Bishop John Broadhurst on the ‘vicious’ and ‘fascist’ Church of England
God must have had other plans.
More tea, Vicar?
The Rt Rev John Broadhurst, Bishop of Fulham, was always one of those who were likely to accept the Pope’s gracious invitation. He has opposed women’s ordination from the outset: it has become, for him, the touchstone of the Church of England’s catholicity. Finding no space within the Anglican via media for his orthodoxy and conscience, he has announced his resignation as a bishop and intends to join the Ordinariate when it is established. And he does so prophesying that a deluge of Anglican ‘traditionalists’ will be following him across the Tiber.
His Grace has a lot of sympathy for the Bishop's position, and sincerely wishes him well on his journey to the Ordinariate. It’s just a pity he couldn’t have gone with more grace.
In his ‘Keynote Address’ to the Forward in Faith group, he refers to the 'deceit', ‘evil’ and ‘lies' of the Church of England; he talks of ‘honourable men turned into liars and deceivers’. He says the Church is ‘myopic’ and ‘suffering from Alzheimer’s’. He decries the fact that the ‘poorly-trained’ House of Clergy is now ‘dominated by liberals and feminists’, and bemoans that the Synod now rules and not Parliament.
He appears to believe that there are fewer liberals and feminists in Parliament.
But he says he is ‘a disestablishment man’.
Which explains one or two things. So why does he want the will of Parliament to overrule the Synod?
He says: “Our enemies could not care if our churches closed. They would rather have them converted into nightclubs or mosques than that they would be inhabited by orthodox Anglicans’.
And by ‘our enemies’, he appears to mean those who support the ordination of women, or, rather, who have so hijacked the agenda that no via media amendment, as proposed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, is now popssible.
And so, he concludes, the Church of England is ‘an evil institution’.
My, how these Christians love one another.
By branding the General Synod of the Church of England ‘vicious’ and ‘fascist’, the Bishop shows himself to be surprisingly immature and ungracious.
If one were to apply such abusive adjectives to the Roman Catholic Church, the epithet ‘bigot’ would doubtless swiftly follow, whatever incontrovertible evidence may be adduced to corroborate the historical relationship between fascism and the Vatican throughout the ages.
If the Ordinariate is to be composed of such embittered former Anglicans, the Church of England is better off without them and Rome is welcome to them.
And St Peter's Church in Folkestone (in the Diocese of Canterbury) appears to be no better. Its congregation of 40 appears reluctant to wait and see if last July’s Synod vote can be overturned and legislation passed to form a legal structure to protect their rejection of female priests and bishops.
They are clearly geared up for a bloody fight and are quite overtly using the language of war.
There is no need at all for this.
It shames their witness, hinders the gospel and drags the name of Jesus through the mud.
Leave, by all means, if you wish. But you exchange women in the episcopate for the prohibition of clerical marriage; debate for diktat; via media for tablets of stone; organic evolution for semper eadem; and accountability for infallibility.
Anglicanism is a fundamentally different kind of Christianity from Romanism.
There really is nothing ‘fascist’ about a synodical mechanism whereby a two-thirds majority permits a development in doctrine: quite the reverse.
But Bishop John Broadhurst prefers to talk of the evil, lies and deceit of his brothers in Christ.
This is not about Roman Catholics and Anglicans.
The Bishop has made it a question of sheep and goats.
Rome is welcome to him.
His Grace sincerely wishes Bishop John well. But the leader of the noble pursuit Forward in Faith appears to be heading Backward in Bigotry. Perhaps he may soon discover the real meaning of authoritarianism, for if he believes the Church of England to be fascist, he is unlikely to discover liberty, democracy, accountability and transparency across the Tiber.