Thursday, May 24, 2018

Will the Church’s division over women clergy re-ignite?

From The Spectator-

Now that London has a female bishop, you might assume that the whole saga is over: surely the liberals have effectively won? Well, yes and no: because the traditionalist rump that opposes women’s ordination is still officially affirmed as authentically Anglican, and has its own episcopal structure, the liberals’ victories have a hollow feel. Of course liberals have grumbled about this odd situation since its origin in 1992. But charitable rhetoric about co-existence has kept such grumbling in check. Might this now change?

You might wonder how this rump has survived, and found new recruits. What is its appeal? It’s hard enough for a vicar to keep a congregation going: why tie one hand behind your back in this way? Well, you could say some clergy like the constraint. Or rather, there are still plenty of young men who are energised by the counter-cultural aura of this movement, who see the sacred mystique of priesthood magnified by this form of defiant otherness, who feel spiritually distinct from jolly down-to-earth females like Kate Bottley of Gogglebox. To a certain mindset, an embattled form of religion, condemned by mainstream culture, feels holier. And more adventurous: it makes a small congregation feel like a brave band of defiant disciples, rather than another disappointing turn-out.

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