While I was away, however, Paul Helm wrote a (depressingly) perceptive piece on the immediate future of the Church of England. So in the absence of any posts by myself, I suggest you read this:
[...] The Church of England is these days vestigially Erastian. She no longer has to please the king, but she still has to please Parliament when legislation affecting that church is required in order to legalise any proposed changes. A generation or so ago the Church could count on the membership of the Commons having a soft centre of loyal Anglicans, but this has largely disappeared. Furthermore, out in the constituencies there is nothing that can be identified as ‘The Church of England vote’. In political terms, there is nothing to be gained by siding with ‘the traditionalists’. Given its present make up, Parliament is not going to tolerate what it sees as the marginalisation or women in the Church of England, whatever the theological arguments. And similarly with gay bishops or archbishops. Sooner or later , probably sooner, there will an openly homosexual bishop. Over the issue of women bishops, it is not beyond the wit of man to devise another set of compromises aimed at easing the consciences of the ‘traditionalists’, which would succeed in getting through Convocation. But in ensuring the success of such a compromise, no amount of fulmination in the name of the Apostle Paul is going to count. Eventually, the cliffhanger will be decided by the operation ofthe secular ratchet. The changes will be made in one direction only. There won’t be any more re-runs, and no more compromises.
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