The Portal April 2017 - Page 24

THE P RTAL April 2017 Page 24 North and South Sheffield, Germany, Argentina & Malta  Geoffrey Kirk sees a common thread W hy should a member of the Ordinariate want to reflect on the recent Church of England fiasco over Sheffield? Better leave other people’s tragedies alone. They do not concern us.  And yet… We are to an extent involved. To us the promises of ‘inclusion’ were extended, as well as to Philip North. Though, by the grace of God, we saw through them, we have as much to learn from the debacle as he has. option in marriage discipline spreads from Malta, Germany and Argentina, not only will the unity of the Church be threatened and souls put at peril, but other developments will become credible and finally inevitable. It is not some ‘slippery slope’ we should be wary of, The lesson is this: that ethical a priori imperatives will brook no contradiction. The movement to but the inevitablist logic of ethical a priori arguments ordain women was never a theological movement. and the corrosive appeal to the sovereignty of the It was always an issue of ‘equality’, ‘inclusion’ and individual conscience. ‘human rights’: virtue-signalling on the Richter scale. Consequently, it was never going to embrace those who opposed it. Bishop North has identified the crisis as a pastoral crisis. He is right. How can a Church which cannot be reconciled with itself minister the gospel of reconciliation to others? But the matter is more serious than that. How can a church which outlaws the majority opinion of its own past expect to have its present doctrines respected or upheld? The authority has passed from the tradition to the ambient culture, from the venerable to the inevitably transient. The phrase which we have heard so often recently – ‘the current teaching of the Church of England’ – signifies so little and sacrifices so much. The browbeating of Philip North makes Justin Welby’s words at the end of the recent Synod sound hollow and ineffectual. There will be no generous inclusion possible when gay marriage – the next ethical a priori imperative – finally gets its way. For Catholics this is sombre news. The writing is on the wall for us too. If, as seems more than likely