Tuesday, July 8, 2008

C of E General Synod Approves Female Bishops, Gives Anglo-Catholics the Gate

Well, the Church of England General Synod (GS) has spoken, and what it has said is no great surprise to anyone. The church will have women bishops, there will be no extraordinary measures like "super bishops" for the Anglo-Catholics, and there will be no further discussion of the matter at the February 2009 GS meeting. The Church Society has a good summary here.

Further, it would appear there is no longer any point in ecumenical discussions between the Vatican and the Anglicans. In November of last year, speaking of ecumenical talks which were stalling at the time, Cardinal Walter Kaspar, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, said that, "what we held to be our common heritage has begun to melt here and there like the glaciers in the Alps." He calls the current situation "a further obstacle for reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England." I believe he is overly optimistic. It seems to me that what was a slow melt has now become a full-scale avalanche as far as Anglicans are concerned.

As Fr. Longenecker points out in a very good post on the subject, "Future Church of England," it is now impossible even to identify who to talk to. What with the evangelicals going their way and the Anglo-Catholics going their way, and the schisms within schisms...

... there is no way a unified body could be identified to talk with even if we wanted to. Ecumenism will now be with individuals and smaller groups.

He concludes the post with the following observation:

Finally, the other thing that is certain is that the fuss in Anglicanism will bring a good number of people to the banks of the Tiber, and for that we should rejoice and continue to pray.

Amen. I couldn't say it any better than that. Please do pray for our Anglican brothers and sisters. They have reached an impasse with the C of E, and the next few days, weeks and months will be critical. I doubt we will see any mass return to the Catholic fold, but I think we will almost certainly see some number of individuals crossing the Tiber. I pray so, anyway.

Perhaps the words of the great Anglo-Catholic convert to the Catholic Church, John Henry, Cardinal Newman, will encourage them:

We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.

More on General Synod vote -

Another good post by Fr. Longenecker: Church of England to Have Female Bishops

From Vatican Radio: Vatican Regret at Anglican Vote to Ordain Female Bishops

More from Cardinal Kaspar on women bishops: Mission of Bishops in the Mystery of the Church

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