Question: When is a promise not a promise?
Answer: When it is a solemn undertaking by the General Synod of the Church of England.
Many of us remember, when the Ordination of Women was being considered the solemn promise made, at that time, that those who were unable to accept women as priest would have an honoured place within the Church of England. Provision was made by the Act of Synod for those parishes to have the Episcopal services of a Provincial Episcopal Visitor (a flying Bishop). That has now been abolished by the latest moves by Synod and little, or no provision is now available to those who for theological and scriptural reason are unable to accept women’s ministry as priests. Some fairly minor, and totally useless, provision will be made by a Code of Practice. Not having the force of law, the Code of Practice will be at the discretion of each Diocesan Bishop, some of whom will be women.
The defeat of the amendment was by means of a procedural device whereby a request was made to vote in Houses. To be successful a proposal or amendment must be passed in each House. So, although the overall total in favour was 216 with 191 against and 9 abstentions, because it was in Houses it failed in the House of Clergy.
One of the speakers in yesterday’s debate at General Synod told us that Catholic and Conservative Evangelicals need have no fear for the future as it was a matter of “grace” that each Bishop would make a suitable arrangement. Really? I don’t think so. What arrangements may be made will be of minor import of that I have no doubt and will not be satisfactory for those people who remain in the Church of England. But there is an answer!
This morning I had the privilege of presiding at the Solemn Mass at S. Barnabas, Woodford, a three resolution Forward in Faith Parish. I reassured those who were dismayed by the vote yesterday, that as the door of the Church of England was closing to us, another was opening. What we must do is place our trust in God who would never desert his faithful people and who will go before us to lead us.
The door that is opening is the door of the Ordinariate. We don’t know all the details yet but one thing is perfectly clear, the church of our birth is showing us the door. We stand in the way of their liberalising ambitions. I forecast that before long the C of E will marry gays, have practising homosexuals, male and female, as Bishops and will water down the faith so much that it will no longer be recognisable as the apostolic faith we Catholics profess.