Jonathan Wynne-Jones: Disaffected Anglican bishops don’t know if they’re coming or going

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My colleague, George Pitcher, described Church of England bishops as “flirts” yesterday, but reading recently issued statements from the bishops of Rochester and Chichester, they sound more like confused old dears.

They have objected to reports that they are considering leaving Canterbury for Rome following the Pope’s invitation to disaffected Anglicans – a group of which they are most definitely members.

I’m reluctant to point out how flawed the Bishop of Chichester’s denial is, as John Hind is a black belt in Judo, but he appears to have got himself trapped in a stranglehold of illogicality. It’s worth bearing with me, if only because this highlights why some bishops fail to ever get across their message.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

6 Comments
Posted October 27, 2009 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Well, I would imagine its hard for Anglican bishops to form an opinion on something that so far is mere conjecture. Until the actual particulars and constitution are forthcoming from the Vatican, this might all be a Rome pipe dream.

October 27, 4:52 pm | [comment link]
2. Fr. J. wrote:

Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one.  Matt 5:37

Just quoting scripture, folks, honest! 

Seriously, I do think that one Anglican “virtue (?)” is ambiguity and being Anglican, especially Anglican clergy, requires so many caveats that the charge of equivocation is very often apt.  A certain ABC comes to mind.  We Catholics are not perfect by a long shot, yet, there is a certain amount of clarity and conviction that is fundamental to the task.  I hope that there are a good number of Anglicans who are up for it—not so much for the sake of the Catholic Church, but for the witness to the gospel these might bear in whichever church they may serve.  Personally, I would love for there to be a grand number received, and I do of course pray for it.  But, it will require a purification from some habits and a formation into some others for it to go at all well.

October 27, 6:49 pm | [comment link]
3. DTerwilliger wrote:

They’re Anglicans - can they agree on anything?

October 27, 10:35 pm | [comment link]
4. Contarini wrote:

I see no lack of logic in Bishop +Hind’s comments. With all due respect to Mr. Pitcher, he doesn’t seem to have read very carefully. +Hind acknowledged that Rome is not going to declare Anglican orders invalid and therefore that union with Rome would involve reordination. And he expressed his willingness to be reordained should reunion with Rome occur. This does not mean that he is going to seek such union on his own. None of these statements in any way contradict the others. They hang together perfectly well.

October 28, 9:29 am | [comment link]
5. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Thanks, #4, Contarini, although I admit to still being a bit confused about his intentions.  Time will clear it up, though.

BTW, I assume that your screenname is a reference to Cardinal Gasparo Contarini, one of the central figures in the celebrated but ill-fated Catholic-Portestant dialogue in Regensburg back in 1541.  It’s a shame that such a promising agreement as was reached there was disowned by both sides and led to nothing.  But Contarini and Johan Gropper are still hero figures in my eyes, and it’s remarkable that they were able to reach as much agreement as they did with Bucer and Melancthon on the key doctrine of justification.

Would you care to elaborate on why you chose the name?

David Handy+

October 30, 11:25 am | [comment link]
6. Contarini wrote:

I don’t see much reason for confusion. He’s simply saying that the reordination problem is not a barrier to reunion—a humble and rational approach, in my opinion. What intentions are you confused about?

And yes, I have used this screen name for years as a way of identifying myself with the approach to the Reformation divisions represented by Cardinal Contarini. I became Anglican rather than Roman Catholic in part because it seemed to me that the “losers” at Trent had strong arguments (though this may have been an excuse), but at the same time I could not sign on to confessional Protestantism in any of its forms and was unwilling to abandon Western Christianity for Orthodoxy.

October 30, 12:43 pm | [comment link]
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