Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Women bishops – enter the CofE Ombudsman

From Brother Ivo:

There appears to be a degree of relieved satisfaction expressed at the recommendation for a Church of England Ombudsman to assist in resolving the problems surrounding the implementation of its policy to appoint women bishops.

The early reporting of controversy over the "failure" to "modernise" the Church frequently overlooked the fact that the Church has already committed itself to the appointment of women to its highest offices, but, as always, the devil was in the detail. The last vote of General Synod was about the 'how' not the 'if', but having sent the matter off to a widely-drawn committee to find a way forward, the recommendation is now forthcoming and will be considered at next month's meeting in London.

It is pleasing that a degree of support came from across the board, with representatives of both 'pro' and 'anti' groups represented. As its chosen chairman, the Bishop of Rochester James Langstaff brought not only a conciliatory voice to the committee's deliberations, but also good knowledge of the opponents' case. Some of the leading resistant voices in the Synod debate came from his diocese and so personal contact and pastoral responsibility would have added to his appreciation of what might or might not prove a useful area for exploration.

It appears that there were only two abstentions from the committee of 15, which sounds promising, yet Brother Ivo has his doubts.

He does not want to have doubts, and hopes the steering committee has made those personal contacts and developed that level of confidence and trust that was often missing from the emotionally-charged debate on the floor of the House of Laity debate. He hopes that the near unanimity bodes well.

On every side there was honest opinion and sincere conscientious belief. Even those with whom Brother Ivo disagrees could not be regarded as having no case, and this very integrity of disagreement is what leaves a lingering suspicion that the Ombudsman route may not prove the panacea which nearly everyone hopes it will be.

There are two key questions. Who will be appointed as the Ombudsman? What principles are to be applied by them as they address the transition difficulties?

The first is tricky enough. It may be possible to find someone from within the debate attracting sufficient confidence all round, but that cannot be certain. A complete outsider to the debate might prove equally problematic, with protagonists from either side not unreasonably wary of an unknown quantity. Brother Ivo has previously written on the question of the inevitable subjectivity of all judges, and does not apologise for reminding readers of the views of the American Realist school of Jurisprudence which teaches: "Tell me who the Judge is and I will predict the outcome."

That is neither as cynical nor as naive as it may first read.

That problem pales into significance, however, when one moves to the second question.

As its Scandinavian name suggests (we never did find an acceptable anglicised alternative), the role grew within a highly specific context. It was an early means of helping citizens resolve complaints of maladministration within a highly homogenised society with very clear shared values of right and wrong. Whether a public official had strayed beyond his remit and/or applied his discretion improperly in an individual case was and is a relatively discrete factual issue. If disputing parties share the same starting premise, reconciliation is not so very difficult.

When the disputing parties approach a matter from very sharply differing starting positions, however, the value of the easily approved Ombudsman becomes revealed as superficial. What chance is there of mediating or reconciling the views on kosher slaughter between an Orthodox Jew and a New Age Vegan? The question is posed to illustrate the limitations when this kind of "issue resolution" is offered by the conciliation culture.

Will the Church Ombudsman (or woman) work from principles hammered out in advance or might they be free to propose or devise their own scope and strategies? There is coherence and merit in either approach, but pretending that outsourcing the resolution of the problem from Synod somehow resolves it is a little optimistic.

It is entirely right and noble to attempt to hold disparate opinion within the Church of England. Schism has not served the wider Church well, but we may also need to prepare for the possibility that honest people of integrity may be irreconcilable on this issue, and that the practical consequences of this may also need to be faced. It may, of course, be that the contemplation of those identified consequences will influence some of those voting. The cost might outweigh the values in contention, however fervently those opinions may be held.

An old priest friend used to confess to managing his Parochial Church Council by always insisting upon consensus, but he was canny enough to ensure always that he drew the summary of what that consensus comprised. It worked perfectly well on that micro scale, amongst people of broadly similar mind. Readers will forgive Brother Ivo if he is less than confident that a similar strategy will be viable on the larger stage.

Brother Ivo is the Patron Saint of lawyers


Blogger Uncle Brian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

30 October 2013 at 09:04  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

My prediction: something with virtually no serious provision for conservative evangelical objectors is rammed through. Lots of them subsequently leave the church and form a different province within the Anglican Communion. The Church of England continues its decline (without the stable/slightly growing ConEv wing) and is eventually disestablished. It then goes on to capitulate on the next culturally convenient issue.

30 October 2013 at 09:37  
Blogger Thomas Keningley said...

The capitulating, to be clear, could well take place at any stage in that process. It's a special skill of the CofE these days.

30 October 2013 at 09:37  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

30 October 2013 at 10:08  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

Surely the point is, how did it come to this?

The lack of tolerance shown towards fellow Anglicans who now find themselves on the 'losing side' despite being in the majority in the wider Catholic Church is an utter disgrace.

But that is only part of the liberal campaign. Next up after gay bishops and same-sex marriage it is being predicted that the Pilling Report will recommend that same sex relationships should be celebrated in church. If that doesn't ring a Biblical bell in the House of Bishops nothing will.

30 October 2013 at 11:03  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Seems to me that the present CofE should be escorted to Switzerland for a painless euthanasia and then start again with New Testament theology.

30 October 2013 at 11:11  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Brother Ivo,

Thank you for that Brother Ivo.

In my opinion, the main thrust of your argument is very sound and plausible.

Know the judge and you know the judgement, and this has always been true.

Thomas Keningley,

I agree firmly with both your short analysis and prediction, although it gives me no pleasure to do so. One does not have to be very prescient to see this slow motion train crash coming. The never ceasing trajectory of the revisionists, away from Scripture and Tradition, and replacing true, rigorous reasoning, or Reason, with an echoing of social and political trends, could open up fissures too wide to bridge. That would be most sad but it could well happen.
Then if the Church becomes mainly a liberal grouping, and therefore no longer representative of the broad spectrum of theology and churchmanship formerly encompassed, arguing for the retention of established status is more difficult. Departure of the vigorous growing evangelical wing will also seriously reduce the financial resources available.
One hopes that the Bishops, standing on the edge, peer down into the abyss and turn back.

Presently, only God knows our future.

30 October 2013 at 11:16  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

The sign, "God is an equal opportunity employer" on the purple umbrella summarizes it all rather nicely for us for us. The state and its immediate priorities are now supreme Law, for this world and for God as well.

30 October 2013 at 11:16  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

@Mr Integrity, 11:11...ROFLMAO!!!

30 October 2013 at 11:17  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Surely the two critical points are:

1. The ombudsman has no power except to write a report.

2. The supply of traditionalist clergy is guaranteed by ... well ... nothing.

Even if the people who negotiated this deal have every intention of honoring it, their successors won't. Confer with promises made in 1992.

This amounts to "Trust us." But only a fool would trust this provision.


30 October 2013 at 11:27  
Blogger David B said...

I find myself reminded of the ABC's words from yesterday's piece/

"I wish I could say that I had a grand strategy, but I didn’t. It was an accident. But it was an accident in which God was involved"

So all you complaining about what is going on can comfort yourselves with the thought that it has God's involvement?



30 October 2013 at 11:39  
Blogger graham wood said...

"Will the Church Ombudsman (or woman) work from principles hammered out in advance or might they be free to propose or devise their own scope and strategies?"

Is it not an extraordinary comment on the complete failure of the Anglican church in the UK to adopt a biblical approach to resolving conflict and/or doctrinal differences.
In fact, the New Testament letters of Paul are specifically meant to address such problems, and a principled approach for the church in the future for all time.

Did the Apostle Paul appoint an 'Ombudsman' to direct the affairs of the early church, and in particular the problem of the threatened serious apostasy and divisions within the Galatian churches? Not at all!

The answer now, as it was then, is to convene a full and open discussion with all concerned within the Anglican church to thrash out from first principles, that is, biblical principles, the status of women, and their role in ministry (leaving aside for a moment the unnecessary complication of 'ordination' and female bishops)

The 'Council of Jerusalem' (Acts 15) is not an impossible ideal or forum for resolving such differences, and clearly it was also a sufficient occasion for a final and definitive ruling on the issue of circumcision and the place of the law of Moses in relation to the Gospel of Christ.

Its agreed decisions directed the doctrinal stance of the church and laid down foundations which still exist, and remain as a template for us today.
The mechanism which exists within the C of E (Houses of bishops and 'laity') is clearly dysfunctional on this issue at least, and in my view, a wider and deeper mechanism needs to be found and convened.
The reach for consensus on this issue is neither impractical, least of all impossible, on the issue of women's ministry.
Why not take a leaf out of Acts 15 - (that is what it is there for!)
- and as Mr Integrity has aptly commented - "start again with the New Testament"

30 October 2013 at 11:41  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

graham wood

The 'Council of Jerusalem' (Acts 15) is not an impossible ideal or forum for resolving such differences,

Both sides stated their case before James the Just, who then pronounced his verdict. Which takes us back to Bro Ivo's square one: Who is going to be the judge?

30 October 2013 at 12:28  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The use of the phrase 'judge' implies the existence of one in authority who is able to impose a legally binding outcome. Where is that authority in this proposal? In truth, you don't have a judge. You have a guy who is empowered to "make findings."

And if those findings are ignored? Then what?


30 October 2013 at 12:37  
Blogger David Anderson said...

The Church of England is a virtual Noah's Ark, containing every kind of belief. It does not preach one gospel, but a multitude of different gospels. The fact that disagreements then come up on other issues is hardly surprising.

The question that those who believe in the Bible and Biblical gospel in the CofE need to ask themselves is "why is that we draw lines in the sand over various matters of morality, but have acquiesed for decades in the reality that much of the CofE does not preach the Biblical gospel? When did we allow the gospel to become a secondary issue, such that we accept rampant heresy on the gospel as a way of life, but we'll fight to the death on how the gospel is expressed in practice?"

30 October 2013 at 12:58  
Blogger Len said...

The Church of England doesn`t need 'modernising' it needs to get back to its roots before it is too late!.
The Church is 'in' the World but not 'of' the World and if it becomes'' of' the World' it is no longer fit for purpose.The church cannot be dictated to by the current moral attitudes and value systems of Society which have been determined by Governments wishing to come into line with EU dictates.The Churches in 'Revelation' are told to repent and to change their ways otherwise they will ease to exist as part of God`s Kingdom purposes. Many Churches have fallen already into the clutches of this 'present World system' there are precious few left!.

30 October 2013 at 13:04  
Blogger Len said...

'cease'to exist.(typo)

30 October 2013 at 14:03  
Blogger graham wood said...

Uncle Brian. I take your point which is an important one.
I am not a member of the C of E so it may appear to be presumptuous to comment.

I do not believe its pastoral and ministry structures are biblically sound with its hierarchical order, including the major error of tolerating the "clergy/laity divide. But that is another, but not unrelated issue which needs biblical scrutiny.
But the C of E is where it is.
IMO the first prerequisite following a 'Jerusalem Council is the absolute necessity of a consensus emerging. - I.e.
on the basis of "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us" principle.
Once that is established, then it would be a relatively simple and responsible task for both Archbishops to simply express that consensus and assert a definitive and authoritative ruling
All this may sound a tad simplistic, but I believe the broad principle is right.

30 October 2013 at 14:32  
Blogger Dr.D said...

The CoE will continue to slide into complete apostasy and irrelevance if it does not quickly turn back to the true Christian faith. It has become a government run NGO (how is that for an oxymoron?), and a remarkably ineffective one at that. There is little hope for the CoE now.

Welby is the last straw.

Fr. D+
Anglican Priest

30 October 2013 at 15:23  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

graham wood

Uncle Brian. I take your point which is an important one.
I am not a member of the C of E so it may appear to be presumptuous to comment.

Neither am I, Graham, but I'd never let a little thing like that stop me from having my presumptuous say.

I don't think it's really a procedural question at all. It's not a question of selecting a panel of judges. The problem is that neither side is prepared to accept a verdict that goes against it, whoever is doing the judging. Schism looms, perhaps? Tiber-swimming becoming an ever more popular sport?

30 October 2013 at 16:16  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! When my Lord convokes the Chapter here in Barchester I make sure he is properly briefed before he speaks ex cathedra, then I insist he reports back word for word. Woe betide him if there is any deviation or quarter given to Evangelicals or Puseyites, for Broad Church is Best. That way, sound doctrine is maintained. Simples. Now, why can't this tried and tested method work on a larger scale?

30 October 2013 at 16:24  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

I have written a tract: 'God is an Anglican.' In a nutshell, my argument is as follows...

God is rational. The Church of England is rational. Therefore God is an Anglican.

It works for me...and the rest of Barchester. Tea, anyone?

30 October 2013 at 16:26  
Blogger OldJim said...

Goodness, Mrs. Proudie. It seems clear from the scriptural witness that the Lord is my shepherd. And from this, we may with certainty deduce that all Anglicans are shepherds.

And, as we know, God is Love; It follows that Anglicans are Love.

The Newman tendency aren't going to like it, but it seems to me that the thing follows flawlessly.

It only remains for me to ask:

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing,
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my Love.

It's only reasonable, my dear.

30 October 2013 at 16:49  
Blogger OldJim said...

Reason compels assent
God compels assent
Anglicans compel assent

So, you see, my Love, I could not deny you anything you asked.

30 October 2013 at 16:54  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Len , Dr D.

This traditional Anglican agrees with you both.

Len, I've been reading Revelation these last two days, as my daily "chunk" of Scripture and the same sort of thought occurred to me.

We approach the end game now, or soon anyway, I fear. These things don't happen overnight and I, as just one amongst the many, will do nothing in haste, but I sense that ++Welby has misused, wasted perhaps even, the precious little slot of goodwill towards a new boy that he has been granted, irritated Gafcon and the global south, who are steaming ahead on a cautious but confident traditional, Biblical course as well as, at home, disappointed those like myself who have long waited for the departure of that prevaricating academic Williams and for a non-political, true Christian leader to rise up and deliver a unifying, orthodox and straight forward Gospel narrative.

Only a return to our roots will save the C of E. as an institution. But whatever happens the eternal truth cannot be extinguished. In that I have full confidence.

30 October 2013 at 17:06  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...


Might I request you, Dr. D., being, as you are, as far as I can tell, the sole representative of the Anglican clergy present on this thread, to take a minute to
give your view on my possibly over-bold assertion, immediately below your own comment, that "neither side is prepared to accept a verdict that goes against it, whoever is doing the judging"?

Thank you.

30 October 2013 at 17:15  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Mrs Proudie, Happy Jack trusts when you de-brief your Lordship you check not only for signs of Puseyite but also whether he has been toying with Caroline Divines.

30 October 2013 at 17:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Has it occurred to anyone else that ++Welby may well be (…see what this man did there ‘well-be’...) the last proper man in post for some time. For with women bishops must come women Archbishops of Canterbury. To make up for two millennia of perceived misogyny probably, we could witness a stream of these religious, cat loving hens, interrupted only by the odd practicing homosexual, but only if he is in a deeply committed and loving relationship (…that’s alright then, you bugger away at will, your reverence…)

Of course, the traditionalists put up a fight, and elect their own man, who calls himself ‘The REAL Archbishop of Canterbury’ and he will head up, shall we say, the Provisional Wing of Anglicanism. Soon to be shortened to ‘The Provos’ by the newspapers.

Occasionally, members from both sides run into each other on the street, and one unholy row occurs. A dog collar pulled off, a fist is thrown, and a threat to kill made. The police are called. The scuffle continues as they are led away to separate vans.

The Lord moves in mysterious ways…

30 October 2013 at 17:32  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Regular readers of Cranmer might not know this, but the Inspector has an uncanny ability to predict the future…

Take mobile phones. When they appeared, he said that there could be as many as 8 million in use in the UK, and that nearly everyone would know of at least one person who had one. The same with Sky Sports. He put the number of subscribers who would actually pay good money to watch, on top of the licence fee, at more than half a million.

Form, or what !

30 October 2013 at 17:33  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Mrs Proudie, Happy Jack has been thinking hard about your tract and he respectfully differ.

God is incomprehensible. The Church of England is incomprehensible. Therefore God is an Anglican.

30 October 2013 at 18:30  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! Happy Jack...bravo! I will redraft my tract immediately. Methinks you would enjoy the conversation at one of Signora Neroni's 'afternoons'...I will arrange and invitation. In the meantime I will sent you a knitted balaclava and a box of macaroons. Do with them what you will.

30 October 2013 at 18:44  
Blogger David B said...

@Happy Jack

How about, assuming some sort of God for the sake of argument

God is incomprehensible

Post Modernism is incomprehensible

Therefore God is a Post Modernist?


30 October 2013 at 18:47  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear Old Jim, I have arranged for you to be admitted to Hiram's Hospital immediately. Mr. Bunce will see to your needs and will provide the statutory garments worn by all brethren. No need to fear the coming energy crisis: Mr. Slope will ensure you get a faggot of your very own.

30 October 2013 at 18:51  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! Thank you for the warning, dear dear Happy Jack! I have just discovered Caroline Divines Chanel Number 5 on my Lord's cassock. Tears before bedtime, I fear!

30 October 2013 at 19:00  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

David B, Happy Jack says you really need to find more about subjects before commenting upon them.

God is immutable. Post modernism is changeable. Therefore God is not a post modernist.

30 October 2013 at 19:27  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

You are a virago, Mrs Proudie!

30 October 2013 at 20:51  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

A Virago? No, they wouldn't publish my tract - I'm more a Woman's Weekly, dear Happy Jack.

30 October 2013 at 21:16  
Blogger David B said...

Happy Jack

By your argument

God is immutable. The CoE is changeable. Therefore God is not an Anglican.


30 October 2013 at 21:35  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

David B, Happy Jack does not presume to judge the Anglican Church and its search for the truth.

Mrs Proudie, then you are trapped in a man's world my good woman and your peers have failed to recognise your true qualities.

30 October 2013 at 22:01  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Happy Jack, rest assured that Mrs Proudie will do quite well being trapped in a man's world and that her true qualities will bared quicker than you think.

30 October 2013 at 22:57  
Blogger Hannah said...

Hello David B,

Well, from a Christian viewpoint, surely god was Jewish on his mum's side and English on his father's?

30 October 2013 at 23:16  
Blogger Hannah said...

David Anderson,

'The Church of England is a virtual Noah's Ark'

For some reason I've got a verse of that poem in my head, 'the Anglicans went in three by three, hurrah, hurrah, the Anglo-Catholic, the Liberal, the Evangelical, hurrah, hurrah!'


30 October 2013 at 23:20  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Hello Avi! Happy Jack enjoys his visits here. It is good to make new friends but he is staying up far too late and is getting cold.

Today Jack went to the big church on the hill to ask one of his friends there to say a prayer for Blowers because he is not too well. Happy Jack never learned how to pray. He forgets the words so just talks to the little voice he hears and asks for things.

Happy Jacks asked and his friends at the big church are Anglican and Jack asked about all this stuff about women bishops. He was told it was a "complicated business". How will they sort out all this rowing out? This is a big problem for them. When Jack was at sea women were not allowed on the boats. Just imagine! Jack cannot think how they will agree over all this.

Mrs Proudie is a funny lady. She makes Jack chuckle. Happy Jack hopes her Bishop is okay about letting her have her Woman's Weekly. This will help keep her out of trouble.

Goodnight - Jack is off to bed now.

30 October 2013 at 23:33  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Dearie me. I have come, sadly, very tardily onto this thread due to continued gum pain from too many teeth extracted in one fell swoop. Silly old Blowers!!!

Interested in the proposition of an ombudsman...

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

" If disputing parties share the same starting premise, reconciliation is not so very difficult." Indeed Ivo.

It appears Our Saviour and His Word and authorised epistles of his ambassadors regarding His church is not good enough anymore and He has a challenger!

Good luck with that one, whoever Man/Woman who is Bold enough to disavow His Word because this is what must done/happen to 'soothe' the disaffected.

Worship, praise, honor, obedience and adoration belong to God alone, for only He is truly worthy of it.

God is ALWAYS jealous/zealous when someone gives to another something that rightly belongs to Him and His protecting that which is most precious to Him and the demand for the 'exclusive' devotion of His people..I think that His Word should be the final arbitrator and must really suffice!!!

I am the LORD, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images (Nor my eternal decrees to an ombudsman?)

Irony? God spent forty years trying to convince Israel they would never lack anything..that He would be their constant source and supply: "For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing" and then the CofE desires an ombudsman to deliver what God and His wisdom cannot!!

Are we jealous/zealous enough for the spiritual welfare of other believers and can show our support, our reliance on Him who is trustworthy or should we just start our prayers with..Dear Ombudsman?


31 October 2013 at 02:23  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Ombudsmen offer their services free of charge, and are thus accessible to individuals who could not afford to pursue their complaints through the courts and remain neutral from the two parties in dispute.
(1 John 5: 14 -15
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
[15] And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
Philippians 4: 6-7
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.)

There are somethings in life perhaps a man/woman can be neutral about but regarding the things of God, how is this possible for a christian,(Will the ombudsman be an atheist/secularist..There is an old saying...'Show me who the judge is and I will tell you the outcome')and by what standards do they remain neutral in regards to theological/episcopal matters ??

A comedy farce of the highest quality (an updated 'All Gas and Gaiters' then along the lines of 'Bats in the Belfry'?) awaits as only the British can deliver but without the traditional stiff upper lip and gentle comedy as the modern blubbering pouting one will do, til it's own way is given.

31 October 2013 at 03:06  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear dear Avi and Happy Jack, how lovely it is to have friends. Now, I must dash. I am taking the Brougham to Gatherum Castle to have tea with Duchess Glencora. We are launching the BDF (Barchester Defence League) for the protection of Trollopes...I hope I can put both of you down as Associate Members? One Shilling membership fee per annum and for that you get a souvenir antimacassar.

31 October 2013 at 09:00  
Blogger Len said...

Might be going a little off thread here but there are many concerns that the Anglican Church needs to be addressing with some urgency.

One of these is 'Sharia compliant banking'which is a form of 'monetary Jihad',of course David Cameron is going all out for this but this will give Islam a significant foothold and make it very easy for Islam to manipulate our Government who in turn will influence the Anglican Church to conform and 'modernise'.

31 October 2013 at 14:47  

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