By Ann Widdecombe, Express
THE vote on women bishops was sufficiently narrow to have gone either way and the hierarchy who are now bemoaning the outcome have only themselves to blame, having utterly failed to reassure dissenters that there would still be room for them in the Anglican Church.
Oh, there were plenty of warm words, vague promises and sketchy arrangements but no detailed code of practice.
That was quite enough to have made the difference precisely because some of those who opposed the 1992 decision to ordain women find they have been marginalised.
I received a letter last week from an ordinary CofE worshipper, who is theologically opposed to women priests but who has stayed loyal to his rural church despite the presence of a woman vicar. He hasn’t stomped off to another church but instead asked if from time to time communion could be given by one of the male retired assistant clergy.
And has anyone taken that seriously?
Nope. The bishop says go to another church, regardless of what that costs and the difficulty of travel. The rural dean does not reply. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s office says go to the rural dean.
Ministers insist that the churches will be protected but the PM regularly states what he thinks the churches should do so why will he go out of his way to protect them when they disagree with him?
So though their mitres bob up and down with indignation can they really wonder that waverers did not feel like taking the risk at the synod vote and relying on empty words?
It is instructive that the Prime Minister saw fit to rebuke the church for the decision of its synod. That should provide a clear warning of how seriously we may regard government promises on gay marriage.
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