Thursday, July 10, 2008


The Midwest Conservative Journal is the place to be these days for a front-row seat to witness the slow disintegration of the Anglican Communion. Excerpt:

Basically, the Lambeth Complete Waste of Time Conference is just going to talk about stuff for a couple of weeks, carefully avoiding actually coming to grips in any meaningful way with anything remotely resembling a contentious issue. It'll produce a final document that says nothing in particular about anything at all.

Then the bishops will go home, tell everyone how "spiritual" the experience was, drop the Real African Word a lot and try not to think about all the trees that died to produce the Waste of Time's Conference's worthless report and all the jet fuel the bishops wasted flying to England.

On the subject of the ordination of female bishops to the Anglican Church, however, the Curt Jester's question echoes mine: why is this the Rubicon? The Jester:
I must be dense, but I never understood how this was not anything but inevitable. After you swallow women priests and dump scripture, theology, sacred traditions, and the Church Fathers regarding this then what in the world would not allow women priests to become bishops. It seems to me that the only real reason at the time that they did not allow women bishops was political and just and effort to not bleed off even more members as a result. I mean what theology or tradition could separate priests from becoming bishops if gender was not part of the equation? I wonder if Anglicans who at that time were against women bishops if they really did not see the day when they would be approved? Though I guess all of us have ways to fool ourselves from seeing something. For Anglicans and really most Protestants what is controversial today will be approved and will become the norm tomorrow.
Now, I can see why the ordination of women to the priesthood would be controversial, but once you've crossed that bridge or opened that gate or spilled the contents of that particular Pandora's box, why would female bishops be such a sticking point? What, after all, are the reasons not to have female bishops: that Christ didn't choose women, that it's not historical or traditional, that the early Church didn't do things that way? Aren't those the same reasons not to ordain women to the priesthood in the first place?

I don't want to be unkind to any Anglicans out there, of course, but it's times like these that make me particularly glad to have people like Archbishop Raymond Burke out there; you have to nip this whole women priest thing in the bud if you don't want it to spread like a gaudy and glittering waterborne parasite throughout the Church. Hopefully Archbishop Burke will continue to provide such leadership in his new office.


Irenaeus said...

The reason this is a rubicon is that if you're a traditionalist catholic, prior to this, you could be assured your bishop was male and thus really a bishop, and thus sacraments and orders would be valid. Women priests don't threaten episcopal validity; women bishops do.

Clear as mud?

Red Cardigan said...

Getting there, Irenaeus! Thanks!

Irenaeus said... know when the priest is a female (unless she's REALLY butch:)), but once you have women bishops, you don't know if your male priest was ordained by one, or ordained by a male bishop consecrated by a female back down the line.

Although the question would then be, would the sacrament really be invalid, or would there be in Anglicanism a sort of "ecclesia supplet" thing?

There is of course no answer since Anglicans don't have canon law or theology, at least the way Catholics do.