The Catholic Church as a refugee camp
- Canon Lucy Winkett, precentor of St Paul's Cathedral, is one of the writers of a letter to House of Bishops (see the bottom of my post)
Today the Church of England’s General Synod will meet in York, and while all the attention on the Anglican Church has mostly been about the conference of conservative bishops in Jerusalem, there's been less press about another issue also facing that church - whether to allow women bishops. The Tablet's editorial is on that subject. Here's part of it .....
Flight from women bishops
Forward in Faith, which represents traditionalist Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England, has written to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York warning them that many of its members could "defect" if women bishops were introduced without adequate safeguards. The letter was signed by 1,333 clergy, and the issue comes before the General Synod later this month. They want to be allowed one or more separate dioceses - headed, of course, by a male bishop -so that now or in the future they would not find themselves under the authority of a female bishop. Meanwhile a similarly sized group of female clergy has demanded the opposite, saying any arrangement that was discriminatory, such as a diocese or two reserved for male bishops, was unacceptable to them. They would prefer to leave things as they are rather than accept appointments as women bishops on those terms. The Church of England already allows clergy or parishes that reject female priesthood to resort to the episcopal ministry of a separate bishop, a so-called "flying bishop" who refuses to ordain women ........
These are internal Anglican matters. But the implication of the unfortunate word "defect" in the Forward in Faith warning is that many of the signatories are threatening to become Catholics, as indeed some Anglican clergy did after 1992. Similar issues are raised. If they intend it as their future spiritual home, it is not particularly complimentary to the Catholic Church to treat it as a refugee camp, just over the ecclesiastical border as it were, for disgruntled Anglicans ....... as was pointed out to the convert clergy at the time by the late Cardinal Basil Hume, the move had to be a positive one, not just a flight from women priests (and, now, from bishops). And it cannot be completely ruled out that one day the Catholic Church might decide it could itself ordain women. (Many Catholics wish it would.) Submission to Rome works both ways.
You can read the letter the women clergy sent to the House of Bishops at Thinking Anglicans - "Yes" to Women Bishops, but not at any price