In the recent past English bishops knew exactly how to deal with public dissent and defiance from priests

Seven priests are directly responsible for the emergence of the dissent movement A Call to Action in 2012 through their publication of a letter in The Tablet calling for changes to the Church’s doctrine on sexual ethics, and the ordination of married men, and expressing hostility to the Holy See and the new translation of the Roman Missal.  Instead of being reprimanded for their public dissent members of this group of priests have met with bishops. This current accommodation with dissenting priests would not have been tolerated by English bishops in the recent past.

The seven priests are : Fr Ian Byrnes (Arundel and Brighton), Fr. John Lally (Nottingham), Fr Patrick McLaughlin (unknown), Fr Frank Nally SSC, Fr Derek Reeve (Portsmouth), Fr Joe Ryan (Westminster) Fr Paul Sanders (Southwark). (Based on priests named in Catholic Directory of England and Wales 2011).

Fr Clifton in his excellent book, ‘The Alliance of Dissent’ recounts that following the promulgation of Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae in 1968 55 priests signed a letter of protest that was published in The Times newspaper, that was followed by a further letter signed by 77 lay people. Archbishop Cowderoy, the ordinary of Southwark, suspended Fr Paul Weir, one of the signatories of the anti-Humanae Vitae letters in The Times. Dr Oliver Pratt, a prominent lay dissenter, led a protest with the brother of Fr Paul Weir outside Archbishop’s House. According to Fr Clifton, ‘The protesters intended holding an all night vigil but the police  broke up the demonstration after one hour.’

Bishop Ellis of Nottingham also took seriously the public dissent of his priests against Humanae Vitae, suspending 4 priests for not accepting the encyclical. In reaction to Bishop Ellis’ strong action dissenters organised active opposition to him, including the disloyal publication of  ’The Nottingham Consultation’ and a press conference that expressed opposition to the appointment of Mgr McGuinness as coadjutor Bishop of Nottingham. Fr Clifton writes:

‘An early example of the strong co-operation between the CRM (Catholic Renewal Movement) and the PDG (Pastoral Development Group) can be seen in what may be turned the “Nottingham” affair. This started with the action of the old London Ad Hoc Group  at the end of 1968. The Bishop of Nottingham  had suspended 4 priests for not accepting Humanae Vitae. The Ad Hoc Group then sent a circular letter to around 40 priests of the diocese asking for their views with a warning “Don’t reveal your views to the Bishop.” This action of the Ad Hoc Committee led to the Nottingham Deans issuing theor own letter to clergy attacking the Ad Hoc Committee and stating that this committee was inciting clergy to defy their own Bishop. The PDG/CRM caucus bided their time but on the 19th May 1972 they published the fourth of their booklets entitled “The Nottingham Consultation” which was written by two of their priest members, Rev George Towler and Rev Patrick Tierney (both signatories to the anti Humanae Vitae letter in the Times). The authors held a Press Conference just before publication in which they explained that the booklet was based on their own survey of Nottingham Diocese showing that “there was no wide consultation before the appointment of Mgr. McGuinness as coadjutor Bishop of Nottingham.’

Protect the Pope comment: The dissent group Catholic Renewal Movement, that worked with dissenting Nottingham priests to incite disobedience against the Church’s doctrine and their own bishop, became Catholics for a Changing Church.  There are close links between Catholics for a Changing Church and A Call to Action. Here is an email from Valerie, the coordinator of Catholics for a  Changing Church, to A Call to Action expressing their annoyance with Protect the Pope:

‘Dear Friends,

Welcome to our world where the fundamentalists snipe at and manipulate the truth about anyone or any group who does not subscribe to their point of view.
The amount of time they have to collect information on Catholics with whom they disagree never ceases to amaze me. To my knowledge they have a catalogue that goes back at least a decade or so.  There is something not quite healthy about it.
I know of people and groups who have sought legal redress against the calumny but is it worth it?  You might get one group to desist but another will spring up in its place.  Just have a look at one fundamentalist blog and see the links from it to a myriad of others.  Don’t spend too much time on it, though, you have far more important things to do.
Their aim is to intimidate and silence us.  The best redress is not to be silenced and to carry on the good work.
ACTA is doing a grand job.  Your strength is in getting diocesan discussion groups going and encouraging Catholics in the pew to voice their views.
Do like the rest of us do and ignore the sniping on websites and blogs.
best wishes
Valerie
Coordinator, We Are Church (UK)
Chairman, Catholics for a Changing Church.’

 

 

50 comments to In the recent past English bishops knew exactly how to deal with public dissent and defiance from priests

  • Rifleman819

    Deacon Nick ,
    It is a question of who blinks first.You have the keys off the ordained-the church , the safe , the presbytery..their names off any accounts …just for starters.

    Once a rebel realises rebellion is not without its penalties-his /her chums suddenly find urgent things to do in Ulan Bator.

    Take two examples in the secular world-the Pussy Riot/FEMEN gels…ok to desecrate Orthodox cathedrals ….not so much fun to be transhipped to a Siberian gulag….similarly Greenpeace -utter plonkers if they think the Russians are impressed by their mates’ protests in the Guardian.
    I don’t know what they honestly expected? I think they may be gulping when they see what the Russian criminal code says about piracy.

  • Yet the Bishops are very quick to jump on any priest who wishes to put his name forward for LMS EF Mass training sessions.
    I hope and pray that, some day, Rome will wake up and re-structure our dioceses, but I will not be holding my breath.

    • Augustine

      Are you sure that is true? Perhaps someone from the LMS could confirm whether or not this is indeed the case.

      But I do know that the Catholic papers reported that both Archbishop Nichols and Bishop Malcolm McMahon (of Nottingham) called in on a couple of these training courses and expressed their support.

      • Ioannes

        Bishop McMahon of Nottingham did not only just “call in” on a training course in the EF for priests in his diocese, he celebrated a Pontifical High Mass in the Old Rite. He also, in 2010, marked the tenth anniversary of his episcopal consecration with a Pontifical High Mass, Usus Antiquior, at Holy Cross Priory, Leicester. I was there, and he entered in cappa magna. ++Vincent Nichols, when Abp of Birmingham, opened the LMS training conference at Merton College Oxford. He celebrated a Solemn Latin OF Mass, but reminded the priests present that they were not learning to celebrate a “museum piece” but part of the living patrimony of the Church.

        Bishop Edward Ellis confirmed me in 1959. He disliked the vernacular Mass, but like many bishops of the time (including Cardinal Heenan) accepted it out of obedience and the belief that after Vatican II it was the sensus ecclesiae.

      • Paul Waddington

        In reply to Augustine, I would say that no bishop would now prevent any priest from attending a LMS training sessions to learn to celebrate the older form of the Mass. With the exception of the relatively small Diocese of Hallam, priests have attended these sessions from every diocese of England and Wales. However, when summorum pontificum was first published, a few bishops did publicly voice their opposition to the reintroduction of the EF in their dioceses, and one or two were not at all helpful when attempts were made to establish regular traditional Masses. This opposition has mostly melted away with the passage of time.

        Bishop Malcolm McMahon has been well disposed towards the EF Mass from the start, and is one of the few bishops who is happy to celebrate Mass in this form when requested. He has been the celebrant of Pontifical Masses at LMS training conferences on two occasions. I would say that Archbishop Nichols has not been a supporter of the EF, but it must be said that he has recently approved the introduction of regular Sunday Masses in the older form at two churches in the Westminster Archdiocese.

        • Sonja

          Below are extracts from a letter a friend of mine received from +Bishop Conry in response to a friend’s letter directly asking for support for the Latin Mass in A&B. (just relevant extracts with permission from my friend which indicate +Conry’s lack of interest or support for Latin in his diocese (with similar views echoed in public meetings).

          “I have received your letter about what you call the ‘universal language’. I am not aware that Latin is actually spoken anywhere. With regard to people wanting to learn the Mass texts in Latin for singing, yours is the only letter that I have received making this request; this indicates that the desire for this is not very widespread.
          …….. When the Vierene Gloria was sung in the cathedral recently, the faces of the congregation were not radiating immense joy.
          …..It is interesting that you quote the former pope and make no reference to the present. it is my understanding that he has not celebrated a public Mass in Latin. Do correct me if I am wrong”

          That said — there are some wonderful priests in the Diocese who are committed to tradition and Latin, but it is also known that their lives in this regard is not made easy, by either certain Parishioners or the Bishop.

          • BJC

            These are not the words of a good shepherd. It’s:

            - disdainful, “do correct me if I’m wrong”
            - uncharitable, “the faces of the congregation were not radiating immense joy”
            - and slippery, “I am not aware that Latin is actually spoken anywhere”

            and you have to wonder if he’s a priest at all. If a manager in a shop wrote to a customer like this they would probably get sacked. Out there in the real world one suspects many of our Bishops would be unemployable. Certainly if this were IBM many of them would have got the bullet by now.

          • Rifleman819

            Sonja,
            I wonder how Conroy would deal with a rebellion of traditional clergy and laity in his own diocese?

  • Amanda Peter

    Is this the great apostasy Our Lady spoke of at Fatima when so many would loose the Faith? Really tragic. Instead of trying to love and serve God and become Holy with sights on heaven, they have set their sites on rebellion and dissent. Tragic. I suggest people read the true conversion of Marino Restrepo who publicly claims to have lived in mortal sin for 33 years when Christ struck him off his horse. Now he is a great missionary apostle with great faith. I wish these people in particular catholic priests would seek the Truth not dissent. Folllow Christ not the father of lies.

    • Benedict Carter

      Yes, of course it is. In full swing now for several decades, it will reach its apogee under this Pope who refuses to call himself Pope.

    • ConofChi

      May I too recommend Marino Restrepo’s testimony. Very chilling. He didn’t ‘fall off a horse’ but at the hands of drug dealers his past life flashed before his eyes. Actually it wasn’t so much a flash as a slow action replay!! TO BE HEARD.

  • Pregis

    There is no problem with these groups: wait, the Lord will deal with them in the course of time. They are irrelevant, no young person, people under 40, is interested in their presentation of the Catholic Faith. These people have been responsible for a generation of non-believers, the have mis-taught the Catholic faith in their families, from the pulpit, in schools, the have poisoned the minds of their children

    I’m 28, I am off to traditional Mass, then we, about 15 of us, most younger than me are off for a drink and something fishy, they are the past, we are the future.

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Pregis, have a good evening. Deacon Nick

    • Wake up England

      Pregis:

      Thank you for writing this post. It’s cheered me up. A glimmer of hope amongst he seemingly never-ending depressing news of our poor old church.

      Your generation has much rebuilding and repair work to do. Good luck with it. Meanstwhile I fear my generation are still beating our Blessed Lord about the head with their dreary 1970s hippy Nu-Catholic twaddle. What a DREARY decade the 70s were.

      I’m sorry Pregis for the mess my age-group of Catholics have created for you to inherit. I apologise and I am highly ashamed. Please forgive us for our grave stupidity and pride.

      • Rifleman819

        WUE ,
        Agree with that, but I had a smile too on recalling the firm leadership of Archbishop Peter Amigo of Southwark 1864-1949 in leading -not managing-his Archdiocese.
        ACTA would have lasted 4.5 nanoseconds-if that.

    • BJC

      ACTA members

      Read Pregis’s comment and weep. Where was your youth group at World Youth Day? You didn’t have one. Where is your youth group in the UK? You don’t have one. Where in the world have you got any youth group? Nowhere. Not even America the spiritual home of the “liberal” “catholic”. You are on the way out, and the biological solution awaits.

      I’ve met several of the seminarians at Allen Hall over the past 3 years and not one, not one, hasn’t been orthodox. All of them without exception know about the battles of the past, and aren’t the slightest bit interested in them. They know all about the Tablet, liberal “catholicism” and the poison it’s brought to the Church, and now they are determined to put the ship upright again and preach the gospel whole and entire. So Valerie, Ann, Chris,Terry, Tina, Catherine and Clifford, if you are out there, the party’s over. No one’s listening any more.

      • Deacon Nick Donnelly

        ‘So Valerie, Ann, Chris,Terry, Tina, Catherine and Clifford, if you are out there, the party’s over. No one’s listening any more.’ Except some of the bishops and sections of the secretariat of the Bishops Conference. Deacon Nick

        • Rifleman819

          Deacon Nick ,
          Unless these “fettlers” eat everlasting Popeye spinach themselves -they will be gone in due season as BJC suggests-but they can only fight vicious ,delaying actions.

          These will be messy -but the outcome is not really in doubt.
          And as BJC so astutely points out -they failed to realise their own transience in the Church until the last two years or so.

          So farewell -the rebellious ones….as individual as lemmings…..as you depart.Your overblown arrogance your hallmark to the end.
          Depart not in peace but to the discordant twang of a cheap guitar and banal lyrics written by someone called Willard.
          Vale.

        • BJC

          I know. It’s shocking, but that’s the war babies for you. They remind me of the old guard in the communist party clinging on to power.

          • Rifleman819

            Yep -those last May Day parades in Mockba….Brezhnev and co -the Old Guard laced with embalming fluid and vodka and strapped to zimmers as the latest Zil or whatever ICBM trundled by.
            As we know now-a total sham.
            But the petulance is there as they realise that their agenda has failed-and oddly and ironically I think the death knell was the female ordination issue in the CoE….that finally sharpened the ever present gap between Rome and Canterbury and did not leave much on the ARCIC agenda except for harvest suppers , really.
            But that era is fading fast.

        • Sonja

          I am sure they have surrounded themselves with a few like minded individuals who make them feel good at their meetings. They probably take heart from the ability to get 100 hippies in a hall such as Caterham, and their ability to get meetings with Bishops’ such +Conry. And I for one pray daily for the long-term health of our Church and for those Priests and Bishops that I know are doing their best and pray that those who dissent will see the light.

  • venator

    As a 21year old I agree entirely with pregis. The era of the “swinging sixties” Catholics will be over in due course. St Athanasius didn’t give up or despair in the face of arianism and niether should we in the face of modernism.

  • Rifleman819

    Dear Venator,

    Thanks for your posting -I grew up in the 1960s in central London ….and even as a young teenager I began to see-at the very time it was happening-that things were being dismantled everywhere, in every aspect of life and very fast.I could not articulate it at the time but the pace then was heady.

    There was often a massive gulf between the generation that fought in WW2 and their own children.

    As that generation of 60s rebellious older teenagers/young adults now book in for their own second hip operations we can look back in 2013 at what a social disaster that era really was.Not only for organised religion but across all areas of life.

    We are repairing slowly and the ageing hippies are diminishing in number-but the repair process will be slow and pitted with “resistance”.
    People of your age will have to grit your teeth and be patient!

  • Lynda

    Oh, they know how to, alright – they just refuse to.

  • William

    If these priests do not believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church then is seems reasonable to me that they leave and find a faith they believe in. The temper tantrums that all these liberals priests and nuns have when they don’t get their way is getting pathetic. It also shows an unstable and emotionally stunted development. They really do act like the mean teenage girls in school who think they are the center of the universe and everything revolves around them.

    • Lynda

      They wouldn’t do anything so honest as acknowledge they are apostates. No, they must pretend to be Catholic so that they can destroy the Church and take as many souls with them as possible.

    • Wake up England

      William:

      Hear Hear.

      IF ONLY the majority of bishops agreed with you!

      Another uncomfortable thing to bear in mind is that our Pope is of the Flower Power generation.

  • Bob Franks

    ACTA A&B group keeping busy:
    Next Diocesan forum meeting now open to all to attend is on Tuesday 22nd October at the Millennium Hall, Roffey, Horsham between 11 am – 2 pm.

    • Rifleman819

      For Bob Franks,

      Thanks for your vigilance-at least it is not Catholic property and presumably someone from ACTA has to book and rent it?

    • Sonja

      There are a group of dissidents in Horsham, who are not able to use Church premises or facilities for their meetings thanks to the resident Priest — and yes all mainly grey hairs, You can tell by the time of meeting .

  • Benedict Carter

    I hope that the young Traditionalists will learn the names of the great men and women who started the Traditionalist Movement in the mid to late 1960′s. You owe them a great debt of thanks. Hamish Fraser, Michael Davies, Father Oswald Baker – just a few names that come immediately to mind. May God have mercy on all their souls and may perpetual light shine upon them.

  • John Fannon

    Deacon Nick – what about the Bishops themselves?

    This morning (12 October) I read in the Telegraph that ++Bernard Longley has indicated that the ban on the C of E receiving Holy Communion could be reconsidered as a result of the “deeper sharing” between the two Churches. “This is a personal view” he says. His remarks were welcomed by leading figures in the Church of England.

    If this came about would Anglicans be always presumed to be in a state of Grace when receiving Communion?

    Or is the real reason that Longley does not believe in the real presence and is a crypto Anglican?

    I am just fed up of all this. If Bishops have heterodox personal views they should sort them out with their spiritual director and if necessary , stop being a Bishop and certainly not prattle about them to the press.

    • Wake up England

      John Fannon:

      Extremely well said.

    • Bob Hayes

      This week’s editorial in The Bitter Pill refers to ‘Eucharistic hospitality’. Evidently The Tablet believes the Body and Blood of Christ are no more than a ceremonial version of tea and biscuits hospitality after the Mass.

    • Augustine

      The Code of Canon Law (canon 844 n. 4)states that Catholic ministers may administer the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and the anointing of the sick to members of non-Catholic communities whose ministers dare not validly ordained only in very exceptional circumstances – namely:

      EITHER a. – if there is a danger of death

      OR b. – if there is some other grave or pressing need for non-Catholic Christians “who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who spontaneously ask for them, provided that they demonstrate the catholic faith in respect of these sacraments and are properly disposed.”

      The teaching document “One Bread One Body” repeated that these conditions must always be fulfilled.

      But the author(s) of this document then bizarrely commented that the condition of being “unable to approach a minister of their own community” was satisfied in the case of Nuptial Masses and the like – “when access to one’s own minister is impossible given the very nature of that occasion”. (OBOB n. 114).

      In other words, the author(s) stated that as it is impossible to have access to a Protestant minister in the middle of a Catholic Nuptial Mass, this condition is satisfied.

      But this is complete nonsense – because if this were the correct interpretation of canon 844 n.4, each time a non-Catholic attended Mass in a catholic church they could claim that they were unable to approach a minister of their own community “given the very nature of that occasion” – i.e. being at Mass in a Catholic Church.

      And in fact the Ecumenical Directory recommends that a Nuptial Mass should not be celebrated in the case of a mixed marriage precisely because the non-Catholic spouse would be unable to receive Holy Communion.

      • Augustine

        The Ecumenical Directory was issued by the Vatican in 1993.

        One Bread One Body was issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of England & Wales, Ireland and Scotland in 1998.

    • Rifleman819

      John ,
      A very good point …you , me or any blogger here might well have “personal views” on a myriad of issues but in regard to the Catholic church -we are not Archbishops.
      At that level in the hierarchy you need to be very careful these days even to state that “Tuesday is Tuesday,” in case the Wednesday lobby start claiming you are discriminating against them.

      We shall see what is behind all this in due course I am sure.

      • John Fannon

        Rifleman – quite so. And what is worse is how can this man have a personal view at variance with Church teaching and still remain a prelate? And from what Deacon Augustine reports below, this man has form in helping set up the Soho LGBT Masses. – what a spectacular own goal that was!

        • Rifleman819

          John ,
          Yes………..incredible isn’t it?

        • Augustine

          Actually I’m not Deacon Augustine.

          • John Fannon

            Apologies, Augustine for conferring Holy Orders upon you!
            There is a full page article in the Catholic Herald on this issue. ++Longley adds here the rider “if there is significant progress towards unity”. But as Augustine points out below, this is a futile statement. How can there ever be significant progress towards unity when the AC has taken the significant step of ordaining women as priests and fairly soon there will be women Bishops. And it is by no means certain that the AC can hold out for long against the homosexual agenda being followed by the Governement. After all, the AC is a creature of Parliament.

            But then he goes on to say “I could imagine, foresee, one of the fruits of our ecumenical engagement as moving towards a deeper understanding of Communion and a deeper sharing , a deeper Communion between our churches which perhaps would lead to reconsideration of some of the circumstances [wheeby Anglicans can be admitted to Holy Communion]”

            A deeper understanding of Communion? What does that mean? Is this just a political statement to get the interviewer of his back. Either there is a Real Presence in the Eucharist or there is not.

            Yet he further gives an example where an Anglican Grandparent feeling left out when their granddaughter makes her first Communion. The answer to that is easy – take instruction and become a Catholic. If you don’t want to join the club, you can’t expect the benefits. (Besides, in this circumstance, going up for a blessing seems to be a good solution in cases like these)

  • Augustine

    According to Faith Magazine (September – October 2010) Archbishop Longley was involved in setting up the LGBT Soho Masses in 2007.

    http://www.faith.org.uk/publications/Magazines/Sep10/Sep10CommentOnTheComments.html

    The article stated:

    “Martin Pendergast (founder of the SMPC) said: ‘I can assure others who have commented that there was no demand on us to remain celibate and agree that homosexual acts are wrong’ and also Terence Weldon (Eucharistic Minister and SMPC committee member) said: ‘I agree with my friend and colleague Martin…who notes that during the extensive consultation process around the Soho gay Masses, Bishop Longley at no time expressed any demand that we remain celibate or agree with Church teaching.’”

  • Rifleman819

    Dear All ,
    This gets more convoluted by the minute.
    AB Longley is co-Chair of ARCIC I believe but ,if so , is this not sending out a “personal message” from someone who holds an official RC Ecumenical position…rather dangerous?
    Mixed messages here…on the one side we are all ecumenical yet equally we know that one cannot in conscience reconcile Catholic and Anglican theologies of the Eucharist.That was clear from at least 1571 with the 39 Articles of the Church of England-so why have we had 40 years of chasing will o’ the wisp shadows?
    Why is AB Longley raising apparently false expectations for Anglicans …..and why now?
    On a wider point why don’t we all just agree on an “exchange of prisoners”-with the Orthodox as a sort of Ecumenical Red Cross to ensure equity?
    We get more Ordinariate types and the CoE can have ACTA,Catholics “for a …whatever.” Much neater all round.
    Then we can fully share-mulled wine and biccies and be honest with each other.
    Thomas Cranmer ensured the Break with Rome and its permanency is now completed with female ordination in the Anglican communion…so I fail to see any further point in futile conferences about organic unity.

    And interestingly the Orthodox have very, very bluntly told Canterbury that the show is over in any theological progress when the latter ordained females and now teeters towards female episcopal ordination in the CoE.

    Which is why the RC hierarchy must be very firm and pastorally honest with our own ACTA hippies-their show is over too.
    There is absolutely nothing to prevent them going to their local Anglican parish and leaving the Catholic church.

    • Augustine

      It does indeed get more and more convoluted.

      And I couldn’t agree more about the futility of further discussions with the Church of England.

      After “Apostolicae Curae”, the CoE professed to be mortally offended that their Ordinations were declared null and void – and some of them then rushed off to Old Catholic bishops (in valid Orders) to try to get their ordinations convalidated.

      But by choosing to ordain women, the CoE has implicitly stated that it is not really interested in the validity of sacraments at all.

      With regard to “liberals” in the Catholic Church I suspect that some “liberal” Catholics have become light headed and giddy at the prospect of a “liberal” Pope and are now showing their true colours. You might indeed apply the principle of “in vino veritas”.

      And if you will pardon mixing metaphors – instead of keeping their heads down, they now are popping their heads over the parapet.

      But in time the “liberals” will discover that the Cardinals (shock horror) voted for a Catholic after all.

      As Sir Edward Grey said “Now they are ringing the bells – but soon they will be wringing their hands.”

      • Rifleman819

        Augustine ,
        Yes-I really can’t think that there is anything much more of substance to talk about.
        And in the end the RCC in England and Wales devoted a lot of time and effort in ecumenical relations with the Church of England but the substance , it seems, has not really altered since 1896.
        And I understand that the Old Catholics have split internally as well and one branch now ordains females-hey ho.
        Now at last we can put energy into our own internal re-evangelisation and with the composition of the RC Hierarchy about to change in the next few years..matters might move on in a different direction.
        It seems to me that a place like Maryvale might be the powerhouse of traditional Catholicism that all our dioceses need.
        But the next few years are a significant time of transition-as one group has belatedly realised.

        • Augustine

          Re John Fannon at 6.17pm

          “Yet he further gives an example where an Anglican Grandparent feeling left out when their granddaughter makes her first Communion.”

          The answer you give is quite correct – and not just on the basis of subjective feelings (which unfortunately His Grace seems to think are so important) but also on the basis of truth.

          The sad truth is that the Anglican grandparent is depriving himself/herself of the grace of the sacraments by remaining in the Anglican Church. The Anglican Church does not possess valid orders – period.

          Moreover after the decision of various provinces to ordain women, the Anglican Church does not seem to think that the validity of the Sacrament of Orders is a particularly important issue.

          Furthermore any Anglican who now remains in the Anglican Church is living in a Church that officially contradicts itself in many different ways.

          DOCTRINE

          In its Canon Law, Canon A5 states that: The doctrine of the Church of England is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures.

          But in February 1991, George Carey, the Archbishop elect of Canterbury said: “The idea that only a male can represent Christ at the altar is a most serious heresy.”

          In doing so he asserted that Pope John Paul II and Bishop Graham Leonard, the-then Bishop of London were both heretics.

          MORALS

          The Lambeth Conference of 1998 stated:
          We must confess that we are not of one mind about homosexuality. Our variety of understanding encompasses:
          ◾those who believe that homosexuality is a disorder, but that through the grace of Christ people can be changed, although not without pain and struggle.
          ◾those who believe that relationships between people of the same gender should not include genital expression, that this is the clear teaching of the Bible and of the Church universal, and that such activity (if unrepented of) is a barrier to the Kingdom of God.
          ◾those who believe that committed homosexual relationships fall short of the biblical norm, but are to be preferred to relationships that are anonymous and transient.
          ◾those who believe that the Church should accept and support or bless monogamous covenant relationships between homosexual people and that they may be ordained.

          The Church of England officially permits active lay homosexuals to receive Holy Communion – but it forbids active homosexuals from being ordained.

          Now if homosexual acts are sinful, lay people should not indulge in them. But if they are not sinful, why are Anglican clerics forbidden to indulge in them?

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