Canterbury Cathedral: West Front, Nave and Central Tower. Seen from south. Image assembled from 4 photos.It’s been a couple years in coming, but it seems the dam of the Anglican Union has broken. Five Anglican bishops have bolted their church, over its increasingly progressive policies, and they’ve gone over to Roman Catholicism. Reuters reports on the first of what promises to be many more defections (WebCite cached article):

Five Church of England bishops opposed to the ordination of women bishops will take up an offer by Pope Benedict and convert to Roman Catholicism, heralding a possible exodus of traditionalist Anglicans.

An arrangement has been made within the Catholic Church under which any currently-married Anglican clergy can convert, without having to set aside their wives under Catholicism’s centuries-old celibacy requirement. (This is not entirely unprecedented; there are Eastern Rite clergy belonging to the Maronite Church — for example — who likewise can be married, but who are in communion with Roman Catholicism.) The direct cause of what amounts to the opening salvo in a renewed Anglican schism is the ordination of women:

One of the departing prelates said the women bishops issue was part of a wider problem they had with the Church of England claim to belong to the universal Church founded by Jesus that includes the far larger and older Roman Catholic Church. …

Church of England defections were triggered by a vote at the July General Synod, the Church’s parliament, that confirmed it would consecrate women bishops.

At one time the Anglican Church had been one of the most progressive of the world’s mainline churches. Defections such as this are bound to yank it backward in time and force it to return to more medieval ways, inspired by the apostle Paul, who (supposedly) said, among other things:

The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. (1 Cor 14:34-35)

But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. (Eph 5:24)

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. (Col 3:18)

A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. (1 Tim 2:11-12)

These, of course, are merely the tip of the iceberg: The rest of the Bible is hardly kind to women, either. It’s all because of Eve, you see (see especially Gen 3:16). Because a serpent swindled Eve, every woman who ever lives simply must be treated like crap. Isn’t that obvious!?

Pedantic note: Most scholars dismiss the idea that Saul (aka Paul) actually wrote any of these words. The epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians and to Timothy and Titus were likely written by later Christians and falsely attributed to Paul in order to give them greater apparent authority. While Paul likely did write both canonical epistles to the Corinthians, the above-quoted passage — and a few others — are probably later interpolations (or insertions). Here’s a Wikipedia article introducing the subject of Paul’s authorship, in case you feel like exploring the topic in greater depth … and I definitely advocate looking much further than just Wikipedia.

Photo credit: Wikipedia.

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