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The first week after Rome made its generous offer to employ those who cannot accept the ministry of women was marked by amazement. Surely Rome isn’t doing this now? Wrong! Surely the Anglo-Catholics wouldn’t be tempted to jump ship? Wrong! Surely the Roman Catholics don’t want disloyal, disaffected Anglicans? As yet, unknown.

This week, while I’m still boggling at the sheer affrontery of Rome’s offer, I’m also struggling with why, why, why, in an age of post-Christian disaffection with the church, a group of Christians are more concerned with gender than telling people about Jesus.

I hope, I think, I pray, that this ridiculous power play will not bring down the Church of England. However, it does bring the universal church into disrepute, and the name of Christ too. I’d rather we put our energies into spreading the gospel – but part of being in the world seems to me to be the need for credibility of the church within our society. So allowing women through the purple cloth ceiling is important.

For the first time, I’m beginning to wonder if we should let them go and move on.

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