Oh, dear, oh dear!
That's what we say Down Under about the dear old C of E when it gets its pantaloons in a knot.
Imagine discovering after a bishop has laid hands on you for confirmation or ordination that just before the service he had used the loo and forgotten to wash his hands afterwards. (Possible) Shiver down the spine stuff (some aren't fussy). "My hair is tainted. Pass the shampoo!"
But imagine discovering that a few days or weeks ago or even years ago the aforementioned bishop had had a moment of toiletry forgetfulness. "No problem, mate. Surely he has washed his hands more than a few times since. Why, he might even have had a shower or a bath since then."
Most taint is washed off. But not all. As you can read at Thinking Anglicans or on Anglo- Kiwi. Apparently if a male bishop touches a woman in an ordaining kinda way then no soap known to humankind, not even a powerful disinfectant can wash off the taint which lingers ... forever.
Now we are quite brainy down here Down Under and we can spot a compromise faster than David We-play-hard-but-fair Warner can spot some underhand play from the other side. (Underarm bowling is, of course, harder to spot.) So, dear old C of E, we do understand the 'dilemma' of how to keep everyone happy. We even engage in a bit of that compromise stuff in ACANZP.
But is there not a point where grown adults, living in the 21st century (i.e. able to critically read the Bible) ask simple questions such as, Does God require untainted hands for ordination to be ordination? Is apostolic succession about who has touched whom or about safeguarding the gospel?
And: what, just what are we saying about 50%+ of the human race when we say that their presence within the leadership of the church causes 'taint'?
And we wonder why people are not coming to church!?
- keep reading on Thinking Anglicans
- Bosco Peters makes an astute and needed point about 'Anglo-Donatism' here.
- the underlying theological issue, according to New Directions, is not 'taint' but 'theology and communion' or 'impaired communion' but that does not take us far from 'taint' because it is all about hands and who the hands have touched. 'Tainted communion', if you prefer!
- the question remains, Why should touching women impair communion as though there is something intrinsically problematic about women? This is the great challenge for catholicity (Anglican and Roman and Eastern) in the world today!