. Tell it how it is, Father!

This is (sort of) appropriate. O. K. it's not high culture - or perhaps 'culture' at all, but I like it, even if it does show my age.

A question of trust?

This is prompted by a discussion on yesterday's Sunday programme on BBC Radio 4 between Prebendary David Houlding and Canon Celia Thomson. Link here (about 37 minutes in)  The interviewer, Trevor Barnes, put the question to Canon Thomson as to whether the mere code of practice which the Church of England has now opted for could not just be guaranteed "out of the goodness of your hearts."
It's never a good idea to begin a Sunday morning with so much cynically hollow laughter.
Canon Thomson's reply wasn't one to reassure anyone with doubts about the new feminised ordained ministry of contemporary Anglicanism:
" We have been gracious, us (sic) ordained women, for the last twenty three years. There is no reason to suppose we would stop being gracious to those who oppose our ministry.

And the experience of other parts of the Anglican communion having women bishops has shown that there have been some very fruitful and constructive relationships in the way that those women bishops deal with parishes and priests opposing their episcopal ministry."
But there is every reason to do so. Firstly, the (deliberate) portrayal of those who hold to traditional faith and order as being somehow "opposed to the ministry of women" (rather than simply believing that our part of the Church doesn't have the authority to sanction changes to apostolic order - and that's a vital distinction) doesn't exactly augur well for any future relationships guaranteed out of the goodness of the new establishment's heart.
And secondly, her appeal to other parts of the Anglican Communion where women have been ordained to the episcopate also doesn't ring true. What of the experience of traditionalists in the the USA and  Canada to name the two obvious examples? The coming into existence of the ACNA didn't occur as a result of mutual respect and trust, but because of a deliberate and ruthless policy of marginalisation and exclusion by liberal revisionists of traditional Anglicans, whether anglo-catholic or evangelical. Try speaking to them about "graciousness" or the "goodness of heart" of their opponents.
So the onus is very much on those who ask us to trust them to explain exactly why things would be different here, and why they are so afraid of giving a legislated structural basis for such trust. Structures are a guarantee of good behaviour and provide for appeal and redress where that good behaviour is lacking. Yet structures are the very things our opponents are determined not to grant. Why would this be I wonder? Even given liberal elasticity about the existence and meaning of post-baptismal sin, they cannot be so naive as to believe that a Christian community has no such need of checks and balances to protect the vulnerable against the powerful. So the question remains.....

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Toleration? You think so?

If I'm going to make a prediction in the light of yesterday's General Synod vote - always a risky business but here goes anyway - then I fully expect in a few years time when the newly minted women bishops are settled firmly on  their episcopal thrones (or in reality in the western Anglican set up these days, around their committtee tables)  any legal exemptions under equality legislation currently applying to Anglican bodies in the U.K. will,  at the request of the Church itself, be quietly dropped.
We have seen the future in the U.S. and in Sweden, and only by the kind of linguistic gymnastics which would make Dr Goebbels blush could it be described as "inclusive" or "consonant with the Christian tradition."
We know too that the "rights" agenda is indivisible; the essentialy secular philosophy (or secularised theology, take your pick) which has lead to the ordination of women will then inevitably, by its own internal logic, have to include the gay and "transgendered." - introduced little by little, of course,  so as not to frighten too many parochial horses.
As the late Fr Richard John Neuhaus said, "Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed."  That is clearly now for us only a matter of time. Five years, ten at the very most ?

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Now it really is decision time for all of us

The BBC Radio 4 news has just announced that the Church of England's General Synod has "narrowly rejected" the Archbishops' proposals.
It's not really a surprise, given the ugly mood of past synodical debates on this issue, but it does now call into serious question the ability of both Archbishops to lead their Church. It always has been a persuasive authority but they have clearly, if "narrowly," failed to persuade.
More when further details emerge; this is the Press Association report.

Friday, 9 July 2010

An important interview

Thanks to the Saint Barnabas Blog for this link to a significant series of interviews with Bishop Lindsay Urwin OGS, Administrator of the Anglican Shrine at Walsingham. This is the third interview posted on You Tube, where Bishop Lindsay speaks frankly about the nature of doctrinal reception, particularly relating to the ordination of women  and about the nature of episcopal care.
What he says will have resonance for all of us. This interview deals specifically with the proposals before the Church of England's General Synod this weekend, but in many ways it describes very accurately and sympathetically the situation which has been imposed upon us in Wales for nearly two years - only here it's even worse: traditional Anglicans  have no additional, alternative or extended episcopal care whatsoever.
There are three videos: watch them all

Thursday, 8 July 2010

A prayer for the General Synod of the Church of England

The Church of England's General Synod meets this weekend in York.
The decisions it will make, particularly on the subject of  the ordination of women as bishops in the provinces of Canterbury and York, will affect us all for good or ill.
Please remember all members of Synod in your prayers over the next few days.

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years!

So long thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I Have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Slow news day - clearly!

I couldn't help noticing once again the astonishing physical resemblance between Elton John, pop singer and modern 'cultural' icon, and the Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, one of the founders of Affirming Catholicism and currently Dean of St Albans but now being tipped for a triumphal return to the South Bank, and who, presumably, if his Magdalen days are anything to go by, is into icons of a rather different kind.

Dr Jeffrey John

Reg Dwight

Just a coincidence, of course, unless, like Reg, the Dean's real surname is Dwight.
But both  would obviously feel theologically at home in New York's (Episcopal) Cathedral of St John the Divine - birthday bash, something more liturgical, whatever turns you on really...... de gustibus non est disputandum.

Patron Saints

The parish here (and the village itself ) has a patron saint whose origins are largely lost in the mists of Celtic antiquity and Reformation discontinuity and iconoclasm. Who was (is!) St Arvan has been the subject of quite a few homilies here over the years by both visiting and resident clergy. This is the nearest we can get to an answer.
But this is our Patronal Festival Week. A few years ago, there not being a feast day assigned to our own particular celtic hermit, we decided upon the nearest Sunday to July 12th. Some might think that this is, perhaps, do-it-yourself patrimony of a rather dubious nature, although I prefer to think of it as at least an honest attempt to recover something of what has been lost.
But rightly,  it was thought very important to honour someone the memory of whose holiness of life lives on even when the detail of his life has been largely forgotten.

In choosing this particular week we were motivated not only by the likely prospect of good weather and  the desire to find a date before the beginning of the long British school holidays, but also by the proximity of the Feast of St Benedict, whose communities (in the Cistercian reform) had such an influence on the history of our local area. The parish itself before the mid-sixteenth century was run by the local Augustinian priory in nearby Chepstow.
Our Festival Mass is on Sunday, followed by the parish barbecue, and the local male voice choir is singing in church on Friday evening, but we began our celebrations with a more "secular" event (although the middle ages knew no such distinction), a very well-attended concert given by Kathryn Price and Charles Matthews (see an earlier post!) and joined for the second part of the programme by jazz bass player David Ayres and  percussionist Robin Payne.
It's not processions through the streets and wild public rejoicing, but it's a start!
St Arvan pray for us

I'm still having problems from time to time in viewing & posting comments on the blog. So, if you have commented on anything  & it hasn't been displayed, it's nothing personal, just the gremlins again!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Happy Independence day!

To all those in the United States, Happy Independence Day!
I can do no better than quote St David: "Be joyful, keep the faith!"

And a friendly warning ( because our respective cultures have so much in common) in the (admittedly very much of their time) words of Rudyard Kipling, thought to be the English poet-apologist of Empire, but in fact far more complex than that.
His prophetic words, I suspect, were not taken to heart by our own leaders when (historically not that long ago) Great Britain was the global superpower:

Recessional (written in 1897 on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee)

God of our fathers, known of old--
Lord of our far-flung battle line
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe--
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or lesser breeds without the law--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard--
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard--
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

Just turn the heat up little by little.....


In the light of today's news,  this seems to be a fairly accurate portrayal of the present situation of all doctrinally conservative Anglicans.
You know, I'm sure it's getting warmer in here!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Does not care?

T.E. Lawrence, "Lawrence of Arabia," that fascinatingly complex and elusive character, (described by George Orwell in the 1930s as the nearest thing Britain had to 'a right-wing intellectual') carved over the front door of the cottage in which he lived at  Clouds Hill near Wareham, this Greek inscription, OU ØPOVTIS - from  Herodotus, translated either as "does not care" or, even,  "why worry?"
I'm beginning to understand what he might have meant, although 'does not care' and 'cares too much' are, paradoxically, not emotionally that far apart.
The attitude of detachment it implies seems sometimes infinitely more in line with the Gospels than (to our eyes at least) the rather smug words which R.S. Hawker (actually not such a smug man - credited with the  invention of the "harvest festival," but much more interesting than that fact alone implies) had carved over the front door of his Vicarage at Morwenstow:
" A house, a glebe, a pound a day, A pleasant place to watch and pray. Be true to Church, be kind to poor, Minister for evermore ! "
For the present, I'll go with OU ØPOVTIS
What would you put over your door?

"I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing."
T.S. Eliot:  'East Coker'

Alain: Le Jardin Suspendu

Friday, 2 July 2010

Just because it barks like a dog......

A press release from the Society of Catholic Priests and Affirming Catholicism. (Acknowledgement to 'Thinking Anglicans')
This really is the elevation of wishful thinking to the status of ideology.
The current debate about the implications of the offer made by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to make provision for Anglicans who wish to join the Roman Catholic Church ignores one important fact. The majority of catholics within the church are in favour of women’s ministry and wish to remain loyal to the Anglican tradition within the Anglican Communion.
The Society of Catholic Priests, which has over 500 members in this country and is about to establish chapters in the American Episcopal Church and in Australia, and Affirming Catholicism which draws together clergy and laity in this country and throughout the Anglican Communion, are committed to the catholic nature and teaching of the Church of England. We are actively working to see women ordained to the episcopate and hold that this is entirely consistent with the teaching of the church and the historic nature of our orders. We are also convinced that the issues of human sexuality should not be ones that divide the church.
To suggest that the departure from the Church of England of those who hold more conservative views will remove the catholic wing and tradition from the church is entirely wrong. Churches and parishes which have a catholic tradition and are served by priests, both male and female, are growing and flourishing and look forward to the future with enthusiasm.
We welcome the offer made by the Pope to those of our brothers and sisters who no longer feel that the Anglican Communion is their spiritual home. We hope that this will not impede swift progress in the Church of England towards the ordination of the first women bishops in this land."
It's really nice to hear from our erstwhile friends now in the AffCaff movement. It's good, too, to see them being - in their generous expressions of sympathy, uncomplicated by practical applications of understanding - so magnanimous in victory. Yet it's amazing how so many of them "saw the light" regarding women's ordination and related 'issues' just about the time the decisive votes in our respective synods took place. And this change of heart had nothing to do with the dangled prospect of red piping or pointy hats, of course; how could I be so bitterly cynical and uncharitable (as some will judge it) in even raising the possibility?

But, the realities of fallen human nature notwithstanding, it's crucially important to make an attempt to discern the 'signs of the times' correctly rather than just work out which way the Anglican ecclesiastical wind is blowing. I concede there may be an honest difference of opinion over that; only please don't try to justify it with the addition of clearly invented or at best highly ambiguous 'historical evidence', and obvious culturally determined innovation dressed up as legitimate development. It's precisely here that we submit our individual and partial views to that of the consensus of the ages, and the settled mind of the Catholic Church. And that
is the real problem with much of the 'Affirming Catholic' position: the sheer cirularity of its analysis. It redefines 'catholicism' purely in terms of an insular, blinkered, contemporary 'North-Atlantic' Anglicanism in thrall to the secular zeitgeist, and not by the application of any external theological, historical or ecclesiological criteria It is a radicalised version of that strange and self-serving theological chimera from the early twentieth century of "Northern Catholicism', only writ large, and, as such, is a clear departure from any previous Anglican attempts at self-understanding. It is a runaway, a-historical and secularised vehicle without any brakes. It ends, inevitably and sadly, simply as liberalism with a dressing-up box.
"Not all Catholics are traditionalists."
In modern Anglicanism, I'm afraid not all 'Catholics' are Catholic.

Here's a traditional folk song - 'Anglican patrimony' of a different kind.

"For it is not an open enemy, that hath done me this dishonour:
for then I could have borne it.

Neither was it mine adversary, that did magnify himself against me:
for then peradventure I would have hid myself from him.
But it was even thou, my companion:
my guide, and mine own familiar friend.
We took sweet counsel together:
and walked in the house of God as friends."

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Away with the Piskies?

Some celtic craziness from tomorrow's Church of England Newspaper - report by George Conger
"THE DEAN of Glasgow has called upon alumni of St Andrews University to protest the appointment of the Bishop of Durham, Dr NT Wright, as Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity by withholding financial support from the Scottish University.
Appointed Bishop of Durham in 2003, on April 27, 2010 Dr Wright announced he would retire on Aug 31 to take up the academic post at St Andrews.
Writing on his website, the Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, said he was “ashamed of St Andrews University” for appointing Dr Wright.
“It is hard to think of a more divisive figure to appoint. I don’t think it is to the credit of a modern university to appoint staff with such ghastly antigay views,” said Mr Holdsworth, a leading gay clergyman and activist in the Scottish Episcopal Church.
He stated the university regularly solicited funds, but the “answer from now on could not be clearer.
No extra funding for a university that appoints antigay figures to prominent positions. I hope other alumni will keep their hands firmly in their pockets and when the call comes for money, just say no.”
The Scottish Episcopal Church needed to be an institution “which does not do active harm to others.”
Bishop Wright’s statement that he would “discipline any members of the clergy in his diocese who entered into a partnership puts him firmly in the category of those who would harm others,” Mr Holdsworth said.
A spokesman for St Andrews University told the Scotsman the charges proffered by the dean were “unsubstantiated and unfair and Bishop Wright is fully supportive of, and committed to, our policies on preventing discrimination.
“Like every committed believer, whether they are Presbyterian, Roman Catholic or Muslim, Tom Wright, as an Anglican, will inevitably be associated with the official views identified with his religious affiliation.
“If we were to exclude all such people then universities would become highly exclusive – when they ought to be the one place where differing views can be freely held, expressed and challenged,” the university spokesman said.
Dr Wright is presently on retreat, a diocesan spokesman said, and unavailable for comment."
Most people would think the Scottish Episcopal Church (former proprietor Richard Holloway) is remarkably fortunate to have such a distinguished biblical scholar as Dr Wright in its midst. What are the chances, though, of his preaching in Glasgow's St Mary's Episcopal cathedral? Or, indeed, wanting to?
As for the university funding issue, just how big is the Scottish Episcopal Church these days? Like our own dear province of the Anglican Communion, somewhat slimmed down, I suspect, numerically as well as theologically and in terms of its wider influence in society.
More and more, I'm of the opinion that churchmen who make statements like that of the Provost of Glasgow (can this really be true?) are actually clinically insane, only not as insane as those responsible for appointing them to positions of such authority and influence in the first place. Ecclesiastical 'liberals' and freedom of thought and expression? Don't make me laugh.
Thanks to the CEN for that little glimpse of the future.

C.of E.: Archbishops' Amendments and first reactions

The Archbishops' draft amendments (published today but announced earlier)


Draft amendments to omit reference to delegation

Co-ordinate Jurisdiction

Clause 2
1. In subsection (1) leave out the words "way of delegation to".
2. After subsection (1) insert –
"(2) The episcopal ministry referred to in subsections (1), (3) and (5) shall be exercisable by virtue of this section and shall not divest the bishop of the diocese of any of his or her functions.

Clause 5
In section 5(1)(b), at the end, insert the words "and, in particular, arrangements for co-ordinating the exercise of episcopal ministry under section 2(1), (3) and (5) by the bishop of the diocese and any other bishop who exercises episcopal ministry in accordance with those subsections".

+Rowan Cantuar +Sentamu Ebor

Here are a few reactions:


We welcome the publication of these amendments by the Archbishops and recognise that they may provide a framework for a way forward for the Church of England.
Their availability in advance of General Synod next week will enable all Members of the Synod to evaluate, consult, reflect and prayerfully consider the implications of the amendments.
There are a number of areas of uncertainty, including the need for all bishops to be real leaders in mission and ministry. It is also vital that we are able to hold a principled theological position, looking to the faith and order of the undivided Church.
We are grateful for the recognition of the need for bishops with jurisdiction in their own right to minister to all those faithful Anglicans who in conscience cannot accept the ministry of women priests and bishops.
We look forward with interest to the debates on these and other amendments which seek to provide a way forward for the Church of England."
And earlier reaction from F i.F  &  FCA

"Forward in Faith warmly welcomes today’s Statement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and now looks forward with great interest to seeing the precise texts of the amendments to the Draft Measure which they will propose to the General Synod next month."
(FIF - 21st June)

"We welcome your intervention in the run up to the General Synod debate on the Women Bishops' measure and its helpful recognition of the need to address the issue of jurisdiction by means of a 'nominated bishop' arrangement. This certainly represents a significant improvement on the current draft of the measure but there are some aspects which are unclear to us. To secure the honoured future of those who in conscience cannot accept the ministry of women bishops, there will need to be further elaboration as to their powers of ordination, appointment and licensing. There also needs to be further elaboration on how consistency between the dioceses will be achieved. A scheme that derives authority from the whole church should have arrangements also provided by the church as a whole. As you will be aware there is much interest amongst us in the concept of a mission society. We are continuing to explore this concept which, if carefully crafted, will provide the necessary fellowship for the bishops, clergy and people so affected, would give much of what is necessary in a clearly Church of England framework, and provide a strong impetus for mission." (The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans - 24th June)