Thinking Anglicans

February General Synod

The Church of England General Synod will meet in London from 6 to 9 February. We have already published the outline agenda and an article about the women bishops legislation.

The usual pre-synod press briefing was held yesterday, resulting in these two reports. Apart from one sentence in each case, they are entirely about the women bishops legislation.

Ed Thornton in the Church Times Women bishops: weathervane debate next month

If the Bishops do amend the legislation, it will be up to the “group of six” — the two Archbishops, the chair and vice-chair of the House of Laity, and the two prolocutors — to decide, after legal advice, whether those amendments have changed the substance of the legislation. If so, it would have to be sent back to the dioceses for further consideration.

Martin Beckford in The Telegraph Archbishops reassure traditionalists ahead of women bishops debates

The two most senior clerics in the Church have stated that they do not want would-be priests to be discriminated against if they oppose the ordination of women.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York also said they would try to ensure there is a continuing supply of traditionalist bishops to cater for parishes who do not want to be looked after by a female bishop.

The papers for Synod are not yet online, but we will list them when they are.

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Hilary Cotton
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Hilary Cotton

Just to be clear: Ed Thornton’s penultimate paragraph misquotes the Report. In the Foreword to the Report (written by the Archbishops on behalf of the House of Bishops, so not part of the formal Report from the Working Group) the bishops commit themselves to ‘seeking to maintain a supply’ of bishops to minister to those who will not accept women bishops. I expect those words were carefully crafted.

Father Ron Smith
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So then – a two-tier espiscopate will be extended in the Church of England? Not too good for the orthodoxy of the traditional role of bishop! So sad that this alternative ‘alternative provision’ should be promoted by the Archbishops.

The ‘Flying Bishops’ will no doubt be polishing their wings, at regaining their oddly-gained provenance with this Princely Perpetuation-Principle. But, what price justice and integrity?

God help the Church of England if the Women Clergy of the Church were to withdraw their labour in protest. I wouldn’t blame them at all.