The Last Rites of the Church of England?
Well, not according to Rome. Cardinal Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has made very plain to the bishops of the Church of England that sacerdotal ordination should be a male preserve. This, he asserts, is faithful to Scripture and tradition. He has issued a challenge to the Church of England to side either with the ‘great churches’ of the first millennium, or with what he contemptuously refers to as the ‘communities’ of the sixteenth century Reformation.
He has threatened that if the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion ordains women to the episcopate, future discussions between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England could not have unity as their objective.
Do I hear a shout of Hallelujah?
Cranmer thought that Rome’s previous tantrum about female priests had already halted the ecumenical road to unity, so it is quite likely that this posturing is merely a temporary irritation. Having considered the options, and in light of Galatians 3:28, the ecumenical goal of accepting the ‘primacy’ of the Pope is a far greater evil than the development of tradition to ordain female bishops. In any case, Scripture is replete with female prophets whom God raised up when the men failed, and men have manifestly failed the Church of England for the past 50 years, so why not a woman? Yet, perhaps not this one...