Church of England to enforce ‘Papal-style laws’
The House of Bishops has decreed that, in the wake of the disagreements over homosexuality, bisexuality, lesbianism, gay marriage, gay priests, gay liturgies, and gay bats in the belfry, that there is a need for a ‘narrower definition of Anglican belief’ in order to ‘block Anglican clergy from pursuing liberal and potentially divisive policies’, thus avoiding schism. According to the Rt Rev John Hind, Bishop of Chichester: ‘A covenant should indicate those areas of faith (including morals) and order where unanimity of heart and mind belong to the nature of the faith itself and are essential for Eucharistic communion’. There is considered to be insufficient statement of ‘what it means to be Anglican’, and so the Bishops’ paper states:
It is possible to envisage the development of a form of covenant that was in effect a highly detailed code of international canon law... and to envisage such a code leading the Anglican Communion to becoming an increasingly rigid entity in which legitimate change and development became very difficult to effect.
Setting aside the very real difficulty of enforcing these new laws upon the autonomous regions of the Anglican Communion, Cranmer is more than a little irritated by this development, not least because a constitutional ‘rule book’ or ‘detailed code’ already exists: it is commonly known as The XXXIX Articles of the Church of England. If these were adhered to, there would be neither crisis nor impending schism. Cranmer spent years drafting The XLII Articles, from which the XXXIX were shaped, in order to maintain the peace of the realm through the unity of doctrine. All preachers and lecturers were required to subscribe to them, or else a license for teaching was not granted them.
The XXXIX Articles were never meant to constitute a systematic theology or a complete body of divinity, or a comprehension and explication of all Christian doctrines necessary to be taught, but, like the creeds of the fourth and fifth centuries, were aimed at resolving the disputes of the time. Insofar as many of the Medievalist errors and blasphemous claims persist to this day, there is a moral necessity to reassert the position of the English Church in order to safeguard the peace, stability, and security of the realm.
While Cranmer can hardly wait to read these new ‘laws’, this 21st-century Convocation has a puzzling dimension quite at variance with that of the 16th. It is announced that ‘Rowan Williams has just embarked on a three-month "study leave". He will return to work in September’.
Unlike Cranmer’s intimate and intense involvement in the formulation of the 16th-century covenant, the present Archbishop of Canterbury is apparently to be on ‘study leave’ while the new rules are drawn up. He will therefore absent himself and play no role in ‘the most significant shift since the Reformation'.
A truly breathtaking and utterly baffling abdication of moral authority, theological integrity, and political responsibility.