Saturday, 18 July 2009

A possible joint statement from the CofE?

OK, could the various bodies and personalities in the Traditionalist wing of the Church of England sign up to something like this?

1. We affirm our unity in the tradition of the Church of England expressed in Article XX, that Scripture is “God’s Word written”, that it is “not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written”, that it may not “so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another”, that “the Church be a witness and keeper of holy Writ” and that the Church “ought not to decree any thing against the same”.

2. We regret that the developing attitudes, decisions and actions of The Episcopal Church make it impossible for us to accept that it shares the same commitment to this tradition. On the contrary, they have stretched the fabric of the Anglican Communion to breaking point.

3. We believe it is time for decisive and united action to signal to The Episcopal Church that it can no longer depend on continuing fellowship with those within the Communion who continue in this tradition.

4. We therefore recognize the Anglican Church in North America as an inheritor of the Anglican tradition in the geographical area it shares with The Episcopal Church.

5. We call for a speedy conclusion to the Covenant process, but we believe that The Episcopal Church is already outside the framework of the Covenant and desire that the final form of the Covenant take account of this.

6. We commit ourselves to working together to ensure that the Church of England in the British Isles does not follow in the footsteps of The Episcopal Church in the United States and elsewhere.

When posting your comments please give a full name and location. Comments without this information may be deleted.


  1. "On the contrary, they have stretched the fabric of the Anglican Communion to breaking point."

    Reword: "On the contrary, they have broken fellowship with the Anglican Communion by repudiating the clear will of the Lambeth Bishops and the Primates in a matter of grave importance to Anglican unity and identity."

    Mark B.

  2. Although I'm not convinced as to the effectiveness of the strategy being taken by the Commmunion Partner bishops, it does seem as if Fulcrum is most naturally drawn to them, rather than ACNA. Paragraph 4 does call ACNA "an inheritor" rather than "the inheritor" so CP bishops aren't excluded, but would it make sense to mention them explicitly?

    (Mind, we still need to work out what to do with those who signed the Anaheim Statement whilst also voting for D025 and C056 - a rather odd position!)

    Otherwise- it would be so great if something like this could emerge ASAP. I am quite concerned that Rowan might take KJS and Bonnie Anderson at their word and decide that they are still committed to the Anglican Communion.

    Tim Vasby-Burnie
    Stone, Staffordshire

  3. I would also think that to get important people like Bishop N.T. Wright to sign up to this it is probably necessary to tone down the reference to ACNA. Apart from that it looks good to me.

  4. Mark B, I think a slight problem I have with your suggestion is that, whilst true, it makes too much of the Bishops and the Primates. This is not to disrespect them, but we must respect the Church as a whole, and its beliefs. I think the language of 'torn fabric' has also been used in facing this ongoing problem, so for the time being I'll stick with that.

    Tim, the difficulty I have with what to say about the minority of orthodox in TEC is that it is the totality of TEC which is the problem. I find it difficult to know what to say about them. On the other hand, to recognize ACNA in an explicit way is to discipline TEC.

    Peter, the same point to Tim also applies, I think, to your comments about Tom Wright. For all I know, he does support ACNA. However, now is not the time for being picky. To recognize ACNA would itself be an important statement to TEC, and as has been noted, this statement does not go as far as 'unrecognizing' TEC in its entirety, since it does contain some good people.

  5. I would not be in a hurry to declare the ACNA “an inheritor of the Anglican tradition in the geographic space that The Episcopal Church shares."

    First, the ACNA represents only one segment of “orthodox Anglicans” in North America—those Anglo-Catholic and charismatic and evangelical Anglicans who are willing to go along with its particular Anglo-Catholic view of the first seven Ecumenical Councils, the historic episcopate, the Anglican formularies, apostolic succession, ordination, and the sacraments.

    Second, the ACNA constitution and canons make no room for conservative evangelicals who subscribe to the doctrinal views that have historically distinguished classical evangelical Anglicanism. They do not meet the ACNA definition of “orthodox Anglican.” In order to become ACNA members, form an ACNA judicatory, be ordained in the ACNA, minister in the ACNA, or become a bishop in the ACNA, they must relinquish or compromise their evangelical and reformed principles.

    Third, the ACNA canons require entities such as the Anglican Church League, the Church of England Evangelical Council, the Church of Ireland Evangelical Fellowship, Church Society, evangelical branches of the Fellowship of Confession Anglicans, and Reform to “subscribe without reservation” to its particular Anglo-Catholic view of the first seven Ecumenical Councils, the historic episcopate, and the Anglican formularies.

    Fourth, the ACNA affirmation of the GAFCON Statement and the Jerusalem Declaration were removed from the Fundamental Declarations in Article I of the ACNA Constitution and placed in its Preface. The explanation that several ACNA leaders gave Stephen Noll for this move was that the views expressed in the Fundamental Declarations were more ancient than those expressed in the Jerusalem Declaration. The positions that the Fundamental Declarations take on the seven Ecumenical Councils, the historic episcopate, and the Anglican formularies stand in sharp contrast to those of the Jerusalem Declarations. For example, the ACNA position on the Thirty-Nine Articles is basically that of Tract 90.

    For a more detailed description of a number of major problem areas in the ACNA, its governance, its constitution and canons I recommend my most recent article, “Sizing Up the ACNA Constitution and Canons” and the other articles posted on the Heritage Anglican Network. They are on the Internet at:

    Your brother in Christ,

    Robin G. Jordan,
    Murray, Kentucky USA

  6. Robin, thanks for that. These are important points. The question is, do they take the ACNA outside Anglicanism? If they do, then neither ACNA nor TEC could surely be regarded as Anglican, and there is not 'constitutional' Anglican presence in the USA.

    I note your suggestions for an alternative approach within ACNA. Might it not, however, be advisable to recognize ACNA and do the tidying up later?

    I think it is going to be impossible to leave ACNA out in the cold and have a coherent strategy towards North America. But I will think on this!

  7. On a much more minor point... I'm not clear who you're addressing in point 6 with that phrase "the Church of England in the British Isles". Perhaps by this you are meaning "the Church of England, except the Diocese in Europe".

    Or is it meant to mean all the Anglican Christians in the British Isles (but if so this wording will not work for those in the Church of Ireland, the Church in Wales, or the Scottish Episcopal Church.)

    Richard Huss
    Solihull, England (but baptized and confirmed in the Church of Ireland)

  8. Richard, I think your wording is better (Anglican Church in the British Isles).

  9. This is a marvelous suggestion. You have no idea what an encouragement such a statement would be to traditionalists in the US, especially to folks in places like South Carolina that seem to be on the brink of pulling out of TEC.

    Rev. R.W. Foster
    Chaplain, St.Vincent's Cathedral School
    Bedford, Texas
    Diocese of Fort Worth, ACNA

  10. Why not recognize those dioceses that are capable of signing on to the three moratoria and sign the Covenant [if it ever gets here and is meaningful] as those dioceses with which the COE is in communion.

    Although I don't agree with Robin Jordan's theology -- I think he's closer to Reform or Sydney Anglicanism -- it's certainly true that for numerous orthodox Anglicans in the dioceses of Dallas, South Carolina, Albany, etc, etc, and in parishes all over TEC, [as well as those of Robin Jordan's theology] the ACNA is a non-starter theologically, ecclesially, canonically, and structurally, and not a possibility for membership, although certainly it is the right vehicle for Anglicanism for some former Episcopalians.

    That is certainly true for me and in fulfillment of your commenting requirements, I am . . .

    Sarah Hey
    Diocese of Upper South Carolina
    Christ Church, Greenville

    I have no problem with the COE recognizing ACNA, by the way.

    But as I've been saying for some years now, ultimately that will mean three groups of Anglicans in the US: ACNA, angry radical revisionist TEC, and Covenant TEC.

  11. John, this is a great idea.
    Why don't you e-mail it round to the various leaders you mention? You probably have more contacts than I do.
    I have just posted a comment on Fulcrum drawing attention to it (though it takes a while sometimes before posts get cleared and put up on their site).
    Please pursue this.
    David Baker

  12. Under the provisions of the ACNA Constitution and Canons very few if any of the English Reformers both in the Edwardian and Elizabethan periods would be recognized as holding orthodox Anglican views. The ACNA Constitution and Canons make no room for conservative evangelicals and classical evangelical Anglicanism in the “new province.” The only form of “evangelicalism” that they permit is one that is willing to go along with the Anglo-Catholic position on a number of key issues that have historically divided Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals. In their book The Thirty-Nine Articles: Their Place and Use Today J. Packer and Roger Beckwith describe the Articles as setting the limits of Anglican comprehensiveness. The ACNA Constitution and Canons exclude from the "new province" those who are well within the limits of the comprehensiveness that the Articles set. At the same time the constitution's particular interpretation of the Articles permits the inclusion of those who are outside the limits of that comprehensiveness. Is this within Anglicanism?

    The Governance Task Force and the Provincial Council has not given any indication of being open to “tidying up later.” Indeed they showed great reluctance to make any changes in the constitution and canons before their ratification except where an oversight on their behalf might have prevented them from putting into place the ecclesiastical structure they were seeking to establish or the Provincial Council or the College of Bishops wanted a change. The Governance Task Force, when it was drawn to their attention that the constitution and canons were unnecessarily partisan in their doctrinal views, denied any partisanship. When this issue was raised in relation to the third declaration in the Fundamental Declarations in Article I of the Constitution at the Provincial Council meeting on the Sunday before the inaugural Provincial Assembly, the Anglo-Catholic members objected to any substantive change. During the ratification sessions of the Provincial Assembly all proposals to return a section of an article of the constitution, an article, a section of a canon or a canon for revision were voted down. The only amendments that were passed were proposed by the Governance Task Force and had been prepared beforehand. The ACNA does not permit amendments from the floor or private members’ motions.

    Having obtained ratification of the ACNA Constitution and Canons, the ACNA leadership has very little if any incentive or motivation to make changes in the two documents. The prospect of the documents not receiving the assent of the Provincial Assembly prompted them to make a few changes before the inaugural Provincial Assembly.

    In the ACNA there is already a constituency that regards the ACNA Constitution and Canons as sacrosanct and untouchable. Any criticism of these foundational documents is taboo. Any one who draws attention to the deficiencies of the two documents is viewed as attacking the ACNA and even doing the work of the devil. Archbishop Duncan to some extent encouraged the latter view in his opening address at the inaugural Provincial Assembly.

    If the Church of England recognizes the ACNA, its recognition of the ACNA should not be unqualified. The statement of recognition should, if at all possible, convey to the ACNA and its leadership that those recognizing the ACNA do have concerns about a number of developments occurring in the ACNA, e.g., the lack a genuine comprehensiveness. An unqualified recognition would be used to attack those seeking to change the ACNA Constitution and Canons. It would be thrown in their face that the Church of England is satisfied with the ACNA as it is. The GAFCON primates’ recognition of the ACNA has been used this way. It would also be cited as an endorsement of the particular form of Anglicanism embodied in the ACNA Constitution and Canons.

    Robin G. Jordan
    Murray, Kentucky USA

  13. I wonder if, in the light of possible anxieties about the foundation of ACNA, it might be acceptable to say something like, "Will engage fully with ACNA ... as an inheritor"?

    Or is this saying too little?

  14. John,

    Would we be having all these discussions if the church (be it CofE or TEC) had been in business of managing growth instead of decline? We have got so used to the idea of numerical decline that we rather assume it is going to carry on and, like many another organisation which finds itself declining, have started to develop factions and 'blame-games'.

    Thirty years and more of radical and unscriptural theology has not led TEC into growth, quite the opposite, and it is clear that it is never going to. It's also becoming clear that the CofE is not (apart from one or two hotspots) growing either.

    I hear what Robin is saying about some of the detail of the CANA structure, but I'm rather inclined to the Gamaliel principle here - 'if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourself fighting against God.' (Acts 6:39)

    If, therefore, ACNA can survive and flourish, we can therefore behave as true Anglicans and brush our minor differences under the carpet, rather in the way that Richard Chartres is delighted to have Nicky Gumbel in his diocese.

    Richard Brown
    Westcliff on Sea

  15. In the ACNA, as in TEC, one hears the same claim—God is doing a “new thing.” Each side claims that the Holy Spirit is behind what they are doing. Yet what each side is doing is not producing what the Bible tells us we should expect from the work of the Holy Spirit. On the TEC side it is not producing true godliness. On the ACNA it is not producing true unity. I do not doubt that the Holy Spirit is operative in some way but I sense that the Holy Spirit is not operative in the way that each side believes. After God has told us in his Word that his ways are not our ways. I see the works of the flesh in great evidence on both sides. But do not see a whole lot of the fruit of the Spirit. One thing that is very clear in the Bible is that God is the owner of the vineyard. It is he who sends workers into the vineyard. He hires them and he pays them. He determines what is planted in the vineyard and how it is tended. The fruit the vineyard yields is his. In both the ACNA and TEC I encounter the same attitude. The vineyard is ours. We are the ones to determine who labors in the vineyard with us. We are the ones to determine what is planted and how it is tended. Implicit is the view that the fruit the vineyard yields is also ours. Forgotten or ignored is the truth that the vineyard is God’s and God’s alone. We are a part of the vines in the vineyard as well as workers in the vineyard. As well as to do the work which God assigns to us, we are also called to abide in the “mother vine,” Christ himself, and to bear much fruit for the glory of God. In ancient vineyards all the plants grew from one "mother vine." As the vine dresser God can be expected to prune us quite drastically, cutting away all excess leaves and tendrils that will prevent us from bearing fruit.

    Your brother in Christ,

    Robin G. Jordan
    Murray, Kentucky USA

  16. The reason I have to keep posting as anonymous on this blog is that if you select 'Name/URL', the useful little box that allows you to type your name doesn't, or at the most one letter. Is there a technical problem of some sort?

    To revert to Robin's comment... There is, as he says, very little evidence of the Holy Spirit's work on either side here, despite much appeal and confident assurance that He is at work. Paul's useful list of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5 is preceded by a list of the opposite - 'what is contrary to the Spirit'. While I would like ACNA to succeed, it will be instructive to judge by these two lists whether the Holy Spirit is indeed at work as time unfolds.

    Richard Brown,
    Westcliff on Sea

  17. Ideally I would like to see in any statement of recognition of the ACNA a strong affirmation of the Reformation formularies, conservative evangelicals, and classical evangelical Anglicanism and a call for greater comprehensiveness in the ACNA, reminding the ACNA of the claim of its leadership that the ACNA, unlike The Episcopal Church, is “a Church that is truly evangelical, truly catholic, and truly pentecostal.”

    I would also like to see a strong affirmation of the legacy of synodical exercise of episcopal authority, diocesan autonomy, and lay involvement in the governance of the church at all levels and the nomination and election of the bishops of the church, including the primate, which previous generations of orthodox North American Anglicans bequeathed to their posterity and a questioning of the ACNA and its leadership for discarding a substantial portion of this heritage instead of reforming it where it needed reforming.

    The ACNA constitution and canons accord a higher value or superior position to Anglo-Catholicism and mandates conformity to that particular theological stream in Anglicanism. They abandon centuries of hard won lay involvement in church governance and the nomination and election of church leaders and greatly weaken the autonomy of the diocese at a time when the Communion Partner bishops are fighting to preserve diocesan autonomy in TEC. They also centralize authority in a way reminiscent of the structure and governance of the Communist Party of the Soviet era.

    The concerns that I have expressed in this post are the concerns of a number ACNA members too. I have been consult with a number of groups in the ACNA relating to proposed changes to the ACNA constitution and canons. ACNA members who are unhappy with developments in the ACNA are reluctant to speak out due to the hostile response from their fellow ACNA members to anything perceived as critical of the ACNA. Their silence unfortunately is interpreted as acceptance of the status quo. I serve as a sort of de facto spokesman for these members. I am not in the ACNA so those upset with my observations cannot take the kind of retalitory actions against me that they might against someone in the ACNA.

  18. Robin,

    I'm not sure what it is you are objecting to in the formulation of the ACNA Canons. They are not a riveting read, but they are in the public domain, and they would appear to be a statement of the Church as I understand it to be.

    I don't think there's anything here which a Church of England member would disagree with as a current statement of practice. Some might object that a Bishop has to be male, and over the age of 35, but that's what the C of E does at the moment. However, on this side of the Pond, we are rather less obsessed with Canons than you are - largely because we haven't needed them except in emergencies.

    I am also a fully-paid up evangelical, like yourself, but, unless I go Baptist or Pente or non-denom, I have to rub shoulders with those who have entirely different views of ritual and the nature of the priesthood. In England, it has been this way for a hundred and fifty years, and we don't resort to the minutiae of Canon Law - we get along.

    One of the great weaknesses of TEC, it seems to me, is the insane desire to resolve disputes in civil courts - a practice roundly and rightly condemned in 1 Corinthians 6. Over here, we can't understand these things, and have a serious dread that one day the C of E will go down this sort of path.

    If ACNA flourishes and becomes the de facto Episcopal church while TEC disappears down the plughole, you will all get along fine. It's only declining organisations who feel the need to consult the small print and start blaming others.

    Richard Brown
    Westcliff on Sea

  19. Richard, as an evangelical do you believe in the doctrine of tactual (or tactile) succession)? Do you believe that confirmation and ordination are sacraments, that the sacraments operate automatically and all who are baptized are regenerate? All of the doctrines if they are not explicitly stated in the ACNA canons are implied.

    As one of the groups with whom I have been working draws to the attention of the Governance Task Force in a report of its observations and recommendations that it prepared for that body, the ACNA constitution "privileges" Anglo-Catholicism and "mandates conformity to that particular theological stream in Anglicanism." This group is composed of non-evenagelicals as well as evangelicals. They all share common commitment to greater comprehensiveness in the ACNA.

    The Fundamental Declarations in the ACNA constitution reflect a decided Anglo-Catholic view of the historic episcopate and Anglican formularies and requires acceptance of that view as a condition of membership in the ACNA. Anglicans who do not accept that view are by the ACNA definition of "orthodox Anglican" not "orthodox." One not only cannot become a member of the ACNA, one also cannot form a diocese in the ACNA, be ordained or licensed as a minister in the ACNA, or be elected as bishop of ACNA. Only "entities" that "subscribe without reservation" to the Fundamental Declarations may become ministry partners with the ACNA. As an evangelical, this does not trouble you?

    In North America the canons have been used against evangelicals and other orthodox Anglicans to deprive them of their license, to depose them, to seize the property of their churches. TEC just changed its canons to make it easier to remove orthodox clergy.

    Most of the people who comprise the ACNA are former Episcopalians and they continue to act like Episcoplians. There is an old saying that you can take the boy out of the country but you cannot take the country out of the boy. The same can be said of former Episcopalians. You can take them out of the Episcopal Church but you cannot take the Episcopal Church out of them.

    I repeatedly run into members of the ACNA on the Internet who tell me that the ACNA has no place for conservative evangelicals; it is a church for Anglo-Catholics and other Anglicans who can go along with Anglo-Catholic views on the historic episcopate, the Anglican formularies, apostolic succession, and so on. I also run into ACNA members and sympathizers who want to make the ACNA even more Anglo-Catholic, turn it into an "Anglo-Catholic enclave" like Forward in Faith.

    I would strongly caution approaching the ACNA constitution and canons with an English attitude toward canons. You are dealing with a different environment in North America.It is not a question of whether conservative evangelicals like myself are willing to rub shoulders with Anglo-Catholics but whether Anglo-Catholics are willing to rub shoulders with us. Some Anglo-Catholics are, but on their terms. Others are not.

  20. Richard, I would also add that one of the reasons that TEC got into the problems that it has gotten is that not enough attention was paid to doctrine. Some of the doctrinal views that the ACNA constitution and canons mandates could be easily accepted by Liberals as they could by Anglo-Catholics.

  21. Richard,

    Some further thoughts.

    North American Anglicanism has 225-year-tradition of a diocesan convention (synod) of clergy and lay delegates sharing the governance of the diocese with the diocesan bishop. The Episcopal Church began as a federation of independent dioceses, each diocese comprising a federation of independent parishes. The diocesan convention nominated and elected the diocesan bishop and any auxiliary or suffragan bishops and the delegates to the General Convention. The latter consisted of a House of Bishops comprised of all the diocesan and auxiliary bishops of the Episcopal Church and a House of Deputies consisting of clergy and lay delegates from each diocese. The senior most bishop by date of consecration acted as presiding bishop of the General Convention and the House of Bishops. The House of Deputies elected its own president. While the General Convention was the highest governing body of the Episcopal Church, the dioceses retained considerable autonomy.

    What has happened in recent years is the increased centralization of authority in the Episcopal Church with more power being concentrated in the hands of the Presiding Bishop and the Executive Council. The General Synod just rejected a scheme for the greater centralization of authority in the Church of England. Unlike the Church of England, the ACNA has not bucked this tendency toward centralization of authority. It has embraced it. It has also abandoned a substantial part of the heritage of North American Anglicanism. The real power in the ACNA is in the hands of Archbishop Bob Duncan and a twelve-member Executive Committee, which also acts as the corporate Board of Directors of the ACNA. At the Provincial Assembly it was announced that the Executive Committee would be appointing the delegates to the next Provincial Council although the ACNA constitution and canons do not make provision for such appointments. According the constitution the Provincial Council is the highest governing body of the ACNA. However, the Archbishop and the Executive Committee control its agenda. The Provincial Council consists of bishops and clerical and lay delegates “selected” by the dioceses of the ACNA. The constitution and canons do not require a diocese to establish a diocesan convention or synod to counterbalance the authority of the bishop of the diocese. A bishop may govern his diocese with the advise of a standing committee or its equivalent appointed by the bishop for that purpose. Under the provisions of the constitution and canons the bishop of the diocese may appoint the delegation to the Provincial Council from his diocese. Dioceses may also operate under the provisions of the constitution and canons of their parent Provinces. For example, the AMiA operates under the constitution and canons of the Anglican Church of Rwanda. A primatial vicar appointed by the Rwandan Primate and House of Bishops governs the AMiA with the assistance of a Council of Missionary Bishops which is also appointed by the Rwandan Primate and House of Bishops. The AMiA is not divided into dioceses. There is no such thing as a diocesan convention or synod or its equivalent in the AMiA or a jurisdiction-wide convention or synod. The AMiA is divided into “clusters” solely for the purpose of representation in the Provincial Assembly. The primatial vicar may appoint the delegation to the Provincial Assembly from each “cluster” or he may delegate the appointments to someone else. The AMiA is the largest jurisdiction within the ACNA. (Continued below.)

  22. (Continued from above) The Provincial Assembly has no real power. It may either ratify or return to the Provincial Council without any recommendation constitutional amendments and canons submitted to it for ratification. This is the extent of its power.

    The College of Bishops elects the Archbishop, a significant departure from the practice of North American Anglicanism in which the clergy and laity have played a substantial role in the nomination and election of the chief bishop of the church, as well as the bishops.

    A concomitant development to the growing centralization of authority has been increased loss of diocesan autonomy. While the constitution appears at first glance to preserve diocesan autonomy, it actually opens the way for the reduction of that autonomy. The canons takes powers and responsibilities that have historically been the diocese’ in North America and give them to the “province.” They greatly weaken the longstanding tradition of dioceses electing their own bishops. They establish as the norm the election of the bishops of new dioceses by the College of Bishops and commend this mode of election to those judicatories that still elect their own bishops. A diocese may nominate up to three candidates for bishop but the College of Bishops is not juridically bound to elect any of the diocese’s candidates. The canons are silent on what happens if the College of Bishops rejects the diocese’s first slate of candidates. They are also silent on how the diocese is to nominate the candidates. An outgoing bishop could nominate his successor.

    Other provisions in the canons give what may be unprecedented authority to the Archbishop and authorize the College of Bishops to appoint “bishops for special missions” in consultation with the Executive Committee. These bishops are accountable only to the College of Bishops. They also authorize the Archbishop to appoint boards of inquiry to investigate suspicions of rumors being circulated about members of the ACNA episcopal hierarchy. The ACNA constitution and canons is devoid of much needed checks and balances and safeguards.

    Add to this mix that the ACNA constitutions and canons favor a particular theological stream in orthodox Anglicanism—Anglo-Catholicism, and that various theological groupings in North American Anglicanism have displayed a proclivity to aggressively impose their beliefs and practices upon others—Anglo-Catholics in the nineteenth century and Liberals in the twentieth century, rather than adopt a laissez faire policy, and you have a train wreck waiting to happen. You also do not have an environment that is friendly to conservative evangelicals or classical evangelical Anglicanism or, as far as that goes, the gospel.

    Robin G. Jordan,
    Murray, Kentucky USA

  23. Not to be a wet rag, but it is hard to hear ACNA being described as "Orthodox" and "Catholic"; when it fills it's ranks with priestesses, thereby voiding it's claims to be either or both.