Ernest Skublics challenges those who wish to stay for a quiet life
Whether we are indeed going forward in faith or just playing for time and equivocating may be a matter of interpretation. One must hope it is, and will be seen to be the former. Because if it is the latter, then all pretensions to Catholicism or Catholicity are a shameful sham, and Forward in Faith becomes a moaning club about women priests and bishops, without any proper (Catholic) ecclesiological understanding of the real issue.
Just try this one on as a test: What would you think and do if the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches agreed tomorrow that women can be ordained? It is entirely understandable that an affectionate loyalty causes those born and bred in the Church of England to wish, to grieve, and to dream of a way for all things being well and no hard decisions being required. Yet it has been said and understood over and over again that two kinds of priests and bishops, some of whose orders may be invalid, cannot be in sacramental communion, functioning as one church.
As we all know, by voting to have women bishops, the Church of England will become a sect and forsake any claim to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The only way I, as a Catholic, can justify myself still living, communicating and serving in an Anglican church is as a member of Forward in Faith, because I have believed in the clear policy of FiF to pursue restored communion with the (Roman) Catholic Church.
However, I am troubled by any talk that as long as some system can be contrived by which we are shielded from contact with ordained women, we would much prefer staying in this ‘Protestant sect’ to becoming proper Catholics.
What then is the issue that is troubling Catholic Anglicans? Is it really Catholic fidelity to the whole Faith and Order, or is it an aversion to women in Holy Orders?
The ordination of women is merely a symptom of infidelity to the Catholic Tradition and schism from the Catholic Church, and cannot be the single issue for Anglicans who claim to be Catholic.