Of cats and schisms

The poet Craig Raine has written  a novel which has not won the admiration of the critics.  Fair or unfair, my favourite comment was in the TLS-  he has taken to novel writing like a cat to water.

Last week there was the furore about whether or not Jeffrey John should have been appointed as the next bishop of Southwark. Some of his supporters from all wings of the church pointing out that he had all the requisite qualifications, intellectual and pastoral, his detractors drawing attention primarily to his sexual orientation but also  hinting that they believed his avowal of celibacy to be deceitful .

This week ,at last, the legislation to prepare the way for women to be able to serve in the episcopacy has been passed by general  synod and the theological sabres are being waved again. The opponents of the move argue that the original legislation to allow women to be priests was passed with the promise that provision for them would always remain. They insist that the offer of a code of practice is not adequate as they hoped to see an eternal provision for them to avoid the ministry of women, and some have cried bad faith.

To me that does seem a bit rich coming from members of the reactionary movement, Forward in Faith, which no sooner had the legislation passed in 1990 took advantage of its weakest spot and launched an infiltation scheme worthy of the Militant Tendency. Taking advantage of the tiny majority required for a church council to vote against the ministry of women they targeted parishes all over the country which were unsettled or particularly in thrall to the opinions of the clergy and set up a caucus of  resistance.

I would love all those who have genuine theological or emotional qualms about the role of women in the church to stay, but I hope they can give the code of practice a chance rather than unjustifiably playing the moral purity card .

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