So the Green Review is not to be debated at synod. The reason: clergy development is the sole responsibility of bishops.
But, surely the Bishops need to acknowledge that many, many people have very serious concerns about the report including, the unchallenged assumptions behind the report, the recommendations made in the report, the language used in the report and, the way the report was released? By all means preserve clergy development as an episcopal prerogative, but do so having listened to the wider church, not a narrow episcopally appointed sub set.
Maybe the Rule of Benedict offers a way ahead, for Benedict’s wisdom suggests that the widest possible scope of consultation is not at odds with episcopal authority, as seems to be the fear of some members of the House of Bishops.
Benedict’s seemingly counter-intuitive logic is that reserved powers require even greater consultation than delegated powers and, they won’t teach this kind of theological wisdom on your average MBA (sorry – cheap shot, I know). This is how Benedict puts it:
‘When any business of importance is to be considered in the monastery the abbot or abbess should summon the whole community together and personally explain to them the agenda that lies before them. After hearing the advice of the community, the superior should consider it carefully in private and only then make a judgement about what is best. We have insisted that all the community should be summoned because it often happens (wait for this next bit……..) that the Lord makes the best course clear to one of the younger members.‘
Maybe Lord Green et al’s report should not be discussed or debated at this synod for the simple reason is that is too toxic.
But, maybe one of the authors – preferably a Bishop – should step forward and acknowledge the very real concerns of the masses and suggest that review is shelved and that a new task force, comprising a range of people from diverse backgrounds look at the issue afresh? Maybe the new task force should include some ‘younger’ (or fresher, or just even new)members as Benedict suggests!
I have yet to see any of the authors addressing the myriad issues placed before them. Why? Are the Bishops seeing something in the report that others don’t? Or is it a case of we know best?
We do need answers. It is not too late to pause for breath. But, someone in the upper echelons needs to take the deepest breath of all and, speak up.
It is time for some real, courageous,humble and ‘Benedictine’ leadership. Let’s not keep undermining the common good, lets start afresh and, this time do it properly. If we do this the Bishops might be delighted to find that they get widespread support.