Monday, 29 December 2008

Once more: A Code of Practice will not do!

People far better than me will go in the detail of this discriminatory and confused documents, which you can find here. Although the temptation for me is to go paragraph by paragraph I will not bore people to death, and this is not the place to do so, but some dangerous propositions I have to mention.
The Code of Practice tells us that every five years a PCC of a petitioning parish will revisit their decision to be placed under a complementary bishop who is given authority by the diocesan to act as his/her commissary for that Parish. So if for argument’s sake my Parish next week will have to revisit its original decision and because of some reason or other the PCC rescinds the decision, then the diocesan will be only too glad to make my family and me homeless. And if the five year clock starts to tick today, that means, that my family and I are living in the uncertainty that within five years we may be forced out of our house, parish, schools and town as this family can not accept the ministry of those who do not uphold the Faith Catholic.
While this rule applies to those parishes who at some stage have petitioned, non-petitioning parishes are not asked to review their decision every five years. Is this because we are second class citizens of the CofE suffered as we are awkward and the wider Church lives in the hope that within five year periods we shall see the light and, like them, give up the faith once delivered to the saints? Why is one rule applied for some and another for others when both are equally loyal Anglicans? Or do they say that without meaning it?
It is a thing upheld by all that the doctrine of the CofE is received by it and not made by it as the CofE is part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. This is true for its priesthood, or so we were led to believe anyway. This is now changing as the CofE is wanting, through this code, to impose on me and the many like me that women can be bishops and priests not only legally but also truly (do they mean sacramentally, and if so why not say so?). We know that while theology in the Church has been proposed by the reflection of theologians and proclaimed as statements of faith by bishops if what was proposed squared with the rule of Faith, in the CofE theology is made by lawyers and assented to by bishops meekly kneeling upon their knees. But some of us will not sell our souls or kneel in front of bullying coming from General Synod or any other human authority. A woman can not be a priest or a bishop – end of story. I can never accept that a woman is a priest or bishop because the Church does not believe it, and General Synod is NOT the Church and is acting “ultra vires” when it claims to take in its hands decisions which are not for it to take. It is scary when General Synod contemplates to force its will and tell us what to believe – this is sinful, this body is not the infallible depositary of Faith. I also think it sinful that General Synod is trying to create pockets within the Church of safe havens against women in Holy Orders. I am not against the ordination of women because they are women but because women can not be part of Holy Orders. Humanity is experienced in gender, equality within diversity; different roles create complimentarity, beauty and order. I can not be part of a petitioning parish, but part of a parish. I can not promise obedience and loyalty to someone who is not a bishop or from a bishop who receives authority from a person who claims episcopacy but does not have it. I want a bishop and promise canonical obedience only to one bishop and not two – there is one Christ and therefore in any local Church there must be one bishop who all in that diocese are in full communion with – otherwise let us be honest and say that the CofE has become Presbyterian or Methodist or whatever. If we are such an insignificant minority why is General Synod afraid of allowing us to have an equal place in the Church and a situation were we can thrive and not just be patronised and dealt with? Or do my worse fears sound true: does General Synod really wants to hurry me and so many others out? This is what this Code will do – and this is why a Code of Practice will NOT do!

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