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’.