Thinking Anglicans

Co-ordinate Jurisdiction: WATCH responds to the archbishops

WATCH (Women and the Church) Press Statement 22nd June 2010

All bishops are equal but some are more equal than others.

WATCH has studied the outline proposals of the Archbishops’ intervention in the progress of legislation for women bishops. Despite the assurances that all will be well we are not convinced that the issues raised regarding jurisdiction will be resolved equitably when the practical steps of implementation are worked out. Will an “unacceptable” Diocesan bishop be required to share jurisdiction and how? Or will it be at her or his discretion? If the former, we are in effect back to automatic transfer.

The timing of the Archbishops’ intervention is similarly to be questioned. The Revision Committee considered all proposals put to them in great and thoughtful detail. These new proposals could have been made in similar detail to the Revision Committee. This would have enabled their practical consequences to be thoroughly considered before they came to be debated by General Synod. It is important that the Church does not re-create the unforeseen consequences of the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod in agreeing to proposals that have not been thoroughly explored and explained. We ask; In what way are ‘nominated bishops’ not actually flying bishops with extended jurisdiction? Are we not creating a two-tier episcopacy of ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ bishops with all that implies about how the Church continues to view women? Have the Archbishops sought the views of the senior women who must be counted amongst “the full diversity of voices in the Church of England”? Has their support been obtained for these proposals?

WATCH has received many messages that suggest that the Revision Committee has accurately judged the amount of compromise that people are prepared to make. While we would prefer the legislation to be simpler and more straightforward we are willing to support the Revision Committee proposals for the sake of the Church. Let us move forward on that basis.

Notes for Editors

WATCH (Women and the Church) is a voluntary organisation of women and men who are campaigning to see women take their place alongside men without discrimination and at every level in the Church of England. This requires the removal of current legal obstacles to the consecration of women as bishops. WATCH believes that the full equality of women and men in the Church is part of God’s will for all people, and reflects the inclusive heart of the Christian scripture and tradition.

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Tristan
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Tristan

I prefer episcopal authority to that of a pressure campaign group. They didn’t consult ‘senior women?’ So what? We’re not congregationalists.

Deacon Charlie Perrin
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Deacon Charlie Perrin

So good to see that Donatism is still alive and kicking.

Justin Brett
Guest

The more I think about this, the more I come to the conclusion that we’ve all gone a bit mad. Common sense dictates that if parishes can object to their bishop being female or ordaining women, then they can also object to that bishop being male or refusing to ordain women. However, further application of common sense reveals that to be a completely nutty idea which makes a mockery of the office of diocesan bishop. So let’s join the dots, shall we? Either the C. of E. has women bishops or it doesn’t. A simple yes or no. That’s what… Read more »

Paul Davison
Guest

I saw that this was even raised in the House of Commons today: The Second Church Estates Commissioner (Tony Baldry): … The legislation to enable women to become bishops reaches the General Synod’s equivalent of Report early next month in York. Depending on what is decided there, the legislation will then go to the 44 diocesan synods, and I understand that the earliest date that the General Synod can take a final decision, and when the matter can eventually come before the House, is 2012. … There are clear majorities in the General Synod in favour of women becoming bishops,… Read more »

Pantycelyn
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Pantycelyn

ike that stuff that Jesus talks about in Matthew 25… Posted by: Justin Brett on Tuesday, 22 June 2010 at 4:11pm BST A tad radical ? Christian even … I like the WATCH statement (oh lordy dreadful (high-) kicking donatist that I (must) be… Yes, if we get yo pick and choose, I want a woman bishop, and I certainly don’t want a mysoginistic or homophobic one. When oh when do I get to choose? As for : ‘episcopal authority to that of a pressure campaign group.’ (Posted by: Tristan on Tue) What is ‘episcopal authority’? Not sure we know… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

I understand that the Primates of England and All England are confecting a Great Cake which, at the end of General Synod, is to be served with lukewarm tea and ceremoniously and simultaneously eaten and kept.

bobinswpa
Guest
bobinswpa

Tobias, isn’t that like having your cake and eating? lol. I don’t see how not have the same genitalia should serve as an impediment to do the same work if both are qualified and capable.

On the same subject, a local youth group went on a mission trip to DC. They visited a mosque were the boys got to have the full tour and the girls were quickly dispensed with being women. “So sorry, you have to have the following equipment in order to get the full tour.” Makes me be a member!!!

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“Are we not creating a two-tier episcopacy of ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ bishops with all that implies about how the Church continues to view women? Have the Archbishops sought the views of the senior women who must be counted amongst “the full diversity of voices in the Church of England”? Has their support been obtained for these proposals?” WATCH signals the likely outcome of any deference given by General Synod to the amendments proposed by the 2 C.of E. Archbishops. This is nothing less than an attempt to compromise the credibility of the Church in any future movement of the Church… Read more »

chenier1
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chenier1

WATCH has noted the point which demonstrates, beyond reasonable doubt, that the Archbishops’ intervention is an invitation to women to turn the other cheek to better facilitate the sliding of the knife through their ribs, sorry, the slicing of the episcopal cake; the ABs have had plenty of time in which to put these proposals to the Revision Committee for reasoned consideration, and have chosen not to do so. The logical inference is that they knew perfectly well that the obvious absurdities of their proposals would have been demolished by the people who have given the matter reasoned consideration, leaving… Read more »

chenier1
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chenier1

And as an addenda, allow me to refer you to Rowan Williams himself speaking about women bishops at the end of April:

“Obviously, the Archbishop of York and I will want to speak to the debate in Synod, but if we speak before that we want to make sure that we have something coherent to say.”

If the Archbishops genuinely believe that their proposals are coherent then we really are up the creek without a paddle…

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/04/26/100426fa_fact_kramer?currentPage=all#ixzz0rcxYvkog

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

To expand on Paul Davison’s comment…. It is interesting that two questions were asked in the Commons, including one by a Tory Member:

CHURCH COMMISSIONERS

The hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—
Women Bishops

2. Diana R. Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab): What progress the Church of England has made on proposals to enable women to be consecrated as bishops. [3388]

See rest at
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm100622/debtext/100622-0003.htm#10062245000011

Ed Note: I have edited this answer since we have just published the full text of the reply as a new article on TA, see above.

Una Kroll
Guest

Yes, WATCH. This is a clever way of re-introducing systemic discrimination in all but name. It is also correct that it is introduced as a hurried amendment by two persuasive and influential archbishops.in much the same way as the Act of Synod was initiated by the then Archbishop of York after the Measure was passed in 1992. This collusion with injustice towards diocesan bishops is unacceptable. Una

Sara MacVane
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Sara MacVane

It has come to mind that all human fetuses are female until the testoterone kicks in – so female is the basic pattern, we are all ‘essentially’ female. I wonder if that is the basis of the deep-down fear some men seem to have of women.

Neil
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Neil

The Archbishops are only trying to honour solemn promises made when the Act of Synod was drawn up, which the Bishop of London has been working hard to keep as well. Without the Act of Synod there would have been the chaos of a number of Dioceses being ‘no go’ areas for women, and people seem to forget that huge numbers of women were ordained in Dioceses whose Synods had rejected the POW measure but who allowed pro-women Bishops to ‘do the necessary’. Then there was respect for conscience, and generally both sides have behaved reasonably in making things work.… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“The Archbishops are only trying to honour solemn promises made when the Act of Synod was drawn up, which the Bishop of London has been working hard to keep as well.” – Neil on Wednesday – Is that SO? The Holy Spirit is not bound by the ‘promises’ of Church Officials – especially in this case, where each General synod is responsible for canonical legislation to take place during the tenure of its elected membership. In any event, who could possibly ‘promise’ that there would be absolutely no change to the status quo of any determination made by any particular… Read more »

Pantycelyn
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Pantycelyn

Una has put her finger on the nub of it again.

This is the point.
We must beware !

‘Yes, WATCH. This is a clever way of re-introducing systemic discrimination in all but name. It is also correct that it is introduced as a hurried amendment by two persuasive and influential archbishops.in much the same way as the Act of Synod was initiated by the then Archbishop of York after the Measure was passed in 1992. This collusion with injustice towards diocesan bishops is unacceptable. Una’

Posted by: Una Kroll on Wednesday, 23 June 2010 at 6:43am BST

chenier1
Guest
chenier1

The claim that the Revision Committee has not honourably considered all proposals put to them in great and thoughtful detail, which is implicit in Neil’s post, is, in my view, a dishonourable one on his part.

If he has evidence to support his claim he should produce it; otherwise it appears that he is simply defaming members of the Revision Committee in his haste to defend the indefensible….

Fr John
Guest
Fr John

How long has this debate been going on? The ‘mens club’ of bishops have been fighting a rear guard action for many years. They have behaved disgracefully to their sisters in episcopal orders, and now think they can bring an amendment at the last moment to scupper or delay the consecration of women as Bishops. Grow up men, accept that in the church since its inception women have played an apostolic role. Mary brought the news of the Risen Christ. Today we celebrate St Etheldreda, Abbess of Ely, to name but one in a cloud of female witnesses. The Diocesan… Read more »

Samuel
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Samuel

All the he/she his/her language with regard to the diocesan bishop in the archbishops’ proposal presumably indicates not as some have wryly suggested that parishes will be able to request a female co-ordinate bishop rather than a male diocesan, but that parishes will be able to reject a male bishop on the grounds that he ordains women or has been ordained by someone who also ordains women, or ordained by someone who has been ordained by someone… etc. If that is so, the theology of taint lives on in this amendment. Also, the distinction between a diocesan bishop being forced… Read more »

Neil
Guest
Neil

Oh how short memories seem to be chenier1. And how quick you are to dishonour. There is nothing indefensible in the interventions of the Archbishops, nor hasty in my comments. Indeed the rush to judgement seems more your style. My post has nothing to do with the revision committee, but everything to do with trying to explain to people like you the likely background to the thinking of the Archbishops. In the words of the Bishop of London: ‘The question remains of how to honour the promises made when women were ordained to the priesthood that those who could not… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
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Pat O'Neill

“The question remains of how to honour the promises made when women were ordained to the priesthood that those who could not accept the decision of General Synod as one authorised by scripture and tradition would continue to have a secure and honoured place in the life of our church.” This, perhaps, is the core of the problem: Why should these people continue to have such a place when the church, speaking as a whole, has decided they are wrong? Should we have promised a secure and honored place to those who believed that scripture and tradition did not authorize… Read more »

chenier1
Guest
chenier1

Neil ‘trying to explain to people like you’ Gosh, you really do know how to win the hearts and minds of people like me; I’m beginning to wonder whether some strange virus has been stealthily penetrating the ranks of the faithful, starting with the ABs and moving on from there to the point where whole swathes of eager commenters seem to be located on a different planet. Your post was crystal clear in its willingness to dismiss the work of the Revision Comittee as dishonourable; your only objection is that this has been pointed out when your preference, along with… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“‘The question remains of how to honour the promises made when women were ordained to the priesthood that those who could not accept the decision of General Synod as one authorised by scripture and tradition would continue to have a secure and honoured place in the life of our church.” – Neil on Wednesday – This quotation from a statement made by the Bishop of London has to be examined in the light of what exactly was ‘promised’ to the dissenters. In fact, the concept of women’s ministry was a matter for ‘discernment’ for A PERIOD, within which the Church… Read more »

Rosalind
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Rosalind

But this amendment , if passed, would continue to deny all women an honoured place within the Church of England, by stil defining them as “a problem”. The response: “oh, we do honour you” is shown to be hollow by words and actions such as this amendment. The Act of Synod may have worked well for some – but it has never worked well for women and those who would like to see all orders open to all in whom the calling to ordination is discerned. I don’t think this was what Synod intended in November 1992 – and I… Read more »

Pantycelyn
Guest
Pantycelyn

What promise was that then ?

Made by whom, when, why and what ?

JCF
Guest
JCF

“I prefer episcopal authority to that of a pressure campaign group. They didn’t consult ‘senior women?’ So what? We’re not congregationalists.”

So keeping women out of the episcopate means bishops never have to hear from the women they keep out of the episcopate: very clever, Tristan.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Another important question that still lingers in the minds of many of us in this matter of the ministry and jurisdiction of women and bishops in the Church is: – how can the Church of England continue to sustain ecumenical relationships with PORVOO Churches that ordain women (and gay) bishops, while yet distancing itself from TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada (Provincial Churches within the Anglican Communion) because of their inclusiveness in this matter? Is this not duplicitous?

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

“Is this not duplicitous?”

It is; and therefore the Church of England should repudiate communion with ALL of these apostate bodies.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

W. Tighe responded to the question of duplicity by the CofE within and without the Anglican Communion with the observation: “It is; and therefore the Church of England should repudiate communion with ALL of these apostate bodies.” First of all “it is”. It is of course easy, within the context of Communion politics, for prelates in the CofE to attack TEC and Canada on the grounds that developments here compromise “ecumenical relationships.” It is more difficult to make a big fuss over PORVOO Churches and risk undermining well regarded formalized ecumenical advancements. Such a strategy seems much like the advice… Read more »

Pantycelyn
Guest
Pantycelyn

I propose that for the next decade at least all C of E bishops are ordained at the Methodist Conference by the President and other leading ministers and members. That could sort out quite a lot of FiF’s and others worries about bishops of all genders and agendas and none !

Fr James
Guest
Fr James

“I propose that for the next decade at least all C of E bishops are ordained at the Methodist Conference”

This is just provocative nonsense written by someone with no understanding of Catholic order. Regardless of the debate over the ordination of women, Catholics on either side (FiF or AffCath) would balk at the image described here.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

Dear Father James. Do you not recognise irony when you come across it in this blog? A little humour goes a long way – especially when ecclesial dignity is threatened.

Fr James
Guest
Fr James

Dear Fr Ron,

Very amusing, I’m sure. I didn’t realise Thinking Anglicans was a forum for having a joke at the expense of those with whom liberal Anglicanism disagrees. My mistake.

Pantycelyn
Guest
Pantycelyn

“I propose that for the next decade at least all C of E bishops are ordained at the Methodist Conference” This is just provocative nonsense written by someone with no understanding of Catholic order. Regardless of the debate over the ordination of women, Catholics on either side (FiF or AffCath) would balk at the image described here. Posted by: Fr James on Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 10:59pm BST So are you suggesting that the Methodist Church is somehow beyond ‘Catholic Order’ ? Why did the late great Michael Ramsey champion a mutual acceptance & recognition of ministries and order… Read more »

Pantycelyn
Guest
Pantycelyn

‘Catholics on either side (FiF or AffCath)’ are united on something ! alleluia !

Now there’s progress for you — at the mere mention of British Methodism !

Fr James
Guest
Fr James

I’m suggesting that Methodism understands both episcopacy and priesthood (or rather, presbyteral ministry) in different ways. You’ll note that, despite the desires of the ‘late great Michael Ramsey’ we are not in a state of full communion or interchangeability of ministries with the Methodist Church. We do indeed have much to receive and learn from our Methodist brothers and sisters. But the differences between orders of ministry cannot simply be ignored. That’s why its good that Christians can work together (i.e. in LEPs) but why it’s also proper for there to be some limits in place. I don’t imagine for… Read more »