Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Women Bishops

So the General Synod of the Church of England has finally, today, gone through all the necessary stages and legislated for Women Bishops.

As a former Anglican, who has found his true home in the Catholic Church I am no longer hurt by this move - still less, of course, affected - though I can still be nauseated by the prospect. I am however saddened - saddened at the pain caused to those who cannot accept this move yet wish to remain in the communion of their birth, saddened by the erosion of a tradition and claim to Catholicity, and saddened by the loss of a chance, however slim it may in reality have been, of some form of corporate re-union. Without the issue we would not have had the Ordinariates, but equally we might, just might perhaps, have had the possibility of the whole Church of England becoming the Ordinariate...
The historian in me does note what a day it is to choose to hold this vote - the 456th anniversary of the death in 1558 of Queen Mary I and of Cardinal Archbishop Pole, and the accession of Queen Elizabeth I and the advent of the Elizabethan Settlement. I bet Queen Elizabeth would not have been keen on Women Bishops.

It is also the feast of both St Hilda of Whitby and St Hugh of Lincoln. I cannot imagine they looked down upon the day's events with any sense of approbation.

1 comment:

Robert Zacher said...

Now why be nauseated for a church which has finally resolved a thorny issue with the carefully considered and measured vote of a substantial majority of its members?

If we believe in the operation of sacramental grace, the validity and authority of women bishops will not come from some historic, male (and rather tenuously documented) lineage of tactile, male succession, but by the active, direct gift and operation of the Holy Spirit within the church.

To think otherwise for Anglican women as "unworthy" or inappropriate recipients of ordination places them in yet another of the several other discriminatory categories they must face in this world.