(Creative Minority Report) - It is a sure sign of the degree of panic over the Pope's offer to Anglicans that the Archbishop of Canterbury is even considering such a thing, but at the end of the day its too little too late.THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: So the Church of England follows the inevitable path of Protestantism once all of Scripture becomes subject to human intellect. Of course Traditionalists have splintered away from the Church of England before, but only in small numbers. Now that the pope has extended an engraved invitation to all Anglo-Catholics, who take the "Catholic" part seriously, to come into the Church and bring their Anglican patrimony with them, the Church of England has countered by deciding to consecrate women as bishops. This has thrown the Archbishop of Canterbury into a panic. His solution to the scandal? Why a fig leaf of course! Basically what he's offering to the traditional Anglo-Catholics is something like this. "Hey guys, don't you worry a bit about that whole women bishops thing. A little twist of the rules, and you can all PRETEND it doesn't even exist."
The head of the Anglican Communion, Rowan Williams, is reportedly considering new rules to protect Anglican traditionalists from women Bishops. The Anglican communion is slated, at their general synod, to put its stamp of approval on women Bishops. However, they are sufficiently worried that traditionalists would rightly bolt to the Catholic church that they are attempting to create a 'his/hers church...
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In case you missed it, the operative word here is "pretend." The fact is, woman bishops WILL become a reality in the Church of England. It WILL happen - very soon. It's already been approved. Some Anglicans can PRETEND it didn't happen all they want, but the fact is it did, and no "special provision" in the rules for male episcopal oversight is going to change that fact. If Anglo-Catholics take their "Catholic" identity seriously, why would they want to continue to be associated with an organization that has completely denied it? They should remember that it isn't just the Roman Catholic Church that has a problem with a female episcopacy. ALL of the Eastern Orthodox churches are in solidarity with Rome on this one. To consecrate a woman as a bishop is to cease to be catholic, in every sense of the word. Now I know there are plenty of supposedly "educated" people out there who will contest this, and that's just fine and dandy, but their "enlightenment" is not the source of Catholicism. The word Catholic means "of the whole," "complete" or "unabridged" and it's about accepting ALL of the Christian faith, not just the parts you like.
As for the Archbishop of Canterbury, it's too little too late. Or to use an American euphemism, he's a day late and a dollar short. The time to do something was before the vote that approved women bishops. To offer this so-called "provision" now is no different than throwing a blanket over a mess and saying: "There! Now you don't have to look at it anymore." It didn't go anywhere, and nobody is doing anything to clean it up. Instead we're just going to cover it up and pretend it never happened. Can we say "panic?" Can we say "lunacy?" Can we say "not in your right mind anymore?" Not long ago, upon his visit to Rome, the Archbishop of Canterbury took the opportunity to lecture the pope on the value of women priests and bishops. It was more than a lecture really. In fact, it seemed more like criticism of the Catholic Church for refusing to ordain women. Now, the very same Archbishop of Canterbury has turned around and offered a fig leaf to his own flock, so they don't have to look at the mess of things created in the Church of England while under his watch. So which is it Rowan? Is it what you told the pope? Or is it what you're now telling the Traditionalists within your own flock? If the pope should be made to come out of the dark ages, and learn to appreciate the value of female clergy, why then shouldn't the Traditionalists within your own flock be made to do the same? Could it be that you're actually a little concerned that this whole "ordinariate" thing might actually do well in England? Could it be that you're terrified once presented with a choice, the average CofE member might eventually decide to attend an ordinariate parish? Could it be that the pope has finally called your bluff and come to find out you weren't playing with a full deck to begin with? Come on Rowan, which is it? Is it what you told the pope, or what you're saying to your own Traditionalists now? We gotta know, which is it?