Thinking Anglicans

Report on Women as Bishops

Updated again on 25 May

The Report of the Women Bishops Legislative Drafting Group is now available online.

Unfortunately, it is provided only as a series of separate, mostly .doc files. Perhaps the situation will improve later.
Update on this
An html copy of Chapters 1 to 6 can now be found here.
And Annex G the spreadsheet containing the January 2008 count of “Resolutions parishes” can be found here.

Additional html files now available:

Annex B, Measure 1 – Draft Bishops (Consecration of Women) Measure (No.1)

Annex D – Illustration of ‘Statutory Code of Practice’ option

Annex D, Measure 2 – Draft Bishops (Consecration of Women) Measure (No 2)

Annex E, Measure 3 – Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure (No. 3)

There is a press release which summarises the report, which can be found at Women in the Episcopate – Manchester Report published.

First reaction to this from Forward in Faith UK is here. Second reaction is here.

First reaction from WATCH is here.

First press reports:

Press Association Church faces ‘serious decisions’ on women bishops

Associated Press Church of England panel calls for decision on structures for including women as bishops

Daily Mail Church of England delays consecration of first woman bishop by four years

The Times Report sets out roadmap for women bishops and later ‘Gender havens’ to avert split in Church

Daily Telegraph Church plans ‘men only’ breakaway dioceses

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Wilf
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Wilf

This looks good on first reading. It makes no recommendation and the report makes it clear that the group itself was divided on the way forward (seeing who is on it that is no surprise). Particularly interesting was the section on Canon A4, which they propose to revise, and the assurance that whatever happens it will not be open to individuals or groups to suggest that ordained women or those ordained by women bishops are not truly bishops, priests or deacons. The suggestion that separate dioceses might be a way forward is very disturbing but I suspect that Synod would… Read more »

MrsBarlow
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MrsBarlow

Oh for heaven’s sake the clergy got married without the law in the mid sixteenth century and just got on with it. This is ridiculous. Setting up new structures?! New diocese?!!! Has the church of England gone mad? 2014 before the first women can become bishops? Honestly, just put the basic minimal statutory alterations before synod, ask them to pass it, and request the house of bishops to make non-statutory covenants about ministering to those who in conscience cannot accept women in the episcopate. And covenant to admitting women into the house of bishops no later than 2010.

Mark Wharton
Guest
Mark Wharton

The report asks the vital question – How far is the Church of England prepared to go in order to accommodate opponents of women bishops? It is the duty of the Church to defend the right of Catholic Anglicans and provide structural provision; anything less is a step back from the promises made in 1992 and will only force Christians of a traditional integrity to find another spiritual home. To force them to do this is neither fair, inclusive or within the traditional Anglican framework of acceptance and value for all Christians. If we truly value those of a traditional… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
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Robert Ian Williams

If the women accept this, they will permanently make themselves second class. Time is on their side…worth waiting ten more years, when their numbers will be so great they will be able to pipe the tune. Furthermore a house of Lords which is the only legislative Assembly in the civilised world which excludes women from a particular membeship ….the bishops…will put pressure to get all the bishops out and the minority Cof E disestablished.

loraine J Reed
Guest
loraine J Reed

Women do not belong in the ministry. They are going against the teachings of the bible .What is wrong with this picture is time that the house of Bishops get there act together or resign.
Loraine J Reed

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

“It is the duty of the Church to defend the right of Catholic Anglicans and provide structural provision;..”

I thought it was to spread the Good News.

Silly me.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Mark Wh: Please do not equate “Catholic” with “anti-women bishops”! I’m ludicrously Catholic and very pro-women bishops.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I really cannot understand why Catholics who are against women priests and bishops don’t do the utterly logical thing of joining the Roman Catholic Church. Other than not liking the discipline!

This proposal is just institutionalising a church within a church, and you give it to the catholics, its guaranteed that other sub-groups will demand and get the same. Its not really any sort of solution, just an acceptance that there isn’t a point of agreement.

austin
Guest
austin

Ludicrous would be a correct description then.

JCF
Guest
JCF

Respectfully, Loraine, may I suggest you work on your basic English a little more FIRST, before you go lecturing the bishops (or anyone else) re “the teachings of the bible”?

[NB to Mark Wh: your “Christians of a traditional integrity” would seem to be NONE of the above!]

What MrsBarlow said: GET ON WITH IT, CofE! At the rate you’re going, many other Anglican provinces will have 50%+1 bishops-who-are-women, while you won’t have any. Lord have mercy!

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Austin: the word “catholic” does not mean “excluding.” Whenever opinion polls
ask them, large majorities of RC laypeople across Europe are in favour of women’s ordination. Are they therefore not Catholics?

Gregory of Langres
Guest

FrMark – How can you be ludicrously Catholic and in actively in favour of the ordination of women when it is absolutely clearly against the current will of the Church Catholic? Women Bishops, especially, are only present in a minority of Anglican churches – let alone the rest of the Church of which we claim to be a part. It would be one thing to hold that theological viewpoint and wish that the Church would affirm it, but quite another to go against the will of the Church Catholic because of a personal preference. That’s not a catholic hermeneutic, it’s… Read more »

Mark Wharton
Guest
Mark Wharton

Fr. Mark Catholic from katholikos from katholou — throughout the whole, i.e., universal. The Catholic Faith IS NOT SOMETHING that has parts that we can accept or decline depending on how we feel; either one embraces the universal faith of the Church or one does not. If we have a sort of Pick and Mix faith, then it ceases to be catholic. Women Bishops have not been approved or accepted by the majority of world-wide Anglicans, never mind the universal Church. There are only 4 provences in the Anglican Communion that ordain women to the Episcopapte: Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia… Read more »

Stephen Barber
Guest
Stephen Barber

Three comments:
1. Catholic Anglicans like me have problems with joining the RCs, as we believe that the Anglican Church is the Catholic Church in England. (And should behave like it, not like a small self-absorbed sect).
2. This all illustrates the difficulty way of defining doctrine by majority vote, for example in Synod, with its pressure-group mentality. In any case, the great majority of Christians in the world don’t accept women priests.
3. Spreading the Good News includes defending the rights of Catholic Anglicans, and all who keep and hold the faith as it has come down from the Apostles.

Wilf
Guest
Wilf

On the Catholic question: The Church of England is part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Yet the Church of / in England has claimed (and possibly since long before the sixteenth century) to have autocephalous rights and to make decisions on how it goes about things. Ordaining women is not the only thing that we have done that goes against the practice of the majority of Christians. We have married bishops and have done for five hundred years. The RC and Orthodox Churches do not. The conservative catholic wing of the Church of England has made opposition… Read more »

Mark Wharton
Guest
Mark Wharton

Stephen Barber:
Thank you for the comments; perhaps the question now is: Has the Church of England now abandoned her Catholicity? I think that in 1992 the Church of England became a different sort of Church and ceased to be Catholic.
Catholic means universal and we either accept the universal catholic faith or we do not.
I agree with Gregory of Langres; one cannot be Catholic and totally disregard any part of her teaching. The Faith is complete and does not come in parts.

Kennedy
Guest
Kennedy

There are only 4 provinces in the Anglican Communion that ordain women to the Episcopate:

So you’re not counting the Scottish Episcopal Church or the Church of Ireland. (There may be others).

(Just because we haven’t done it yet doesn’t mean that we can’t!)

Kennedy

Peter Jenkins
Guest
Peter Jenkins

I saw a very interesting reflection on the ever-readable http://www.anglicanwanderings.blogspot.com regarding this document. Personally, I think we will just have to wait until synod meets….

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

Mark Wharton, In your list of those with women bishops, you omit the extra-provincial diocese of Cuba (which has a female suffragan). And, as Kennedy points out, there are a number of provinces (I saw one list with about 10 or 12) whose canons permit women in all three orders, but which have not yet elected or appointed a woman as bishop. And Stephen Barber, to say that the great majority of Christians reject the ordination of women is perhaps a stretch. Consider not only the Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Congregationalist, Presbyterian and other churches that ordain women, but also the… Read more »

Mark Wharton
Guest
Mark Wharton

Kennedy:
The same applies: Just because we can do something does not mean that we will. I was simply commenting on fact that only 4 Provinces’’ have acutely ordained women.

christopher+
Guest
christopher+

As Wilf quite correctly points out above, “Ordaining women is not the only thing that we have done that goes against the practice of the majority of Christians. We have married bishops and have done for five hundred years. The RC and Orthodox Churches do not.” This seems a rather important point in light of comments that the ordination of women somehow reflects a new and radical Anglican departure from the catholic faith. There is a significant difference – embodied by Anglican churches for centuries, of course – between adhering to the catholic faith, which we Anglicans do, and adhering… Read more »

Ben W
Guest
Ben W

Mark W, I appreciate much of what you say here. And there is a clear point to what you say in this instance: “Catholic means universal and we either accept the universal catholic faith or we do not.” The challenge is to think through what we mean by “catholicity.” Much as the claim is out there, the RC Church shows itself to be deeply “sectarian” in key respects. Now I affirm the intent to faithfully represent historic Christian teaching, and in many important matters the RCC does that and I am glad for their steadfast witness against the destructive winds… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“Catholic from katholikos from katholou — throughout the whole, i.e., universal.”

Quite. Definitely NOT the Roman Catholic church alone, and definitely NOT it’s magisterium alone.

Caelius Spinator
Guest
Caelius Spinator

Some general comments: 1. The majority of the Church Catholic doesn’t recognize Anglican orders in general. This, as far as I can tell, doesn’t have any genuine ontological repercussions. 2. The Faith is hierarchical in logical structure. Those who support womens’s ordination have every right (like those who opposed the Arians or the iconoclasts) to assert that the current teaching of certain Provinces of the Church violates more basic doctrine. 3. As Hooker warns us in the Prologue to the Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Politie (excuse my spelling), the definition of Protestantism lies in its excessive and unjustified rejection of the… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Catholic means universal and we either accept the universal catholic faith or we do not. “

Indeed…but the universal catholic faith is set forth in the Creeds (Nicene and Apostles), and nowhere in those great declarations of faith is there a word about the gender of the ministry.

Davis d'Ambly
Guest
Davis d'Ambly

“To think clearly we will need to rethink “catholicity” from the ground up, and that will mean taking seriously the NT (and scripture as a whole) in the context of the early Christian centuries. We certainly can not expect to come with our modern assumptions and take bits and pieces of scripture as it suits us.” Ben W

Your post is well stated, and very helpful I think.

JCF
Guest
JCF

The positing of Popoids, and their Anglican wannabees, that “Catholic” = “Unanimous” is a LUDICROUS figment-of-the-imagination. It’s one thing to talk about “the Church Catholic”—where ALL are truly of One mind, because “Christ is the Head of the Church”—as a GOAL, or an eschatological hope. Something enjoyed by the saints in Eternal light. But down here in this “valley of tears”, we’re ALL “protestant”, in our partial, partisan, and above all, SUBJECTIVE views. [To deny that . . . well, you know what they say about “not just a river in Egypt”. ;-/] It’s the *increasing* partisan, subjective view—that women… Read more »

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

Just to say that the Manchester group have done what they were asked to do. They’ve spelt out all the options. There’s nothing new here that wasn’t already floating around. The intention of the report is to show what the options are, and to provide examples of what the legislation might look like under each of the options. The pressure groups will now be backing their horses, and staking out their ground. My skin feeling is that Synod will coalesce around the mandatory transfer option [option 4] (which is not a million miles from TEA). But we will have to… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

If you believe the ordination of women is heretical, you can’t belong to a Church that endorses it. …that is , if you believe in principle, and not stipend and vicarage.

You certainly cannot broker a deal, saying you will vote for women bishops if you are given your own bantustan.

St Paul says , “Separate yourself , not brker a deal.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Gregoire de Langres: The sensus fidelium is surely important, though: Catholic doctrine does not exist in total isolation from lived experience. If it not received by the faithful, in what sense is it in fact Catholic doctrine? The RC faithful divorce; contraceive; live together unmarried; enter into same-sex partnerships, etc. just as much as any Protestants do. The majority of them are in favour of women clergy. So, to what extent is the harsh line against all these things from the Vatican actually the doctrine of the Catholic Church? If the RC leadership says things are essential doctrines which almost… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Of course Anglicans believe that their existing Orders are valid, whilst official Roman Catholic teaching is that they are null and void.

David
Guest
David

Pete Broadbent states: “My skin feeling is that Synod will coalesce around the mandatory transfer option [option 4] (which is not a million miles from TEA). But we will have to debate and vote down the simple statutory options favoured by WATCH, and the alternative structural provisions favoured by FiF.” That may prove to be the case, but could it not be argued that the structural provisions are a more equitable solution than the mandatory transfer option? Mandatory transfer would place restrictions on a female bishop within her jurisdiction – the “new dioceses” option would not. If synod goes for… Read more »

MrsBarlow
Guest
MrsBarlow

OK now that I’ve read the report and not reacted to the press release far too late at night … wow! Pete Broadbent is right, the committee has done an amazing job of tabulating every possible option, of correcting many misunderstandings about church law and state law, and of pointing out the implications of every action canvassed. Is this a consequence of having a committee that has gender equity and uses the full talents of highly qualified women AND men 😉 I was particularly impressed that they note the need to remove or at least reconsider the provisions of the… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Why is “unity” the ultimate price? There is no unity at present, and women ( and soon men , if you have your way) are excluded from the de facto traditionalist bantustan. The traditionalists only want the endowments, vicarages and perks. They know to well ( well the Anglo-catholic ones do) that they would have a tiny breakaway denomination meeting in scout huts and unio halls. They will not break away…only a handful. There is something worse than “false” unity and that is self deception. In the past women and men of integrity left. Look at the non-jurors, puritans etc.… Read more »

Mark Wharton
Guest
Mark Wharton

I wonder if anyone has asked those against women Bishops, what they would like? It seems to me that it is they who have remained faithful to the universal Church and it is they who will need to work wit in the provision (If any.)
We should give the catholic traditionalists a free province and allow them to flourish or fail as God wishes. A failure to ask them is at the best rude and the worst exclusionary.

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

O please can we get on with the simple statutory option? That is really where the vast majority of ordinary anglicans are. They are simply bewildered as to why their church is still so antediluvian in its attitude to women in ministry, and operating with what, to them, just look like nastily sexist restrictive practices. NO no no to any structural arrangements that perpetuate any understanding in our church of women as less than fully bishops priests and deacons. If others feel differently then there are places that will welcome them. Mark Wharton – if the C of E became… Read more »

Gregory of Langres
Guest

FrMark – I don’t see how your last comment really answers my point and, anyway, where is the consensus on this issue? The Church of England hasn’t ended her period of reception – otherwise PEV etc would be over. The majority of the Anglican Communion does not accept this and the rest of the Church (the hugely overwhelming majority of it, in fact) is vehemently opposed to the idea. So I ask, again, how can one be catholic and in favour? It is not the will of the church, it is contrary to the tradition of the church and it… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

The majority of the CofE thinks there should be change so what Rome or other churches think is irrelevant.

rose gaudete
Guest
rose gaudete

2 points: 1st – don’t start by asking who wants what – WATCH, FiF etc…..ask what will work! The single measure won’t work, it will just open up the mess of intercontinental ballistic bishops seen elsewhere. The TEA based options won’t work because they will compromise the role of the dioc bishop in her/his diocese. The additional dioceses model will work, provide for those faithful who cant accept the change in sacramental order AND give women bishops full authority throughout their dioceses. It alone works…so go for it. 2nd For goodness sake remember that this is about differences in sacramental… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Rose , your so innocent ( to the pure all things are pure)…they will not leave…you are making provision for what will not happen. Only a tiny minority will move…as I point out the majority are vicars of Bray. If there had been no compensation in 1992..very few would have left…..just as in the Cof W, the SEC and the Cof I. Will people stop worrying about a schism that will never happen. It is as comical as worrying how you are going to use a potential lottery win! The longer the opponents hold out, the women s case grows… Read more »

rose gaudete
Guest
rose gaudete

No, I’m not being naive. Robert, you misread the English situation. The compensation in 1992 was of little significance – a great number of the younger priests who left didn’t even qualify. In any case, since when has this been about clergy?? How about the uncounted laity who left. BUT, remember that thousands make use of the provisions of those resolutions and have stayed on the basis that those provisions were made because we wanted them to stay. So now we change our minds? Boot them out?? I know lots of these folk and they will go if forced to… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

rose,

quit torturing the language (so to speak) w/ your use of the term “force” (as in “traditionalists will be forced to leave”).

As if some bishop-who-is-a-woman will bop recalitrants on their heads w/ her breasts? Please.

It is CHRIST who makes the invitation: to some, male&female, to holy orders. To ALL, to the Heavenly Banquet, shared on Earth in the Holy Eucharist.

To absent one’s self “from the wedding banquet” is a FREE CHOICE. Certainly not by “force” of the infinitely-generous Host!

Richard Doney
Guest
Richard Doney

There are surely two feasible, coherent options:

1) Admit women to the episcopate and let those who don’t like it lump it or leave.

2) Admit women to the episcopate and value those who have been promised a place in the Church of England, and in the wider Anglican Communion, to the extent that you will provide with that which they need to stay, viz. the ‘new dioceses’ option. That way, we can all stay in the Church together and get on with preaching the Gospel.

Personally, I’m praying for the latter.

David
Guest
David

JCF writes: “It is CHRIST who makes the invitation: to some, male&female, to holy orders. To ALL, to the Heavenly Banquet, shared on Earth in the Holy Eucharist.To absent one’s self “from the wedding banquet” is a FREE CHOICE. Certainly not by “force” of the infinitely-generous Host!” Well that is certainly a powerful statement and you may well beieve it to be true. But who says Christ invites male & female to holy orders? Just because you believe this does not make it true. And who says that it is still “the wedding banquet” when we have changed the terms… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

I disagree, Rose.

I think those with integrity have left, and those who can broker a deal to stay, have no understanding of orthodoxy. They want their stipends and realise that if they leave , the denomination they could find would be an irrevelance and tiny. The Reform people could start up a viable break away though.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Richard Doney: but how can you have stayed in the C of E all this time so far with women priests and deacons? Surely once they were ordained, it was obvious that women bishops would be too. The Church’s mistake was not to pass the legislation for all three orders at the same time.

Pluralist
Guest

So the Reform/ GAFCON people could make a go of setting themselves up, but the traditionalist Anglo-Catholics would mainly be Vicars of Bray and end up in scout huts and the like.

I’m just wondering, though, if the extra non-geographical dioceses were made whether there would be GAFCON types going into them as well, on some concept of an olde worlde Church of England past restored?

I think if you hand out dioceses they would press for them to become a province.

Wilf
Guest
Wilf

Pluralist has a point on becoming a province. It only takes three dioceses to make a viable province and it would not be long before these dioceses were making demands that (a) women bishops, (b) bishops who were consecrated with the assistance of women bishops (c) bishops who had participated in the consecration of women bishops (d) male bishops who had received the orders of deacon and/or priest from a woman bishop even though they were subsequently made bishop by male bishops etc etc be excluded from the consecration of bishops from their dioceses that it would end up as… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Male clergy ordained by women clergy will be persona non grata.That is beyond dispute.

Will the FIF diocese recognise male bishops who were originally ordained priests by women?

Will they recognise a male bishop who was consecrated with women bishops present?

FIF should give honest answers to thse scenarios.

A traditionalist diocese would be a knife at the heart of the Church of England.

paul
Guest
paul

Women should not of been ordained in the first place, Although i do agree with the banners that were made
” a woman’s place is in the house of Bishops” well, who else is going to do the cleaning?