Wednesday, 18 June 2008

I (well actually, he) told you so: On the inevitability of the ‘Single Clause’ option

(Ed: Readers re-directed here from the Fulcrum website may have read 'Liddon's' statement that Bp Pete Broadbent's claim regarding "solemn and binding promises" given to objectors to women's ordination in the 1990s is, in his [or her?] words, "a terminological inexactitude". The same is alleged in one of the comments below. People need to read my replies to the comment quoting the relevant sections of the Manchester Report to see that such assurances were indeed given.)

Via another website, I came across this article written by Nigel Atkinson and published in Churchman in 2001.In it, he pointed out how the ordination of women would inevitably lead not only to the consecration of women bishops but to the effective exclusion from the Church of England of those who did not accept them.

I take a different attitude to Nigel on the issue of whether women can be presbyters, in the sense that they can be recognised as ‘elders’ in the congregation. Indeed, I regard the PCC as ‘elders’ in this sense. Moreover, I do not believe that the acceptance of women in the Anglican priesthood, with its imposition of congregational authority, is always the result of anti-Scriptural thinking. Although I do believe it is unscriptural, I recognise there are those who are persuaded Scripture does not forbid it, though I find their exegesis unconvincing.

But the ordination of women took place within an institution and an atmosphere that was, and is, often decidedly indifferent to Scripture (contrary, as Atkinson points out, to the foundational principles of Anglicanism). As a result, the authority of Scripture was diminished overall by the decision. And therefore what Atkinson warned against is coming to pass, despite there being supporters of women’s ordination within the Church who personally remain faithful on this issue.

Even for many of them, however, and certainly for those who believe that Scripture can and must be overridden at times, women’s ordination is, as Atkinson observes, “a first order issue” of justice, “similar to the abolition of slavery.” And as he adds, “for those who persist in advocating slavery there is no other recourse apart from sending in the gunboats once and for all.”

Hence driving out opposition to (and, if necessary, the opponents of) women’s ordination is nothing short of a moral crusade.

That much is becoming clear as events unfold and the House of Bishops spearheads a move to abolish the legal provisions set up in 1993. Atkinson argues, however, that it was never really intended that these should be permanent. On the contrary,

... the framers of the legislation realised that to have a continuation of bishops would also mean a continuation of priests and to have a continuation of priests would also mean to have a continuation of parishes. [Thus] the Synods intention never to have a continuation of orthodox bishops contradicted the doctrine of theological reception the very notion on which the legislation itself was predicated.

Why, then, did the General Synod at the time, under the guidance of the bishops, put such safeguards in place? Atkinson refers to the report of the Synod’s Revisions Committee, GS 830 Y, which concluded that “the necessary majority in [the legislations] favour would indicate that a common mind on the issue had in fact been achieved within the Church of England,” and therefore that all the safeguards intended to achieve was to “give opponents an opportunity to plan their future, or in other words, their exit-strategy.

Thus he quotes a member of that committee who, in presenting the legislation in 1989, said,

We must never lose sight of the basic fact that the various safeguards are unusual and exceptional. They are exceptional provisions given by the majority to the minority with very strong views [...] so that the minority may have space to assess the reality of the ordination of women as it takes place in our provinces. However, because the provisions are exceptional they must in the end be seen as temporary. [Emphasis added]

Thus, almost eight years ago, Atkinson warned that “dissent on this issue will not be tolerated in the long run.” And as evidence of this, he pointed to overseas experience, just as the recent petition from women clergy also pointed overseas to argue precisely for the removal of existing provisions, in line with his predictions:

We should be humble and wise enough to learn from the experience of those churches overseas who have experimented with female presbyteral ordination and, after a short period of grace extended to the opponents, have very quickly moved to abolish all conscience clauses and to demand full compliance. [Emphasis added]

Reading Atkinson's article today, I find myself embarrassed at the lack of attention I paid to the women’s ordination debate in the early 1990s and the clear signs of what the future would hold for those who remained traditional evangelicals. The only mitigation is that, like many, I thought the provisions the Synod made would be enough, and that they were an indication of future good will. And that is surely not a bad basis for a decision not even to consider leaving. However, in the light of what has happened since and is threatened now, I find the assurance of WATCH and others that continued provision will be made for people like me on the basis of “trustful relationships” leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

Where I feel no personal embarrassment, and can haul on my own ‘Told You So’ tee-shirt, is with Atkinson’s observations about Conservative Evangelicals and Resolution C (remember, this was published seven years ago):

The way forward then is clear. By all means let us argue for an extension of the ministry of the Flying Bishops but let us also as evangelicals begin to start using them. I and my four parishes in Devon all appealed to the Bishop of Exeter to come under the superb and orthodox Episcopal care of the Bishop of Ebbsfleet. And it was just as well we did. For when I left Exeter Diocese, if it had not been for the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, I doubt very much if a Reform type of evangelical would have ever replaced me. I dare say the same is true of others. Should others be brought to glory tonight or in the near future what will happen to their parishes? Again I doubt very much whether the powers that be would welcome Reform evangelicals. In short we need the Flying Bishops in order to protect our parishes. [Emphasis original]

Atkinson also warns against the ‘overseas import’ solution to the problem, to which many Conservatives still look:

To go down any other road is to turn our backs on the Church of England and not to live up to our calling to reform it. For example, if we were to fly in two or three bishops from overseas in order to ordain reform evangelicals one thing is certain: those men so ordained would have to be issued with their letters of orders. As soon as they tried to obtain a parish within the Church of England they would be turned down flat as their letters of orders would betray their irregular ordinations. To go down this route is, in effect, to abandon the Church of England and it is a counsel of despair.

Thus the way ahead is clear:

We must all plan to come under the Flying Bishops by passing Resolution C. Let us give ourselves two years. Let us all work towards securing Flying Bishops for three hundred, four hundred, five hundred Reform parishes by October, 2002.

Yet here we are in 2008, and there are probably no more than ten Reform Resolution C parishes in the entire country. Those who fear a ‘conservative conspiracy’, please take note!

Indeed, at last year’s Reform Conference in London, the question was put to me what good passing Resolution C could possibly achieve. I will let Nigel Atkinson — surely a prophet without honour — have the last word:

What will we have then achieved? We will have formed ourselves into a coherent ecclesial body. We will have our bishops, our clergy, our parishes, our people and our money welded together. From this position we will be on an almost unassailable footing to press for further reform or, should we need to, to press Parliament for a third, non-geographical, province. But we must act quickly. We have a window of opportunity before us now, but it will soon be gone. For in order to create female bishops, which is inevitable, all concessions that have been granted us so far will need to be withdrawn.

Now read my own Why Conservative Evangelicals should pass Resolution C.

Revd John P Richardson
18 June 2008

No comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the policy.


  1. So, you're happy to nail Pete Broadbent's repeated lie that a promise was given to support the objectors in perpetuity? I've been saying that for months now. It was always a temporary arrangement. It is now time to end end it and get shot of the refusers.

  2. Well, Madeline, I first wouldn't publicly call what Pete Broadbent is saying a lie - this is one reason why, incidentally, I would like you to provide a proper location, as per the posting policy. If anyone is going to get sued or blamed, I would rather it was you, not me for posting the remark! If Pete asks me to delete it, I certainly will.

    However, you need to read this, and Pete's position, in the light of statements quoted in the Manchester Report itself, which make it quite clear that the assurances given legal status in 1993 were made 'in perpetuity'.

    There was, I would suggest, a change from what was being said in the early stages of the debate (these things can be only temporary) to what was said in the later stages, (these things must be permanent). If you read Atkinson's article, these assurances were, it would seem, necessary for Parliament to deem the Measure 'expedient' rather than send it back to Synod, as it was entitled to.

    As to getting shot of the refusers, I wonder who will be next once they've been cast into outer darkness (though the Church of England has form in this matter - remember the 'Great Ejection').

  3. If I'm wrong, I'll withdraw and apologise, but I'll want to see absolute evidence that the legislation is stated as being for all time. My memory is that it is not, and in the light of the discussion you've highlighted the legislation will need to have been very specific to take away the sense of its being a temporary measure.

  4. Madelaine, I quote from the Manchester Report, which I think is fairly conclusively on the side of Bishop Broadbent. It is also clear from remarks made to the Parliamentary Committee that the determining limit on these provisions could only be the desire of people to make use of them. (I've added italics and bold to bring out the relevant sections):

    28. First, such an approach would not simply deny any assured provision for those unable to receive the ministry of women bishops but would withdraw the provision that the Church agreed in the early 1990s in relation to women priests. This would be seen as repudiating earlier assurances.

    29. For example, in 1993, Professor McClean explained to the Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament that the General Synod had rejected proposals which would have placed a twenty year limit on the provisions of the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure. He said that this “signalled [the Synod’s] resolve that protection for incumbents and, in particular parishes, should remain in perpetuity for as long as anyone wanted it.”

    30. Similarly the then Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Michael Adie, said, “… the time limit was removed in order to give permanence and continuity to provisions in the Measure so that they can last as long as they need.” Again Professor McClean noted that: “there are no time limits left at all in the Measure, although there were in earlier versions, and we see that the safeguards will be there and in perpetuity or for as long as they are required.”

    31. A similar question was asked of the then Archbishop of Canterbury about what, at the time, was the proposed Act of Synod. In reply to the question about whether it would have a temporary life and cease to operate in some future date, for example when the last of the bishops then in office retired, Archbishop Carey replied: “it is our intention for this to be permanent and we are not thinking of rescinding it.” [...]

    32. It is, of course, perfectly possible to argue that assurances given before women were admitted to the priesthood can properly be revisited in the wholly new context created by the admission of women into the episcopate. Nevertheless, those who had accepted in good faith that the Church of England wished to keep an honoured place for them, notwithstanding their conscientious difficulties over women’s ordination, would feel badly let down. We have no doubt that many would conclude that they could no longer remain within a Church of England that had ceased to be willing to provide any reliable, national provisions for their convictions.

  5. All you have done is shown that in the debate preceding the Measure some said it would be temporary, some said it would not. The Measure itself, as far as I am aware, does not guarantee any such thing. It leaves the matter open. It cannot therefore be said to to give such provision in perpetuity. Therefore, to argue that it does is not consistent with the facts. Only the wording of the measure itself, not opinions expressed in prior debates, can be held to be binding.

  6. Madeline, I'm sorry but you're wrong. The controverted issue regarding what Bp Broadbent has been saying is not the wording of the Measure or the Act of Synod. Rather, as you acknowledge in your first comment, it is what was offered back in 1993 - as you put it, whether "a promise was given to support the objectors in perpetuity".

    What we see clearly is that such assurances, using the language of 'perpetuity' were given, and were in all likelihood necessary for the passage of the Measure through Parliament.

    By contrast, any implication of a temporary nature of provisions in the Measure was rejected by Synod. This fact must also be given due weight to what was being understood at the time, which I think you are ignoring.

    You may argue that an assurance is not a promise as such. Personally I would find this evasive. However, the Bishop of Manchester's Group has taken a view on this, which concurs with the position of Bp Broadbent.

  7. You can take any position you like, but it won't change history. Only that is promised which is enacted. Any Act can be repealed. Pete Broadbent is always argiung for political actuteness. He should be the first to admit that the wording of any Act is the key to its meaning. You quoted this: 'We must never lose sight of the basic fact that the various safeguards are unusual and exceptional. They are exceptional provisions given by the majority to the minority with very strong views [...] so that the minority may have space to assess the reality of the ordination of women as it takes place in our provinces. However, because the provisions are exceptional they must in the end be seen as temporary. [Emphasis added]' as an example of the climate of debate at the time. Many other people were saying the same thing. Many of us believed that the Act of Synod was in place only until such a period of reception was over. Pious expressions of hope, and empty promises were made, but they had and have no force. The words of the Act and the procedures of the Synod are the determining factors. No promise of perpetuity is given in the Act of Synod. It can, and it must be repealed. No promises will be broken, only hopes dashed.

  8. Madeline, as you put it, "empty promises were made".

  9. Quite. These are the vocies of a few individuals, not the voice of the church, so they have and had no force, nor should they have. They are quite different from binding promises made by the Church. For instance. 'I promise you now, John Richardson, that I will make you the sole beneficiary of my will.' Now, wait for me to die and see the words of the will. The same goes for the words of the Act of Synod. BTW. Don't bother going to court on this promise, there's nothing there.

  10. (Chelmsford)

    "We will have formed ourselves into a coherent ecclesial body. We will have our bishops, our clergy, our parishes, our people and our money welded together."

    So, Atkinson is calling for the formation of a separate church, sorry, "ecclesial body", and you are supporting him? Is this not secession from the Church of England? Not another Great Ejection, but a schism for which you (plural) are responsible?

    At least this would be a consistent and responsible position for people like you who are clearly opposed to what the majority of the church stands for (for better or for worse), rather than trying to manipulate the majority into making more and more concessions to you. If the C of E is as bad as you say it is, have the courage to step away from it and be your own "ecclesial body", or find an African or Latin American province which you can work with happily.

  11. Peter, I am constantly amazed at the number of 'liberal' people who keep offering to show me the door out of the Church when I remain loyal to the Anglican formularies and committed to the existing structures (witness my chairing of the Saffron Walden Deanery Growth Task Group).

    As to what Atkinson's proposals about Resolution C mean, you need to read again where he says this: "To go down any other road is to turn our backs on the Church of England and not to live up to our calling to reform it."

    As to why we should do this, he quotes Roger Beckwith at some length: "... the belief and practice of the Church of England hitherto has been that it is not a proper part of the ministry of women that they should be ordained as presbyters. What we need to secure is that this belief and practice of ours remains a permitted and respected option within the Church if England until such time as the Church of England comes to a common, and wise mind on the matter…once more. If this is to be achieved, it will be essential that the rights given to parishes by the Measure [and now by the Act of Synod] be used to the full. We must not plan negatively, just for breathing space till we die or leave the Church of England, but for a permanent future within the Church of England, and indeed for a campaign to bring the whole Church of England, in time, back to its right mind, on this and many other matters. We must plan for nothing less than to rebuild the established Church on its true basis, the catholic and reformed basis of the Elizabethan Settlement. In the interest
    of biblical and historic Christianity in England and the Anglican world, this is what we must plan to do."

    Without subscribing to every detail of what either author is saying, that is nevertheless broadly what I feel I should plan to do also.

  12. Remaining loyal to the structures is what every jobsworth has done since time began. and every jobsworth defines the structures according to his own preferences and his own comfort, always to the discomfort of others and always at the expense of mercy and grace.

  13. RE: "always to the discomfort of others and always at the expense of mercy and grace. . . . "

    A richly ironic and amusing comment from a woman advocating the withdrawal of mercy and grace for a minority within the COE.

    But only the right sort of minorities, I suppose, get "mercy and grace." ; > )

    Sarah Hey

  14. Well John, if you get kicked out (and liberalism is totalitarian in its determination to be comprehensive) you will be welcome to join those of us in nonconformity.

    JF in Herts

  15. Well, Atkinson and Beckwith may want to reform the C of E, just as Luther and Zwingli wanted to reform the mediaeval Catholic church. But just as the Catholic church did not agree to be reformed, so now the majority of the C of E does not want to be reformed (or "Reformed"). And so, just as Luther and Zwingli ended up outside the Catholic church, so will Atkinson and Beckwith whether they intend it or not - unless they simply back down.

    For there was not room for the mediaeval popes, Luther and Zwingli in one church, and similarly there is not room for Atkinson and Beckwith in the same church as the majority of the C of E. They can claim that their separate "coherent ecclesial body" with "our bishops, our clergy, our parishes, our people and our money" is the true reformed C of E and the others are apostate, but formally and legally it will be the majority who retain the name and privileges.

  16. Peter, in reply I have cut and pasted what Bp Pete Broadbent has posted in a cross-linked discussion on the Fulcrum website. It seems to me you are happy to envisage what he proposes as a possible scenario, but I would draw your attention to his last two sentences and then simply ask if you want to say 'Yes it is' to the likes of myself:

    "Those who are trying to suggest that solemn and binding promises were not given at the time of the Act of Synod seem to rest their argument on the fact that nothing was put on the face of the legislation. But a lawyer (I'm not one) would also wish to adduce evidence from the surrounding material, not merely the Measure and Act of Synod themselves.

    I would call into evidence: GS 1074 "Bonds of Peace"; GS Misc 418 "Being in Communion"; the documents supplied to the Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament; the explicit rejection by Synod in 1989 of the proposal for a 20 year sunset clause; the House of Bishops 1993 Manchester Statement. All of these documents would be enough, I submit, to convince any contemporary witness that we meant what we said about a continuing and honoured place for opponents. (Sorry, they can't be referenced on the internet, or I would do so.)

    If we now wish to renege on those undertakings, we should at least give opponents due notice. One way might be to say "in ten years' time there will no longer be a place for opponents in the CofE" - that would at least be honest, and give the catholics time to negotiate a uniate arrangement with Rome and/or [Conservative Evangelicals to negotiate] a continuing Protestant Church. But it would also be a huge impoverishment of the CofE. Is that what people actually want? Or do we feel duty bound to continue to make pastoral provision and to honour what we said in the 1990s?"

  17. and I'm cutting and pasting the knock-down reply to it.

    'due notice of ten years is a long way from being the same as in perpetuity. i accept the climb down from that position, and i'd be very happy to see that deadline made law.

    as for the supporting documents, well, interesting, but balanced by other arguments made at the time that there should be no provision at all, much like the single-claue bill now proposed.

    in the end, the measure and the act are what matter, and no promises are made.'

    As far as I'm concerned, you were promised nothing.

  18. Madeline, I understand where you're coming from. You believe nothing binding was promised in 1993. I don't agree, neither did the compilers of the Manchester Report, but that's what you think and it is quite clear that no further discussion will change that. (Otherwise we will just be repeating "Oh yes they did," "Oh no they didn't.")

    However, that does not mean that nothing should be offered now, does it? If the Church is not bound to keep the provisions of 1993 in place, it is not bound to abandon them. Indeed, it is asked to consider firming them up.

    It has that choice, does it not? And the choice therefore must be based on what is good for the Church. I argued earlier that going for the Single Clause option would hurt the Church. Others believe it would be good for the Church, but I note it is those who I believe would most harm it who are most vocal in wanting the Single Clause option. Don't forget their declared agenda is changing our view of God and total LGBT 'inclusion'. Look to North America for the ecclesiological model and then ask yourself how bisexuals will be 'fully included'.

    I believe the biblical commitment of Conservative Evangelicals, though it opposes the ordination of women, provides a valuable safeguard within the Church against some of these other pressures, and as I have said earlier, if we go, the result will not be peace in a united Church, but simply the beginning of the next round. As Adrian (Pluralist) Worsfold keeps pointing out on the Fulcrum website, Fulcrum will become the new Conservatives. And as can already be seen, there is neither the theological strength among them, nor the political will, to take on the mantle currently worn by Traditionalists and Conservatives.

    Of course, that may be what you want. It is certainly what others want. But I can only warn against it.

  19. 'Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once.'

    I've never believed that the last word is the necessarily the right word, so I'm calling it a day on this one. Let others finish carry on if they wish. I agree with your post that started this. No promises were given. None should be. An inclusive Church now.

  20. Madeline, I'm not sure if you'll be willing to reply to this, but does your 'inclusive church' include, in the sense generally used by proponents, the inclusion of bisexuality, and if so, can you tell me (and others) how it is envisaged this should happen?

  21. Madeline, I think really I'm asking you to elaborate what you mean by calling for an 'inclusive' church.

    We face repeated calls for the Church to be 'inclusive' of LGBT people in the sense of including and endorsing the practical outworking of their sexuality - see the LGCM, Changing Attitude and the recent blessing at St Bartholomews.

    Not everyone means this inclusion when they talk about an 'inclusive church', but that is often what is assumed. So I am wondering first, what you mean by 'inclusive' and secondly, if you mean it to include the practices of bisexual people, just how you believe the Church should endorse and include this.

    Of course, if by inclusive you just mean 'including women clergy' (ie, not inclusive of LGBT sexual practices) then the issue doesn't arise, and I assume you will continue to be a 'defender of the faith' in this regard, even if the Conservatives on the women's ordination follow your instructions and go.

    I hope this makes clear what I was asking.

  22. Ok. I wondered why you said 'bisexual' rather than 'LGBT'. I mean all of the above. And it's simple. First, we start listening to people we diagree with. The church has listened to Augustinian opinions on sexuality for centuries, and it has listened to fundamentalists since they were invented at the beginning of the 20th century. Now it's time to listen to LGBT people. Then, we get some proper understanding of how to read the Bible, which doen't mean tearing out bleeding chunks that seem to support our own prejudices.

  23. OK Madeline, that's what I thought you meant. So to return to my question, how do you envisage the inclusion of bisexuals?

  24. You have not answered John's original question Madeline. Can you tell us how would you expect for example, a "bisexual Christian marriage" to work?

    How would you alter the BCP to take into account the fact that one or either of the partners sees fit to have extra-marital sexual relations occasionally because God made them that way? Would you suggest a tripartite service perhaps? --agreed by all of course - a kind of bisexual polygamy?

    " I take thee to be my lawful wedded husband and thee to be my lawful wedded wife to both have and to hold etc"

    Would these words do?


  25. John, I think you may misunderstand bisexuality. It only means that a person is attracted to both sexes. It doesn't mean that bisexuals have both same and opposite sex relationships at one and the same time or that they alternate relationships, this time with a guy, next one with a gal. Most bisexuals, over time, drift to one or t'other end of the gay/straight spectrum and don't act on their feelings of attraction for the other.

    Interestingly, I've read of research done on gay men who've supposedly been 'healed' of homosexuality, that suggests a high proportion are actually bisexual and that during the gay phase of their lives, same-sex attraction is dominant but either as the result of therapeutic intervention or merely the passage of time, their latent heterosexual orientation becomes dominant.

    Madeline, how's Gussie Fink-Nottle? On the matter of listening to LGBT folk, do you think it's possible to listen long enough to be convinced that they're wrong in the interpretation they seek to bring to certain Bible texts?

  26. Fern, you wrote, "John, I think you may misunderstand bisexuality. It only means that a person is attracted to both sexes."

    And you thought I thought it meant ...?

    The issue with bisexuality for the Church is whether a person must make an ultimate, and exclusive, 'forsaking all others' kind of choice which the marriage covenant has hitherto been considered to require.

    I don't know, but could it be argued that the bisexual person 'forced' to make such a choice is being denied the expression of an aspect of their sexuality? I simply pose the question. Certainly, though, when the House of Bishops considered this in Issues in Human Sexuality, they ruled that bisexual inclinations could only be finally addressed by abstinence, prayer and counselling. (Forgive me, I don't have time right now to look up the exact wording, but will do it later if you or anyone else wants.)

    Incidentally, doesn't your '"healed" homosexual' scenario work the other way, too - that some of the supposed 'gay' men who have been married, fathered children, etc, are really bisexuals who, during the heterosexual phase of their lives have found opposite sex attraction to be dominant?

  27. PS to Fern. Sorry, I should have made it clear regarding bisexuality and choice: I am assuming we still retain for everyone the standard that sex outside marriage is sinful.

    The problem it seems to me that this then poses for 'full inclusion' of the bisexual is that under the present conventions of marriage, at least one side of their sexuality can never be fully expressed.

    That limit is, of course, imposed on all single heterosexuals as well, but as is often pointed out, they do have the possibility of expressing their sexuality at some stage. The bisexual cannot presently share this expectation.

  28. John, I may have misinterpreted your writing but whenever I've read anything of yours that's touched upon sexual orientation and bisexuality, it has always seemed to me you assume those who call themselves bisexual engage in multiple-partner relationships so that, for example, a bisexual woman would have both a lesbian relationship and a relationship with a man at one and the same time. The poster C. Bishop on this thread seems to have made a similar assumption.

    You are quite right - the 'healed' homosexual scenario works both ways. If one imagines sexual orientation to be a line with 100% hetero at one end and 100% same-sex at the other, the majority of people would cluster around these two points but a significant number would be strung out (so to speak) across the line. It's these folk, I suspect, who are both the married guys with 2.4 kids who 'discover' they're gay in their forties and the 'healed' homosexuals Anglican Mainstream is so fond of.

    I'm not a proponent of 'full inclusion' so I can't make their case for them but it does seem to me that a case can be made for 'inclusiveness' on the basis of all persons having to make an "an ultimate, and exclusive, 'forsaking all others' kind of choice" so that the consequent inability of bisexuals to express one part of their sexuality becomes no different from the heterosexual man or woman chafing at the demands of fidelity.

  29. You - and Nigel Atkinson from the past - are describing how GAFCON (lets call it Global Anglicanism) will now arrange its invasions:

    See my own blog:

    Adrian Worsfold
    New Holland

  30. Dear Adrian, I have absolutely no idea what GAFCON is going to decide. Personally, though, I'm not at all interested in 'invasions', partly because the theological basis of the English Reformation, itself rooted in the English constitution, is the rejection of extra-territorial authority in the Church.

    The statement in the Articles that "The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England" is not just a swipe at the Pope, it is a necessary precursor for the existence of a Church of England constituted under the monarch's authority.

    The 'invasion' of foreign bishops would therefore be just that, even if they are Anglican foreign bishops. (This is not the same as the usual arguments against such interventions, which is that the diocese is somehow 'sacrosanct'. The answer to that one in the English context is that it most certainly is not, since the lawful authority of the diocesan to rule his diocese derives from the monarch.)

    For this reason alone, I personally would be very reluctant to see 'invasions' happening. But as I say, no one can at this stage have any certainty about what August will bring.

  31. Chris asked me to post this as he is having problems doing the same.


    I do not assume that all bisexual individuals would be non-monogamous. However if bisexuality was admitted into the church to the same degree of inclusivity that the same-sex lobby demand then it would inevitably lead to pressure for a 'group' form of marriage. See for example