The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have issued this statement which reminds the Anglicans that women’s ordination to the episcopate is a grave obstacle to unity.
The Catholic Church remains fully committed to its dialogue with the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. For the Catholic Church, the goal of ecumenical dialogue continues to be full visible ecclesial communion.
Such full ecclesial communion embraces full communion in the episcopal office. The decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate therefore sadly places a further obstacle on the path to this unity between us.
While the point of the statement was to state clearly that the Anglicans had erected a yet more grave obstacle to unity, the bishops’ statement was diplomatic in the usual terms, expressing thanks for the progress made over the years in discussion and the warm affection many Anglicans and Catholics share.
I found it strangely negative and sour therefore to find that the new hounds over at Pewsitter created a headline that was cynical and seemed to undermine the Catholic bishops. Their headline link to the piece read, “UK Bishops to Anglicans on vote for women ‘bishops’: We affirm our significant ecumenical progress!” Maybe its just me, but the headline read like a dig at the bishops. It makes the UK bishops sound like they are all in favor of women’s ordination. Furthermore, it makes the editors of Pewsitter sound like they know more than the bishops and quite honestly think themselves better than the UK bishops. Of course the bishops wrote a diplomatic, but honest statement. That’s as it should be. What did the folks at PS expect from the English bishops? A harsh jeremiad against all forms of Protestant apostasy? A vortex of spittle flecked rage at Anglican heresy? Probably not.
The headline was all the more ironic since their headline linking to my post yesterday was equally cynical and misleading, “In ‘Screwtape’ style, Fr. Longenecker blasts angry ignorant Catholics who believe headlines without waiting for the spin…” I’ve searched the article to find where I “blasted” anyone or called anyone “ignorant and angry” but in vain. PS’s implication was that readers should always trust headlines without looking beyond them. Maybe that’s because they want readers to trust their own false and misleading headlines which smear people without bothering to read the article itself or search or think any more deeply.
I must admit there is an increasingly noxious atmosphere at Pewsitter. They seem negative in a tabloid sort of way which has the whiff of sulfur about it.
I’ve gone off track. In fact the proper Catholic authority–the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales did make a statement about women bishops in the CofE, and it was clear and yet diplomatic. That’s as it should be.
My own further explanations on the Anglican Church and women’s ordination to the episcopate are published today over at Zenit. Go here to read further comments on this story and if you like it please share.