…from every shires ende Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende..

I’m not sure what the collective noun is for a gathering of Bishops… a cacophony, perhaps? As Lambeth approaches and the storm clouds gather, troops are assembled and weapons sharpened in Jerusalem, Putney and elsewhere.

Pascal spoke of a “divine Republic”, which, following Philo, he describes simply as a group that “has God only as its master”. The Church as a Body, then, with members, he defines as an assemblage of “thinking” or “willing particulars” who have the “Body” as a whole as their goal for thought. There are two requirements to be a “member” of the Church, he writes: a will and conformity to the body as a whole. So, whether we individually agree that openly gay bishops are allowed to preside, or women bishops allowed to ordain isn’t relevant.

Proverbs 15:3 tells us that ‘the eyes of the Lord are everywhere, watching the evil and the good’, which would seem to be just as well, since the moral authority contained within pronouncements made in Canterbury this week will have a lasting effect on the ‘communion of saints’.


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