... take heed to thyself and to doctrine: be earnest in them. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee ... (1 Timothy 4:16)

Monday, July 12, 2010

An Anglo-Catholic examination of conscience?

The General Synod of the Church of England today approved the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure.

On Saturday, it rejected the Archbishops’ amendments that would have allowed the continuation of something like the present ministry of the Flying Bishops and others under the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod, and so could have made some provision for those who decide to continue as Anglicans but not to accept the ordination of women. The Draft Measure, which contains almost no meaningful provision for them, will now go for consideration by dioceses.

Forward in Faith issued the following statement:

The draft Measure to permit the ordination women as bishops, approved today by the General Synod and sent for discussion and approval by Diocesan Synods, contains nothing which can satisfy the legitimate needs of members of Forward in Faith.

Now, though, is not the time for precipitate action. There will be ample opportunity for priests to take counsel together at the Sacred Synods called by the Catholic Bishops in each province in September, and for Forward in Faith to take stock at the National Assembly in October.

It doesn’t say much that is new, and that is because there isn’t much new to say, other than to observe that perhaps the real losers are the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, whose attempt to demonstrate that the CofE is synodically governed but Episcopally led was kicked into the long grass by their clergy.

Fr Trevor Jones has suggested on the St Peter, London Docks blog that Anglo-Catholics should now ponder their own failings in the CofE having gotten to this point rather than hide behind any alleged systemic failings in Anglicanism itself. He is right that saying ‘it was always going to end this way’ can seem rather a cop-out.

Unlike Fr Jones, I do believe that Anglicanism has inherent and fatal flaws that are beyond any generation’s ability to remedy them from within the CofE – and that those flaws have been there since day one.

But I do believe he is right to warn that unless Catholic-minded Anglicans ponder hard and in humility what their sins of commission and omission in recent decades may have been, they may be condemned to carry forward the self-same faults into whichever context they next minister.

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