we had our parish Bible Study yesterday, and somehow the topic of women’s ordination came up. My priest said that the Anglican Church believes it is guided by the Holy Spirit, or in his words: God is speaking to it through the Bible. I didn’t jump into that, because we were already well over our time and that would have gone one for ages. My question was not about women’s ordination, because we have a female minister at our parish and she is so lovely that I did not want to bring false impressions of my attitude up.
The matter was much more: The Catholic Church has stated, and I believe infallibly under John Paul II, that women cannot be ordained priests. I have therefore now asked by email: “So the Anglican Church says it is guided by the Holy Spirit and therefore that the Catholic Church is wrong.”
I received this as part of the answer:
Many years of prayer and searching have reached a point where a majority of Anglicans were able to accept the ordination of women as something ‘ordained’ by God. Rome has the problem that many women feel called to be priests but are simply not allowed because the Pope says no. One stroke of the pontifical pen and these things can be reversed. I think many are hoping a future Pope will do just that. Over time the church has struggled to determine what is the will of God and how do we know the Holy Spirit is calling in a certain direction.
My reply was along this line: That just makes the Catholic case better. She has been around longer, and has certainly prayed and searched the Scriptures intensively. So if one regards one’s own decision as God’s guidance, then it automatically results in having to say that the others are wrong.
My priest’s reply also included a reference to Acts 5:33-42, saying that he holds that if something is of God, it will prevail, if not, it will not be sustained. And I agree with that! The question is therefore, which position is of God? So I asked: “And to be honest: How many people are leaving Anglicanism because of this issue? Will it last?”
My issue is not women’s ordination, as I stated. I do not want to debate the topic itself with him, because of said reasons, but I want to address the larger topic of authority and the True Church. I most kindly ask you for assistance and some points I could make.
However, I do not want to come across like “I’m right, and you’re wrong” and neither as “I am going to be converting to the Catholic Church.” The reason for the latter is that that direct statement will cause massive problems. It is not the time to say that just yet, but I will, trust me. I want to nudge our parish into the direction of the Catholic Church, and that is better done in a questioning format that an aggressive one. It gets people’s defences up immediately if you say certain things, so I’d rather take the subtle but more effective route.
Thank you so much for your help. God bless.