Friday, 22 August 2008

Further on justice

These are some rather obvious statements that I started awhile back, but which needed to be published and gotten out of draft. Don't mind the geezer under the stairs (me), he just has to exercise his fingers every now and then.

It is saddening that the issue of consecrating women to the episcopal rank, among others, is thought of in terms of rights, privilege and the need to expand those boundaries, and especially that those opposed to it are suspected of deeply ingrained bigotry. Certainly, woman's place in society is valuable and should not be dependant on her sex. Civil society in the West has made that determination and has quickly responded to that new understanding over the last century. Those changes are still working themselves out, and the repercussions to workplaces and homes are ongoing. A direct translation to the workings of the church isn't possible, not least because of how it functions, let alone the foundation on which it is based (that of Godly faith rather than the fraternity of men).

For many, this necessitates a shift in understanding how, if an innovation like the ordination of women is to be accepted, such a thing can be agreed upon and enacted. The Catholic understanding of the ordering of bishops, priests and deacons is such that opening the door to women would require a real change in the understanding of the theology of those orders. Since we rely on the validity of her sacraments for our very salvation and spiritual health, the church is required to take all steps needed to ensure they are so - which usually means taking a long time in making decisions and not always doing what you'd like it to. Each part of the Church, the body of Christ, relies on the other to keep its sacraments recognizable to the other. The Anglo-Catholic, or Catholic Anglican, if you prefer, says there is no division between the faith and doctrine of the Anglican churches and the Catholic church, at large; but that the one accedes to the other. It is from this foundation that we endure and seek to keep our space, hoping that the reconciliation of all Christendom may be helped by efforts.

How does this further the mission of Christ that innovation is accepted over and above the long and continued witness of the church? How is it just that unity be strained to failure in the name of equality?