"It's Hardly A Church"

The political sketch writer, Quentin Letts, said in last Sunday's Religious News podcast, that, "Westminster Abbey is but sixty paces across, what is these days a rather busy road, from the Palace of Westminster. Sixty paces separating the political citadel from the greatest abbey in the kingdom. And the Abbey is infected - if we can put it like that - by politics. And perhaps politics by the Abbey." He goes on to notice that the first thing tourists see when walking in the Abbey is Gladstone's tomb. "The first thing they see," he exclaims, "is a bunch of politicians! So it's hardly a church!" His guest, Prof. Justin Champion, also notices that on every tomb it says, "Erected by Parliament."

"Very much a Parliamentary statement isn't it?" countered Letts. "Almost as if, 'This is our pad.'"

If anyone doubts the erastianism of the Church of England, the facts are obvious to even the popular media. The question is then put to those who self-identify as traditional Anglo-Catholics within the Church of England - especially those within the subgroup known as SSWSH: "How may one remain committed to the Church of England, now that she's declared her Protestant identity once and for all, whilst maintaining that it does not have the authority to admit women to the episcopate or presbyterate?"

Prior to the current move towards women in the episcopate, the silly notion of a "period of reception" with regards to women's ordination could be feasibly argued as a separate isolated church finding its way forward. Now that  the "period of reception" is conclusively over, and by virtue, so is any serious claim of the Catholic identity of the Church of England.

And let's not even get into the issue of Parliament trying to make women's ordination happen and even the issue of same-sex marriages.

So, for the curious, what does it mean to remain committed to the Church of England today while maintaining she's wrong on something so fundamental to the nature of the church itself?


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