Monday 21 June 2010

A Cunning Plan

The Archbishops have come up with a cunning plan to try to save their embarrassment, caused by the Synod's determination to make it impossible for many good Anglicans to remain in the Church of England. It comes in the form of Amendments which they mean to put down at the York Synod next month.

First, I think the plan will be rejected; possibly some bits of it will make it through the system, but even if the entire thing were accepted by Synod, it is not acceptable to many catholic Anglicans; for it relies on Code of Practice. Come on now, what did we say? A code of practice will not do. And why not? Because it can be ignored and got around, as the Bishops' Code of Practice accompanying the Act of Synod was ignored, in spirit if not in letter, in so many dioceses.

The great plan is that diocesan bishops male and female, shall have jurisdiction. The replacements for the PEVs (if any mug can be found to take the job on) are said to have "ordinary jurisdiction" too; but in reality, jurisdiction is only given them 'by virtue of the measure to the extent provided for in the diocesan scheme'. So in each diocese there would be a scheme, and that scheme could be amended by the diocesan bishop at any time after consulting, not with the pseudo-PEV, nor with the Archbishop, but with his or her own diocesan synod.

It will not do. It really will not do. It is just empty promises dressed up to appeal to a few 'catholic minded' Anglicans who want any excuse not to do what they clearly ought to do, which is to accept the Pope's offer.

It is cunning, this plan, but not cunning enough. I hope everyone will see through it. It ought to fail in the Synod. It leaves no possibility of anyone saying in future "The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church' Rather it is a congregationalist protestant sect from the moment women are consecrated. I've written at greater length, if you can bear it, in the Anglo Catholic blog (see the link to it on the right) about all this. Oh hurry up, Synod, get on with your miserable work, and let us say our farewells with honour.


  1. I agree with +Edwin.

    In item 6 of the Archbishops' statement I note the following:

    "but the identity of such a bishop and the scope of his functions would be defined by the scheme made by the diocesan for his or her diocese"

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but what seems to be being proposed is a Measure with considerable abstraction: a legal arrangement for episcopal oversight for Trads in the abstract but the 'shape' of which, and the identity of the overseeing bishop of whom, is at the discretion of the diocesan - which renders it hopeless.

    While this is a move in the right direction, won't it allow nasty liberal bishops to be thoroughly difficult and mean about the actual arrangement in the dioceses, imposing men who have presumably agreed not to ordain women but who nonetheless may be unacceptable to Trads (Trojan horses, etc)? I should think that FinF would need to know just how much discretion the diocesan holds and what the Measure requires (given that it requires something). I'm not content with this as it stands and wonder why FinF 'welcomes' it. I think that the scope of the overseers' functions needs some firming-up...

    Too little, too late, methinks.


  2. Too little, too late, too true! +E

  3. If the Synod gave you what you all wanted, would you stay or would you become Catholics.It seems some of you are not contemplating going over to Rome for the right reasons

  4. Well said +Edwin - as perceptive as ever!

  5. Also: if you like fudge, you'll like this.

  6. It seems some have greater faith in the good faith and honest intentions of the Archbishops -

    24 June 2010 PRESS STATEMENT

    From the Catholic Group in General Synod

    Responding to the statement of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York Re. forthcoming women bishops debates

    The Catholic Group in General Synod is grateful to the Archbishops for their suggestion of a possible way forward for the Church of England, both to enable the consecration of women bishops and to provide for those who cannot in conscience accept the ministry of women bishops. We are particularly grateful for their recognition of the need for bishops with jurisdiction in their own right to minister to us, and to all those who share our convictions.

    We look forward to studying the amendments in detail when they are published. We very much hope that they will provide 'nominated bishops' who will be real leaders in mission and ministry. It is also be vital that the amendments provide for us to continue to hold a principled theological position, looking to the faith and order of the undivided Church. We believe that the Church will be better served by the consistency of a national scheme of provision.

    The Catholic Group is wholly committed to securing provision within the Church of England.

    Canon Simon Killwick

    (Chairman of the Catholic Group)