Thursday, 15 July 2010

Forward in Faith - But Where To?

Bishop John Broadhurst, the Chairman of "Forward in Faith" has issued a statement following the recent Synod decisions in York. You can read it on the Sevenoaks blog.

I have long suspected (and please correct me if I am wrong) that FIF, as a group, is not really interested in union with Rome. This statement tends to bear that out. There is still a desire to see a resurgence of the "orthodox" Catholic wing of Anglicanism. It seems to me that this is completely unrealistic. The main problem - as I have already said, and as recognised by many Anglo-Catholics - is that having women bishops leads to schism. Ultimately any "provisions" that might be made in the future are useless, because the Church of England is now fractured, and the only way it can be healed is if there is a change of direction to the extent of rejecting the ordination of women.

The so-called "reception" phase - which had no real life except in the minds of some Anglo-Catholics - during which there would supposedly be some waiting and investigation to see how women's ordination was accepted, or not, by the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches was obviously not taken seriously by those who ordained women and by women who were ordained. After all, as far as they are concerned, you are either ordained or you are not, and if the Catholic Church says, "you are not", what difference does that make since the RC Church does not accept Anglican orders anyway? (I am guessing as to their thoughts, and apologise if I am misjudging anyone).

Those who are truly of a Catholic mind-set will know that you cannot have a "Church" where there are two sets of bishops or where there are priests who do not accept each others' orders. To envisage a "communion" where there is no real, shared, Communion and where the theology of orders is so different in each group is to enter a world of illogical fancy. Those who choose to remain in FIF on the basis of seeking another settlement or provision are trying to run against a gale-force wind; they will not get anywhere.


  1. I am sure you are right, Father, in your analysis of the state of the C of E post-synod. I think, though, you do an injustice to Bishop Broadhurst and to FiF. He knows, as many of us do, that there are priests who, because of their marital status, or because of dependents, believe they simply CANNOT at present take up the offer of the Ordinariate. Bishop John is working to get the best possible arrangement for them in a very hostile CofE. It will be painful for them to stay, yet some believe (often for the sake of their parishioners ) that they must stay, for a while at least. I think they are wrong, but the decision has to be theirs. Incidentally, there is to be a profile of Bishop John on Radio 4 (Saturday at 7pm, repeated on Sunday at 5.40) which might help amend your opinion of him.

  2. Please be patient, Father John. Forward in Faith is not a monolithic organisation for Roman-inclined Anglicans, it has amongst its membership middle-of-the-road Anglicans and Evangelicals. All are upset by recent events and have to be ministered to, even if they do not take the Roman Option in the end. Just be patient and understanding. As Father Michael Gollop's blogpost says, "Mourning takes time"
    Simon Cotton

  3. Bishop Edwin and "Anonymous", many thanks for these corrections. I take your points and understand the need for compassion and patience. Many thanks