Sunday, December 29, 2013

An Anglican Conundrum. . . among other things

The November News:

The Church of England's ruling body has voted in favour of proposals which could allow the ordination of women bishops next year.  Members of the general synod passed a motion with a majority of 378 to eight, with 25 abstentions.  It paves the way for endorsement of women bishops alongside a "declaration" by bishops setting out guidance for parishes which reject female ministry.

The Issue:

If you have women priests, where is the problem in having women bishops?  I have heard nothing but complaints from conservative Anglican friends about this action of the C of E and nothing but I told you so from its critics outside.  I am certainly not in favor of women bishops but that is because I am also against breaking with the catholic and apostolic practice of the church and ordaining female priests (presbyters, pastors, you name it).  I do not really have much of a position on women bishops because I cannot get there as long as I remain opposed to the ordination of women to the pastoral office (Lutheran terminology) or to the priesthood (other terminology).

Quite frankly, I think it the ultimate of sexism to ordain women as priests (pastors) and then to refuse to consecrate them bishops.  That is the ultimate expression of not good enough (which has nothing whatsoever to do with why I am opposed to the ordination of women to the priestly/pastoral office).  If ever a woman has a right to feel slighted, it would seem that she should be offended by those who will ordain them deacons and priests but refuse to consecrate them bishops.

There is no sexism involved in the choice not to ordain women to the priestly/pastoral office.  It is not given for the Church to do this.  Period.  We have the example of our Lord with the apostles and the Church in the New Testament (Epistles of St. Paul to Timothy and Titus, among other texts) in which it is not given for a woman to receive the laying on of hands.  She is not called to this office.  Period.  It has nothing to do with her capability or desire but everything to do with the inability of the Church to transcend the word and example of the Church from the apostles down to modern times.  Ordination is not a right.  The Church is not obligated to affirm everyone who feels an inner call.  Indeed, that is why the Church must confirm that inner call with the external call and ordination.

But when it comes to an artificial dividing line between female priests and deacons on the one hand and bishops on the other, I just do not get it.  If you are going to have one, you will have the other... eventually.  Somebody should have seen this coming.  It is an obvious conclusion inherent in the practice of ordaining women as deacons and priests.  So to those who complain, I wonder why now and why not before?  To those who think that this action may be enough to cause you to jettison the good old C of E, I wonder why now and why not before?

As much as I consider myself an anglophile, I cannot for the life of me understand the artificial and arbitrary distinction between ordination and consecration, deacon/priest and bishop???  If you get the first, you will get the other.  It is a no brainer.

Which makes me wonder why some go up to a point but no further... those who will leave the ELCA over homosexual clergy but will overlook every other abdication of catholicity up to that point... those who will live with women priests/pastors but draw the line at female bishops...  It just does not make any sense to me.  Am I the only one who does not see it?

PS... yes I know the picture is from the Episcopal Church... but it is so precious AND yes I know this is late but, frankly, I had other things to think about until now...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The CoE is hopelessly compromised in this matter, largely I think, because they are immersed in a self-critical, PC society, that is still trying to make up for the "sin" of empire (never mind all the good done by the British Empire, particularly the spread of Christianity all around the globe.)

Yes, Pastor Peters, women should never have been ordained in any capacity at all, not at Deacons, not as Priests, and not as Bishops. It is contrary to Scripture (as you point out), and it has shown itself to be a surefire disaster in practice - witness Kate Schori and ECUSA (Edmund Browning and Frank whatshisname set the stage, but Kate has wielded the wrecking hammer with skill and maniacal determination to destroy).

Fortunately, neither the CoE nor ECUSA represent all of Anglicanism. The Continuing Church is still faithful and will have no part of this foolishness.

Fr. D+
Continuing Anglican Priest