Saturday, November 24, 2012

Women Bishops - Some confusion

As a Catholic, I'm not really best placed to comment on the CofE's recent women bishops debate. I believe in a centralised Church, with authority centred in the Magisterium and the Holy Father. I am confused as to why when your theological experts, your men (and women) of prayer of apparently consecrated and sacramental standing believe you should take a decision on a moral issue then the laity are not prepared, or obliged, to follow. I believe that matters of faith and morals are absolute, not relative, and am perplexed by the idea that such matters should be put to a vote. Simply put: if the CofE believes women can be priests, then why not bishops? Christ, after all, established the episcopate before the priesthood. More frankly, if you accept that women in the priesthood is possible then surely it is just point blank discrimination to allow others with whom you are in communion to avoid them. Anglicanism is not a set of beliefs to which I subscribe - and I don't subscribe because being a member of the CofE is intellectually barking. Doubtless many think the same of me and my Catholicity.

But, as I said, I'm not best placed to comment on it. I have a right to do so, however, as a thinking human being, and as a citizen in a country where the CofE is an established church and their bishops sit in a chamber of parliament. I stop short of wanting to legislate on it, however - and I find even the voicing of such a prospect (by Ben Bradshaw, Chris Bryant and others) thoroughly unnerving.

Rhetoric and Reality in Corby

A week or so on, what does the Corby by-election show? There's been, and will continue to be, much analysis of the implications for Cameron and the Tories, what the win of such a 'bellwether' seat means for the Labour Party and, of course the impact of local factors on determining such a pleasing result.

This discussion is important, but there's an element of the reaction, from the press and from the Labour Party that leaves me a little cold: the idea of a win in 'Middle England'.