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Christian apologetic

Some Sundays, your head snaps suddenly clear and you wonder what you are doing spending so much time in an organisation that wilfully discriminates against women. You are there, after all, to worship a God in whom there is no male or female. Some few denominations have no restrictions on the offices open to their female members, but most Christians - unless they share the patriarchal bent - operate under some sort of compromise.

The Pope's desire to create a Catholic haven for Anglicans who are opposed to women bishops seems, to some, an institutional land-grab. To others it is a source of regret that the once broad church of Anglicanism is being narrowed. Either way, alongside the recent decision to stall the process under which the Church of England will allow women to the episcopate, the general impression is of antequated religious authorities refusing to acknowledge the full spiritual role of (more than) half of their members.
Easy to scoff. Just, perhaps, but easy.

This month's edition of Third Way, like others before it, cannot be said to be contributing to the full role of women within the church. Most of its articles are by men, its interviews are with men and one feature even offers high praise to a mainstream artist criticised by some feminists as misogynist. With this in mind, to adopt an inclusive stance in an editorial is cheap and, worse, hypocritical.

Our most honest response must be penitence, apology. A recognition that we have been complicit in the exclusion of women from Christian debate. We have tried to find female writers and subjects, but not hard enough. We have made some efforts to encourage female voices, but too few. We have sinned against our neighbour in thought and word and deed - through negligence, through weakness and through our own deliberate fault.

At this time of Advent we pray, Father forgive us. Sisters forgive us. Daughters forgive us. Mother forgive us. Amen.