‘Detonating Credibility’ – a Category Mistake ?

21 Nov

The writer has been following with curiosity the story of the Church of England General Synod’s decision about women bishops (negative – for now). As usual, the writer shares President Obama’s view that some questions are ‘above his pay bracket,’ but is intrigued by the way that the General Synod and its workings are constructed, and by the comments made about them. Are they, the writer wonders, illustrations of Category Mistakes ?

This seems agreed to be a theological question – but it is made by a mostly-elected body, whose popular element evidently regards itself as entitled to overrule the rest, but whose elected nature of course invites campaigns in relation to membership. Indeed, to change the basic rules of the body requires a two-thirds majority. That the Prime Minister comments on it in the House of Commons, telling the Church to be more modern, completes the impression that this is being treated as a matter of politics (indeed, of Consti).

The writer does not claim to have any advice to offer – but is rather surprised. Some worry about the bishops over-influencing the House of Lords. Has the reverse happened instead ?


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