Or, put otherwise: as the number of ordained women increase, the number of Episcopalians/Anglicans ceasing to attend church or who are leaving increases.
Last week the Catholic News Agency noted this significant fact:
For the first time since its 1992 approval of female clergy, the Church of England reports that more women than men were ordained in 2006.
Last year 244 women and 234 men were ordained for ministry in the Church of England. A recent report indicates that the number of men serving as ministers may drop in half by 2025.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the church's Sunday attendance for the first time dropped below one million, out of a total population of 51 million. About 1.7 million attend a Church of England service each month.
The Church's General Synod approved the ordination of women in 1992. Some commentators believe the move has accelerated the decline in observant Anglicans.
A week later (yesterday), CNA reported:
Today the Pope discussed how to deal with the requests of increasing numbers of Episcopalians and Anglicans who want to join the Roman Catholic Church.
According to Times Online, the Holy Father, who is making the reunification of Christendom a goal of his pontificate, met with cardinals from around the world to consider requests from three US Episcopal bishops and a group of traditionalist Anglicans to be received into the Church.
And today, Catholic Online reports:
WASHINGTON D.C.(Catholic Online) - On Wednesday, November 21, Bishop John B. Lipscomb announced his intention to seek release from his Episcopal vows and come into full communion with the Catholic Church. Lipscomb, 57, stepped down as Bishop of the Southwest Florida Diocese of the Episcopal Church due to health reasons on September 15 after serving for ten years.
In an open letter to the diocese the bishop indicated that he had written Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, requesting “to be released from my ordination vows and the obligations and responsibilities of a member of the House of Bishops. I have taken this step in order to be received into the Catholic Church… Through a long season of prayer and reflection Marcie and I have come to believe this is the leading of the Holy Spirit and God’s call for us for the next chapter of our lives.”
The Rev. Dabney T. Smith is the current bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida which has 33,000 members. He learned of Lipscomb's plans on Tuesday. Smith was elected bishop co-adjutor in 2006 but soon found himself acting as the diocesan when Lipscomb announced that he would be going on medical leave. In a statement, Smith wished his friend well. "I am pleased that he and Marcie have found their place of spiritual solace," he said.
The St. Petersburg (FL) Times reports making contact with Lipscomb’s longtime friend, The Rev. Richard Doscher, of St. Alfred’s Episcopal Church in Palm Harbor. LV just after receiving word of the bishop’s decision. "I know his love for the Anglican Communion, but I also know his disappointment in the direction that the American province is taking," said Doscher, "His disappointment is shared by many of us, including myself. His decision to leave was not an easy one."
Lipscomb, who was raised a Baptist and became an Episcopalian as a teenager, is the latest in a series of bishops from the Episcopal Church and its related tributaries to join the Catholic Church. This year three other bishops in the Episcopal Church announced their intention to convert. The Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande, asked the House of Bishops, the governing body, to accept his resignation in September. Earlier in year, Daniel Herzog of the Diocese of Albany, and Clarence Pope of the Diocese of Fort Worth, both retired bishops, were received.
Read the entire story, including Lipscomb's letter announcing his decision.
All of which is not to simplistically suggest that the ordination of women alone causes people to flee. Rather, various doctrinal shifts, usually brought on by a desire to be "relevant" or "progressive," finally lead to the ordination of women, the acceptance of "gay marriage," the relaxing of other moral strictures, the denial of traditional Christian tenets—and finally bring down the house, like so many earthquakes that eventually destroy a building with a weak foundation. And homeless people are looking for a home. Let's pray that many more are able, by God's grace, to find their way home.