Thursday, May 22, 2008

UK Women Priests: Leave Those Traditionalists to Us

I missed this a couple weeks ago, but it is still worthy of comment. There is a group of women in the Church of England who are not happy with proposals to allow woman bishops but at the same time provide for those who can not conscientiously recognize women as bishops. And these women priests have said so in an open letter.

This puts the lie to their claims to be inclusive. The single clause policy they advocate can be nothing more than an order to “submit or else” to traditionalists. Well, on second thought, maybe that is inclusive . . . like the Borg.

Anyway, they claim they’ll be nice to those sexist bigots traditionalists.

After 21 years of ordained ministry and 14 years of priesthood, many of us have much experience of building trustful relationships with those unable to accept the priestly ministry of women. In the Anglican Communion overseas, women take this experience into the episcopate, which leads them to invite other bishops into their Dioceses or Episcopal areas to ordain, confirm and take other services when required. Bishops should be trusted to act wisely and behave with dignity, and all bishops should work within clear expectations and codes of practice. The language of “protection” and “safeguard” is offensive to women, . . .

Oh! We ladies are so offended, we might just faint!

. . . and we believe the existing disciplinary procedures are enough for women or men to be brought to account if they behave inappropriately. We would commend the good practice over the past 20 years of the 15 Anglican Provinces which have already opened the episcopate to women . . .

Yes, we’ll be just like the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, which have a wonderful record of conduct toward conservatives bigots.

Discussion of a single clause measure without including the possible arrangements for those opposed, characterises those who argue for it as somehow “not caring” about those who oppose the ordination/consecration of women. This is far from the truth. Strong relationships have been forged on the anvil of profound disagreement and there is ample testimony to the richness of these encounters, to set alongside those situations which have proved painful. As the broken body of Christ on earth, the Church’s internal relationships should rest on trust, forgiveness, repentance and reconciliation, rather than on protection and an over-anxious reliance on the letter of the law.

We don’t need legal protection for those who oppose us. Trust us. We’ll take care of those sexist Neanderthals traditionalists. We just love reconciliation, just like the Episcopal Church.

Well, that’s very nice. And I hope some of the signees are big enough not to require everyone to kiss their ring. But if I were a UK orthodox Anglican, I would be sure measures of provision and protection are in writing with the force of law, thank you.

1 comment:

Dr. Mabuse said...

They've learned from the 'process of discernment' loophole they accepted as the price for women's ordination in the first place. After 25 years or so, they're impatient that the Church still hasn't "discerned" things their way yet, and they're not going to make the same mistake twice. This time, they'll slam the door hard when they get their she-bishops, and there will be no escape route for the conservatives.