T A

more on planning for women bishops

The Telegraph has a report by George Pitcher today, Women bishops face ‘flying bigots’, which follows up on the recent reports of national proposals with an account of what the Diocese of London did on Friday:

Some priestly women activists had urged a boycott of the event, fearing a mugging from the Anglo-Catholics. In the event, they had nothing to fear. The oppressive St Paul’s felt like that foreign land where women did things differently, but it was unmistakably of the past.

Dr Chartres, too, was playing an open hand. He acknowledged that, for some, the gender issue is one of justice, over which there can be no compromise.

The London Plan, first devised by Dr David Hope as Bishop of London, offers an Episcopal oversight, in the shape of the Bishop of Fulham, for those who cannot accept women as bishops. The question is whether it can be a paradigm for the wider Church. My guess is that the women’s faction will accept such provision for male traditionalists if it’s from an area bishop, like Fulham, within the diocese (whose diocesan bishop may well be a woman) and within a simple code of practice, but not flying bishops effectively from a “third province” founded in law. As Dr Chartres affirms, there can be no “episcopacy-lite” for women.

But that takes no account of the real-politick in evidence in St Paul’s on Friday. Some of the men-only camp are set on legal protection by the back door, after Synod voted clearly for a code of practice. One or two of them were indulging on Friday in what Canon Winkett called “competitive vulnerability”, invoking a term coined by novelist Sara Maitland for those who believe their pain must be bigger than that of others.

There are important further details on his blog at Language of women bishops and ‘flying bigots’.

41
Leave a Reply

avatar
41 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
17 Comment authors
Father Ron SmithFord ElmsErika BakerCheryl Va.Jon Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
JCF
Guest
JCF

“One or two of them were indulging on Friday in what Canon Winkett called “competitive vulnerability”, invoking a term coined by novelist Sara Maitland for those who believe their pain must be bigger than that of others.”

Well said, but there’s a even briefer way of putting it: Drama Queens. ;-/

Robert Ian williams
Guest
Robert Ian williams

Total of clergy leaving Church in Wales since Provincial ” Flying “Bishop abolished….0

penwatch
Guest
penwatch

If Richard Chartres still sees himself as a candidate for Canterbury then he needs to play ‘an open hand’ because he will then finally have to get round to ordaining women – as he said he would be prepared to do so last time around.

The current London scheme has a Bishop of Fulham who is openly associating with North American ‘anti-gay’ schismatics – which for those who know London and those under the Fulham jurisdiction is a bit rich. It’s a good thing that the legendary lack of understanding of ‘irony’ by Americans is true.

Chris H.
Guest
Chris H.

Robert,
There isn’t a woman bishop in Wales yet, is there? So perhaps those who are against having a woman bishop are simply waiting and hoping that they’ll make it to retirement before it happens. Just because they haven’t left yet doesn’t mean they’ve agreed to accept a woman bishop, does it?

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Perhaps as well then that the ‘Sacred Synod’ was transferred from All Souls, Langham Place, a church noted for it’s antipathy towards renewal of the Gospel initiatives for justice presently being put in place by other, more liberal, parts of the Church of England and of the Communion. The strange coalition of extremist evangelical and catholic clergy who are hell-bent on preventing women’s ministry in the Church might not have felt mutually comfortable in such austere surroundings. At least, at Saint Paul’s Cathedral there would have been people like Canon Lucy to help even up the ‘odds’ – against any… Read more »

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Father Ron I agree with you. Flying bishops create precedents with more problems than they solve. It’s time for souls to get used to the idea that size and fitness of one’s pectoral muscles does not determine one’s spiritual clout or grace before God. Nor that men are infallible and women always in error. Both male and female are just as capable of making a mistake, and just as capable of rising above the situation to see the bigger picture. In fact, the exclusion of one group or denying of grace actually diminishes the excluders – in failing to see… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“competitive vulnerability”, invoking a term coined by novelist Sara Maitland for those who believe their pain must be bigger than that of others”

What an abvsolutely delightful term! It’s like what my partner says of such people “I would get your point, but then I’d miss a chance to be victimized.” It’s also referred to as “My disfunction’s bigger than your disfunction.”

Jon
Guest
Jon

“One or two of them were indulging on Friday in what Canon Winkett called “competitive vulnerability”, invoking a term coined by novelist Sara Maitland for those who believe their pain must be bigger than that of others.”

>Well said, but there’s a even briefer way of >putting it: Drama Queens. ;-/

That’s a bit rich. We have been hearing of the pain experienced by women priests and their supporters for many years now. Is that somehow more valid than pain currently being felt by anglo-catholics?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Is that somehow more valid than pain currently being felt by anglo-catholics?” Very interesting question, actually. Supporters of OOW might say that the pain felt by those who stand in the way of the Gospel and God’s justice is less valid. Conservatives might say that the pain felt by those who stand up for the truth is more valid. But they are really saying the same thing, just with different definitions of what God’s truth and justice are. I’d suggest that any kind of pain suffered by God’s children, regardless of whether or not it’s deserved, is valid, actually, and… Read more »

Jim Pratt
Guest
Jim Pratt

England needs to look at the example of the Diocese of Massachusetts. When Barbara Harris was ordained, her visitations were scheduled based on invitations from parishes, and if a parish had issues with women as bishops, David Johnson either visited himself or had a retired bishop visit. There were more than enough parishes that wanted her to visit that it was never an issue. I’m not sure how ordinations were handled, but I suspect that all ordinations were done by David, or by the two bishops together. And when Barbara finally did visit the conservative Anglo-Catholic bastion of All Saints,… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Jon: “We have been hearing of the pain experienced by women priests and their supporters for many years now. Is that somehow more valid than pain currently being felt by anglo-catholics?”

I’m an Anglo-Catholic, Jon, and I happen to be convinced, on very catholic premises, that women should be ordained to the episcopate. Your viewpoint does not have a monopoly on the term “anglo-catholic.”

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Hear hear Jon. It appears that the concept of “competitive vulnerability” is just one of many aspects of the debate that has become unacceptable since July’s Synod, when it became no longer a useful tool for those in favour of the ordination of women.

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Chris the Welsh flying bishop was created because the lie was told that when women priests
were allowed there would be a mass exodus, and this would stop it. Their bluff has been called.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Jon and Daniel, I, like Fr. Mark, am a dyed-in-the-wool anglo-catholic, who loves the sacraments of the Church, and yet now utterly convinced – like the General Synod of the Church of England – that there is no theological justification to exclude women from the priesthood or the episcopate. (“By their fruits you shall know them”) Many female anglo-catholics, who feel they have been called into the ministry of the Church, are still suffering from the fact that their call from God has been denied, consistently, by their male peers – on the grounds that Jesus did not call women… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

Fr R Smith – I understand your posting but you, now utterly convinced, don’t understand how people can think differently from you. If the ordination of women was simply a matter of justice – and for the vast majority on these boards it is, then any opposition is seen as scandalous – and rightly so. But you must try to see the whole question in a wider perspective, and that tradition needs to be engaged with rather more thoroughly. Jon and Daniel are utterly correct and Lucy Winkett’s comments – coming after all the visible competetive pain (and tears too… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“That’s a bit rich. We have been hearing of the pain experienced by women priests and their supporters for many years now. Is that somehow more valid than pain currently being felt by anglo-catholics? Posted by Jon” [Geez, as a Yank, *I* am supposed to be irony-challenged? Assuming Jon is from Blighty, um…] Anglo-catholics can do many things about their pain, Jon. They can resist, they can swim the Tiber, they can try another rite, or they can “test the spirits” of ordained women (perhaps discovering none other than the Holy Spirit?). They can . . . well, get over… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Neil: the ordination of women is not simply a matter of justice. But it is partly a matter of justice: and Anglicans have historically undervalued the biblical imperative for justice.

Nor are those of us Anglo-Catholics who agree with the ordination of women necessarily anti-traditional. Most of the FiF clergy are very Modern Roman in the way they do things, which would be regarded as ananthema by RC traditionalists; and most of the RC faithful are in favour of the ordination of women.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Neil
did you actually read what Fr Ron said? His last post was full of purely theological arguments and not a single one based on social justice.

Jon
Guest
Jon

Get over it is what I have heard from most of my friends. It would certainly make life a lot easier and I have changed my opinions on plenty of other issues over the years, so it’s entirely possible I will on this one too.

However, I thought we were a broad church, encompassing a wide range of belief? It seems that a window is to be made into our souls after all.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“We have been hearing of the pain experienced by women priests and their supporters for many years now. Is that somehow more valid than pain currently being felt by anglo-catholics?”

Oh, the pain, the pain…somebody, somewhere is being led by a woman bishop! How can I ever survive this?

Please….

Geoff McLarney
Guest
Geoff McLarney

How I would have loved to see +Barbara Harris officiate at Solemn Evensong and Benediction at All Saints, Ashmont!

Neil
Guest
Neil

‘They can resist, they can swim the Tiber, they can try another rite, or they can “test the spirits” of ordained women (perhaps discovering none other than the Holy Spirit?)’

Some people indeed have changed their minds and see the Holy Spirit at work – but for others who see a move towards a sub-Christian Faith – there is no good reason to flee. Their job is to call the Church back to the fullness of Christ’s gospel.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“sub-Christian Faith” What is this, and how does ordaining women lead to it? I have only ever heard the term used by the Bishop of Sydney in reference to Roman Catholics, which is rich when you think about it: a devotee of radical innovators, who preaches a kind of Christianity unheard of till 500 years ago and which constitutes a far more radical “reassessment” of the faith than anything he opposes today, calling those who adhere to one manifestation of the older tradition “sub-Christian” is the height of audacity! I’d suggest that if anything can be called “subChristian”, if that… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Perhaps the OOW as nexus is so difficult, just because it does draw together multiple strands of inquiry and discernment which are quite complicated and difficult in themselves, before the issues of OOW come along. We have issues of social justice, no doubt. Just being against OOW does not settle these by ignoring or excluding social justice, since anti-believers still have the hard task of demonstrating justice – a biblical value, a gospel value if ever we had one. God’s calls to women in church life open up myriad mystical doors to being something besides a mother, or a vowed… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Their job is to call the Church back to the fullness of Christ’s gospel.”

A task which, in my experience, ordained women are particularly good at, Neil.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Neil: “for others who see a move towards a sub-Christian Faith…”

Yes, but the problem is that people like me see the “conservatives” in the Church as currently moving towards sub-Christianity. The comments of Peter Mullen, discussed elsewhere on TA at the moment are a case in point: the “new” subChristian form of Anglicanism is the shrill scared screaming intellectually-challenged neanderthal conservative mindset, as far as I can see – it isn’t at all what I was brought up with.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Neil, Moves ‘backwards’, such as you have suggested, are hardly calculated to further the cause of the Gospel – as has been proven by Roman Catholic moves to ‘return’ to the Church of pre-Vatican 2. Retrospection can only cause confusion – as it did with the historical Ebionite demands for the restoration of circumcision and other out-dated rituals of the pre-Christian era. There is, of course, the need to preserve what is sacred from our past Christian Tradition, but should that prevent us from seeking out ways of justice and integrity in the modern world – where women are now… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

Fr R Smith – thank you for good post. Yes, there is much in what you say I agree with and would argue for, and winning an argument after a debate is what needs to happen in addressing tradition. But that is not the same as reducing the whole argument to a matter of justice as many lazy people do. Also, if a matter purely of justice and equality, this argument will become vulnerable to what I believe will be a new orthodoxy within a decade – the complementarity and difference in gender. Surprising as it may seem, there are… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Neil: “Surprising as it may seem, there are intelligent and rounded people who sincerely believe the ordination of women will never arise in the RC church…”

You do accept, though, that this is a minority view amongst the RC laity, don’t you?

Jon
Guest
Jon

Whilst remaining unconvinced about the OOW myself I do accept that is now part of the Church of England and do not seek to change that. I have had cordial dealings with female clergy on a personal level and was glad that we were able to co-exist in the church we both call home.

It now feels, however, that people like me are being told either Change your mind or Leave. Legislating belief seems to me to be deeply un-Anglican.

Prior Aelred
Guest

Fr Mark — to quote Archbishop Ullathorne, “The laity? What are they?” To which John Henry Newman is said to have replied, “Well, your grace, the hierarchy would look rather foolish without them.”
(Quoted from memory)

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“It now feels, however, that people like me are being told either Change your mind or Leave. “ Why? Seriously, and you are talking to someone who stopped going to church for 18 years over this issue and then went back. I believe strongly in OOW, btw, now. But, I used to feel just as strongly that the leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada didn’t get it at all. They simply could not make a theological argument for OOW, it was all about a woman’s rights, as if anyone has a right to be a priest. They had no… Read more »

Jon
Guest
Jon

Perhaps I’m feeling over-sensitive after recent events in Synod here in the UK, but the decision to provide a Code of Practice rather than anything more formal for those parishes unable to accept a woman Bishop seems a pretty clear message.

I’m not going anywhere just yet though!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“the decision to provide a Code of Practice rather than anything more formal for those parishes unable to accept a woman Bishop seems a pretty clear message.” Well, I don’t know how to help. All I can do is tell you how I came to the place I am, but I’m an Anglo-catholic, and giving one’s testimony is not part of our stock in trade. For me, it began when our rector, who had led the anti-OOW movement in our diocese, suddenly changed his mind. He told me that he had been approached by a woman who felt she had… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Jon and Neil, My heart goes out to you both. Like Ford, I was once totally opposed to the ordination of women – on the grounds that Jesus had never counted them aomngst the Twelve Apostles. But then, I began to understand that – though Jesus did not personally choose Saul/Paul – God chose him to be an Apostle of Christ. If God chose an active persecutor of Christians to become an Apostle of Christ, could God not choose a woman – a one-time very unlikely candidate for ordained ministry – to become a priest or bishop? I think that… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Jesus did not personally choose Saul/Paul – God chose him to be an Apostle of Christ”

Fr. Ron, can I point out that this seems too strong a separation of the hypostases? Jesus IS God, after all. Can I give you some gentle ribbing about being a closet Arian?

Cheryl Va.
Guest

Jesus is of God but Jesus is not all of God. There is the Trinity. Plus every single soul contains a spark of God. Jesus was annointed as Lord of this earth and all its occupants. One of the functions of the bible is to act as a handbook for God’s annointed souls. So as Lord of all the Earth, Jesus is meant to fulfill the messianic decrees. A performance review with the conservative Evangelicals held up as the “pinnacle” of Jesus’ manifestation led to Jesus having a very poor performance review. Idolotry, corruption, greed, deceit, opportunism, misogyny, xenophobia, elitism,… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford,
I expect Fr Ron meant that Jesus in his human form had not personally chosen Paul.
If God gets a look in, and maybe even the Holy Spirit, the argument against women priests collapses straight away.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Jesus did not personally choose Saul/Paul – God chose him to be an Apostle of Christ” Dear Ford. I still stick by my iteration (above) of the fact that ‘God’ called Saul/Paul to become an apostle – if only to convince you that I do believe in the Trinity as both ‘One and Three’ – (Persons in One God). And actually, it was the Riesn Christ who commissioned Saul who became Paul, possibly the greatest Christian apologist. Perhaps what I was trying to actually convey, was the fact that it was not the pre-resurrection, incarnate, Jesus who commissioned Saul, but… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Jesus is of God but Jesus is not all of God.” Well, Cheryl, that is not what the Christian faith has taught since the First Ecumenical Council. I don’t challenge you often,largely because you don’t say much that riles me up. But, I don’t accept your Christology. I find it Arian at best, and it goes against a lot of what informs my faith and makes both Christianity’s mysticism and its social message so attractive for me. I simply do not find a half divine Jesus to be meaningful. Sorry. You’re free to believe as you do, but we’ll just… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Ford,

I find your teasing much preferable to the sort of theological empiricism one finds on some blogs. At least, we are civil to one another here. The whole business of Jesus and God is so deep and precious a paradigm that I have ceased to try and dissect its most intimate parts. However, I do understand from the teaching of Paul that: “Here, we see through a glass darkly, but then we shall see Him face to face. What a gloriousd experience that will be. I’m really looking forward to it. God Bless!