Saturday, 7 July 2012

Where the Buck Stops

I don't go for the idea that "staff" are responsible for the onslaught against same-sex marriage in the recent Church of England response.

This is, I suggest, rather like getting something on paper, doing the donkey work, following the obvious guide of Canon B30. Rather, detailed suggestions went to the House of Bishops and then to the two Archbishops.

So the people who issued this were the Archbishops, and it followed exactly the sentiments of John Sentamu and the willing bureaucratic-Church priorities of Rowan Williams.

He could not but have noticed the response, Rowan Williams told the General Synod as one answer to questions. But did he not predict the response at all, one wonders, or is his outlook so skewed by some pan-Anglican outlook abroad or (in the opposite) a Lambeth bunker mentality that he has lost sight of change around his own province?

But here we have it. The Covenant; conformed: the statement; and the Amendment. The Covenant could not reappear due to its demise, thanks to church people. The mess of the Amendment is on Monday, but we know who asked for the wriggle room that produced the Amendment.

The idea that an Archbishop is a no-powers person has been shot down these past few years. He might be a power to persuade only person, but this one has driven the agenda in these key areas in order to preserve and advance his model of a Church, a Church of hierarchy. His colonels followed on, in awe.

It is this idea of hierarchy that needs challenging, to be replaced (given that such a Church is hardly likely to abolish bishops) by an ethic of service not command.

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