7 October 2008

What are we going to hear on Friday?

The Daily Torygraph having leaked the recommendation of the Manchester Group that Catholic Anglicans should continue to have Flying Bishops in the imminent gynaecocracy, we are all wondering what the House of Bishiops will have made of it in their meeting of Monday and today. Any little feelings of amusement we might have at the hilarious fury with which the Chaplain of New College greeted the news is less important than the question of what we shall be told at the National Meeting of Forward in Faith on Friday and Saturday. Whatever the House of Bishops has or has not decided, we need to know about it and to be able intelligently to discuss it. Otherwise either we shall not have the oportunity of informed discussion before the July meeting of General Synod, or we shall have to be recalled: a greater inconvenience for those who live in Devon or Cornwall, Yorkshire or Northumberland, than it is for those of us who live in London or Oxford. It would be very unfortunate if our bishops, out of loyalty to Club confidentiality, were unable to inform us and lead us. If this situation does look like arising, let us hope that some responsible person will blow the gaff to the media so that it can be discussed as something that has been put into the public domain. This, surely, is too critical a situation for us to be the victims of gentlemanly rectitude.

In 1992-3, I remember the fury that many felt because it seemed that the loyalties of the episcopal 'leaders of the Catholic Movement' were more with episcopal collegiality than they were with their fellow Catholics. We can do without those sorts of divisions this time. Another thing 1992-3 taught us was that Right Reverend Fathers do not possess all the wisdom and that mere laity, presbyters and seminarians (not to mention the womenfolk of the seminarians) are entitled to a say in our own future. If we have one.

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