Hypocrisy at its Worst
Did you see this piece inÂ the Daily MailÂ two days ago?
In a dramatic move, members of the General Synodâ€™s House of Laity have secretly called an emergency meeting so they can hold a vote of no confidence in their Chair, Dr Philip Giddings, who spoke forcefully against the reform.
They believe that, if Dr Giddings is forced out, the move could help Church leaders get around the rules and bring back the legislation before a new Synod is elected in three yearsâ€™ time.
The debacle, which was condemned by David Cameron and MPs, has sparked bitter recriminations within the Church and left incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, facing a crisis.
Much of the anger has focused on the lay members because the legislation fell by only six votes in their section of the Synod, which is made up of three Houses: bishops, clergy and laity.
A significant number are said to be furious that House of Laity Chair Dr Giddings spoke out against the legislationÂ rather than remaining neutral.
OK, letâ€™s be absolutely clear. The issue is that Philip Giddings as Chair of the House of Laity didnâ€™t remain neutral. Itâ€™s not that he spoke against, itâ€™s that he didnâ€™t stay neutral.
Got that? Good. This is theÂ Church Timesâ€™ summaryÂ of the speech that followed Dr Giddingsâ€™.
XXXÂ said that she had found it â€œmore difficult than I can sayâ€ to decide how to vote. The amended Clause 5(1)(c) was only subtly different from the clause that prompted the Synod to adjourn the debate in July. It placed within the Measure itself â€œthe belief that not any man will doâ€. Although she was â€œinstinctively in favour of being as inclusive as possibleâ€, this was â€œnot to the point where that provision would undermine the very nature of the Church itselfâ€.
It was â€œcrucially important for the very nature of our Churchâ€ that the Code â€œdoes not allow you to choose your own bishop on the basis of his theological beliefsâ€, or lead to the creation of two separate Churches, or â€œcast doubt on the status of our ordersâ€ and on the authority of the Church of England to confer those orders.
She quoted the Revd Kenneth Leech, who had said that, to achieve reconciliation, those with profound difference would have to move to the point â€œwhere they believe they may have betrayed their very souls and gone too farâ€. She was at that point today,Â and would vote in favour of the Measure, â€œbecause I believe that the principle that the episcopate should be fully open to women as to men that lies behind this legislation is right and just and true and of the gospelâ€.
Who was that I hear you ask? Why, that was the Venerable Christine Hardman, Chair of the House of Clergy of General Synod.
Donâ€™t hear many people calling for her resignation because she didnâ€™t remain neutral do you? Hypocrisy? Oh yesâ€¦