Saturday, 12 July 2008

Reactions to the Email

I sent my email (posted on Friday 11 July, below) to friends via Facebook, as well as normal email and by posting it here. Initial reactions have almost all been very positive. I include a few here.

Thank you very much indeed for this. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to hear from someone who (a) isn’t panicking and (b) is able to see some hope. You are quite right that, at the moment, we have the moral high ground, and we mustn’t lose it. As the Bishop you spoke to realizes, this is not a battle to keep hold of a few Anglo-Catholics, but is a fight for the soul of Anglicanism. Thanks again,


I have had similar experiences. How to take this forward? Count me in on whatever transpires. Thanks Father


You are quite right. I’ve even had women clergy telling me that what has happened is wrong!

GW Portsmouth

Thanks for the email - our sentiments exactly
......What troubles me most at the moment is that our bishops should not lose heart.


Only one has, so far, been negative:

What lies at the heart of this is not the ribbons and bunting wrapped round the presence in the CofE of women bishops – ie, what form of provision, legally enshrined or otherwise, might finally be offered or secured – but the women bishops themselves, even if they were all thoroughly nice people who wanted ‘Catholics’ on board for the sake of comprehensiveness.

If the liberals really don’t want the CofE to be a protestant sect – which I doubt, then it would have to decide not to have women bishops – and ultimately repent of the ordination of women as priests, and indeed deacons. As Cardinal Kasper pointed out, the CofE is at a point of vital decision – is it part of the Church of the 1st Century or a Prot sect of the 16th? If it decides to have women bishops it is the latter, however politely it chooses to deal with those within its ranks that disagree, and it doesn’t seem minded to be all that polite. The bitterness of Monday’s debate has indeed frightened people, and that nastiness was driven by liberals. There might be some genuinely old-school open liberals knocking around out there – and it sounds like you might know one of them, but most liberals are as obsessively illiberal with their opponents as only liberals can be.

The CofE is going to change fundamentally. Remaining in it and being openly opposed to the ordination of women is unlikely to be a runner unless you happen to have a PhD in Orwellian double-think. I’m sorry to be negative, but life is too short to spend it grasping at liberal straws.

GP London

And this is from a longer response:

The hardest thing I remember from the 90s vote was that some of the clergy I knew well and respected decided to leave. Some, along with many more who have stayed were of the opinion, in the immediate aftermath, that there wasn't any point in anyone getting ordained, the show was over. Others simply wandered around saying "Rome is the answer". Some things therefore haven't changed. My gut reaction from talking to my own peers and to the clergy who are younger than me is that our reaction is more in the vein of "if you want to get rid of me, then you will have to literally drag me out of the Church of England". Since Monday there has been sharp reaction from a few, and a great deal of breath holding from many of us. Part of the difficulty, as you are well aware, is that so far, no one has actually seen what legislation and provision will come forward. Clearly the House of Bishops is in uproar (it all seems similar somehow to 92). No one actually knows what is going to happen... Some of the older clergy are depressed and really tired. They have been at this for a long time and are dispirited. Again, many of the younger clergy do see things a little differently. We were under no illusions when we were ordained. But we were resolute and determined that ordained we were going to be, and that we were staying in the Church of England.I suppose that, in my own cack-handed way what I'm trying to say is keep going. I am absolutely clear that if we all walk away now, then those who disagree with us win hands down. A few of them (and yes, I think that despite the tone of some of the speakers on Monday, it is a few) are desperately hoping we will all go away NOW. Slowly I'm getting strong signals that that isn't what many now want (irrespective of how people voted on Monday). Part of the voting pattern from Monday (so my snapshot of GS members who are in favour tell me) is that many of them (they're not that bright) just couldn't work out what the hell the House of Bishops were up to, and therefore what they wanted synod to actually do. Even +Rowan's remarks towards the end were so Rowan-esque that they were lost ("I don't want a structural solution that humiliates women.... but it would seem that a structural solution is the only way") for some of them, they just didn't know if he was saying yes or no or blow the whole thing out of the water. Couple that with electronic voting, that meant that there was no 'follow my leader' voting, and certainly no 'follow my friends' voting either (Bishops using their own brains, instead of waiting to see which way the archbishops walked, is now an even more difficult problem). February may bring something quite different. That might depend on how the HoB sorts itself out. Lambeth could be critical in that process. So will how well (or badly) we all behave. There were clearly incontrovertible signs that Bishops who have been no great friends to us were sticking up for us. Yes, too little too late, but it may well mean that we have a bit more support than we had even before Monday.

This is all very interesting. Clearly I am not alone!