n Anglican cathedral is trying to accommodate those of its faithful who do not accept female clergy by allowing parishioners to decide whether to accept communion bread blessed by its female canon or by a male priest. Blackburn Cathedral in Lancashire recently installed Rev. Sue Penfold as a residential canon. Cathedral canon Andrew Hindley explained the decision to This Is Lancashire, saying it was agreed by all the clergy that it was the best way to handle what they called a “mixed economy.”It is a bad sign when both the traditional-leaning and the, say, "progressive" leaning groups both oppose your practice.
The congregation can choose whether to receive communion bread blessed by Rev. Penfold or bread blessed by a male priest at the main cathedral service on Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
“This situation is not ideal, but we are trying to be inclusive,”[The buzzword of the age.] Canon Hindley said, adding that Rev. Penfold had been appointed to Blackburn Cathedral to reflect the “board views” of the Church of England.
The communion practice was announced to worshipers when it was introduced last year but it is reportedly implemented in a “very discreet manner.”
The practice was attacked by Sally Barnes of the Anglican feminist group Women and the Church. She said it was “unacceptable and disgraceful” to turn communion into “a buffet.” [Interestingly, the Truth is also treated in a buffet style as well, take what you please] She claimed the practice labeled women as “tainted” and that many people in the area have complained about it.
The traditional-leaning Anglican group Forward in Faith, which opposes women bishops, said the practice was unusual. According to This Is Lancashire, group spokesman Stephen Parkinson called it “bonkers” and said he did not understand why the women priests put up with it.
The Anglican church's teachings are nebulous at best, when it comes to the nature of communion and the eucharist; the sense of any sort of real presence is left up to the individual to discern. By having a practice such as this, it acknowledges that there is some sort of problem.
I see parallels with the situation in the Catholic Church and the SSPX. One of the serious issues that needs to be hammered out relates to the validity of the Novus Ordo of the Mass. The Church clearly posits the validity of the Mass and the other sacraments under all rites the Church sanctions, but there still are some who, for various reasons, question or flatly deny the validity of these rites. I liken this Anglican situation to keeping separate tabernacles/ciboria for the Sacred Body consecrated at the Traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo Mass, because some people may deny the validity of the new Mass. If the Anglican church teaches that women can be validly ordained, and validly preform their religious services, then it leads them into error by maintaining some separation of the blessed bread.
Of course, since the Anglican Church lacks valid orders (at least for the most part) and lacks valid sacraments, this discussion is purely academic. It is a sign of the times for their church, however, as they slowly lose any sense of identity they may have had. No longer will a set of beliefs or practices define what it means to be an Anglican, now all that is left is a sense of history or (small t) tradition.