The gossip around the Church of England at the moment is that there is a very strong likelihood that, because of the present make-up of General Synod, the proposed legislation that would allow women to become bishops in our two provinces will not be passed this time. If so, it should mean that we will not see females in our college of bishops in my lifetime and maybe for centuries to come, if ever. The reason for this is simple. The legislation will not be discussed in General Synod again until after Rowan Williams has manipulated the adoption of the Anglican Covenant by the Church of England. There are more than enough less enlightened provinces within the Anglican Communion, who are opposed to women being allowed positions of headship, that any future moves to allow female bishops in England will be vetoed by foreign churches. The English House of Bishops has already made sure that General Synod cannot discuss the fact that English secular law already insists that gay people have to be treated with complete equality within the Church, by disingenuously setting up a commission to discuss the matter that will not report back until after the adoption of the Covenant. This, of course, means that gay people will never be treated as anything other than second class, and eternally damned, members of the Church of England.

I don't personally believe that the legislation regarding women and the episcopacy will be thrown out by this General Synod. But this, wonderful as it would be if true, throws up another huge question. Why can we not simply go ahead and get rid of all discrimination against gay people because it would not get the backing of the whole Anglican Communion, when we can go ahead and vote for an end of discrimination against women when there are provinces which oppose it? Rowan Williams, who is very much in favour of female bishops, cannot claim that one is a theological matter and the other simply a matter of church order. The opponents of both use theological arguments to back up their hatred of both proposed changes.

If the Covenant is adopted and gay people excluded from full membership of the Church for ever and ever, amen, and then the English church reintroduces legislation to allow women bishops and the provinces that are against it do nothing to stop it, then that would be hypocrisy of the highest order and conclusive proof that none of this has anything to do with either church order or theology and is nothing other than blatant, selective prejudice and bigotry.

If we adopt the Anglican Covenant the Church of England will never be able to escape being in a position of unending hypocrisy.

The Anglican Covenant is a covenant of stagnation. If adopted it will be the end of history for our church and, I fear, an end of the Church itself as the handcuffs of reactionism that it seems intent to fasten on to its own wrists will make sure that we just become less and less relevant to the world, an anachronism and an embarrassing, bigoted, barbaric anachronism at that.



  1. I do not ever belittle the intelligence of my Anglican compatriots. So they must be a bunch of hypocritical, spineless, careerist lemmings.

  2. Ahhh… commonsense and humanism, inspired by the heart of the Gospel message. Would that any leaders, as well as followers, would be so guided. [huge ******* SIGH ******] I’m afraid there are bits of hypocrisy, lemmings, and skunks (see Kirkepiscatoid’s essay yesterday) in all of us. If only those in power had a least an ounce of decency and commonsense, the better kritters in us all might prevail.

  3. Dream on…. I recently read a story that posited that the modern age of enlightenment actually peaked a number of years ago, and since then, we have begun falling back into an era of more faith in superstition and junk science, more crackpot schemes in many disciplines and areas of human activity than in past years. In the US, certainly, the wave of scientific belief has receded among the general electorate. As I’ve mentioned, 60% of US citizens do not believe ion evolution, 80% have never had a passport (and thus have NO personal experience of a foreign nation), and 80% of the households in the US last year did not buy or read a book. They have TV for all their needs, and one suspects most of them are not watching Masterpiece Theater on PBS. As fior common decency, I give you the Congress…..

  4. I have been thinking exactly what Strangelove just said! And I have been asking myself why this is? I suspect it is , at least partially because of a steady diet of miserable tv and video games, plus attitudes taught in schools. Just this past weekend, a grandson told me excitedly that he had had a chance to shoot an automatic rifle at a range. He was excited, to say the least, I was appalled to say the least!
    I don’t understand why this backward trend, backing away from the teachings of Christ – all the while loudly professing to be “Christian”. Why is “humanism” now so suspect? Aren’t we all humans? I actually had a priest-boss who refused to let a young father of the parish form and lead a boy scout troop for the parish because he said (making a disgusted face) that it was “secular humanism”. The young father said to me later: “the more I listen to him (the pastor)the less I understand what he is saying”.
    At this same parish, I was DCE of religious teaching at the parochial school. I made a simple, very basic exam for the kids who were to be Confirmed. The principal landed in my office in a burst of righteous indignation and said that her students would never be able to pass it and furthermore, most of her teaching staff wouldn’t be able to ace it either. They had classes
    in “religion” in their schedule, they must have passed the time “praising Jesus”. Lest u think I was being hard, I should add that these kids were quite sophisticated
    8th graders who knew every Rock Star and movie star in the country.
    I guess if u r going to revert to the religion of the 19th century, it is logical to fall backwards in other ways also.
    When this cult began to take over the churches, the big thing was for the teachers to claim that religious stuff in the religion text books was “spiritual” and shouldn’t be tested at all. So my question is what were they actually teaching? I think the answer to that is becoming apparent in the Right Wing grassroots onslaught that is smothering America today.
    NOW, very late in this frightening game,it is being called Christian Dominionism, but it began wayyyy back!
    When I would come home worried about this, I was considered “paranoid”, yep! who would have thunk it?

  5. As so often, MadPriest’s analysis is tragically correct.

    Just as an aside, though, if it was possible to go and shoot automatic weapons on rifle ranges in this country without having to join the Army first, I’d be at the front of the queue. Sorry, Nij.

  6. Sorry, Justin, they were visiting someone with a lot of property, so I assumed it was set up as a range as they were talking about a target…..thanks for your input. I chill at the thought of young people being so charmed by something that has the possibility to do so much damage with so little effort, and the fact that so many people, older and younger use them for destruction. I know that the young man in question here is well balanced, but still doubt that it is necessary to use automatics unless u r actually at war.
    peace, nij