Friday, 23 November 2012


There is a campaign arising for The Group of Six, that is Archbishops and leaders of the House of Laity in the Church of England, to use its discretionary power to call another General Synod and vote again on the draft legislation to ordain women as bishops.

Why would Dr. Philip Giddings, as Chair of the House of Laity, agree to this? He is not likely to change his mind, is he?

There is not going to be a change in the vote based on trying to convince the minority that they are only just a blocking minority. They are not going to be persuaded that organising themselves into the General Synod House of Laity makes it unrepresentative. They already think that they subsidise a large number of failing congregations.

Labour's Militant Tendency weren't asked to organise just a little less; and when the House of Lords refused to reform Lloyd George didn't say perhaps they might just vote again. The problem is the General Synod has no means to overcome the blocking minority in the way that Lloyd George could have created hundreds of hereditary peers.

Some on the liberal side say only a single clause measure will do in future, for proper equality; but on the blocking minority the demand is for a non-geographical diocese or another province, or such to produce a Church within a Church. They now know they have the numbers to demand this. But such cannot be acceptable, because it is doing the Fellowship of Confessing Anglican's entryist job for it. This and similar legal provisions of 'untaint' and secured male-only authority creates holes in dioceses where the female bishop, or male bishop of female consecration, cannot go. The unity of the bishop is lost.

So, much as Fulcrum may not like my opinion, this is an impasse. Frank Field says give the blocking minority what they want in order to establish the principle. But the more that is offered, the likelier is the division of the Church of England to the point where it is, effectively, two Churches. The point about feeding a crocodile what it wants is that it comes back for more.

In terms of waiting, the problem is that the fundamentalist churches are just going to get bigger in proportion to the rest. The next General Synod elections will be no better for the progressive view, and more likely to be worse.

So there we are. The other point that seems to be continuing is the fact that the liberals still don't budge. The liberals seem to put up with anything and everything. But you don't have to put up with this, otherwise why not be a Roman Catholic or Orthodox and really have what is unsuitable, or, for evangelicals, get some hardcore Free Church of England? Is it just privilege and outreach, or establishment, that is the attraction? Or the money? Worried about what you actually do believe when you are free to alter your beliefs?

So, for repetition: this was the best chance and it was lost. Now plan the future.

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