Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Affirming Catholicism

It is now traditional, after a close poll, to start with a conspiracy theory. At Plumstead Rectory we are deeply suspicious of the electronic voting system used at the so-called General Synod. We suspect that having allowed today’s reactions to play themselves out, Dr Sentamu will announce a completely different set of numbers at some later date.

We admit that we expected the vote to go the other way. However, let us look for the silver lining.  At Plumstead Rectory we have always been of the opinion that a House of Laity should never have been joined to the Convocations, and we are pleased that miraculously so many seem to have come round to our point of view.

We look for to GRAS joining our campaign for the restoration of all the rights of the Convocations, the jurisdiction of church courts over the laity, and the separate taxation of the clergy. Most critically, the Submission of the Clergy was obviously a fundamental mistake, and could presumably be reversed by a simple majority.

We have not yet got the names of those who voted yesterday, and so we cannot tell whether 2/3rds majorities were achieved in the traditional houses of dignitaries, beneficed clergy and monastics. No unbeneficed clergy, of course, ought to be allowed a vote, but it is possible that a compromise could be reached on this subject.

One serious matter remains undecided. When again the members of Convocation have equal standing with the barons, knights and burgesses, it is debatable whether our proctors ought to sit with the Commons in Parliament, or as a separate body. We are inclined to the more ancient practice of a joint sitting; but of course the knights and burgesses would have to take the same canonical oaths as the proctors. It would never do for dissenters to have a say in matters ecclesiastical.

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