This morning, an ad clerum from a Mr Pritchard, the bishop of Oxford. He puts his finger on exactly what is the reason why the General Synod vote on wimminbishops is so disastrous. 'I decided we needed to put a theological ''stake in the ground'' ... I believe what we now know is where the theological centre of gravity is in the Church of England on this issue ...'
Previously, we were in a 'period of open reception' with regard to the ordination of women. There were two 'integrities' (Pritchard admits this by conceding that before 'now' we did not 'know' 'where the theological centre of gravity' was). Neither 'Integrity' represented the exclusive doctrinal position of the C of E. While the C of E did not subscribe to the infallibly defined doctrine of the Catholic Church on this question, neither did it subscribe to a denial of that doctrine. Pritchard admits that it now does the latter. And this is not just a verbal matter. Most dogmas are capable of impinging on the not-very-thoughtful individual believer in a merely verbal way; in a knowledge somewhere in his memory that 'Oh yes, the Church does teach such-and-such'. A Roman Catholic who disbelieved in the dogma of the Assumption would not find that the dogma impinged on him at Sunday Mass; he could put it onto the back-burner of his conscience for 364 days of the year. But the corruption of the Sacrament of Order by the pretense that women can be admitted to it impinges on the sacramental life of all those who have to navigate round the concrete visible phenomenon of pretended women priests. More than any other dogma ever proposed in Christian history, this one says 'in your face' - 'you assent to me simply by doing this' - to the ordinary Christian going up to the communion rail in a church where there is a woman dressed up as a priest, or genuflecting before a tabernacle in which there is bread which a woman claims to have been able to consecrate. There's no dodging it; no possibility of postponing or qualifying one's adhesion to it (if you didn't believe in the resurrection, you could simply shut your mouth during that clause of the Creed). That is why the dogmatic imposition involved in the General Synod vote is the most totalitarian in two thousand years of Christian history. Elizabeth I notoriously declined to make windows in men's souls. The fascist majority in General Synod has no such qualms.
Incidentally, Pritchard admits that his diocese contains 250 women simulating priestly ministry. That reminds me of a question I raised in an earlier post: just how corrupt and decadent does a gathering of Christians have to be before it forfeits the status of 'a particular church', the local manifestation of the Church Universal? Is 250 laywomen sacrilegiously and regularly simulating the Sacraments enough?
Further comments, Sunday 20th.