Sacrament and Intention

_80531580_libby_kneel_paLast Monday, the Bishop of Stockport was consecrated in York Minster, with an exceptional number of bishops queuing to lay hands on her. It was a glorious and joyful day, and the necessary elements of the sacrament were present – the authorised liturgy, the appropriate symbols, the intention of the ministers and people, and the willing heart of the recipient.

Hooker, the 16th century theologian who defined so much of what it is to be an Anglican, admitted that it was not possible for the human mind to understand how a sacrament is effective, describing a sacrament as a “visible signs of invisible grace.”

The consecration of Philip North as Bishop of Burnley next Monday will be a more muted affair, and Archbishop Sentamu has decided to withdraw from laying on hands during the service. But do we as Anglicans really believe in apostolic succession in such a linear way? If Sentamu was recognised as provincial archbishop and could consecrate last month, if the elements are present, how will his abstinence from the laying on of hands help? We are in a theological mess. The archbishops have not brought this to be discussed by Synod, and a damaging precedent is being set.

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  1. Bruce Garner’s avatar

    And such is the case when the boys start playing their games because of their insecurities about women in leadership roles, particularly ordained leadership roles. Some will cite Scripture, but there is no clear prohibition against women clergy there. Jesus’ ministry included women in leadership roles and much of it was financed by women of means. St. Paul makes some comments but they are directed to a particular church and, like all Scripture, must be viewed in the context of the culture of their writing and the context of the complete narrative of which they are a part. Luckily, this type of “she’s got cooties” mentality fades away as those without the mental ability to grasp how stupid such a position is also fade away. I am often ashamed of my fellow males’ inability to view the world in different ways and adjust their thinking based on experience. Grow up boys! It is long past time to do so.

    Bruce Garner

  2. Janes Collett’s avatar

    I fear Sentamu is fanning the flames. This flagrant signal of dissent had got my hackles up and it’s not even my religion.

    Or maybe I’ve just misunderstood.

  3. David Lee’s avatar

    “A damaging precedent is being set.”

    Indeed. Several days ago I noticed, with sadness, that Archbishop Sentamu almost confesses as much. See point 2 of his list: “it is hoped that these arrangements will begin to shape good practice and custom” here:

    http://www.archbishopofyork.org/articles.php/3204/forthcoming-consecrations

    For how may decades (pray God not centuries) will the church now have to live with this precedent, this “tradition”?

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