COMMENT SEPTEMBER 1999

Twenty-five years ago in Philadelphia the illegal ordination of eleven women precipitated an ecclesiological crisis in Anglicanism. The nature of that crisis is analysed in this edition by Fr Geoffrey Kirk and by Fr Aidan Nichols, OP (see pages 4-7 below).

But it would be a mistake to suppose that the crisis was merely one of the doctrine of the Church. It is a crisis, too, of biblical exegesis and of moral theology. In her sermon at the anniversary Eucharist, Bishop Barbara Harris (see pages 13-14 below) made plain the connection - close and inevitable - between women's ordination and the present campaign for homosexual equality. Both campaigns rely on an exegesis of the Biblical texts which robs them of any real, literal and contextual meaning.

And it is ultimately a crisis of Christology. For if it is argued (as it has been) that the fullness of humanity cannot adequately be represented by a male priesthood, it will surely be seen to follow that it cannot be adequately represented by a male incarnation.

The sheer extent of the revisionist programme was apparent to many of us long ago. And though few would have predicted that the star of the Loughborough Conferences would, a quarter of a century later, be the principal episcopal advocate of consensual sado-masochism (see Thirty Days, page 20 below), it was clear then that acceleration was inevitable.

It requires only that good men do nothing, for heresy to thrive.

 

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