After the vote by General Synod of the Church in Wales to ordain women to the Episcopate, I have been left wondering what effect that might have upon some friends of mine who are members of (or sympathetic to) Credo Cymru (Forward in Faith in Wales) who have expressed dismay at this decision.
In July 2010, Forward in Faith in England had predicted that "thousands" of its members may join the Catholic Church through the provisions of the Ordinariate (http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2010/07/14/synod-vote-pushes-anglo-catholics-towards-ordinariate/) but that failed to happen.
Whilst I am not sure about the exact figures for those who, as clergy and laity, joined the Church, either by going directly to the local RC parish of via the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, it did not include many more than 100 clergy and, at most, a couple of thousand laity (I include those who did not join the Personal Ordinariate in this number).
Whilst I know there is still a hope to maintain a dignified position in the Church of England, I would be surprised if there was not soon a move by more clergy and laity, mostly in the direction of the RC Church.
Part of the problem, I surmise from my reading of what many have written and from conversations I have had, would be the deep emotional connection to the Church of England and its special place in the Establishment and close connection to a much loved monarch.
That is not the same in Wales. A long disestablished Church, it does not occupy the same position in society as the C of E. It has a heavily liberal House of Bishops, no 'flying bishops' (since the retirement of Bishop David Thomas in 2008) to provide for those who could not accept the ordination of women, and has not agonised over making provisions for those who struggle with the idea of women bishops in the manner of the C of E General Synod.
I do not doubt the deep emotional connection to the Anglican Church that so many have but I do wonder at what point their oft-stated intentions to become Roman Catholics will come to pass?
From a theological point of view, the pass on the Ordination of women to the Episcopate was sold when it was agreed to admit women to the Diaconate so I have always been a bit confused about the ongoing debate but have accepted that it was an issue for others and their sense of belonging within their own church community.
I will continue to pray for my friends as I know they are really struggling and I wish them the best. I wonder whether things are going to change soon though.