Thinking Anglicans

Women Bishops – more from the revision committee

Updated again Saturday evening

The Church of England issued the press release below this morning.

The essential parts are the third and fourth paragraphs.

Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate
14 November 2009

The Revision Committee met for its third scheduled meeting yesterday (13 November) since 8 October (see earlier statement). It concluded a substantial exploration of ways in which the draft legislation could be amended to enable certain functions to be vested by statute in bishops who would provide oversight for those unable to receive the episcopal and/or priestly ministry of women.

After much discussion, the members of the Committee were unable to identify a basis for specifying particular functions for vesting which commanded sufficient support both from those in favour of the ordination of women as bishops and those unable to support that development. As a result all of the proposals for vesting particular functions by statute were defeated.

The effect of the Committee’s decision is therefore that such arrangements as are made for those unable to receive the episcopal ministry of women will need to be by way of delegation from the diocesan bishop rather than vesting.

There remain important issues for the Committee to determine at its forthcoming meetings over the shape of the proposed legislation in the light of this decision, in particular whether to retain a statutory code of practice or adopt the simplest possible legislation.

The work of a Revision Committee in scrutinising draft legislation, and in considering submissions to amend it, is only part of a longer legislative process. The Revision Committee on this draft legislation will report to the full General Synod at the conclusion of its work and the Synod will debate its proposals and have its own opportunity to support, amend or invite further reconsideration of the legislation by the Revision Committee. Further stages in the legislative process would require consideration of any legislation by the Diocesan Synods of the Church of England, final approval by the General Synod, Parliamentary approval and the Royal Assent.

Updates

Bishop David Thomson has published some very interesting additional material, see here. A copy of it is also here, below the fold.

WATCH has already published a press release.

WATCH PRESS STATEMENT
Saturday, 14th November 2009 – for immediate release

WOMEN BISHOPS LEGISLATION NOW ON RIGHT TRACK

WATCH is delighted to hear that the Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate has decided that legislation for women bishops will no longer include proposals for the mandatory transfer of authority – the vesting of particular functions by law – in bishops who would provide oversight for those unable to receive the Episcopal and/or priestly ministry of women.

WATCH commends the recent work of the Revision Committee, which met yesterday to explore how the previous proposed arrangements could be made to work. WATCH is aware of the huge outcry from members of General Synod and from other Church members to the earlier announcement of the Revision Committee to make changes in law that would have resulted in a two-tier episcopate.

WATCH Chair, Christina Rees said: “This is a real breakthrough. I am delighted that now we can look forward to having women as bishops on the same terms that men are bishops. Women will bring valuable different perspectives and ways of doing things and will also bring a sorely needed wholeness to the Episcopal leadership of our Church. The House of Bishops will cease to be the ‘men only’ club it has been and will be more representative of the people whom the Church exists to serve. Now the Church will be able to draw on the experience and wisdom of many gifted women. We know from 15 years of having women as priests that they are often able to reach people and approach situations in ways that are creative and empowering for many others.”

WATCH is pleased with the outcome on two counts: first, and most importantly, the new proposals express the theological understanding of the Church about the status of baptised Christians and about the relationship between men and women and God. Secondly, the Revision Committee has shown that it has heeded the will of General Synod to draft legislation that would not have arrangements in law that would differentiate between male and female bishops.

WATCH continues to urge to Revision Committee to bring proposals to General Synod in February 2010 which adopt the simplest possible legislation, so that the Church of England can proceed to opening the Episcopate to women in such a way that the nature of the Episcopate is retained and the Church can best communicate its belief that women and men are equal in the eyes of God.

Ed Tomlinson has blogged about this, see Church of England’s response is forming….

Bishop Alan Wilson has written, Revision Committee: Tough Salami.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones writes for the Sunday Telegraph about a Snub to traditionalists over women bishops.

Questions and Answers for Comms. Office use

What does this mean?

It means that the Committee could not identify which functions or powers they thought should be given by law to the bishops who would give oversight to traditionalist parishes, so the idea essentially falls. They now have to decide whether to return to the idea of a statutory code of practice or to adopt a solution that would set out no provision in the legislation itself for those who object to women bishops. But whatever this Committee decides, it remains for the full Synod to debate the matter fully.

What’s the difference between delegation and vesting?

Delegation means that functions would be exercised on the authority of the diocesan bishop, who in future may be female. Vesting would have meant certain functions being exercised as of right by those bishops providing oversight for traditionalist parishes.

What do you mean by ‘functions’?

Functions in this context mean episcopal activities such as conducting the ordination of priests, and providing pastoral oversight of parish clergy.

Is this the result of the Pope/the Westminster Hall debate/anger from women?

The 19 members of the Committee spent a lot of time exploring possibilities in some detail and were unable to find a basis for vesting which commanded sufficient support. What influenced individuals to vote as they did on particular proposals can only be a matter of speculation.

Why issue statements when the decisions keep changing?

Synod members coming to speak to amendments that they have submitted have the right to know when there has been a major change affecting their proposals. Since such decisions will quickly become widely known the Committee concluded that it was best to put the facts on the public record.

How did people vote?

The voting figures will be included in the Committee’s report to Synod.

Will the report be ready for the February Synod?

That has always been the Committee’s aim, but the timetable is now extremely tight. The Committee has three further meetings scheduled between now and early January.

Isn’t this decision simply going to push many Catholic Anglicans to go to Rome?

There are many further stages yet in the legislative process (see 8 October statement) and nothing is certain until the draft Measure has secured a two thirds majority in each House of Synod on final approval and then secured parliamentary approval and Royal Assent. It will be at least 2012 before the Synod has concluded its own consideration.

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MJ
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MJ

I think the trad ACs can thank the Holy See’s mistimed intervention for this sudden about-face.

Wilf
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Wilf

I would have thought that the Statutory Code of Practice, as asked for by the Synod, would be the best way forward and would offer greater protection to opponents than the ‘put up or shut up’ option of single clause legislation.

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

So it would seem that the church of my birth will not use the Pope’s generous and graciuous offer as a wonderful example of what can be done, but as a stone to hammer us again. No matter what we do the one message that returns is this:

We really dont value or want you. Praise God it seems he does….

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

At last, some good news! I happened to be listening to the B Minor Mass when I read this and the Sanctus – Osanna in Excelsis perfectly reflect my mood.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

I’m bewildered (and perhaps even amused) by the phrasing “unable to receive the episcopal ministry of women”…as though this were some form of physical disability, like being unable to see or hear. Is it rather that these individuals are UNWILLING to accept this ministry?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

I’m bewildered (and perhaps even amused) by the phrasing “unable to receive the episcopal ministry of women”…as though this were some form of physical disability, like being unable to see or hear. Is it rather that these individuals are UNWILLING to accept this ministry?

Bromenblue
Guest
Bromenblue

Olivia, your comment is sickening! I am ever so glad you feel so ecstatic about the potential of effectively unchurching a significant minority of Anglicans, many of whom have been so from the cradle. Your perspective confirms Father Ed’s contribution.

Grumpy High Church Woman
Guest
Grumpy High Church Woman

I don’t mean to be pedantic, but I don’t see how one can see the pope’s offer as ‘generous and gracious’ and still want to stay in the Church of England. As all the documentation makes clears, Benedict’s offer (which completely, and significantly, side-stepped Cardinal Kasper’s office) is clearly predicated on the theology that the we are not a church, and not part of THE Church. Is this not correct?

toby forward
Guest

Brian Bell. There’s no need to see Olivia’s comment as negative. She celebrates (as I do) the start of a proper arrangement for women in the Church. If some people can’t accept that, then that’s a separate issue.

Wilf
Guest
Wilf

Ed, the Pope’s offer seems generous and gracious to you because you are a male priest. It might not look quite so rosy if you were, say, a lay woman member of General Synod and committed to your role in the governance of the Church who, on going over, would relinquish for ever any part in the legislative process or, say, someone who is divorced and remarried and who, on going over, ‘cannot receive eucharistic communion’ (Catechism para 1665).

A lot will be given by some with one hand and taken from others with the other.

Gerry Reilly
Guest
Gerry Reilly

There appears to be a case of wilful blindness among so-called Anglican Catholics over the recent machinations of Pope Benedict. He does not accept their present catholicity, nor the catholicity of the Church fom which they come. He does not accept their Orders; they are laymen dressed up until they are ordained, not re-ordained, and that includes the Bishop of Fulham, and all the flying bishops. The pope will decide which forms of Anglican worship are kosher;(of course, many of the Fraternity have never used most of the Anglican ritual, seeing it as inferior to the Roman Rite.) And, of… Read more »

Rosalind
Guest
Rosalind

“No matter what we do the one message that returns is this: We really dont value or want you.” Does Ed really not see that this is what it feels like for women both lay and ordained when demands are made for those who choose to be “protected” from the ministry of women? And that this is why it is impossible to find a form of words or statutory code (fudge?) that will in itself allow everyone to feel accepted. Acceptance comes from growing relationships, not from rules that create permanent barriers. Seems ironic to have to say this a… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

Um, OK I know I may be a little thick, but how does relying on the putative female bishop to delegate certain roles in certain circumstances make it any harder for those who don’t accept her episcopal authority to stay in the church? I mean, as I understand it, those who don’t accept her will be looked after by a bloke? Yes?

David Malloch
Guest
David Malloch

The revision committee will face similar problems deciding what should go into a code of practice. Therefore they will end up with a single clause measure. The only possible result will be either for the legislation to fall – which helps nobody – or to pass the single clause which will please some and render others unable to remain. There will, therefore be 3 “anglican” provisions in England: The CofE; the Ordinariate; and some form of evangelical anglicanism under the umbrella of GAFCON. What needs to be addressed now is the relationship between those 3 bodies and the means by… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

Gerry, I’m not so sure the pope misunderstands a certain segment of Anglo-Catholics after all. I refer to the provision for Anglican “bishops” who can’t be bishop ordinaries in the new scheme because of their marital status to continue to dress up as bishops in their regalia (or should that be episcopalia?). I wonder if this sartorial offer may tip the scale for some. Clothes make the [most definitely] the _man_.

Meanwhile, here’s to the committee for showing some grit and consistency, and accepting that episcopate without episkopé is an assault on truly catholic notions of church governance.

Grumpy High Church Woman
Guest
Grumpy High Church Woman

I don’t mean to be pedantic, but I don’t see how one can see the pope’s offer as ‘generous and gracious’ and still want to stay in the Church of England. As all the documentation makes clears, Benedict’s offer (which completely, and significantly, side-stepped Cardinal Kasper’s office) is clearly predicated on the theology that the we are not a church, and not part THE Church. Is this not correct?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

I have added a link to some Q and A on the press release, which may be of interest to readers.

toby forward
Guest

A ‘generous and gracious’ invitation from Ratzinger would be an invitation to the Anglican Communion to come on board, with no strings attached – married clergy, women priests and bishops, partnered LGBT folk, with a variety of liturgies. A ‘generous and gracious’ invitation would be one that said the things that unite us are more and greater than the tihngs that divide us, let’s work them out together, in communion with one another. On the contrary, his invitation was opportunistic, mean-spirited and narrow. It was an invitation for negative people to join up to a negative view of humankind, to… Read more »

peterpi
Guest
peterpi

“We really don’t value or want you.” Gee, Ed Tomlinson, that’s what women and their supporters feel like when certain anti-WO types speak out. For my two cents, it’s the anti-WO folks who are unwilling to work in any reasonable capacity with WO folks. As far as some anti-WO folks are concerned, a woman bishop is a little girl playing dress-up. To them, not only are women bishops bad, but so are women priests, and men who support women priests. The only bishops they’re satisfied with is male bishops with properly heterosexual male thoughts. Anyone else must be granted inferior… Read more »

Davis d'Ambly
Guest
Davis d'Ambly

What I rarely read on these and other pages is how Anglicans on either side of the WO issue can work together to accommodate their brothers and sisters across the aisle. Can this not be done with charity?

Davis d'Ambly
Guest
Davis d'Ambly

What I rarely read on these and other pages is how Anglicans on either side of the WO issue can work together to accommodate their brothers and sisters across the aisle. Can this not be done with charity?

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

No Toby, that would be a complete surrendering of the Pope’s entire belief system and the tradition of his church- as unrealistic a suggestion as it is outrageous. Do you really suggest that people are only generous when they capitulate to your world view?

Your post is as ludicrous as my suggesting that WATCH should join FIF and sign up to our statements of belief.

Come on, you can do better than that. And if not you shouldnt be posting

JCF
Guest
JCF

“I mean, as I understand it, those who don’t accept her will be looked after by a bloke? Yes?” – Posted by: Rosemary Hannah

…but it will be a chosen-by-a-bishop-who-is-FEMALE-bloke, Rosemary. And therefore, Girl-Cooties-by-transference! [Oy, if only those cooties could be innoculated against as easily as H1N1! ;-/]

*****

“Olivia, your comment is sickening! I am ever so glad you feel so ecstatic…”

@ Bromenblue: “the Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” [Matt.11:19]

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Well I am at a loss, completely. First the Males First Males Only AngloCatholic believers seem to have carefully and deliberately painted themselves in a no exit corner, all the while loudly preaching that God wanted them to be free from women and gays, too. Then just about the same folks lobbied successfully for what they viewed as utterly separate arrangements in church life. I guess the reported large number of covertly gay AngloCatholic priests was subterranean enough to be ruled out from their official purity calculations? Only to find that avoiding competent women and gays was difficult in modern… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“There remain important issues for the Committee to determine at its forthcoming meetings over the shape of the proposed legislation in the light of this decision, in particular whether to retain a statutory code of practice or adopt the simplest possible legislation.” – Revision Committee – It seems that the Holy Spirit has been allowed into the corridors of power within this Revision Committee – to the extent that ‘the simplest possible legislation’ is still on the table for discussion by the General Synod. To have outlawed such a provision would certainly have put the Church back into the era… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“Do you really suggest that people are only generous when they capitulate to your world view?”
– Ed Tomlinson, on Saturday –

Now that’s hilarious, Ed, copming from you of all people. Especially when you suggest that generosity of your cradle-Church of England does not match up to the generosity you perceive within the Roman Catholic – which which you now identify. Let’s have a little clarity here.

Marshall Scott
Guest

Come, come, Fr. Ed, Bromenblue: the Vatican’s offer was not nearly that good. Certainly, it wasn’t a sort of “Anglican Uniate” position. With Roman control over celibacy of seminarians, this arrangement would last perhaps a generation, before Anglican “heritage” would be a lost liturgy, and nothing more – certainly the distinctives of Anglican ecclesiology would be lost. It doesn’t require the Vatican’s offer for negotiations to fail between those who seek a firewall between themselves and women and the episcopate and those who see the matter of the sacrament as human being rather than human male. An absolutist on either… Read more »

anthony
Guest
anthony

Jesus said a house divided against itself cannot stand. The Buddha’s last words were that nothing put together from parts can last indefinitely. From a viewpoint a long way away, I have a great deal of sympathy for all three sides in this unfortunate dispute. They all have equally rational points of view given their premises. The current battles consist of bashing each others’ conclusions. If concord is to be achieved, it can only come about by reaching agreement on fundamental premises, then redeveloping the conclusions step by step with agreement at each step. Possible but improbable. Unity will not… Read more »

Jerry Hannon
Guest
Jerry Hannon

I’m sorry, Mr. Tomlinson, but you seem to relish avoiding statements that are charitable. Yes, you are a Christian, and yes, you and I are both imperfect, but I would not suggest that someone “shouldnt be posting” because I disagreed with their logic.

Yes, I would try to point out what I believed their errors to be, and why I had different beliefs, but as annoying and ill-conceived as I regard many of your postings, I would not suggest that you refrain from posting.

Pluralist
Guest

When the Book of Common Prayer was introduced, and 2000 Puritan ministers left, they met in houses under conditions of oppression, and built their own chapels, some before and some after the Act of Toleration.

When the Methodists found themselves outside the Church of England, they built their own meeting places and chapels, and built up their own funds and numbers.

Today’s traditionalist Anglo-Catholics and far right Evangelicals on their way out might try the same.

toby forward
Guest

Mr Tomlinson, I think you’ve been answered, so I’ve nothing more to add.

john
Guest
john

I don’t understand why this has happened. (Of course, it will become clear later when specific proposals and subsequent votes are published.) But if it is decisive, as it seems to be, I wish it hadn’t happened.

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

“.but it will be a chosen-by-a-bishop-who-is-FEMALE-bloke, Rosemary. And therefore, Girl-Cooties-by-transference! [Oy, if only those cooties could be innoculated against as easily as H1N1! ;-/]”

Well, yes I have heard this said, but it is illogical – making executive decisions is a lay function. Lay people do it all the time. Indeed on paper a lay woman appoints all bishops. This would be, from a certain stand point, only another lay woman making other appointments. There is too much Mr Spock in me to see the argument.

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

Well Spocky my friend- why not add the gifts of memory and learning to your logic! As I have repeatedly explained -our problem with women bishops is not that they are women as you liberals stubbonly refuse to accept. That would be a truly sexist position easily remedied by a man visiting instead as offered in the sexist code of practice. No our problem is that we do not believe she is an authentic bishop. That is not ontologically changed due to the theological reasons whch I have oft supplied and never recieved satisfactory answer to. That means that any… Read more »

Sue
Guest

I think that there will be a Code of Practice. After all, the revision committee almost went down the road of statutory transfer, I think they will want guidelines with some kind of force for the delegation by diocesan bishop. Either way, there will be safeguard and provisos put in place for those opposed to the ministry of women – even if it is a bloke tainted by being chosen by a woman! Traditionalists should remember this is a lot more than you get in the secular world, where if you object to a boss on the ground of their… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

‘As I have repeatedly explained -our problem with women bishops is not that they are women as you liberals stubbonly refuse to accept – Ed Tomlinson

Such twaddle I find it hard to credit even you with, Ed. Your whole argument is against females becoming priests and bishops. What other special characteristic, other than that of being female, are you actually ‘against’ here? Please explain, so that we, who are only mortal, can understand.

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

Ed –

you don’t have a simple sexist problem with a woman bishop because she is a woman. No, you have an ecclesiological problem with a woman bishop who can’t be a real bishop, because…..SHE IS A WOMAN, and therefore can’t be a real bishop. Or am I missing something?

So the answer is that this is a problem of sexist ecclesiology. You can dress it up any way you like – but that is the problem – she aint got the right bits.

Roll on the single clause measure and the end of this folly!!

Neil
Guest
Neil

There should of course be a proper provision within as well as without the CofE for faithful Anglicans. However, I do think people should have at least started to get their heads around the reality that the CofE loosened its claims to Catholicity in 1992 with the vote to permit women priests. The sooner everybody can accept the reality that we are more-or-less the same as Methodists (except just as the convert Bishops to Rome at least we still pretend to have Bishops who dress up) the better. And also, for all the deficiencies of Methodist ‘orders’…there is still a… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“As I have repeatedly explained -our problem with women bishops is not that they are women as you liberals stubbonly refuse to accept. That would be a truly sexist position easily remedied by a man visiting instead as offered in the sexist code of practice.

No our problem is that we do not believe she is an authentic bishop.”

But WHY do you believe she is not an authentic bishop? Is it not because she is a woman?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“As I have repeatedly explained -our problem with women bishops is not that they are women as you liberals stubbonly refuse to accept. That would be a truly sexist position easily remedied by a man visiting instead as offered in the sexist code of practice.

No our problem is that we do not believe she is an authentic bishop.”

But WHY do you believe she is not an authentic bishop? Is it not because she is a woman?

BillyD
Guest

“As I have repeatedly explained -our problem with women bishops is not that they are women as you liberals stubbonly refuse to accept…No our problem is that we do not believe she is an authentic bishop.”

As others point out, this will not do. The reason you don’t believe that she is an authentic bishop is precisely because she is a woman (although you still haven’t made clear exactly what your definition of “woman” is).

john
Guest
john

‘Protestantism is essentially liberal. It permits and encourages dissent, freedom of conscience, and toleration of diversity. It insists on a fraternity and fellowship that includes those who disagree. It affirms that the one thing that matters is personal commitment to the person of Christ. All else is open to discussion and debate. I am an Anglican partly because I can live together in faith with people whose interpretation of the Bible seems to me completely wrong.’ Thus the great Keith Ward in 2005. Couldn’t have put it better myself. For myself, the two greatest virtues are kindness and compassion. Not… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ed I understand what you’re saying and I don’t think it’s sexist, or at least, I believe that you genuinely do not think it is. My problem is a question I have repeatedly asked and to which I have been given no satisfactory answer. Indeed, I have been given absolutely no answer, satisfactory or otherwise. If it’s merely about an ontological change that God confers only to men, then you cannot accept women priests, women bishops and male priests ordained by a woman bishop. But what you are all asking is permission to reject even a male bishop who has… Read more »

Wilf
Guest
Wilf

I think Ed’s issue is clearly that a woman cannot be a bishop (or priest) because she is a woman. The argument that the C of E does not have the authority to make this step is spurious and I am glad it has not been used in the last couple of days. The issue is one of biological determinism (i.e. you can’t do certain things because you are a man or a woman) – this is clear in such areas as human reproduction. However, the mistake is pulling this into the sphere of Christian Anthropology. Opponents say that because… Read more »

toby forward
Guest

I think that Bishop Spong is right about this. It’s time to stop discussing it, to refuse to engage in the argument, just as we would refuse to engage if the argument was about whether black people should be ordained. You can’t win an argument with someone who begins from the position that black people aren’t ‘suitable matter’ for ordination, and to begin to enter into that argument dignifies it with a status it doesn’t deserve. Let’s just get on with it, ordain women bishops, and allow those who have a problem with it find a place where it doesn’t… Read more »

David Malloch
Guest
David Malloch

Erika and others ask what the problem is with male bishops who ordain women. I think it is important to stress the he is still a real bishop and there is not a problem with the validity of his sacraments. The problem lies in a catholic understanding of the bishop as the focus of unity and the interchangeability of his college of priests. Try seeing this in relation to the present WB arguments – one of the major problems of provision is that (appart from a free province) it creates a house of bishops within which there is impaired communion… Read more »

FrJohn
Guest
FrJohn

I believe in the same faith of the Anglican Church as being the One Holy Catholic and Apsotolic Church that my parents declared for me at my Baptism, which I myself declared at my Confirmation and for which I promised to uphold at my ordination. My faith and belief in the Anglican Church has not altered. It is those who in 1992 who decided to introduce `innovations’ (women priests) into the Church of England who have altered the faith and belief of the Anglican Church. People like myself, who have not changed, should not be forced out of the Church… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

The point is Ed, that a lay woman (aka the Queen) appoints all bishops – she is the governor of the church – so why can’t another woman tell a male bishop to exercise certain roles???????????

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

FrJohn:

Is the church forbidden (in your view) to innovate at all? Did the Holy Spirit stop talking to us 500 years ago when the CoE split from Rome?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

FrJohn:

Is the church forbidden (in your view) to innovate at all? Did the Holy Spirit stop talking to us 500 years ago when the CoE split from Rome?