The Church of England recently voted on whether ordain women as bishops, and the answer was No. The current bishops were overwhelmingly in favour; it was the laity that hasn't yet embraced the idea. Many outside the Church were deeply unhappy with the vote and there are indications that another vote will be taken soon (and they'll be pressed until they "get it right.") This quote by Caitlin Moran, columnist for London Times, is rich beyond telling and explains why the C of E has come to this particular spiritual cliff:
Look, I know nothing about the Church — other than that, in the 1980s at least, it held the best jumble sales. I don’t know the rules of the Church, or the stories, or the history. I don’t know the 2,000 years of context… But then, this week’s vote against women bishops seemed like such a clear failing of logic that you didn’t need to know the laws, stories or history, in the same way you don’t need to know the wider context of seeing someone brutally mug someone else in the street. Whatever the whys or the wherefores, it’s just always gonna be wrong.
How blazingly, perfectly, acutely honest she is. Her first seven words said it all, and therefore we understand how one arrives at the this point. People who treat religious dogma like Rotary Club statutes, classroom experiments, or adventures in pluralism are simply ignorant of the rules, which spring specifically from its history and stories -- stories (parables) told by Our Lord himself, who entered time specifically so that we could enjoy eternity with him.
The Church is not a mundane creation, which is why when Henry VIII interfered with the Divine Mandate, it was only a matter of time before the new trajectory in his realm carried the C of E to the point where its members cannot agree whether Jesus was God or even rose from the dead.
Consider marriage. Anglicans still stress that marriage is between a man and women, but this invitation on their website shows that one need not believe anything to stand before an Anglican priest and make promises:
You’re welcome to marry in the Church of England whatever your beliefs, whether or not you are christened and regardless of whether you go to church or not. It’s your church, and we welcome you!
Futhermore, the site encourages people to choose churches because they're cost efficient, there's a "feeling" of God, a sense of history, and vicars provide a "personal touch." This video that they offer never even mentions God:
Indeed, not only do they neglect the reason that "historical" building was even built, they insist:
When you choose to marry in a church, you are the hosts and the church is your guest.
Good heavens, really? God is in man's image if even allowed in the door!
Of course, it should come as no surprise that today Anglicans don't disparage same-sex activity, allow abortion in certain circumstances, and accept cohabitation as a contemporary fact of life (but dads should be encouraged to put their names on their kids birth certificates!) Since the Church refuses to proclaim the Gospel or stand as a conduit to God, it's no wonder that those on the outside "know nothing about the Church."
As for Ms Moran's analogy provided above, it's interesting, but misapplied -- and deeply ironic for a church that can't bring itself to apply a profession of faith to those who call themselves Anglican. Just as you don’t need to know the wider context of seeing a mugging, I'm going to guess that those lovely old buildings weren't built with widows mites over the centuries just to create nifty photo-ops for faithless couples.
It's precisely the history and the stories that teach us who God is, what our obligations are, and what we need to do to remain in his graces. A study of Christian theology over the centuries would reveal a magnificent nuptial prism through which new life blossoms. It is that very prism that says there's more to priesthood than an equal opportunity career, and shepherds have a fatherly obligation to guide their flocks. Some things are obvious -- but it takes a supernatural world view to make out the layers.
It would seem that there's no shortage of ignorance in England, but not all would admit it so candidly. Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.