Dear Michael,

It must be a relief that your commission is drawing towards the close of its business. February is not too far away now.

Poor old Martin Davy, struggling away at making sense of the incoherence of it all! Did Oak Hill ever prepare a chap for that? But then – he has had to cope with Issues in Human Sexuality at the same time. Very appropriately, I would say! He probably knows more, by now, about transgendered sexual relationships than any Evangelical in history!

But obviously that is not the point. The point is: have you all been listening to Rowan? He is, as we have all been told, the great saviour who can relate us to the Modern World: the only doctor who needs no spin.

But did you notice that he sacrificed his side-kick in Affirming Catholicism – always a misnomer in our view, see NDs passim – on the altar of Anglican unity? And did you hear why he has done it?

‘There is’, said the Archbishop, ‘an obvious problem in the consecration of a bishop whose ministry will not be readily received by a significant proportion of Christians in England and elsewhere.’

So there is already a problem – in Dunedin, and the rest – and though it is a problem which will not go away, Rowan, apparently, will not sanction its extension to the Mother Church.

Your Commission has been asked to consider the theological implications of the ordination of women to the episcopate. And obviously you know (give or take a year or two) what your conclusions will have to be. If you come up with the ‘wrong’ answer, you will, as current experience shows, be exposed to a foul mouthful from Colin Slee, and a lot else besides.

But how can you reconcile what you have to say about women bishops with what you heard Rowan say about Jeffrey John – which presumably you believe wholeheartedly? That, Michael, is where the whole issue comes home to someone like you.

Or does it? We will see.