One of the stumbling blocks to unity with Rome, so it is asserted, is Papal Infallibility. Yet if reports of ++Rowan's address in Rome are correct (and who could doubt Ruth Gledhill) the Archbishop of Canterbury is claiming something even stronger for himself. According to Ruth 'yesterday the Archbishop made clear that there would be no turning back the clock on women priests in order to appease critics.' Now, his predecessor in Office said that women's ordination was reversible. In this he was staying true to the Eames Report and the decisions of the Lambeth Conference. It was because of this that some of us, with great difficulty, remained Anglicans, hoping that there might yet come a time when the experiment of women as priests would be shown to have failed. In this Rome meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury has made it clear that the matter is settled; and since there has been no Synodical debate on this, it must be that he has resolved the matter by personal fiat. How envious the Holy Father must be, hedged about as he is by definitions which declare him infallible only in very special and limited circumstances. Unlike him, Rowan is always right.
This means the Archbishop of Canterbury is selling his Suffragans of Ebbsfleet and Richborough down the river. He is telling all who believed that we were in a period of reception, until there was agreement by the whole Church, Eastern and Western, that we had better give in or go. That was just a smokescreen to get the legislation through. Now the time for compromise is over.
Well, thank you, dear Rowan. It is good to know where we stand - though really that has been becoming daily more apparent since the volte face of the Manchester Commission. When you come home, please encourage the General Synod to go for a single clause measure, and start preparing the financial package which will enable priests to move on as quickly as possible. It was lovely knowing you - except that in reality, none of us did.