Thinking Anglicans

women bishops: more coverage and some reactions

Updated Friday evening and Saturday morning

Bill Bowder has a report on the Church Times website, Women bishops: hope for traditionalists.

THE COMMITTEE responsible for the progress of the women-bishops legislation through Synod is seeking to reverse the decision made in July 2008 to proceed by code of conduct only. Those who cannot accept the authority of women bishops have argued that their position should be protected by statute.

A statement issued on Thursday by the revision committee, chaired by the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, suggests that it agrees…

Reuters has a report, Anglicans, in row, may cut women bishops’ powers. A later copy has the headline changed to Church of England moves to heal row over women bishops.

Andrew Brown has written an explanation of what it means at Cif belief The church loses its nerve, again. He writes (emphasis added by TA):

Women can’t be part of that chain. So a woman not only can’t be a priest herself: she can’t, if promoted, make other priests, as a bishop must. So for Anglo-Catholics to go on believing that they are priests, they must be able to exclude women from their lineage. They must also shun male bishops who ordain women priests, because such men don’t share their understanding of the priesthood. So what happens when such a priest finds that his bishop – to whom he swore obedience in all things lawful when he took his post – does ordain women?

Favourable reactions have come from Reform (see earlier news reports) and from Forward in Faith. See Statement by FiF in response to news from the Revision Committee.

There is now also a response from WATCH [Please note that this is the final version (added by us on Saturday); we accidentally published a draft on Friday.]:

WATCH EXPRESSES DISAPPOINTMENT AT REVISION COMMITTEE’S VOTE & CONTINUES TO PRESS FOR WOMEN BISHOPS ON EQUAL TERMS

WATCH (Women and the Church) issues the following response to the press release of 8th October by the Committee established by General Synod to consider the draft legislation enabling women to become bishops.

In that press release we were informed that the Revision Committee has voted to amend the draft legislation so as ‘to provide for certain functions to be vested in male bishops by statute rather than by delegation from the diocesan bishop under a statutory code of practice’.

WATCH is very disappointed that the Revision Committee has come to this decision. In the Church of England, as in society as a whole, people want to see women able to serve as bishops on the same basis as men. WATCH has long been campaigning for the adoption of the simplest possible legislation to this effect.

What is being proposed by the Revision Committee needs further clarification but we do not believe that statutory transfer can avoid creating a two tier episcopate. This would be demeaning to women and would fundamentally damage the office of bishop in our church.

Moreover, were such proposals to pass through our church synods, the Church of England would be in the extraordinary position of asking Parliament to ratify legislation that institutionally discriminates against women.

There will be opportunity for detailed scrutiny of the Revision Committee’s proposals, including the tabling of amendments, when the draft legislation returns to Synod in February. WATCH is confident that Synod will, on further consideration, adopt legislation which reflects the mainstream theology of our church: that men and women are equally made in the image of God and equally graced to hold the offices of priest and bishop.

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Pat O'NeillMark BennetpeterpiFather Ron SmithFord Elms Recent comment authors
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Göran Koch-Swahne
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Göran Koch-Swahne

There is something rotten in the state of Canterbury…

Sara MacVane
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Sara MacVane

What does it say in Animal Farm: ‘All animals are equal, but ……

BillyDinPVD
Guest

“They must also shun male bishops who ordain women priests, because such men don’t share their understanding of the priesthood.”

Well, that seems downright odd. The bishops that the Tractarians found themselves under didn’t share their understanding of the priesthood, I would wager, but that didn’t mean that the Tractarians hitched up the skirts of their cassocks and went in search of those who did.

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

If those unlikely bedfellows Reform and FiF are in favour then the Committee and its revised proposals are definitely wrong.

One question. Why do bishops who will not ordain women themselves ordain men who agree with the ordination of women and who may well go on to be women-ordaining bishops?

But there is no logic in the whole issue anyway. As another correspondent has said, its all prejudice anyway, usually but not always dressed up as principle.

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Harvard Business School USA, among others, used to really dig into learning from case studies. This situation might make an excellent teaching/learning case study of just exactly how to paint church life and all the rest into a no exit corner; revolving around a hot button Anglican life issue. The number of Anglican women who wish to work hard as the dickens with nothing but demerits based on their genitals, taking nothing but orders, orders, orders from every man with proper genitals who happens to strut about in their local parishes – is this staying about the same? Increasing? Diminishing?… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“THE COMMITTEE responsible for the progress of the women-bishops legislation through Synod is seeking to reverse the decision made in July 2008 to proceed by code of conduct only. Those who cannot accept the authority of women bishops have argued that their position should be protected by statute.” – Bill Bowder, Church Times article – And what does this say about the decision of Synod, which has already pronounced on this issue? Does the Review Committee just ride rough-shod over what has been decided in the General Synod? What safe-guards are in place to respect the integrity of Synod Decisions?… Read more »

peterpi
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peterpi

So, according to my understanding of standard Christian doctrine, God became human through the agency of a woman. For 9 months, God the Son dwelt inside a woman’s body seemingly without harm to God. God the Son, in the form of a human baby, nursed from a woman for a similar period of time. God the Son’s announcement of his Resurrection was made to a woman. But, … a woman can’t be a bishop (or even a priest) because, somehow, the Holy Spirit can’t continue Apostolic Succession? God the Holy Spirit can’t go where God the Son can? Someone please… Read more »

David Malloch
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David Malloch

It is important to note that these proposals do no more than bring back to synod something which the majority of its members have already voted in favour of. In July 2008 the majority of synod voted in favour of transfer by law. The ammendment fell in the House of Clergy. Once all ammendments fell the synod could either vote for what remained (code of practice) or reject the entire WB legislation. Many voted for what remained on the table so that WB would not be lost and that the legislation could be altered in revision. The Archbishops themselves were… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“But, … a woman can’t be a bishop (or even a priest) because, somehow, the Holy Spirit can’t continue Apostolic Succession?” I know. And I don’t agree with the argument, but it has nothing to do with the kinds of things you cite. I imagine a lot of anti-OOW people would agree with you, actually. BUT, there are few records of women being ordained at any point in Church history before this century. St. Brigid is the only one I know of. So, we have practically no tradition, written or oral, of ordained women. To change something that has been… Read more »

Suem
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Not good news! It will be interesting to see what happens at Synod in February. I do not think any right minded person would welcome a two tier church in this respect. So much potential for division and difficulty.

Charlotte
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Charlotte

It sounds as though there is some work to be done at the next meeting of Synod. You have my prayers.

BillyD
Guest

“But, … a woman can’t be a bishop (or even a priest) because, somehow, the Holy Spirit can’t continue Apostolic Succession? God the Holy Spirit can’t go where God the Son can?” I have to admit that I don’t understand the argument that women *can’t* be priests and bishops (as opposed to the argument that they shouldn’t, which I don’t agree with either but which I at least can make sense of). As I understand it, for a Sacrament to be valid it requires proper form and proper matter. For example, the proper matter for the Eucharist is bread and… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Ford “Give a sensible justification for changing a 2000 year tradition (and “women can vote now” isn’t a sensible justification), address gender and the issue of the priest acting ‘in persona Christi'” Actually, these arguments have all been made. They’re available to everyone who is interested. Re-stating them will not convince those who will not be convinced. The CoE has decided that women priests are theologically acceptable, and it has decided that women bishops are too. The debate now is whether there will be separate provisions for those who don’t agree. And if the church should eventually decide that no… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“you can’t ordain a cat. But anti-WO partisans seem to be arguing that there’s a difference not just between men and women’s bodies, but between their souls, and that you somehow need a male soul to be validly ordained. It seems very strange to me.” – BillyD, on Saturday – In certain ancient civilisations (e.g. Egyptian) cats were thought to possess great spiritual mana. But, I do get your argument, BillyD, that the anti-W.O. lobby, having been frustrated on the issue of women priests, are now terrified that their logical progression to the episcopate might further endanger the souls who… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“Give a sensible justification for changing a 2000 year tradition(and “women can vote now” isn’t a sensible justification), address gender and the issue of the priest acting ‘in persona Christi’, and deal with the whole ‘gender and the Fall’ issue.” The 2000-year tradition is one based entirely on a cultural attitude toward women that has nothing to do with the theological place of women. Does that answer the first objection? “In Christ there is no male or female….” Doesn’t that adequately answer the second? The story of the Fall as told in Genesis is a parable, a way of explaining… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“Give a sensible justification for changing a 2000 year tradition(and “women can vote now” isn’t a sensible justification), address gender and the issue of the priest acting ‘in persona Christi’, and deal with the whole ‘gender and the Fall’ issue.” The 2000-year tradition is one based entirely on a cultural attitude toward women that has nothing to do with the theological place of women. Does that answer the first objection? “In Christ there is no male or female….” Doesn’t that adequately answer the second? The story of the Fall as told in Genesis is a parable, a way of explaining… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

I’ve been readiing commments and documents and trying to giure out what is being proposed – someone who is better acquainted with the CofE and its machinations tell me if I am reading all this correctly.

Does this latest mean that YES, we will have woman bishops, but NO, they will not consecrate nor be consecrators? That male bishops will lay hands on deaconc priests and other bishops in their place? Please tell me I’ve got this wrong.

M. Mouse
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M. Mouse

One fundamental mistake which the C of E continues to replicate is to give ordinands any choice in which bishop ordains them. If the HoB stopped this immediately we should begin to see some matters move towards resolution, at least.

Letting a man choose to be ordained by a bishop of like mind and to decline being ordained by an un-likeminded bishop is schism by any other name.

Come on, bishops: give us a lead!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Pat, no it doesn’t. And remember, I’m being devil’s advocate here, I support OOW. But, the tradition is NOT merely a cultural attitude. If it were, there wouldn’t be any theological objections to OOW. That is the dismissive attitude I was talking about. OOW opponents have been making arguments for the past thirty years that show pretty clearly that this isn’t just a “cultural attitude”. And, why is there a negative connotation to “cultural attitude”? If “in Christ there is neither male nor female” were important, then why is it that male Christians cannot bear children? Clearly, for some functions,… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

The tradition is NOT merely a cultural attitude. If it were, there wouldn’t be any theological objections to OOW. That is the dismissive attitude I was talking about. OOW opponents have been making arguments for the past thirty years that show pretty clearly that this isn’t just a “cultural attitude”. And, why is there a negative connotation to “cultural attitude”? Ford–but those theological arguments are, to my mind, made to justify a cultural artifact. And the negative connotation to “cultural attitude” is that Christianity should be both superior to and in opposition to secular culture…especially when that culture is non-inclusive.… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

The tradition is NOT merely a cultural attitude. If it were, there wouldn’t be any theological objections to OOW. That is the dismissive attitude I was talking about. OOW opponents have been making arguments for the past thirty years that show pretty clearly that this isn’t just a “cultural attitude”. And, why is there a negative connotation to “cultural attitude”? Ford–but those theological arguments are, to my mind, made to justify a cultural artifact. And the negative connotation to “cultural attitude” is that Christianity should be both superior to and in opposition to secular culture…especially when that culture is non-inclusive.… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“If “in Christ there is neither male nor female” were important, then why is it that male Christians cannot bear children” – Ford Elms – Ford, I normally go along with most of your postings – especially as I appreciate your lovely openness about your own situation. However, I think what you have said here is one of the silliest arguments you could ever have made about the relevance of Paul’s statement: “In Christ, there is neither male nor female”. The very qualification ‘en Christo’ is a specific indication of that which touches on the ‘esse’ of Christ’s ministry. I… Read more »

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

Regarding the Fall, serpent persuades woman to eat fruit of the forbidden tree, woman persuades man to eat said fruit. Man and woman are caught by God. And what’s the first thing that the man does? He blames the woman! Not “Gee, God, I messed up big time. I accept my responsibility.” But “She made me do it!”
And from this we deduce, accrding to standard traditional thinking, that the woman is to blame?

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Romans 8.29 makes no distinction in gender between those who are conformed to the likeness of Christ.