For me, yesterday's vote of the Church of England's General Synod to authorize the ordination of women to the episcopate WITHOUT MAKING ADEQUATE PROVISION for dissenting traditionalists was a bigger blow to the stomach than GafCon. Now I made my peace with the ordination of women some time ago, so in a sense I didn't have a dog in this fight. After all, by my own choice, freely and without reservation, I was ordained into a diocese that ordains women. So I would hardly "qualify" as an Anglo-Catholic by comparison to the 24 karat variety of catholic in the Church of England or in the Continuing Church for that matter. (I don't count my previous ordination in the Free Church of England as valid episcopal ordination since it clearly lacked "intent.")
Still, I'm afriad that the Church of England lost something very precious and unique this week. The English Church has always been a microcosm of the Communion itself, comprehending within her the whole spectrum of Anglicanism. Not anymore. One might say that the Mother Church, if not all of Anglicanism, has suddenly become stingy, if not outright miserly, in what she is willing to present to the rest of Christendom as her "generous orthdoxy."
But who's to blame?
Think back, if you will, to the 1993-94 measure to ordain women as priests. Many moderates and "liberals" also supported a separate measure to keep Anglo-Catholic traditionalists under the same tent by providing Provincial Episcopal Visitors ("flying bishops"). This made sense. The Church of England was bracing itself for a MASS exodus of traditionalists. But the mass exodus turned out to be trickle. Why? Because adequate provision for dissenters of women's ordination was made.
I still recall a chapel sermon given in the Michaelmas term 1993 by Dr. Dick France, then Principal of Wycliffe Hall, who preached vociferously against Anglo-Catholic "bullying" on the issue of women's ordination. I was stunned, especially to find out how different English-style Evangelical Anglicanism was from my own experience of Evangelical Anglicanism in the USA (I was at the time a deacon in the Reformed Episcopal Church). Clearly, it was the moderates who came to the rescue of the Anglo-Catholics in that day.
However, the tide has shifted. Perhaps it is an overstatement to place blame on the "recent unpleasantness" in Jerusalem (i.e., GafCon). Okay, it is an overstatement to blame GafCon. But can there be any doubt at all that the same attitudes and events that led to GafCon also contributed to the cool reception of General Synod towards any measure that would provide "safe space" for traditionalists via a parallel structure in the Church of England? Certainly even before GafCon, the cross-jurisdictional actions of the Southern Cone and other provinces, not to mention Reform's incessant calls for Evangelical "flying bishops," along with the illicit ordinations of Evangelical "presbyters" in London, created a climate of distrust for parallel structures in England. GafCon was merely icing on the cake!
But whatever else may be said, here's what I know from my own experience in England. There is very little love lost between Evangelicals (of any variety) and Anglo-Catholics. A major difference between American Catholics and English Catholics is that the former are more at home with Evangelicals, which is why +Iker, +Ackerman, et al. are quite comfortable working hand-in-hand with them. The kind of cooperation we see over here (in the USA) between parties is not nearly as common as I think we Americans assume it must be over there. That's just the way it is. It would not surprise me in the least if many Evangelicals (the so-called "open" ones) voted in favor of yesterday's measure. Not at all.
That's my take. I'm not infallible and I'm open for critique. So please let me know what you think.