May 24, 2012

Putting the English On It

The bishops of the Church of England have introduced a few amendments to the legislation designed to come before the General Synod, permitting the ordination of women to the episcopate. The draft legislation had been adopted by 42 out of 44 dioceses, and there was a strong urging that the bishops not make substantive changes — without defining the limit to the substance.

Well, the bishops have made changes, which appear to placate (up to a point) those who are not only opposed to the ordination of women as bishops, but want to be assured that they will have their own pocket bishop who is not only male, but also theologically of a particular position (or positions); and that any such bishop acting by delegation will not be understood to be deriving his (it will always be "his") power to act by the act of delegation but the fact of his episcopacy. (At least that's how I read the somewhat tortured language. Check it out for yourself at the link above, courtesy of Thinking Anglicans.)

It used to be said, "There'll always be an England." Now I'm not so sure. This drive to placate and comprehend logically (and theologically) contradictory positions within one ecclesiastical enterprise seems to be working in direct opposition to all of the talk about the bishop as "focus of unity" heard in recent days. How many contradictions can simultaneously be embraced in a single church? And what happens when a woman becomes Archbishop of York or Canterbury? Or is this just a waiting game, in the hopes that the opposition will end with this generation? But which will end first, the opposition or the Church?

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG


Daniel Weir said...

Peter Hinchliff, who was Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Christ Church, Oxford, wrote about his own change of position on the ordination of women. A Roman Caholic friend showed him a list of those who were not to be ordained. After a list of men with what the church considered be defects, there appeared "A woman" which seemed to suggest that women were seen as defective men. As J. Robert Wright pointed out in an ordination sermon, priests are icons of the Good Shepherd, and that does require one to be male.
I have to admit that all the pariarchical and heterosexist talk in the church is getting very boring.

WSJM said...

"As J. Robert Wright pointed out in an ordination sermon, priests are icons of the Good Shepherd, and that does require one to be male."


"...And one was a shepherdess on the green..."

Deacon Charlie Perrin said...

When do they start holding their breath until they turn blue?

I believe our Lord said we are to have a childlike faith, not a childish one.

What a bunch of chikens**t old farts.