Having flipped quickly through the Report on how Old Mother Damnable (Wilfrid Ward's Phrase for the C of E?) would handle us after the 'consecration' of what Dr Tighe neatly terms Flaminicae, I am genuinely impressed, given the narrow parameters imposed by General Synod on the Manchester Group, by the ingenuity they have shown. Full marks to Sister Anne for her cleverness and diplomatic skills. But it remains true, for reasons explained by others, that It Just Won't Do. A path marked Code of Practice is every bit as enticing as Arbeit macht frei over the gates of Auschwitz and the string quartet playing just inside.
My only additional comment would be this. Under such a scheme, we would be at the mercy of the 'bishop' designated to 'look after' us by each diocesan. This would provide a magnificent field day and jobs-for-the-boys for a certain sort of episcopal aspirant: the priest who is technically 'opposed to the ordination of women' but not very much so; and certainly not to the point of being any sort of spanner in the works of the mainstream church. Already there are suffragans around who have been prepared to license women; to institute them; to 'support fully' the the ministry of ordained women; to let them join in with the imposition of hands in presbyteral ordination; to do anything except actually taint their own hands by ordaining them. I know of a case in which such a suffragan has even amused himself with the old Anglican episcopal pasttime of persecuting parishes that use the Roman Rite.
We don't want to go back to all that. Since John Richards and John Gaisford got the PEV game up and running, we've been well shot of it. We've had, for the first time since the Reformation, bishops who were truly our bishops. Being 'cared for' by such 'Vichy' bishops would be a return to (is this Newman's phrase for the C of E?) the House of Bondage.
More to the point, such gentry would be much more interested in sucking up to the mainstream church than they would in leading us on the next stage of our ecumenical journey.
No Code of Practice. No Quislings.
16 January 2009
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Was the Code of Practice which the bishops were expected to observe in the suspension of presentations always observed? I dont think so. Such Codes are mere pieces of paper designed to keep the peace until the authorities have got what they wanted.
I like Dix's "Jezebel" better than Ward's "Old Mother Damnable."
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