Where authority lies

From Steve Vince

Mark Stevens’ summary of the current position re the General Synod vote omits one highly significant factor. I am sick and tired of constantly hearing it said that the General Synod has no competence to vote for women bishops (and had none to vote for women priests), as if it were a case of “General Synod contra ecclesiam”; the truth of the matter is that the Synod will not be voting (if it does) for women bishops, nor did it vote for women priests in 1992, entirely off its own bat in a show of arrogance, as Mark suggests. In both cases the Lambeth Conference had passed a resolution declaring it to be acceptable for a national Church to take these steps by means of its proper decision-making processes, or to refrain from doing so, as it chose to do; and any criticism of the Synod’s conduct that does not take this into account cannot be fair or accurate.

Steve Vince

13 Selwyn Close, Wolverhampton

Orthodox Riposte

From Fr Michael Wood

Regarding David Robart’s letter in ND last month, it was such a shock, coming from a man I have known for twenty-five years, I can only say it makes me very sad to see such a man as I once knew, reduced to such a letter. A personal, vicious attack is not part of the personality of the sometime Dean of St. Georges or of Ballarat or of Brunswick. He was a Christian man, who applauded the missioning work of others. He was the man who was quintessentially a Christian, a thinker and a generally good man. A musician originally, a happy personality who could be relied upon for an optimistic word. However advanced age has its traps and by the late seventies/early eighties, some of us succumb. I am sad and I can only say to God: These are not the words of the man I knew, Lord you can’t blame him for this.

For the truth of the matter, I would refer readers to the statement on our website http://forwardinorthodoxfaith. blogspot.com It is a pity he didn’t know that Archbishop Mark is an Archbishop, that he sits on the Holy Synod – the same Synod that made it possible for us to have Western Rite Orthodox missions in England – directly under the Primate.

Fr Michael

Superior, Saint Petroc Monastery

Christmas stamps

From David Chapman

2011 is a “Secular” Year – the Royal Mail’s Christmas stamps will this year have no religious theme – Wallace and Grommit hold centre stage. Perhaps readers of this paper would prefer that the stamps on their Christmas cards and letters should do a little to redress this secularism and proclaim in a small way that Christ is the reason for Christmas. They can do so; the lovely stamps issued a few years ago depicting paintings of the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child are still available – indeed are available throughout the year, though some Post Offices will deny all knowledge of that, and even Royal Mail Retail need some convincing. Post Offices will try to sell the Wallace and Grommit issue and insist that those are the Christmas stamps this year, but be firm and ask for the Madonna ones. Get your Post Office to order them for you if necessary – they are available for First and Second class post. If all else fails, St Pauls Bookshop by Westminster Cathedral stocks them.

David Chapman

Manager, St Pauls Bookshop Westminster Cathedral, London

Defective Drafters

From O H W Clark

What is the point of setting up a Code of Practice Drafting Group without adequate representation of those for whose situation it has been especially set up to help? The report of any group so defectively constituted will be regarded as flawed fatally from the outset and not worth reading before a word of it has been written.

Of course in the later stages of any protracted debate, the infusion of some new blood is often desirable. However the sheer unfairness and the political blindness of those who have produced the present list of appointees can lead only (in my view) to a ‘final solution’ in the form of a probable defeat of the whole legislative package by the negative voting at final approval of at least one of the Synod’s three Houses – a prospect which the results of the synodical elections just concluded may well make more likely.

All this is unnecessary. The Diocesan Synod debates are no more likely to change the picture than any report by the Code of Practice Drafting Group as now constituted. Only (as I see it) the reintroduction in due course of the Archbishops’ proposals shamefully defeated at York–or something along those lines–can there be any hope of supporters and opponents of women priest and bishops coming together – not in perfect accord but in manageably co-existence with integrity, peace and mutual respect within one Church of England.

O H W Clark

Address supplied

Fishy assumptions

From Mary Collins

‘Few people shudder at the mention of Rome – or even the Treaty of Rome.’ (Editorial New Directions October) The Papacy perhaps, but the Treaty of Rome aka the EU?

I suppose Gordon Square is too far from Britain’s fishing ports to hear the shudders that the successors to Peter the fisherman have given as their living has been destroyed by EU imposed regulations. Also the clouds of incense welcoming the coming of the Ordinariate have possibly prevented senior FinF folk from reading opinion polls which continue to show the EU becoming more unpopular among the public.

Is the ‘new direction’ that FinF is taking not reconciliation with the Holy Father but rather with EU infatuated, ex Brussels apparatchik, (and atheist) Nick Clegg?

Mary Collins

64 Birchwood Road, Petts Wood