Letter

From Mr Bob Britnell,

What struck me about the article by Christina Rees in September’s ND was how little it related to the concerns of those opposed to women priests or bishops; it didn’t take our concerns and dismiss them, it fundamentally demonstrated that there was no awareness that we had a valid concern about the issue. Now I may not agree with women priests or bishops but at least I can see the argument of those promoting it, even if I don’t agree and that is what was missing from Christina Rees’ article: there was no recognition that our point of view even existed.

I am reminded of the red hot socialists that I used to work with 20 or more years ago, who would brook no opposition to communism: it was so self-evidently right that no right thinking person could possibly hold a contrary view. I wonder if they still subscribe to those views?

In many respects I think that the October ND begins to address the real issue at stake. For three and half centuries and more the Anglican Church has straddled the religious fence, Catholic but not Roman Catholic, reformed but not Protestant, a very British compromise, a bit more Protestant in the eighteenth century, a bit more Catholic in the nineteenth, but always living with each other no matter how uneasily. Now we see the Protestants in the ascendancy again but this time, like the iconoclasts of old, they want to smash what we have and impose an intolerant uniformity.

They have clearly lost sight of the lessons of history, the eighteenth century dog-days of the Church of England, the growth of non-conformity and the fragmentation of the established church and to what avail? Perhaps it is time for us to say a sad farewell to our ‘protestant’ brothers and sisters; time for them to move on and find a new way of being church that suits them and allows them to pursue their religious freedom; all we have to ask is that they in turn extend us the right to pursue our own religious freedom and not to exclude us from ‘our’ church just because they cannot understand our point of view.

Bob Britnell
28 Orchard Close, Canterbury, Kent

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