THE row over female clergy in the Anglican Church just got more bitter, with the Bishop of Lewes warning that there was:
Speaking at the Reform conference of conservative Anglicans in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, theÂ Rt Rev Wallace Benn declared:
Real serious warfare just around the corner.
I’m about to use an analogy, and I use it quite deliberately and carefully. I feel very much increasingly that we’re in January of 1939. What we must not do is create a phoney war, but we need to be aware that there is real serious warfare just around the corner.
Christina Rees, of Women and the Church (Watch), said the bishop’s views were “demeaning”
The bishop said he had intended his comments to be “Churchillian”. A statement issued from his office read:
He said that the situation in which we find ourselves in the Church feels like people probably felt as they viewed the year ahead in January 1939. There are storm clouds on the horizon and warfare around the corner. We all hope and pray that it won’t happen.
Meanwhile, it is reported that five Anglicans – three serving assistant bishops and two retired – are to join the Roman Catholic Church under a Vatican scheme intended to provide a welcome for pissed-off Anglicans.
The serving bishops are the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Right Reverend Andrew Burnham; the Bishop of Richborough, the Right Reverend Keith Newton; and the Bishop of Fulham, the Right Reverend John Broadhurst.
They will be joined by the former Bishop of Richborough, the Right Reverend Edwin Barnes, and the former Bishop of Ballarat in Australia, the Right Reverend David Silk.
In a statement, the five bishops said:
We have been dismayed, over the last 30 years, to see Anglicans and Catholics move further apart on some of the issues of the day.
They said the Vatican’s proposal for the new structure was:
Both a generous response to various approaches to the Holy See for help and a bold, new ecumenical instrument in the search for the unity of Christians.
Bishop Burnham told the BBC that the decision was not just about the issue of women bishops.
It’s about whether the Church of England, as it’s always claimed to be, is faithful to the undivided Church of the first thousand years and faithful to its faith and orders – or whether it feels it can make things up and change things as it goes.
And, increasingly, over the last few years, it has acted as though it is autonomous in these matters and can make things up as it goes and women bishops is simply the latest example of that.
Bishop Broadhurst said he was:
Moving against the backdrop of a deteriorating situation within the Church of England.
Through gritted teeth, and most likely thinking “good riddance”, the beleaguered Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan (Dumbedore) Williams, said:
I have today with regret accepted the resignations of Bishops Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton who have decided that their future in Christian ministry lies in the new structures proposed by the Vatican.
We wish them well in this next stage of their service to the Church and I am grateful to them for their faithful and devoted pastoral labours in the Church of England over many years.
Finally, we learn that the ultra-conservative Archbishop AndrÃ©-Joseph LÃ©onard, the embattled leader of Belgium’s Roman Catholics, got himself entartÃ©d (pied) while conducting a service.
He was hit in the face with the pie by a young man dressed in black during an All Saints Day service last Monday in the cathedral in Brussels.
RTL television quoted diocesan spokeswoman Claire Jonard as saying:
Hat tip: John M White (for the Anglican reports) and Anonymous, for the pie story.
The archbishop continued the service and did not want to file charges against the aggressor. We have no idea who it was or what his intentions were.