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visit our website: Forward Plus « Autumn 2008 7
In his own write…
he OLd proverb There’s none the House of Bishops comes to its
so deaf as those who will not collective senses and realizes the
hear might have been coined for enormous damage it is about to
the General Synod of the Church do. Unless the CofE starts listen-
From the
at the July Synod radiate openness
of England. On 7th July, meeting ing to its ecumenical partners and and willingness to listen? No. They
in York, its members would not in particular to the Holy See. Un- have already decided what they
hear either of the two Archbishops, less every last reader of Forward will permit, which falls far short of
the Bishops of Durham, Winches- plus realizes that the end is so
the minimum provision we have
ter, Exeter and Ripon & Leeds or close and this is their last chance explained that we need. Bishops
numerous members of the Catho- of a future in the CofE. Unless the with independent jurisdiction
lic Group. Instead, they set sail strident voices of certain members
cannot be allowed because, she ar-
on a course which will lead to the of General Synod are drowned out gues, this would compromise the
destruction, no less, of Anglo Ca- once and for all . . . . . . authority of a woman bishop and
tholicism in our Church. Unless ... Can Anglo Catholicism be “irreparably damage the role of all
Unless we hold our nerve and saved? Is it even worth saving? feminism, where mutually accept- bishops”. In other words, because
say that this will not do. Unless The choice is yours . . . . .
Odes OF PrACtiCe are able arrangements on an informal she believes the existence of wom-
strange things. Because they basis have proved widely impossi- en bishops in the Anglican Com-
are not legally enforceable they de- ble, and the church has been torn munion for twenty years proves it
pend on good will and good man- apart by bitter disputes and pro- is God’s initiative, that belief and
ners. After the Cost of Conscience tracted litigation. Nor does she the authority of that Order must
AGM at Emmanuel, Wylde Green, admit, whilst telling us that “mak- be imposed on everyone. Where
Fr Gardom, Fr Rabjohns and I ing it possible for women to be ap- are the openness and the spiritual
boarded a train to Birmingham pointed as bishops does not take humility here?
for our homeward connections. anything away from anyone else”, I believe this novelty is inspired
In the designated quiet zone for and “does not prevent other peo- by aggressive transatlantic secular
eLL, the Director’s sum- (after all, one can never have too refugees from the TV screens that ple from responding to God’s call”, feminism. I am unhappy to see it
mer has just been one long many books, can one?), but their were permanently disseminat- that some of those provinces will being forced into the Church. Yet,
holiday! Away from Gordon boss soon sent them some help. ing Sky news elsewhere, were two now not ordain men who oppose I am prepared to let those who
Square for seven whole weeks!! Not enough, as was proved later in notices: one was a reminder that the ordination of women. Officers want it get on with it. I simply need
Well, no, not much of a holiday the day when he had to exchange smoking was forbidden, the sec- of Watch quoted on their website, the assurance that the male bishop
and, come the end of August, I his sharp suit for a set of over- ond a request that mobile phones and some of their supporters in who exercises pastoral oversight
couldn’t wait to get back to the alls and, literally and figuratively, should not be used out of consid- the columns of the Church Times, of my ministry and parish is part
bunker for a rest! roll his sleeves up too. I forget eration for others. Though many advocate a similar ban on the or- of the historic episcopate, in a col-
The first three weeks were spent what time it was when the penny passengers were no doubt longing dination of traditionalists in the lege of bishops of equal status, and
in Canterbury, observing the dropped in his mind that one van for the moment when they could Church of England. So much for has the authority to select, train,
Lambeth Conference from a safe wouldn’t take everything and that light up, all complied with the arrangements that are “mutually and ordain men to the priesthood,
distance. Fr Tanghe from the a second vehicle was going to be smoking ban. Like it or not, it is acceptable”. Yet Ms Rees says, “No and appoint them to parishes.
USA, Fr Black from Scotland, Fr needed, but I do remember what law and breaking the law has con- one is being driven out.”
Kirk and I did what we could to time they finally drove off, leaving sequences: formal legal proceed- Refusal to accept the obvious Nothing less
look after our bishops – keeping us with an empty house to con- ings and enforceable penalties. runs through her whole article. Nothing less than a new prov-
them fed, watered and sane. The template before we set off to Lon- Beneath the notice requesting “I cannot see,” she writes, “how ince, or some dioceses, can fulfil
first two were easy, except, just like don for a night en route to our new observance of the quiet zone sat those who genuinely care about the promises that have been made
ten years ago, we totally under- house – 10.30 pm – just 14 hours a woman with her mobile phone, strengthening our expression and in the past about our honoured
estimated the episcopal appetite; after they had arrived! in animated conversation. She experience of communion can place as loyal Anglicans. Ms Rees
as I was the only one of the four The next day naturally dawned had obviously taken to heart the promote going down the path explains that there are no broken
of us with a car there, it fell to me wet and overcast, as we drove to requirement of the notice to con- of separate structural arrange- promises because “a vote taken in
to drive to the supermarkets and the estate agents some miles out of sider others; she had considered ments.” She fails to recognise that one Synod cannot promise some-
elsewhere to buy all the food for London to collect the keys to the us and decided that it would be the novelty of women bishops is a thing in perpetuity.” Surely her
our lunches each day. Every time house we had bought. Later, the good, not only for us who were meander down that very path: the argument applies equally to the
I shopped, I tried to buy enough removal men arrived with their seated nearby but for the whole creation of an ecclesial structure decision to ordain women, and
food for a couple of days, and each two vans and so of course the rain carriage, to hear what she had to unacceptable to the historic com- allows the possibility that this ab-
day the bishops ate us out of house intensified. We watched over the say. Out of consideration for those munions of East and West, un- erration will one day, like fashion-
and home! One thing we all fell eight hours it took them to unload who might be hard of hearing at known to the Apostles who watch able heresies throughout the ages,
particularly in love with was an and wondered where on earth we the far end of the coach, she raised over the Church and guide it still be purged and forgotten.
extraordinary Welsh cheese which would put everything. Still, we her voice so that we might all have (as the Mass Preface succinctly The Act of Synod meets with Ms
we found in the Farmers’ Market were greatly encouraged on arrival the benefit of her observations. puts it), and uncommissioned by Rees’s particular disapproval for
next to Canterbury West Station – to find that British Telecom had Here, in ear-splitting operation, the Lord himself. destroying the catholicity of the
Saval – the aroma of which I can connected the ‘phone – even if we was a Code of Practice: her choice episcopacy, permitting parishes to
only describe as redolent of the were less encouraged the next day imposed on others with no fear of Openness and humility? choose a bishop according to his
nave of Fr Crotchet’s Church! (see when they cut it off, and two days sanctions, or penalties. She asks “how can we discern the “views on one subject... which is
p.15) If you can find it anywhere, later when they re-connected it most loving and just way ahead not even part of the credal basis
have a smell – or, better (much with an entirely different number Watch it! when some have already declared of our faith.” Well, the Creed I re-
better), have a taste! to the one they had given us. But, Readers of September’s New what will and will not be part of cite proclaims belief in “One Holy
Once Lambeth was over and to be fair, it only took three or four Directions will have seen an arti- the journey?” Perhaps I have mis- Catholic and Apostolic Church”
we had got all our stuff back to 50 minute ‘phone conversations cle by Christina Rees assuring us understood how all this came which has always and everywhere
Gordon Square, my holiday re- with various helpful people some- that “a Code of Practice can work about, but I thought that all our maintained male episcopacy and
ally began. We drove home to where outside these islands to sort if we allow it to.” Ms Rees chairs present problems spring from the priesthood. The Women’s Or-
Sussex to sit and wait for the con- it out, so we were at no point vexed. the organisation known as Watch, declaration that she and the ma- dination Measure damaged the
tracts on the sale of our house to Oh no. Nor did we wince when we which stands for Women And jority voters at General Synod have catholicity of the episcopacy be-
be exchanged – a saga that began rang the BT Broadband help line The CHurch (not, as I supposed made, that a female episcopate is fore the Act of Synod was conjured
as long ago as October last year! to check our order, only to get the after a glance at their website, the essential part of the journey. up. The consecration of women
Needless to say, my wife and I response ‘what order?’. . . . . . . . Women Against The CHurch), a She tells us, “Anglicans are those will be its death blow. Whatever
were both utterly calm and re- So now it is September and, back title chosen presumably to avoid whose natural stance is openness her article says, it is clear that in
laxed about it and, if either of us at work (for a rest?), I can contem- the implications of abbreviating and spiritual humility, being will- the church she envisages there can
was stressed at any point, we never plate the National Assembly. But Women In The CHurch. She be- ing to listen, to talk and to permit be no place for us, because it will
showed it. (As if.) Finally, having each weekend, it’s off to the new lieves that the vote for a Code of the greatest degree of freedom be on her terms, and her terms
waited ‘patiently’ for just over 48 house, for there is much decorat- Practice was a compromise. She possible within the bonds of our with or without a Code of Prac-
hours, contracts were exchanged, ing to be done, to say nothing of wanted legislation simply permit- precious unity in Christ.” tice are totally unacceptable to us.
with a completion date just 4½ the small matter of building suffi- ting women to be bishops and When did these qualities become The challenge is now to persuade
days later – which gave us all the cient book shelves for the 50 box- having “mutually acceptable ar- manifest, I wonder? When the a majority of right-minded people
time in the world to speak to the es of books as yet unpacked. Still, rangements... on an informal ba- Catholic martyrs were being ex- who were shocked by the mean-
gas people, the electricity people, you never know: by the time I sis, with the priest and the female ecuted at Tyburn, perhaps? In the ness of the July Synod’s debate to
the water rates people, the council write this column again, we might bishop concerned.” She notes that Act of Uniformity or the 39 Arti- press bishops and lay members to
tax people, the telephone people, even manage a few days away fifteen Anglican provinces have cles? In the persecution of C19th understand that responding to the
the removal people, etc, etc, etc. somewhere as well. St Pancras In- voted to have women bishops Anglo-Catholics, the riots at St call for women’s episcopacy does
The morning of our removal ternational is only a few hundred without any structural provision George’s-in-the-East, the impris- not prevent them responding
came, as did two men from the re- yards away, after all, and, like Fr for those who remain opposed. onment of Fr Tooth and the other equally to our call for generosity
moval firm, whose job was to pack Crochet, I’ve always taken the But she makes no mention of the Confessors, and the attempts by the in provision . We shall not lightly
and load all that we had accumu- view that a holiday isn’t really a disastrous consequences of this Crown, Parliament and the bish- abandon the goal towards which
lated over 21 years into a large van. holiday unless it’s somewhere in policy in the USA, home of the ops to put down ritualism? Did the we have pressed for sixteen long
It didn’t take them long to panic la belle France . . . . . . . . pioneers of modern ecclesiastical speakers on her side of the debate and hard years.
Forward! plus is the quarterly newspaper of Forward in Faith
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