Friday, 2 July 2010

Cat and Mouse

We have been played with for too long. Many of us are heartily sick of Synod and its tricks. The latest (the Archbishops' ruse for trying to keep catholics within the C of E) deserves to be given very short shrift, for if it is passed it will simply extend the agony.

If we feel like this, we should recognise there are many on 'the other side' who also despair of the Synod's tricks. The Revd Lindsay Southern has written an open letter to the Archbishops (you can find it on the WATCH website which will help us feel their pain. The truth is, none of us wants to be mucked about any longer.

The difficulty is that the Anglican Communion is divided. Some have gone along with women's ordination, and very quickly have taken on board much of the rest of the liberal agenda; so there are bishops in the USA several times divorced, bishops who have been known to frequent the seediest of sex-parlors, bishops in open same-sex relationships. Not only are such things permitted, they are glorified as being divinely instituted.

Others have been appalled at all this, yet because of corruption and bribery have often been incapable of casting stones.

Here in the C of E we are sliding down the slope, but not everyone is yet persuaded. So to keep us within inside the tent (for we know the danger of having critics outside it) we are offered sops to conscience. To enable women's consecration to proceed, the Archbishops have proposed a cunning plan; I have written about it previously, and most recently on the Anglo-Catholic blog

It would be better for us all if there were simply a once-clause measure. I fear that will not happen - because of money. First, it would drive out many who are at present hoodwinked by the Archbishops' proposals into thinking they can still have a safe catholic place within the Church of England. More than that, though, it might well stir up the Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament. After the vote in November '92 it was this Committee which made it clear that the Measure for ordaining women as priests would not be approved by Parliament unless and until there was proper financial provision for those being drive out of the church. A one-clause measure would leave Parliament with no option but to ask for at least similar provision now; and the CofE plc is all but bankrupt already.

Of course, even a measure with the Archbishops' safeguards might still be perceived by parliamentarians as driving catholics out of the Church of England - for that is exactly what it will do. My, what interesting times we live in. Meanwhile, the Holy Father visits us this autumn, and soon after that the chocks will be away on the Ordinariate. Oh, may it be soon!

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