Tuesday, 29 April 2008

St Catherine of Siena OP

Today is the feast day of St Catherine of Siena, Virgin of the Order of Preachers and the first woman, together with St Teresa of Avila, to be declared Doctor of the Church. Catherine was a mystic, a philanthropist and a reformer of the Church. Her intimacy with our Lord enabled her to achieve what seemed to be unachievable, even convincing the Roman Pontiffs to leave Avignon and return to the See of Rome. You can read more about this great saint here:http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03447a.htm
I always loved reading her Dialogues, and if you have never read them I heartily recommend them.

I was amused to see that it was on the eve of the day of this great saint that the Manchester report was published. The Manchester report was written to help the House of Bishops of the Church of England and its General Synod to reflect on the implications of consecrating women as bishops. The report is a fair reflection of the current situation and those who drafted this report and their chairman, the Bishop of Manchester, deserve commendation and thanks. One might say that there is nothing new in this report but it is important to have the debates and options that were in circulation for some time all written down in a balanced way in one place. For myself I can see that the structural solution is the only way forward for those like me who can not accept this departure and innovation of admitting women to Holy Orders. My prayers and hopes are that those entrusted with my future in the Church of England can see this too. I also hope that a solution can be found speedily, having an uncertain future, both as Priest and as head of my family, is neither helpful nor right.
I have been following what newspapers and commentators are saying about this report. I was amazed that some, who ought to know better, call those of us who are faithful to the teaching of the Church as a minority. It seems, for these persons, that the Church of England is the only Church of Christ. In the declaration of Assent we are assured that the Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. If we really believe this then it stands that it is the innovators, those marrying the spirit of this passing age, that are in a significant minority. The whole Church, East and West, is telling them to stop, but it seems that they know better. However, I am confident. As we approach the great day of Pentecost I ask the Holy Spirit to keep us in His light, come what may the gates of hell shall not prevail, and I am sure that for me and those like me there will be a place in the Church of God, hopefully also in the Church of England which I dearly love.
St Catherine of Siena, pray for us!

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