Female Anglican Bishops(Telegraph) - Conservative Anglo-Catholics, your time is up. As my colleague Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports, the General Synod committee charged with looking after opponents of women bishops has ruled out the idea of dedicated male bishops to safeguard traditionalists.
The logic of the decision makes perfect sense to me. The C of E has the legal authority to decide whether to ordain women priests and bishops. Having acquired that authority, it voted to ordain women priests in 1992 and will now take the obvious step of raising women to the episcopate. Anglo-Catholics lost the battle to stop this happening 18 years ago; for a time they were allowed to cover their eyes and pretend that women priests had nothing to do with them, but with the arrival of the first women bishops they will have to take their hands away from their faces, look around, and make up their minds whether to go or stay. Actually, many Anglo-Catholics have quietly decided that they can accept ordained women, and have tiptoed out of Forward in Faith and into Affirming Catholicism. The C of E certainly need not worry about the disappearance of bells and smells: women are just as adept at swinging a thurible as men.
The timing of the General Synod decision, in the same week as Pope Benedict’s generous and statesmanlike Apostolic Constitution, will concentrate minds. Many traditionalists will conclude that Anglo-Catholicism itself was eventually bound to fail: for although the Church of England embraces a great deal of Catholic liturgical practice - more so now than at any time since the Reformation – it governs itself according to Protestant principles of self-determination.
The Pope’s Ordinariate will appeal greatly to those Anglo-Catholics who now understand that their movement has been destroyed by its inherent contradictions....
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THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Anglican Catholics or "Anglo-Catholics" in England (trapped inside the Protestant 'Church of England') are now faced with the same situation their Episcopalian brethren in America have faced for decades trapped inside The Episcopal Church USA. This is the reason why traditionalist Anglicans, both inside and outside the Protestant Anglican Communion (PAC), have been beating down the doors of St. Peter's for thirty years begging to be let in. The PAC is a contradiction. You cannot be both Catholic and Protestant at the same time. You either belong fully to one or the other. The author of the article above hit the nail on the head. You can have the smells and bells of catholicism all you want. You can even celebrate mass with enough pomp and circumstance to turn the average Roman Catholic green with envy. After all is said and done however, being "catholic" really isn't about that. After all is said and done, being truly "Catholic" is about authority, particularly how it's structured, and who gives it. From this authority flows the right to administer the sacraments, lead the congregation in worship, and catechize the faithful. It's taken traditionalist Anglicans just a little over 100 years to come to this full realization. What began as the Oxford Movement ends with a return to Rome. It was inevitable. For the authority that gave us all the priests, bishops, incense, bells and liturgy, is the same authority that said "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church."
To embrace Catholic traditions on liturgy, but refuse Catholic traditions on authority, is in itself an oxymoron. Many of the Anglo-Catholics have discovered this, and many more will do the same in the months and years ahead.
For now however, it is a time for choosing. Rome has opened it's doors wide and promised not only to preserve Anglican patrimony, but also facilitate the means for it's full propagation throughout the ages, having demonstrated with the eastern rites it's ability to do so. While Canterbury (via the Church of England and the Episcopal Church USA) has continued hell bent, down the road of modernization and liberalization -- i.e. relativism! -- now without any concessions to the traditionalists who object.
Today we see what kind of metal the Anglican Catholics are really made of. What will the disciples of John Henry Newman do? Where do they stand? Are they Catholic? Or are they Protestant? Which shall it be? The age of fence-straddling is over. To be Catholic is to embrace Catholic authority and all that it teaches. To be Protestant is to embrace Protestant authority structures, and everything that seems to go right along with them, including female bishops, homosexual clergy and gay weddings. In case you haven't noticed, the Anglicans are not the only Protestant denomination suffering from this. The same problems plague the Lutherans, Methodist and Reformed churches. It's not so much an "Anglican problem" as it is a "Protestant problem."
So what's it going to be Anglicans? Are you Catholic or aren't you?