Sunday, July 11, 2010


As a non-partisan bystander and as a female, I am sorry to see the Church of England going to hell in a handcart over the creation of female Bishops. The Protestants in Scotland do not seem to have this same problem with their women representing them. They do, and at a very high level.

Women form a major part of society and this will be reflected even in the membership of the Church of England. If I were a member of this exquisitely strange organisation, I would seriously be thinking about the strong misogynistic projection from a vocal core, who obviously do not represent all the people who form their dwindling congregations, or our society.

If the noisy ecclesiastical individuals feel they would get a better deal from Rome, (is this pick and mix religion?) then they should clearly follow their narrow beliefs and depart for pastoral pastures new. The papacy is not averse to manipulating its celibacy rules to suit - more pick and mix - but not for their born and bred flock.

There are other 'traditionalist' [intolerant] breakaway Christian groups around the world that additionally, openly espouse homophobia,the question has to be raised, why are these people not aligning themselves openly with them? They are equally as high profile for media attention. Their Roman Catholic machinations appear cynical, that is, timed to a pending papal visit.

If, as a woman, I belonged to this particular fractious, religious society, I would feel let down, unrepresented, demeaned and unwanted as a fellow believer.


adamantixx said...

i agree, how can any organisation ever hope to represent humanity if it denies women an equal status?

but hasn't religion always been "pick'n'mix" with folk choosing which doctrines or scriptures they decide to adhere to?

ZACL said...

Your second point is apt. There does seem to have been a certain convenience in interpretations and representations. This is how schisms develop.

There is a definition required as to what 'equal status' is and as yet no C of E member has given one. They dare not, to keep everyone who is still there, on board.

No-one, as far as I can tell is saying women and men are physically the same, let them dare say women are intellectually inferior, in this day and age. Yet, it seems that is what is being inferred. Denying a large part of a community of a society, a full part to play in it, is wrong.

Vincent said...

To me, the main appeal of the Church of England is to be traditional and timeless. It goes with the old church buildings, the anachronistic Establishment which makes the reigning Monarch the Head of the Church and so on. A part of me clings to the pointless ritual which actually I rather hated as a child. But still it is a link to childhood.

But my views don't count because I have never been a member of the Church of England, or indeed a Christian, except in the vague non-practising sense.

But part of that anachronistic tradition is to be inclusive and pragmatic. It seems obvious that women priests are needed because not enough men are drawn to the vocation. And therefore they should be allowed to rise to the highest office, including the Archbishops. Of course.

I think the matter of homosexuality is more complex, as I see mischief-making on both sides. If the African bishops are anti-gay, then that is their cultural thing, not to be squashed out of hand by other cultures who are convinced they know better. It's not worth splitting the world-wide church for an issue like that which is sexual politics and not a core religious thing. Good old Rowan Williams does his best without taking sides. It's not homophobic if would-be bishops are told the doors are closed if they are going to be "openly gay", i.e. gay activists. that seems irresponsible because they will split the church on an irrelevancy.

Vincent said...
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ZACL said...

Hello Vincent,

I respect your memories, anachronistic as they are. Mine are too, but I don't find myself drawn back to them as positive or inclusive.

I studied your last point, which is particularly about homosexuality. I felt that it is a subject as schismatic as the current debate amongst groups of 'traditionalists' (I wonder what else they can be described as?), which I posted about. It is a very thoughtful comment and I thank you for making it.

flightplot said...

I agree with all you say, and I also read a good article by Janet Street-Porter in yesterday's Independent on this which you may well find of interest. Flighty xx

MKL said...

I think most organized religions were created by men to either make money, gain power or supress women (or for all three things together). I'm still looking for someone, who will prove my simple statement wrong.

Vincent said...

I'm sure I could prove you wrong, MKL, but it would take a bit of work. I'd need the motivation to do it. Offer me money, power and/or some women to suppress and I'll consider taking on the job.

But I'm not sure organized religions were created by men in any straightforward way. There was and is a religious instinct. Like the sex instinct & possibly a few other instincts, it can be exploited for money.

To be slightly technical though, wouldn't we prefer to oppress women, rather than suppress them? Or is it a matter of taste?

MKL said...

To suppress, oppress and repress, religious elites (usually men) were (and still are) not picky with these terms.

ZACL said...

Thanks Mr F,

I'll will see if I can find Ms Porter's comments online for yesterday. Not all features of news are, especially a day after, so let's hope this one is.


ZACL said...
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ZACL said...
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ZACL said...


Hi, I read and heard somewhere, sorry I cannot remember the sources,(one could have been BBC radio feature) that in ancient times, women were the faith leaders; the essence was that the males in the population did not like it and a coup - over time - reversed the situation. From then on women in mainstream faith were suppressed and just as likely, oppressed too.

Taking education out of the nunneries and monasteries in ancient times, and moving learning into church administered colleges which were closed to women, was one method used to sideline women and reduce their political and social potency.

I have a view of the 'mother' churches and the type of veneration of females in some of the Christian religious persuasions, which probably would be significant in the theological debate. It would not, in my case, and I guess for many other people too, not change the drive for change in Church of England structures. It would, probably, enhance it.

ZACL said...

There is a problem with the server, hence all the deleted posts in the comments list.


What you say in your second para in reply to MKL, has relevant substance. I have often considered man's natural aggression and the herding instincts have a big part to play in organised activity.