Holy row at Blackburn Cathedral over woman-blessed Communion bread

This Is Lancashire: INCLUSIVE: Dr Sue Penfold INCLUSIVE: Dr Sue Penfold

CATHEDRAL bosses have been criticised for offering “untainted” Communion bread for those who object to it being consecrated by a woman priest.

Opponents in the church have branded giving those who object to women priests the alter-native of Communion bread consecrated by a man as “unacceptable and disgraceful”.

Blackburn Cathedral has introduced the choice in the wake of the installation of Dr Sue Penfold as a residentiary canon.

The cathedral’s canon, Andrew Hindley, defended the arrangement.

He said: “It was agreed by all the clergy and cathedral chapter that this was the best way to handle what we call a mixed economy.”

He said the congregation could choose wheth-er to receive Communion blessed by Dr Penfold, or Communion blessed by a male priest, at the main cathedral service on Sundays at 10.30am.

Canon Hindley added: “The position of the Dean and the Bishop is well known.

"This situation is not ideal, but we are trying to be inclusive.”

He said Dr Penfold was appointed to Blackburn Cathedral to reflect the “broad views” of the Church of England.

An announcement was made to worshippers when the policy was introduced last year, but the policy is implem-ented in a “very discreet manner”, according to Canon Hindley.

But Sally Barnes, from the group Women and the Church (WATCH), said: “To turn it into a buffet is unacceptable and disgraceful.

“Women are being labelled as tainted.

“Women are not tainted, but the hierarchy of the church is not able to grapple with this.

"Quite a few people in that area have complained about it.”

Even Forward in Faith, the Church’s traditionalist lobby group which opposes women bishops, described the arrangement as unusual.

Spokesman Stephen Parkinson said: “I’ve never come across this before and I think it is a bonkers arrangement.

"I can’t understand why the women priests put up with it.

"The whole situation pleases nobody.”

Dr Penfold and the Dean of the Cathedral are on holiday and not available for comment.

Comments (17)

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12:02am Tue 28 Jul 09

Slimplynth says...

God is a woman, the clergy should watch the film, "Dogma".

Alienating either gender isn't really good advertising/PR in this day of age; especially in Blackburn. If they want more punters they should use garlic bread.
God is a woman, the clergy should watch the film, "Dogma". Alienating either gender isn't really good advertising/PR in this day of age; especially in Blackburn. If they want more punters they should use garlic bread. Slimplynth

7:50am Tue 28 Jul 09

spyderleg says...

Yet these same people are quite prepared to employ a muslim woman in our so called cathedral(the only one in any cathedral worldwide)hypocrites is not the right word!
Yet these same people are quite prepared to employ a muslim woman in our so called cathedral(the only one in any cathedral worldwide)hypocrites is not the right word! spyderleg

9:11am Tue 28 Jul 09

Joseph Yossarian says...

Women are just as capable of believing in god. Women should have exactly the sme employment rights in the church as men. That they do not merely shows how bigoted the institution is.

What next? Choose whether or not your bread has been blessed by a white priest or a black priest?

Bigotrym, misogency, dicrimination.

Women are just as capable of believing in god. Women should have exactly the sme employment rights in the church as men. That they do not merely shows how bigoted the institution is. What next? Choose whether or not your bread has been blessed by a white priest or a black priest? Bigotrym, misogency, dicrimination. Joseph Yossarian

11:10am Tue 28 Jul 09

A Darener says...

God must be an atheist.
God must be an atheist. A Darener

12:21pm Tue 28 Jul 09

burner says...

Bored wiv this. I'm off to read "The Da Vinci Code" again.
Bored wiv this. I'm off to read "The Da Vinci Code" again. burner

1:47pm Tue 28 Jul 09

TheReason says...

This is pricless!

How long is it going to be before the Church just gives up and says to its flock-
'OK, you tell us what you want to believe and how you want us to make you feel better about things. Then we'll try and please eveyone!'
'God'll just forget about his all of his mandates as long as he got followers, I'm sure!'
This is pricless! How long is it going to be before the Church just gives up and says to its flock- 'OK, you tell us what you want to believe and how you want us to make you feel better about things. Then we'll try and please eveyone!' 'God'll just forget about his all of his mandates as long as he got followers, I'm sure!' TheReason

2:40pm Tue 28 Jul 09

Heather1 says...

organised religion is so frightened of offending people, that they have forgotten the true teachings of the bible. I'm not surprised people don't bother going to church anymore. I've never met a more hard to please, hierarchical bunch of self important people as those in organised religion. I honestly don't think they have a real faith. Jesus called us to love one another, there's very little evidence of this in the CofE and Catholic church, it's all politics, and making little people feel important. I wouldn't be surprised if God himself is embarassed to the core by the actions of some of those who profess to love him. It's certainly the reason I stopped going to church years ago, and feel much better for it.
organised religion is so frightened of offending people, that they have forgotten the true teachings of the bible. I'm not surprised people don't bother going to church anymore. I've never met a more hard to please, hierarchical bunch of self important people as those in organised religion. I honestly don't think they have a real faith. Jesus called us to love one another, there's very little evidence of this in the CofE and Catholic church, it's all politics, and making little people feel important. I wouldn't be surprised if God himself is embarassed to the core by the actions of some of those who profess to love him. It's certainly the reason I stopped going to church years ago, and feel much better for it. Heather1

4:34pm Tue 28 Jul 09

Ian_G says...

Another example of the stupidity of religion.

Rules, regulations and stories imposed by generations of people who want to control others.

Total rubbish, the lot of it.
Another example of the stupidity of religion. Rules, regulations and stories imposed by generations of people who want to control others. Total rubbish, the lot of it. Ian_G

4:38pm Tue 28 Jul 09

RAyzer says...

they like to interfeer in our religion,but if it was muslims it would be ok..or a taboo subject...leave traditons alone..
they like to interfeer in our religion,but if it was muslims it would be ok..or a taboo subject...leave traditons alone.. RAyzer

11:13am Wed 29 Jul 09

clairewdg says...

So if I'm tainted and not good enough to enter God's communion in the same way a man is, tell me then, what's the point in living a Christian life? Why shouldn't I give up entirely and live a life of sin?
So if I'm tainted and not good enough to enter God's communion in the same way a man is, tell me then, what's the point in living a Christian life? Why shouldn't I give up entirely and live a life of sin? clairewdg

1:22am Thu 30 Jul 09

lome says...

Folks, Believe me, this is not about, rights of this or rights of that that are being violated. This is about spiritual matters that were handed down to us with established rules and laws. Why do we want to tamper with what Christ had established for the sanctification of many? If Christ had wanted a woman at the altar, he could have chosen his Mother Mary, who is above all, the original in virtues,
conceived with out sins.
But then if you are an atheist who denies all of this ...I have nothing for you!
God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
The church withstood the test of time for centuries, why change now?
Are we new to Paganism?
Folks, Believe me, this is not about, rights of this or rights of that that are being violated. This is about spiritual matters that were handed down to us with established rules and laws. Why do we want to tamper with what Christ had established for the sanctification of many? If Christ had wanted a woman at the altar, he could have chosen his Mother Mary, who is above all, the original in virtues, conceived with out sins. But then if you are an atheist who denies all of this ...I have nothing for you! God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The church withstood the test of time for centuries, why change now? Are we new to Paganism? lome

1:42am Thu 30 Jul 09

lome says...

Being a Mother is one of the highest calling there is!

And the Father of the house? by the sweat of their brows they feed
their families?

This feminism, liberalism,
modernism, socialism
were all lies!

If only most of you still believe in Hell as a place for the damned, you’ll
understand. You have to believe in the supernatural to arm
yourself against your unseen personal enemy.
Being a Mother is one of the highest calling there is! And the Father of the house? by the sweat of their brows they feed their families? This feminism, liberalism, modernism, socialism were all lies! If only most of you still believe in Hell as a place for the damned, you’ll understand. You have to believe in the supernatural to arm yourself against your unseen personal enemy. lome

10:42am Thu 30 Jul 09

Joseph Yossarian says...

Oh dear, somebody's been brainwashed......
Oh dear, somebody's been brainwashed...... Joseph Yossarian

12:47pm Thu 30 Jul 09

Slimplynth says...

Regardless of the sarky remarks I occassionally fire at my beloved (:0) sorry my lovely xXx)

I do not see how a gender can be used as a basis of determining one's ability to lead/instill religious beliefs of the masses.

Lower Darwen has a female vicar. I've been to a wedding service and a christening there (while not at all religious) I can see her passion and why would anyone actively work to remove that?

As for "standing the tst time"... only time will tell.
Regardless of the sarky remarks I occassionally fire at my beloved (:0) sorry my lovely xXx) I do not see how a gender can be used as a basis of determining one's ability to lead/instill religious beliefs of the masses. Lower Darwen has a female vicar. I've been to a wedding service and a christening there (while not at all religious) I can see her passion and why would anyone actively work to remove that? As for "standing the tst time"... only time will tell. Slimplynth

8:22pm Thu 30 Jul 09

Jack-son says...

Why don't the hypocrits who won't accept communion from a woman just stay in their seats. They would soon find themselves in the minority. I really think this is solely something dreamt up by the male clergy who don't want women priests. There's a vicar in Padiham who would be 'first to cast the stone' to stop women priests.
Why don't the hypocrits who won't accept communion from a woman just stay in their seats. They would soon find themselves in the minority. I really think this is solely something dreamt up by the male clergy who don't want women priests. There's a vicar in Padiham who would be 'first to cast the stone' to stop women priests. Jack-son

5:16pm Tue 4 Aug 09

Ken Shuffles says...

Obviously, nobody knows God in this church.
Obviously, nobody knows God in this church. Ken Shuffles

9:55pm Wed 12 Aug 09

eulogos says...

Most commentators here are looking at the question from a values-set or world view which is incongruous with the frame within which this issue can be understood.
They are free to continue to do so, but perhaps a few are liberal in the older sense of the word and would really like to understand those with whom they disagree.

This issue is about the metaphorical meaning of maleness and femaleness. That these are essentially different, and that these differences are part of the meaning structure of the universe, is part of the Biblical worldview, and not absent either from the classical worldview. Thus the difference between what a man can do in a religious context and what a woman can do is not an issue of personal competence; it is not primarily an issue of function, but an issue of meaning. The psychologically minded might think in terms of Jungian archetypes. God had a son, not a daughter. He didn't flip a coin, and it isn't because the Jews of the time wouldn't have accepted a woman as the messiah. God also chose the Jews, and the time. The priest in the Eucharist makes present the sacrificial act of Christ on the cross. One might say he is an icon, or image of Christ in this action. He represents Christ's full humanity, which was male. There is no such thing as representing an abstract idea of humanity, to which either maleness or femaleness could be arbitrarily attached. Such a thing does not exist within the worldview of historic Christianity.

It is the nature of metaphor and archetype to be difficult to articulate in toto. These things have layers of meaning which are always opening up to us. We can never be sure that we have understood everything that God has been trying to show us through them. Therefore, we do not consider our traditions to be easily alterable at our will and according to the intellectual fashions of the times. Some reasons why it is men who are priests and who offer sacrifice can be articulated, and some perhaps we have not been able to articulate well. But if the church has always done it that way since the Last Supper itself, it would be wanton and reckless to change it based on current ideas of egalitarianism. Contrary to what you might have thought, current ideas don't necessarily represent the pinacle of human thought and understanding!

And by the way, the action of the priest isn't "blessing the bread" it is consecrating the bread and wine, so that they become the Body and Blood of Christ.
Susan Peterson
Most commentators here are looking at the question from a values-set or world view which is incongruous with the frame within which this issue can be understood. They are free to continue to do so, but perhaps a few are liberal in the older sense of the word and would really like to understand those with whom they disagree. This issue is about the metaphorical meaning of maleness and femaleness. That these are essentially different, and that these differences are part of the meaning structure of the universe, is part of the Biblical worldview, and not absent either from the classical worldview. Thus the difference between what a man can do in a religious context and what a woman can do is not an issue of personal competence; it is not primarily an issue of function, but an issue of meaning. The psychologically minded might think in terms of Jungian archetypes. God had a son, not a daughter. He didn't flip a coin, and it isn't because the Jews of the time wouldn't have accepted a woman as the messiah. God also chose the Jews, and the time. The priest in the Eucharist makes present the sacrificial act of Christ on the cross. One might say he is an icon, or image of Christ in this action. He represents Christ's full humanity, which was male. There is no such thing as representing an abstract idea of humanity, to which either maleness or femaleness could be arbitrarily attached. Such a thing does not exist within the worldview of historic Christianity. It is the nature of metaphor and archetype to be difficult to articulate in toto. These things have layers of meaning which are always opening up to us. We can never be sure that we have understood everything that God has been trying to show us through them. Therefore, we do not consider our traditions to be easily alterable at our will and according to the intellectual fashions of the times. Some reasons why it is men who are priests and who offer sacrifice can be articulated, and some perhaps we have not been able to articulate well. But if the church has always done it that way since the Last Supper itself, it would be wanton and reckless to change it based on current ideas of egalitarianism. Contrary to what you might have thought, current ideas don't necessarily represent the pinacle of human thought and understanding! And by the way, the action of the priest isn't "blessing the bread" it is consecrating the bread and wine, so that they become the Body and Blood of Christ. Susan Peterson eulogos

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