From the Revd Patrick
Sir, - The proposed solution
to help resolve the issue of women bishops, "option one", can be
described only as a means of culling traditionalists. The Bishop of
Willesden, the Rt Revd Peter Broadbent, gave it away in his tweet:
"There will be provision . . . but not mainstream to the C of E"
And there we have it: the
package is worse than what was previously offered. Those who
advocate this development are probably jumping with glee: they know
that traditionalists cannot accept this, and it will be the end of
a Catholic and Evangelical presence in the Church of England.
Instead, what will emerge is what has been desired all along: a
liberal liturgical Protestant sect, which will spiritually
rubber-stamp the secular state.
What was rightfully rejected
by the General Synod last November has come back in a form that is
intended to squeeze out Anglo-Catholics and conservative
We are asked by those who
wish to drive through this innovation to place our trust in them.
Do they take us for fools? Do they seriously think that we are the
wide-eyed boy Mowgli, gazing into the hypnotic eyes of the serpent
Kaa as it serenades "Trust in me. . ."? Those who have seen The
Jungle Book know that trust is the last thing Mowgli can do;
for the snake is there only to devour him.
I fear that, unless
conservative Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics wake up to what is
happening, we will be de-churched.
Once more, we are back in
the trenches. Unless some meaningful provision is offered, one in
which the powerful majority takes the concerns of the minority
seriously, civil war is inevitable. There has been much said about
the pain that women have felt after the decision of the Synod last
November, but there seems little if any attempt to understand the
pain that traditionalists suffer. What of those priests who lie
awake at night, worried sick, not knowing whether they will have a
Church, a home, or a community to care for?
What of parishioners who
face increasing uncertainty, not knowing whether their priest will
be forced out? What of the parishes who now feel marginalised for
holding to the traditional teaching of the vast majority of
Christians? What of deanery-synod representatives who feel bullied,
sidelined, and shunned for holding to traditional Anglican views?
What of PCCs who will be denied the system of Resolutions, which,
albeit imperfect, has kept a degree of unity in the Church of
It was the Revd Dr Miranda
Threlfall-Holmes who likened women's treatment in the Church to
that of a suffering spouse at the hands of an abusive husband.
Sadly, there may be some truth in that, for which the Church needs
to repent. This abuse has now been turned on its head, however.
Those who feel that they were abused in this relationship are now
fast becoming fully fledged abusers themselves. This can be
measured by the increasing intransigence towards traditionalists
and in denying the need to offer any dignified and meaningful
I had hoped that talks with
all groups concerned were intended to come to a compromise in which
we could all live together. I thought that we could at least come
to a solution where, while we didn't get all that we wanted, we
could still all flourish and remain together. Sadly, what is
proposed is once again one-sided and utterly unfair. I ask the
House of Bishops to think again, before it's too late.
Priest in Charge of St Crispin's,
296 Wilbraham Road
Manchester M21 0UU