Thinking Anglicans

Salisbury Diocesan Synod rejects bishops' amendment

Updated 5pm Wednesday
Thursday morning update The bishop’s presidential address is now available here.

We have been informed us that Salisbury Diocesan Synod last night overwhelmingly passed an emergency motion that “This Synod calls upon the House of Bishops to withdraw its amendment to Clause 5 of the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure”.

Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury, said in his Presidential Address, “the Bishops have destabilised the compromise agreed by 42 of the 44 Dioceses”. Both he and Graham Kings, the suffragan Bishop of Sherborne, voted for and welcomed the motion.

WATCH has issued a press release stating that “This emergency motion is the latest indication that the House of Bishops needs to rethink its approach to this important legislation.”

Wednesday Update

The Diocese of Salisbury has this evening issued a press release summarising the bishop’s presidential address, from which the following is extracted.

Revolutionary Talk

The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, … called for an end to changes to legislation for women bishops…

Bishop Holtam said: “This is not a matter of pragmatics but of principle and what the House of Bishops has done is to destabilise a very carefully crafted proposal, which already had significant compromise within it to recognise the legitimate place of difference within the Church of England, but which had substantial agreement from the dioceses.”

Referring to a vote on whether to accept the amendments to the legislation, he added: “The motion that has been tabled tonight is in keeping with the strong support this diocese has previously given to the ordination of women bishops and I welcome it as a contribution to what is indeed a very urgent debate.” …

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Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

The wonderful Desmond Tillyer has yet another outstanding letter in The Times today where he sees the two recent amendments on women bishops and the response to the marriage equality consultation as the CofE’s “Humanae Vitae” moment.

Concerned Anglican
Guest
Concerned Anglican

This man will be the next Archbishop of Canterbury but one.

Confused Sussex
Guest
Confused Sussex

At last someone showing some sense

Alastair Newman
Guest

This is very, very interesting. If similar emergency resolutions now pass in the 42 dioceses which approved the original unamended Measure that will be even more so.

Such emergency votes have no legal weight, since the House of Bishops were legally entitled to make those amendments. However, if the vast majority of the dioceses vote against the amendments and General Synod then passes the Measure with amendments we then have a very strange position indeed.

Dan BD
Guest

If only, Concerned – Holtam must retire before 2025 – if the next ABC retires immediately after Lambeth 2018, Holtam would have less than 7 years and wouldn’t make it to Lambeth 2028 🙁

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Most dioceses will not have Synods before the General Synod meets in July – it may be no more dioceses before then, but I’m not 100% sure on that.

rjb
Guest
rjb

“This man will be the next Archbishop of Canterbury but one.”

It seems hard-hearted to wish the good bishop such ill.

Father David
Guest
Father David

“the next Archbishop of Canterbury but one”
Ah, the Roman Catholic Church has a similar liberal figure in its own mythology – often referred to as “the next pope but one” – but mercifully he never seems to materialise in order to sit on the Petrine throne.
From this we can assume that the new Bishop of Salisbury voted against the two amendments when they were discussed when the House of Bishops last met – how many others joined him in voting against the amendments and by what majority did their Lordships approve of this “fine tuning”?

Jean Mary Mayland
Guest
Jean Mary Mayland

Some good news at last!

I hope the Bishops have the courage to do this.

Gavin Foster
Guest
Gavin Foster

I am a member of Salisbury Diocesan Synod and an unequivocal supporter of women’s ministry at all levels. However, last night’s vote left me feeling very uneasy. The emergency motion was circulated just one day in advance; the Synod was poorly attended; the debate began at 8.40pm and was all over by 8.55pm with almost all speeches being restricted to 2 minutes and a guillotine being implemented to end the debate prematurely. As I said at the time, it was not a wise, thoughtful, careful or prayerful way to proceed. I have no doubt that many Synod members felt they… Read more »

Concerned Anglican
Guest
Concerned Anglican

Dan BD No, not quite. I think that you are assuming long archiepiscopates. My view as expressed in an earlier post on this illustrious blogsite is that what is strongly needed is: 1. A short next term for the next Archbishop. This is what happened after Michael Ramsay when they (the then Appointments Commission) didn’t know what to do so they put the older Donald Coggan in for six years – mind you he was a bit of a disaster. Nevertheless, older archbishops who are only in for a short while can do less damage and might do some good… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Gavin Foster says what is in all our minds.

Good to have a first hand report.

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

It would be less embarrassing for the House of Bishops to withdraw the amendment than to have it defeated.

Richard Franklin
Guest
Richard Franklin

I was present at the Salisbury Diocesan Synod and spoke in favour of the motion calling upon the House of Bishops to withdraw its amendment to Clause 5 of the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure. It was inevitable that this motion was circulated close to the date of the synod as the House of Bishops made this amendment very recently. The synod was not in my judgement very poorly attended, though it would have been good to have seen more people present. Other important business was transacted at the meeting and so there was a… Read more »

David Williams
Guest
David Williams

Forget a show of solidarity with the majority of the House of Bishops. Could they not show some solidarity as a body with the expressed views of the 42 Dioceses. It is not a question of voting the way every one else is voting but thinking the matter through and voting in the knowledge one is right and others are misguided. Nick clearly has the political ability and strength of argument to get his expressed views supported in a vote – a useful skill to be sought in the next Archbishop. What a breath of fresh air we have in… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

I’ve heard of “Vatileaks” – now due to the indiscretion of the new Bishop of Salisbury we have our own Anglican version. Although only in post for a very short time Sarum seems not only to be the new kid on the block but also very much the wild card. According to Gavin Foster – at the Salisbury Diocesan Synod + Nicholas “acknowledged that there was a large majority in favour of these amendments in the House of Bishops and he was in a small minority”. Does anyone have a link to what the bishop actually said in his Presidential… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

Father David. You asked “Whatever happened to confidentiality, let alone collegiality?”

What about honesty? As far as I can see +Nicholas’ main sin seems to have been that he was honest and open. A refreshing and shocking change.

Confidentiality and collegiality is a way of working that facilitates private stitch-ups and bad decisions. Remember how the UK Cabinet decided to invade Iraq?

Simon

Hannah
Guest
Hannah

The House of Bishops is leaking like a sieve. People can’t wait to tell you about the discussions, and +Sarum is far from alone in commenting publicly about how he voted and why. It would be more worrying if people were commenting specifically on how others had voted.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Simon, I think we can put a more positive spin on confidentiality and collegiality than merely dismissing these important considerations as facilitating “stitch-ups and bad decisions”. But now that the Bishop of Salisbury has broken ranks – it may well be the best policy to be “honest and open” in disclosing how large was the majority vote in favour of the two amendments by the House of Bishops and how small the minority of those voting against.

Gavin Foster
Guest
Gavin Foster

The bishop’s presidential address which has now been published is clearly what I heard at Salisbury Diocesan Synod on Tuesday night, but as I mentioned in my earlier posting he also made some “off the cuff” comments which are not in the script. As I recall, +Nicholas spoke about being at the House of Bishop’s meeting and thinking, “I know I’m new to this, but what are we doing!” He said that he wished to make it clear it was not a close vote, there was a clear majority, but he himself did not support the amendment. I was so… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Thank you for adding the link to Sarum’s presidential address – this in no way seems to break the confidentiality of what took place in the House of Bishops meeting but it does indeed raise questions about collegiality and corporate responsibility. The emergency eleventh hour debate at the Salisbury Diocesan Synod seems like a panic reaction to what the House of Bishops (of which Bishop Holtam is a voting member), presumably following much discussion and deliberation, have offered in their amendments to the main Measure.

Ian Black
Guest
Ian Black

There are times for corporate responsibility and times for bishops to have courage to speak against the pack – or whoever is dominating the pack. +Salisbury clearly has those guts. I wish more showed them. After all those who oppose women and opposed Jeffrey John as a bishop broke ranks. False unity is no unity at all and people are bored stiff and disengaged by politicians spouting the party line. If we really want to reinspire faith then it needs people who speak with conviction – whatever view they take – and not just those who say what they are… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Whoever thought that newly-elected Bishop Nick would have provided such a stimulus to the stirring of the House of Bishops on this very important issue of being accountable to the Will of Synod – which was expressed pretty clearly at the last Session – in the provision of and agreement on the original Draft Measure for the Ordination of women as Bishops?

May this motion of the Diocese of Salisbury cause the venerable members of the H.o.B to pause and think about what they might be doing to thwart the “Mind of Synod’ by continuing with the amendments.

Hilary Cotton
Guest
Hilary Cotton

Thanks for posting a link to +Nick’s Presidential address. He does make one slip – in which he is not alone. The illustrative draft Code of Practice on which questions were asked in February Synod contains NO guidance as to the selection of male bishops at present. This was explicitly excluded from the draft by the Working Group, who could not agree what, if anything, might be included. To say, as +Nick did, that the amendment puts into the Measure ‘what everyone accepts would otherwise have been in the Code of Practice’ is simply untrue – this has so far… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Do we expect our bishops to conduct their discussions of major issues affecting the life of the church behind closed doors and without giving us the advantage of their erudition? Do we expect our diocesan leaders to remain silent on key issues affecting the life of the church in their dioceses? That may be how some organisations run themselves, but it is far from clear that it is the way the Church of England should be run. The Bishop of Salisbury is not the only bishop to make comments on the outcome of the House of Bishops meeting. The Bishops… Read more »

MarkP
Guest
MarkP

Interesting that the press release from the Diocese of Salisbury headlined it “Revolutionary Talk,” rather upping the ante.

David Williams
Guest
David Williams

Unless the Bishops back down and have the good sense and grace to withdraw their amendment it is certain there will be revolution in York – and some very bad press which will be damaging for the Church of England and its grass roots support at parish level.

Synod is the ultimate governing body of the church should be allowed to vote on what the Dioceses have largely accepted as representing reasonable compromise over an issue that was always bound to be divisive.

Father David
Guest
Father David

There are, of course, times and occasions when certain issues affecting the life of the Church are of necessity held behind closed doors – but I cannot for the life of me think why this particular House of Bishops’ vote on the amendments should be one of them and it would be helpful to know how many of those who are called to lead the Church voted in favour. Gavin’s second comment clarifies the situation that Bishop Holtam made further remarks other than those contained in the scripted presidential address. It seems from these reported and noted “off the cuff”… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

It seems just a trifle odd to be talking about collegiality on this matter, as what is being sought is the ability of a minority not to accept the decision of the majority. If all were willing to abide by Mr. Hooker’s rule, we would likely not be having this discussion. To small purpose had the council of Jerusalem been assembled, if once their determination being set down, men might afterwards have defended their former opinions. When therefore they had given their definitive sentence, all controversy was at an end. Things were disputed before they came to be determined; men… Read more »

Jane Charman
Guest
Jane Charman

The intention of the House of Bishops in passing the amendments was to increase the number of people prepared to vote for the Measure. It’s pretty clear that they have achieved the opposite. But how is it helpful if no-one points this out? If bishops stay silent (out of loyalty to colleagues) and the rest of us stay silent (out of deference to authority) there will be the biggest possible train smash in July. This is not a spectator sport. I am a member of Salisbury Diocesan Synod and I voted in favour of the emergency motion. Still time for… Read more »

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

How many diocesan bishops would have the guts to run their amendments past their synods? If a large majority at the Bishopthorpe meeting supported the amendments then it shows the chasm that has opened up between them and their dioceses. Ben Bradshaw MP has given a clear indication that Parliment’s Ecclesiastical Committee would respect the mind of the Church as expressed by the diocesan synods and chuck out the amended legislation. So we should be grateful to Salisbury for attempting to avert a calamity.

Jean Mary Mayland
Guest
Jean Mary Mayland

I disagree strongly with Father David about the need for Bishops to show collegiality. This destructive concept was introduced into the Church of England in a house of Bishops Document in 2000.The report was written by Bishop John Hinde and based on work done by Dr Mary Tanner for the WCC So far as the Church of England’s is concerned the Report admits that ‘Collegiality can sometimes impose limitations on the ministry of bishops yet there may be occasions when, in conscience, an individual bishop feels compelled to resist the common mind’ . This sounds lovely and is written in… Read more »

John Roch
Guest
John Roch

“Having their backbones removed” goes back (!) a lot further.

I remember hearing the joke from +Colin James before he went to Winchester (in 1985)

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

We are EPISCOPALLY LED and SYNODICALLY GOVERNED, not the other way round, though reading some of the posts on this thread, one could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Furthermore, no one is mentioning the following motions that were passed at almost one quarter of the Diocesan Synods. Contributors to this site are often big on minorities when it comes to questions of homosexuality or gay marriage – let’s all be inclusive – but the significant minority represented by the number of Church of England traditionalists is conveniently swept under the carpet to give rise to falsified claims about no one… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Why is it assumed that every member of the House of Bishops, after a disagreement there, must rally around the majority position?

Is this suggested because there is some feeling that the Holy Spirit hovers with particular grace over the House of Bishops of the Church of England?

Is the House of Bishops never wrong?

Or do people have some difficulty accepting the fact that bishops, like the rest of us, disagree with each other?

Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer
Guest
Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer

It’s not an issue of being “big on minorities”, Benedict, it’s a question of whether or not it is either appropriate or sensible for the Church of England to establish a potentially permanent two-tier episcopacy, divided between a positively pure, guys-only stream and a secondary one contaminated by the female sex. It is claiming otherwise that is “disingenuous to say the least”. I wonder if those bemoaning the “indiscretion” and lack of collegiality of the bishop of Salisbury have similar feelings towards the bishop of Chester and those other bishops who abused the right of the last bishop of Oxford… Read more »

Malcolm French+
Guest

The bizarre concept that participants in a decision must never criticize the decision is not “collegiality,” but rather “democratic centralism.”

I find it odd that the English establishment are preaching unreconstructed Stalinism.

Father David
Guest
Father David

“Having their backbones removed” – wasn’t that Dom Gregory Dix’s response on being asked what was happening at a consecration of bishops when the consecrating bishops all circled around the candidates in a holy scrum? If it wasn’t, then it ought to have been for it was exactly the kind of witty comment the great man would have made. His dear friend – Bishop Kenneth Kirk of Oxford described him as “the most brilliant man in the Church of England”. His monkish wit was often aimed at the establishment and at archbishops and bishops in particular – as in the… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

I seem to recall that at one time if any member of the British Cabinet publicly disagreed with and voted in parliament against the collectively agreed government policy – then sacking or resignation was the honourable option for that particular rogue Minister. That was, of course, in the days before the Coalition government where nowadays, to our detriment, disagreement seems to be the order of the day. “a potentially permenant two-tier episcopacy” Surely we already have a permenant two-tier episcopacy. What are Diocesans and Suffragans if not a permenant two-tier episcopacy? Or what of those who are members of the… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

“Our Fathers in God are being absolutely vilified …….. rogues and vagabonds ,,,,,”
Father David on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 at 7:33am BST

But of course if it is the “monkish wit” of Dom Gregory Dix saying the bishops are “crooks” “double crossers” spineless, lacking any real theology and teaching and adding nothing good to the Church ….
Well that’s just fine!

Father David
Guest
Father David

The wit of that great Anglican religious – Dom Gregory Dix – has perceptively been described as “sharp but rarely malicious”. In his premature death from cancer sixty years ago on 12th May 1952 – aged only 51, the Church of England lost one of her greatest treasures.

Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer
Guest
Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer

Trying to pull the wool over my (or maybe your own) eyes in attempting to equate a divided, pure male versus female-compromised Apostolic Succession, with the existing diocesan/suffragan system truly is disingenuous, David.

Father David
Guest
Father David

I don’t think I’m being in the least disingenuous in pointing out that we already have an existing two-tier episcopate in more ways than one. Further examples of a two-tier episcopacy would, of course, be the divide between bishops and archbishops and the further division between those bishops who ordain women as priests and those who refrain from so doing. The moment the first woman bishop is consecrated into the episcopal ministry of the Church of England then, we shall indeed have introduced yet another example of a two-tier epicopacy – those who are male and those who are female.… Read more »

Malcolm French+
Guest

The Strange Rabbit suggests that David is disingenuous. Given his rather odd comparison with Cabinet Ministers in the Westminster system, I think he may just be thoroughly confused. In the Westminster system, the continuation of the government depends on confidence – that is, the government must have the confidence of the House of Commons. Should a government lose a Commons vote on a matter of confidence (which includes any money bill, any opposition motion of want of confidence and any other matter the ministry deems a matter of confidence) the government is compelled either to resign or to advise the… Read more »

Jane Charman
Guest
Jane Charman

There is no ‘divide’ between archbishops and bishops, Fr David, any more than there is a ‘divide’ between bishops, priests and deacons. The Church has always called people to exercise different ministries within it, as expressed by St Paul in his image of the body. Where communion is impaired perhaps the language of division is applicable – although within the Church of England we have sought to live with the fact that some bishops ordain women and some don’t as a ‘bearable anomaly’. If we now have women bishops whom some can accept and others can’t then most of are… Read more »

Daniel Lamont
Guest
Daniel Lamont

I don’t think, Father David, that you are comparing like with like. In some cases the divisions are based on function and are not absolute: a suffragan can become a diocesan; a diocesan can become an archbishop. I would not call the distinction between those who ordain women as priests and those who don’t as based on tiers since both suffragans and diocesans fall into this category and people can change their minds. However, the distinction between female and male bishops is quite different. It is based on a gender difference. A woman cannot become a man and the disctinction… Read more »

Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer
Guest
Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer

“… the divide between bishops and archbishops”, David? Nit picking? As to those who “refrain from” (ie “refuse to”) ordain women, I don’t doubt that when +London is still +London a year hence, we shall see where such bishops stand in the advancement stakes. I shall be most surprised if a WO denier ever again snares a major diocese and it will be they, rather than the women bishops and those who engage collegially with them, who will face marginalized status. Re “Furthermore we shall also, alas, have introduced an impaired or broken Communion within the College of Bishops”, in… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Gracious to me – have I written something that I ought not to have done – in that Odd Bunny has said with regard to one of my comments – “in the short run I agree with you” Perhaps – Lapin, intimation as to the next occupant of the See of Chichester may not yet have reached your burrow? Or is this yet another identification of the existing two-tier episcopate – i.e. those who are bishops of “a major diocese” and those who merely exercise oversight in what might be called a minor diocese? Of course, this is in fact… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Father David, you cannot get away with this statement by dodging the issue. you have said: “Surely we already have a permanent two-tier episcopacy. What are Diocesans and Suffragans if not a permanent two-tier episcopacy? Or what of those who are members of the House of Bishops and those who merely belong to the College of Bishops” – is that not first and second class?” This is not a case of First or second-class bishops. It is merely a case of function. In your struggle to allow F.i.F. and others to discriminate against the acceptance of women as fit bearers… Read more »