“Starting on March 12th this year, and lasting over three months, more than a thousand women will be celebrating a Silver Jubilee: the 25th anniversary of their ordination to the priesthood in the Church of England. Bristol Cathedral led the way, with 32 deacons ordained priest, and the following week three ordinations took place in Sheffield diocese on the 15th, 16th and 17th March, when twenty-five women were ordained as priests, and ordinations continued in other dioceses through April, May and June.”
It is worth taking stock, on this important anniversary, of the achievements of women’s ordination, set against the declared aspirations. Women’s ordination, it was said, would bring back to the Church the disaffected masses, who were offended by its rampant sexism. In particular it would be attractive to young people. And generally make the Church more ‘relevant’ to the ambient culture.
None of this has resulted. Attendance figures in the Church of England continue to be in free-fall; only 7% of young people identify as Anglicans (beside 6% who identify as Muslims); and the Established Church has a diminished role in public life.
Meanwhile the fruits of women’s ordination are manifest. Support for gay marriage, and transgenderism stems largely from the same groupings which advocated WO, and women bishops are among the most outspoken proponents. Contrary to assurances given, WO has accelerated the Gadarene rush into doctrinal indifferentism.
So what is there to celebrate?
A fracture in the world-wide Communion; a disaster in ecumenical relations; and a marked decline in the ability to influence social policy in the public square.
Far from renewing its zeal for proclaiming the Gospel in an increasingly secular world, the Church of England has aligned itself with an amalgam of special interest groups and virtue-signallers, at several removes from the consensus of the English people. This is not what was promised.