A friend opposed to women’s ordination (and who has since become a Catholic) wrote to me recently to say that she is now employed in spiritual direction by two dioceses of the Church of England. She comments on the irony that when she was a deaconss in the CofE she was deemed unemployable.
But there is no irony. The facts give us an insight into the thought processes of WOKEChurch. To employ a woman opposed to women’s ordination would be to lend support to bigotry; to employ a Roman Catholic is to be open, inclusive and ecumenical.
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.
You can judge a man, they say, by the company he keeps. And who could be more compromising to the Holy Father than Óscar Andrés Rodríguez, Cardinal Maradiaga, the chief of staff of Francis’s handpicked Council of Cardinals?
Accused of a cover-up of his friend and auxiliary Bishop Juan José Pineda (accused by seminarians of sexual molestation), Maradiaga has himself been accused of embezzlement and of dubious financial dealings, including an alleged $600,000 missing from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa. The Cardinal is also said to have invested over $1.2 million in financial companies overseas.
Now an angry crowd has attempted to drag him off an aeroplane in Honduras, bound for Panama. Reports say they were bent on lynching him.
Despite all this, Bergoglio is unconcerned. The accusations,
he claims, are mere calumnies – Maradiaga has his complete confidence. “No one
has been able to prove anything [about Maradiaga] to me. Maybe he made some
mistakes, he’s done some things wrong, but not at the level that they want to
accuse him of. That’s important, so I defend him in that.”
As the so-called C9 dwindles in number, and Francis’s
position becomes increasingly embattled, these credible accusations require an
answer. Nothing less than an independent enquiry will suffice.
I knew nothing, naturally, nothing. I have said it many different times, I did
not know anything. You know that I knew nothing about McCarrick, otherwise I
could not have kept silent. The motive of my silence was first of all because
they proofs were there, as I said to you, “Judge for yourselves.” It was truly
an act of trust. And then also, for the reason that I said to you about Jesus,
that in moments of fury one cannot speak, because it’s worse. Everything is
going against you. The Lord showed us this way and I follow it.’
‘Concerning McCarrick I knew nothing, naturally, nothing. I
have said it many different times, I did not know anything. And
when he says that he spoke to me on the day that he came – and I don’t remember
if he spoke to me about this, whether it’s true or not. I have no idea!
You know that I knew nothing about McCarrick, otherwise I could not have kept
silent. The motive of my silence was first of all because they proofs were
there, as I said to you, “Judge for yourselves.” It was truly an act of trust.
And then also, for the reason that I said to you about Jesus, that in moments
of fury one cannot speak, because it’s worse. Everything is going against you.
The Lord showed us this way and I follow it.’
The first of these is the redacted Vatican version of the Alazraki Interview below. The second is the original text. A judicious and solicitous hand has removed the weak and indefensible assertion that Francis had ‘forgotten’ the main content of the Vigano audience.
As the Pope himself has said, journalists will draw their own
What are we to make of the recent interview with Francis (on May 28) by Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki?
Francis has previously refused to comment on the accusations made by Archbishop Vigano – leaving judgement to the good sense of press reporters. Now he flatly denies having had previous knowledge of the nefarious activities of former Cardinal McCarrick, in clear contradiction of Vigano’s more circumstantial testimony.
Journalists (and others) will ask themselves who is lying: the Archbishop with an axe to grind and scores to settle, or the Pope whose overall credibility is on the line?
The interview itself is a strange one, in which Bergolgio rambles on, like an elderly mafioso, seeking at one moment to discredit his accuser, at the next to profess his own innocence. It is hard not to think that silence was, after all, the wiser option.
That is the next date on which the United Kingdom is
scheduled to leave the EU. The day before All Saints’ day has been surrounded
by myth and legend. What cannot be doubted, after the result of the recent
elections to the European Parliament, is that if the UK does not leave on that
date all hell will break loose.
Nigel Farage’s party – ten points ahead of the nearest Remainer party – will clearly pose a serious threat to established parties in either a General Election or a second referendum.
What has been called a ‘hard Brexit’ or a ‘no-deal Brexit’, but which is more properly a ‘clean Brexit’, now looks to be the only option for Mrs May’s successor.
‘Jesus does not want the church to be a perfect model, satisfied with its own organization and able to defend its good name… Jesus did not live like this, but on a journey, without fearing the upheavals of life.’ Living like Jesus demands the ‘courage of renunciation’ …a willingness to abandon traditions that are dear to us. Changing and adapting is not about imposing something new, ‘but leaving aside something old.’ ‘God often purifies, simplifies, and makes us grow by taking away, not by adding, as we might do.’ ‘True faith cleanses from attachments. As a church, we are not called to corporate compromises, but to evangelical enterprise.’
These are words of Pope Francis, in a recent address to the 21st general assembly of Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s global charitable outreach. These words have a name. They are called Protestantism.
But this is not the old Protestantism of Luther and Calvin, robust and forthright; but the soft-edged protestations of liberal Anglicans. One can almost hear the emollient episcopal murmurings peculiar to the tribe. But setting aside the verbiage, and the imprecise generalities, what – you will ask – is Francis up to?
The smart money is on the proposition that this was a softening-up exercise before the projected Amazonian synod, and the oft-canvassed abandonment of clerical celibacy. They are probably writing the post-Synodal Exhortation now…