Friday, March 10, 2017

++York Decries Attacks on Philip North UPDATED

In the aftermath of Bishop Philip North’s decision to withdraw from consideration for the See of Sheffield, the Archbishop of York’s statement stands out.

He is frank, to say the least:

…What has happened to Bishop Philip clearly does not reflect the settlement under which, two and a half years ago, the Church of England joyfully and decisively opened up all orders of ministry to men and women. It also made a commitment to mutual flourishing: that those who on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests, will continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures; and pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will be made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contribute to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England.’

There will be continuing debate in the coming days and weeks of lessons to be learned, how that learning might inform and inspire us to act as a Church in our dealings with one another and how, when we disagree, to disagree Christianly, remembering at all times that our identity is in Christ alone.

It is now time – during this season of Lent - that the Church spends time in penitence, repentance and reflection. If we are serious about our commitment to loving one another and to mutual flourishing within the Body of Christ, there must now be time for us all to reflect and recognise in Bishop Philip’s own words The highly individualised nature of the attacks upon me have been hard. If as Christians we cannot relate to each other within the bounds of love, how can we possibly presume to transform a nation in the name of Christ?  I hope though that this conversation can continue in future without it being hung upon the shoulders of one individual. I agree with him entirely.

I think this is about as close as an Anglican archbishop gets to being angry in an official statement. 

Although he does not use the term, what ++ York is decrying is the con game of Bait-and-Switch libchurchers play oh so well.  They promise tolerance, space, and “mutual flourishing” to those who disagree with their innovations.  But once they lie to get their way and have enough power, libchurchers throttle the orthodox faithful.  Oh, those mossback orthodox laity are fine as long as they keep the money coming.  But if one of those bigots try to become a diocesan bishop…. 

And, of course, the day will come when traditionalists won’t be able to become any kind of bishop.  Then they won’t be able to become priests.  We’ve seen this sort of thing in the Episcopal Church already.

So far, there is no statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Where’s the “radical inclusion,” Your Grace?

Susie Leafe, Director of Reform has issued a brilliant statement that also calls out Bait-and-Switch:

I have lost count of the number of times conservatives have been asked to trust that we can flourish in the Church of England, but without solid evidence that there is an equal future for conservatives in the Church of England (beyond that of dhimmitude) it becomes harder and harder to convince talented young men and women to offer themselves to serve in this denomination or to persuade congregations to continue to finance the work.

And still no statement from Justin Welby.

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