Monday, 10 December 2012

Smoke and Mirrors? Let's hope not...

The following letter was published on December 7th in The Western Mail [here]
"Women’s ordination
SIR – The recent decision of the General Synod of the Church of England not to proceed with the measure to allow the ordination of women has focused attention on the same process in Wales.
We need to see that there are two issues at stake in the debates ahead: one is whether women can or should be made bishops; the other is what provision should be made for those who in conscience cannot accept this move.
It is clear that the failure to proceed in the Church of England was caused by the failure to make proper provision. Many of those who voted against were in favour of the principle but saw that there was no fair treatment of traditionalists.
A recent survey of church people in Wales showed that more than two thirds (70%) consider that those opposed to the ordination of female bishops are faithful Anglicans who should not be forced out of the Church in Wales or should be enable to stay in the Church in Wales by some form of provision which meets their position of conscience.
Whether or not the Church in Wales follows the proposed method of proceeding by means of two Bills the crucial issue here as in England will be whether provision is made and whether that provision meets the needs of those who hold to the tradition of the church. If it does not, it will fail here as it did there, for there must be a place in our church for all faithful Anglicans.
While we remain opposed to the ordination of women as bishops and would be bound by conscience to vote against it we would be willing to enter into talks to make sure that if the first Bill is passed the provision that might be provided in the second truly meets our needs and will help to further the mission of the church in our land.
Credo Cymru; Forward in Faith Wales     "

 The fact that a public letter has been written at all could perhaps imply to the interested observer that, despite all the favourable comments made in England about the 'better way forward' which has been adopted by the Church in Wales' Governing Body over the issue of women bishops, no substantive discussions about the way forward are taking place between the Bench of Bishops and those who, though opposed to women's ordination in principle, are nevertheless concerned to make adequate provision for traditionalists in order that they may be able to remain within what is historically as much, if not more, their church as it is that of the (now) revisionist majority.  
If any discussions, or consultation worthy of the name, are to take place, they need to begin soon. 
It would be a great shame if the cynics (and I can find little evidence so far to justify disagreeing with them) are proved right, and the much-praised Welsh 'two-tier approach' turned out to be only another shameful example of the use of 'smoke and mirrors' by a  theologically liberal hierarchy intent on getting its way and imposing its own 'solution' on the province regardless of the cost...

An object lesson from the Church of England on the dangers of not getting it right this time can be found here 


  1. Based on my reading of what Archbishop Morgan and his Bench have had to say, I must regard myself as one of the cynics Father.
    In their Press Release, 'Bishops pledge pastoral care for women priest opponents' it is made abundantly clear that provision is only on their terms so what room is there for discussion?

    Having reneged on the promise of pastoral care as provided by Bp David Thomas, there will be nothing to stop the Bench doing the same thing once they have their primary legislation authorising women bishops despite the supposed good intention. My guess is that there would be calls to change the rules just as Abp George Carey and others have done in the Church of England after their failure to secure the vote they wanted. Unfortunately you just can't trust people who want to see women bishops at any cost.

    The only sensible way forward is for England and Wales to have a separate Diocese/Province so that each integrity can go forward to succeed or fail in good faith. But of course that has been rejected in advance on the grounds that it would split the church when it is already split. Similarly WATCH and their supporters say that there can be no arrangement in which women bishops can be regarded as second-class bishops. It matters not one jot that part of their flock would be second-class Anglicans under the single clause legislation they are demanding.

  2. I couldn't agree more with your analysis of the situation.
    My (increasingly vain) hope is that we will be proved wrong...
    "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."


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