Thinking Anglicans

women bishops: the Bishop of Ebbsfleet

Updated Friday

There was a third article, Ex-Anglicans will bring new life to our Church by Damian Thompson

The Catholic Herald has published two articles.

A news report by Anna Arco is titled Bishop to lead flock to Rome after synod vote:

A senior traditionalist Anglican bishop has urged the Pope and the hierarchy of England and Wales to help Anglo-Catholics convert to Rome following the General Synod’s vote to ordain women bishops.

The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, called for “magnanimous gestures from our Catholic friends, especially from the Holy Father, who well understand our longing for unity and from the hierarchy in England and Wales” as he prepares to lead his flock to Rome in the aftermath of the Church of England’s General Synod.

“Most of all we ask for ways that allow us to bring our folk with us,” he wrote in an article explaining his position in The Catholic Herald…

Bishop Andrew Burnham has written ‘Anglo-Catholics must now decide’:

So we are to have a code of practice. Traditional Anglo-Catholics must now decide whether to stay in the Church of England in what, for a while, will be a protected colony – where the sacramental ministry of women bishops and priests is neither acknowledged nor received – or to leave.

Leaving isn’t quite so easy as it sounds. You don’t become a Catholic, for instance, because of what is wrong with another denomination or faith. You become a Catholic because you accept that the Catholic Church is what she says she is and the Catholic faith is what it says it is. In short, some Anglo-Catholics will stay and others will go. It is quite easy to think of unworthy reasons for staying – and there are no doubt one or two unworthy reasons for leaving.

There are also honourable reasons for staying. Like the Anglican clergy who wouldn’t swear allegiance to William and Mary at the end of the 17th century and the Catholic clergy who wouldn’t swear allegiance to the French Revolutionary government a century later, the “non-jurors” of the present day will soldier on and die out but they will be faithful to what they have believed and history will honour them for their faithfulness…

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Ford ElmsFather Ron Smithmrs trelis of north walesmagistraJCF Recent comment authors
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JCF
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JCF

“Most of all we ask for ways that allow us to bring our folk with us”

Translation: “Please don’t reduce *ME* to being just another RC layman like (Great Unannointed) THEM!”

EpiscopalPriest
Guest
EpiscopalPriest

One is at a loss for words, except perhaps for, “arrivederci.”

Pluralist
Guest

I suppose the issue is whether this Pope has the imaginative determination to provide some sort of cultural worship space for these Anglicans who would nevertheless have to be reordained to be clerical and swear allegiance to the Pope. If either is unacceptable they could always set up their own continuing Church. Presumably it could see the approval of the new Primates’ Council.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

If Ebbsfleet and some of his clergy and parishioners do go over to Rome, or any foreign archdiocese or other religion, even in numbers, they know that they cannot take their churches and cathedrals with them. Here in the US, unfortunately, such leavers have trouble grasping this basic idea.

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

I just think that the lack of money to pay married clergy will slow things down.

Furthermore many of the Anglo-Catholic laity will not be able to convrt , because of their marital status (divorced and re-married) and most believe in contraception, as this has not been an issue with Anglo-Catholics since the 1930s.

I can’t see the Church of England handing over parish churches….even on a loan basis.

However if they are genuine and this is not “scare the bishops” tactics, I welcome them.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

There is also a French saying (referring to the réactionaries of the 19th century):

Collectioneur de Causes perdues.

And other one (referring to the effect of 5 Républics):

Plus ça change, plus ça deviens le même.

The 2 are connected, of course…

poppy tupper
Guest
poppy tupper

I can’t leave unchallenged his claim that ‘some of the finest anglican clergy’ left in the 1990s. That isn’t my perception. I saw many wait for their 50th birthdays, so that they could collect their full pay-off. And I saw the back of many who were not much of an ornament to the priesthood. The same will be true this time. I also find it ridiculous that he should compare these people, who have a single-issue cause, that of opposing women, with the non-jurors. Outrageous.

Colin Hunt
Guest
Colin Hunt

From the point of view of an Anglo-Catholic whose conscience would not permit him to convert to Roman Catholicism, I find myself having been rejected by the Church of England and now potentially abandoned by my own church leaders. My inclination is to give up on the church completely and just to say my prayers every day.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Tough choices for some Anglo-Catholics then – choosing between being contaminated by rubbing shoulders with uppity women who according to them are not real and cannot ever be real, sacramentally speaking, and rubbing shoulders in another risk of contamination with a uniquely infallible Bishop of Rome who according to himself and his forebears is nothing but real, real, real, real, real, real, real, real, real, real.

Difficult.

Pluralist
Guest

What puzzles me is why they won’t join one of the continuing Churches that meets their needs or even form their own. That way there is no submission to Roman things not believed, and yet they can carry on as before – still as bishops, still clerical, still (presumably) with some congregations meeting in rented premises or houses. They can have as much purity as they want then.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Colin Hunt

as a woman living with a female partner in an anti-gay diocese, I know exactly how you feel.

For me, though, it has ultimately been a positive experience as it has focused me much more on God than on the church and helped enormously to strenghten my faith.

I pray it may do that for you too.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Colin Hunt, “My inclination is to give up on the church completely and just to say my prayers every day.” I did that for 18 years, and over this very issue. I came back because I realized I needed God, by that time realized that OOW was right but that had not been enough to bring me back to a Church that I felt had made the right decision for the wrong reason. Erika puts it best, and she’s been through some nasty homophobia that has forced her to focus on God more than the Church. I would have joined… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

I’m a former RC, so I have a particular slant on things I guess, but I don’t see how one can decide to ‘convert’ to Rome (Rome’s word, not mine) on the basis of opposition to women bishops. If one believes such things as papal infallibility, universal jurisdiction, the invalidity of Anglican orders and the like, then I’m not sure why one would have remained an Anglican until now. If one didn’t believe such things, it’s hard to see how a synodical vote makes all these things believable all of a sudden. It’s one thing to be born into a… Read more »

William McDowell
Guest
William McDowell

The Bishop of Ebbsfleet is my ‘flying bishop’; I’ve met him many times and served at the Altar with him. He has never asked me whether or not I want or need him to lead me to Rome. As Churchwarden in my parish I have never made any secret of my total commitment to the ordination of women. I may now not get re-elected but feelings amongst congregations are not as clear as the Rt Rev Andrew Burnahm seems to suppose. Should I now seek, by way of proactive action, reversal of the motions for alternative oversight and challenge the… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

Colin Hunt – I understand what you are saying. Already the trad bishops are undecided about whether to stay or leave. I suspect many of the finest priests who were signatories of the recent letter will indeed go. But wrong as General Synod has been in this matter it hardly makes the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox right – THEY will not even debate the ordination of women. This I find equally offensive. Although you and I believe we have been rejected, and jeered at and gloated over by the majority, there always remains the possibility that we are… Read more »

Lapinbizarre
Guest
Lapinbizarre

This doesn’t quite sound like the lemming migration Damian Thompson was predicting a couple of days ago.

Caoilin
Guest
Caoilin

Can someone explain why we won’t see female bishops before 2014? I have seen this mentioned and don’t understand why it will take so long.

In any case, this gives opponents to female bishops 6 years to either reach retirement or find a new place for themselves, so why the rush?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Although you and I believe we have been rejected” But no-one has rejected you! People are still happy for you to be in the church, most people respect that you find it impossible to accept women bishops. But the majority of the church appears to have discerned that the Holy Spirit is guiding us into a new truth about women’s ministry. Following that perceived call is no rejection of those who don’t perceive the same call. I accept that many believe you to be hostile to women and that many appalling comments have come your way. As I said in… Read more »

Old Father William
Guest
Old Father William

Like Joe, I grew up RC. Reading his comment reminded me of an occasion, several years ago, when I celebrated the Eucharist for the congregation of a Lutheran pastor friend (although it wasn’t actually “legal” at the time). Afterwards, another friend asked if I would have my pastor friend do the same for me. “Of course not,” I said. “After all, when I celebrated at his church, the people received a valid sacrament. That wouldn’t be so if he celebrated at mine.” My friend replied, “So that’s how you think God operates in the world. Millions of Lutherans devoutly believe… Read more »

rr
Guest
rr

Not all Anglo-Catholics are worried about their future in the church of England. This morning,preparing for the eucharist, two loyal, committed, prayerful members of this church which has always defined itself as Anglo-Catholic said,”I don’t know what all the fuss is about. We’re all Christians aren’t we?”
but then, they have experienced the priestly ministry of women for 14 years now.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Old Father William, good points. Here’s how I see it. Each Christian tradition has a somewhat different understanding of these things. The “catholics” all agree on Real Presence in some sense, but differ widely on what that means. Even ‘sacrament’ means different things to different people. I would receive in a Methodist Church, though I would not think I was doing what I would be doing in an Anglican one. I don’t think Methodists would find that offensive, since they don’t think they’re doing what we do either. I am not denying the spiritual benefit of the act, nor the… Read more »

Colin Hunt
Guest
Colin Hunt

Can I get one thing straight please? I individually do not have any problem with a woman as a priest, or the concept of a woman as a bishop. My issue in this matter concerns the apparant decision by Synod that the Anglo-Catholics have no place in the 21st-century Church of England. I too know the Bishop of Ebbsfleet very well, and he is aware that I have chosen to put the interests of my parish before my own opinions in order to maintain the liturgical tradition which I as a professional organist contribute to. If that tradition is lost… Read more »

Richard Lyon
Guest
Richard Lyon

I doubt that Roman Catholic churches in the UK are exactly over crowded. They should be able to offer space in the pews to any Anglo-Catholics who want to make the switch. Taking property with them shouldn’t be a problem.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

“Given that there are many RCs in favour of women’s ordination, who don’t ‘get’ infallibility, who believe the church is rooted in the local, etc., who remain in their church despite such massive dogmatic differences, why can’t those opposed stay in the C of E?” Exactly. I have good friends who are devout RCs and in favor of women’s ordination, opposed to the church’s teaching on sexuality, birth control, etc, and who stay in although their hearts get broken over and over. They work for change, and have my prayers, because I admire their decision to stay and fight, no… Read more »

Paul Rowlandson
Guest
Paul Rowlandson

Pluralist asks why the expelled Anglo-Catholics don’t join one of the ‘Continuing’ churches. The TAC is in discussions with Rome and has been for some time. The A-Cs might be better going directly to Rome. One gets the impression that the TAC are merely posturing, making various demands of Rome before they will graciously consent to join her. The ‘Continuing C of E’ is David Samuel’s evangelical church, so no hope there. Same is true of the Free Church of England, and various others. The issues of contraception and Benedict’s anti-gay pronouncements, incl. the Catechism’s description of homosexuality as ‘depraved’,… Read more »

Richard
Guest
Richard

I have trouble understanding comments, such as those from Colin Hunt, that anglo-catholic will be “lost” with the ordination/consecration of women as bishops. If it continues with women as priests, what difference will it make. As a Canadian, we have had women bishops for a number of years. Anglo-catholic parishes continue in their liturgical tradition as before. Anglo-catholics do not feel expelled. Perhaps some anglo-catholics are opposed to women as priests or bishops, but the world hasn’t come to an end. Some have welcomed women clergy in their parishes and felt enriched by their ministry. The same is true of… Read more »

Nom de Plume
Guest
Nom de Plume

Colin Hunt: “Can I get one thing straight please? I individually do not have any problem with a woman as a priest, or the concept of a woman as a bishop. My issue in this matter concerns the apparant decision by Synod that the Anglo-Catholics have no place in the 21st-century Church of England.” But that is in fact not at all what the General Synod has decided, and it is a very serious distortion of what the General Synod has done. Nowhere was there a motion, or an amendment, to expel Anglo-Catholics. Rather the General Synod has said: that… Read more »

Nom de Plume
Guest
Nom de Plume

It appears that we will soon see the appearance of a new liturgy, the Ebbsfleet Use….

The dismissal will consist of:

Put on your ruby slippers;
close your eyes;
click your heels three times, then say
“There’s no place like Rome!”

In the Litany we will find:

V: “The tyranny of the Bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities”
R: “Grant us, good Lord!”

(with apologies to the Book of Common Prayer)

JCF
Guest
JCF

“I now find it harder to imagine that the Trinity is so wedded to canon law that the Son can’t make himself present to hearts yearning to commune with him because the eucharistic presider is female. Or perhaps he only makes himself a wee bit present, or perhaps only spiritually but not really present (though Chalcedon prevents any such division of natures), or perhaps he bypasses unconsecrated elements and shunts himself directly in an unmediated fashion if a woman’s been involved. Sorry for the irreverent language, but the concern over validity can be irreverently condescending to God. – Posted by… Read more »

magistra
Guest
magistra

The Church of England had for many years before women priests been a church where half the clergy didn’t really believe the other half were ‘proper’ Christians/priests anyhow. The Evangelicals thought that non-Evangelicals didn’t really believe in God, the liberals thought all the rest were unChristian in their behaviour and the ACs thought other priests had the wrong understanding of the sacraments. The liberals, the atheists, the bigots, the Puritans, and the gays among the priesthood all lived together in tension, but also tolerance. What changed with OoW was that some ACs and evangelicals refused that prior compromise. They would… Read more »

mrs trelis of north wales
Guest
mrs trelis of north wales

This is lovely ! Thank you. ‘It appears that we will soon see the appearance of a new liturgy, the Ebbsfleet Use…. The dismissal will consist of: Put on your ruby slippers; close your eyes; click your heels three times, then say “There’s no place like Rome!” In the Litany we will find: V: “The tyranny of the Bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities” R: “Grant us, good Lord!” (with apologies to the Book of Common Prayer) Posted by: Nom de Plume on Friday, 11 July 2008 at 1:09am BST I must copy this. Where do I get… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

I understand – from my Anglican priest brother-in-law – that when he attended a Roman Catholic Seminary in Ireland on sabbatical study, he found a reference where Saint Patrick ‘put women in charge of the little wooden churches’

Could it have been that Patrick (an Englishman) approved of, and utilised, women clergy?

Also, on the matter of the wide-scale acceptance of contracetive use by many Roman Catholic couples – despite the ban imposed by papal decree – automatically invalidate their membership of the Roman Catholic Church? Or is perpetual penance and absolution available to such couples?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Could it have been that Patrick (an Englishman) approved of, and utilised, women clergy?”

There is also the story that st. Bridget was made a priest so as to provide the sacraments to her community. If so, it means that not ordaining women was not about the validity of their sacraments. But then again, we are talking about Celtic Christianity, replaced by the Latin style at the Synod of Whitby, and for Consevos, it is all just “the traditions of men” anyway.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“is perpetual penance and absolution available to such couples? “
No, just secrecy.