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women bishops: press release from GRAS

Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod
PRESS RELEASE
Press briefing for immediate release 8th October 2012

The final draft Bishops and Priests [Consecration and Ordination of Women] Measure

If this legislation is passed we hope and pray that this will be a step on the way towards the full realisation that women and men are equally made in the image of God.

Vigilant scrutiny and care will be needed to ensure that the word “Respect” will be interpreted in such a way that the Code of Practice will ensure the excesses that resulted from the Act of Synod will be prevented through provision of a clearly defined code of conduct.

GRAS objectives:

  • The l993 Act of Synod should be rescinded as a precondition of new legislation.
  • A single enabling Measure to give clarity and affirmation to women’s full and equal status in all three orders of ministry. The legislation must be unconditional, with no discriminatory provisions.
  • A Code of Practice designed to recognise that there are essential elements of trust which need to be restored. The integrity and authority of the episcopate must be restored through the assignment of trust in each diocesan bishop, who should be responsible for provisions judged to be right for any in his or her care.
  • A commitment that, since the Church has accepted the principle of the orders of women as priests and bishops, in future all those being ordained should openly accept those orders as valid in accordance with the existing ecclesiastical rule (Canon A4).

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Erika BakerOriginal ObserverJohnAlastair Newmanprimroseleague Recent comment authors
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Concerned Anglican
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Concerned Anglican

This group deserves to be taken very seriously. They originated with a motion to Modern Church’s (then Modern Churchpeoples’ Union) Annual Meeting, when the then President (Bishop John Saxbee) was asked to do all he could to hasten the repeal of the Act of Synod. GRAS subsequently became an independent organisation and has worked tirelessly since for women’s ministry on a basis of equality in the Church. It is a severe indictment on the Church of England that it has allowed blatant discrimination against women to be enshrined in law for so long. It wouldn’t be allowed in any other… Read more »

tommiaquinas
Guest
tommiaquinas

…and we wonder why traditionalists are wary when they hear the words “just trust us”.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Well – “Respect” hasn’t even made it as far as limping towards the November meeting of the General Synod.
HUMPTY DUMPTY RULES – O.K.
“When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, it means just what I choose it to mean neither more nor less”
“There’s glory for you!”

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

GRAS demonstrate an almost Stalinist approach in their press briefing. How can anyone possibly trust that they would display any sense of fairness in the treatment of traditionalists, when all they seem intent upon is the eradication of any views different from their own. If they believe themselves in any way representative of Christian virtue, then they need to have a serious rethink. Appalling!

Alastair Newman
Guest

‘”I’m disgusted” Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.’

Not much of an argument it is… Very difficult to see how GRAS are being more “humpty dumpty” or “stalinist” than FiF or Reform have ever been.

Geoff
Guest

Well, there’s probably some Godwin’s corollary about invoking Stalin but in case the thread is still alive, I have to say that the idea that it’s “extreme” to hold that the Church cannot simultaneously hold two positions on the priestly ministry of women is a bit baffling. And the casual use in England of “traditionalist” as a synonym for “non-Chalcedonian on women’s orders” continues to rankle.

Chris H.
Guest
Chris H.

Geoff, I thought the whole point of modern Anglicanism was that one could believe in a hundred conflicting ideas about Christianity, Christ etc. and it’s all good–Anglican “fudge” at it’s finest. Is there any point that every single member of the church agrees with? Or should agree with? And is the church ready to discipline those members who don’t?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

The church does not hold two views about women as priest. It clearly holds that they can be priests and are priests.

Talking of two integrities does not mean that 2 different things are true at the same time, but that the view of those who do not agree with the official view of the church has integrity, that it will be respected and given some kind of practical accommodation.

Alastair Newman
Guest

“Is there any point that every single member of the church agrees with? Or should agree with? And is the church ready to discipline those members who don’t?”

Opposing slavery? Not discriminating based on the colour of someone’s skin?

Geoff
Guest

Chris, I think there’s a not trivial difference between Anglican comprehensiveness in doctrine, esp. lay subscription, and clergy getting to pick and choose which of their colleagues they will recognize. Clergy in this province at least pledge to observe “the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this church has received them.” How does that hold together if ordinands are unable to make this pledge, and instead understand themselves as being ordained to a club within the church which prides itself on its congregationalist attitude to its bishops ordinary and eschews diocesan Chrism Masses in favour of parallel imitations? Besides,… Read more »

Samuel Denyer
Guest
Samuel Denyer

I don’t doubt that the Church of England is ready to compromise on almost any subject under the sun, up to and including far more significant matters than female priests and bishops, and to shy away from any kind of discipline and rule-making. Compromise and accomodation is in the DNA. If in the present moment there is an unnacustomed intransigence and evapouration of the spirit of compromise, it is surely borne out of the collective experience since 1994 that there simply is no easy method of accomodation in this case; that all the compromise positions are unprincipled, even by Anglican… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

I thought the Eames Commission, while noting that we are in a period of reception re women’s orders, also insisted that the validity of these orders is not open to question. This is a tricky argument, and it hinges (I think) on trusting that God will not hesitate to grace our best efforts at doing the right thing, such that if we were to look back and think this was wrong, it would not thereby invalidate what we are currently doing (if anyone is still following me). I read the fourth point re Canon A4 as restating Eames, which is… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

My question is, would it not be better to get the currently (twice) amended Draft Measure through the General Synod first? At least, it is not ‘setting in concrete’ the legal discrimination against Women Bishops that might have prevailed with the first (HoB) Amendment?

Chris H.
Guest
Chris H.

I don’t know about you, Geoff, but I can name several clergy who made that promise regarding doctrine,discipline etc. and didn’t mean it. They go silent during the Creeds or cross their fingers, sneer at the Catechism, ignore the rules, create their own liturgies and use the Koran or who knows what in the readings. Most of those priests aren’t the ones who are about to be unwelcome in the church. Also, at least from what I’ve seen in this diocese, women priests are much more liberal in their theology than the men. I expect discrimination charges to pop up… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

‘Do you see real “respect” for the opposition in this press release’ As in: “you want to discriminate against me and I truly respect that?” Come on! The kind of respect you can get is “I don’t like it one bit but I’ll go along with it”. And that FiF have never respected the idea of women priests is pretty obvious. Nor have they actually given anything but they present the agreement to let women be priests in other parts of the church as long as they, themselves, are never ever affected by it as a compromise. It is a… Read more »

tommiaquinas
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tommiaquinas

Dear Chris H,

This exact thing was done in the survey “the Mind of Anglicans” in 2002. A full set of reports are available here: http://trushare.com/SURVEY/New%20Survey%20Page%20241003.htm

The conclusions do seem to follow your observations, though this survey is of course a decade old.

When belief in the virgin birth or the bodily resurrection appear optional for ordination in the CofE, it is indeed strange that this should be the tipping point.

Father David
Guest
Father David

If neither side has respect for the Respect amendment (as is evident in the Comments on this contentious topic) surely in all conscience it must be voted against by both sides.
Similarly – “Better Together” seems to be open to a wide interpretation. As the Bishop of Ebbsfleet stated at the recent FinF Assembly – he has had an interesting postbag on this subject. He went on to explain what he understood “Better Together” to mean – that the Church is better with us and that the Church of England is not itself without us.

Original Observer
Guest
Original Observer

Erika Baker – you suggest that the question “Can women be priests?” has a binary yes/no answer. I disagree – the answer is surely that it is uncertain. It is therefore for those who would introduce uncertainty and alter the status quo to compromise.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Original Observer, the CoE through its own discernment processes has decided that women can be priests. That’s why we now have several thousands of them and that’s why we will shortly have women bishops. Whether declared formally or not, the period of reception is over and women priests are here to stay. Or do you seriously forsee a time when the Church decides that, actually, it made a mistake and can those thousands of women please leave parish ministry? You might personally be of a different opinion, but this is now the official position of your church. It respects the… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Original Observer
this statment from Rowan Williams does not suggest a church that is “uncertain” about whether women can be priests:

“”Since women were first made priests in the Church of England in 1994, their ministry has hugely enriched both church and society. It has become increasingly clear to most of us that barring women from becoming bishops is an anomaly that should be removed, for the good of the Church’s mission and service.”

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“When belief in the virgin birth or the bodily resurrection appear optional for ordination in the CofE, it is indeed strange that this should be the tipping point.”

– Posted by: tommiaquinas on Wednesday –

Is this a fact? Or is it Tommy’s assumption, born of mistrust of the process by which people are accepted for ordination into the Church of England?

RosalindR
Guest
RosalindR

“Original Observer” – whether anyone, thinks women cannot be priests and bishops ontologically; or whether they are not sure, if the effect is that that person will not accept the eucharist from a woman, will not accept the episcopal ministry of a man who has ordained women, will not share a chrism mass with women priests and the many men who accept their ministry; or any combination of these…then the result in practice is a binary distinction. The ministry of ordained women is being rejected. (Or alternatively accepted with the same provisionality of all orders)

Chris H.
Guest
Chris H.

Father Ron, please take a look at the survey results Tommy linked to in his first answer to me. It certainly doesn’t seem to be just his opinion, or mine. The survey was done in England, though the results would certainly be similar in my American diocese. The number of clergy who don’t believe in the basics of the faith, especially women priests, makes me wonder why they want to be priests at all. Considering the liberal drift of society in general, the percentages are probably even worse today than they were a decade ago. How much control do the… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Fr David “If neither side has respect for the Respect amendment (as is evident in the Comments on this contentious topic) surely in all conscience it must be voted against by both sides.” This is the bit that I would still dearly love to get an answer to. When the amendment was first published I was told that the more conservative ones on the panel had been concerned that simply promising “Respect” would not be enough to protect traditionalists. A lawyer who was asked to advise the group explained that Respect in this context has a legal meaning and this… Read more »

Alastair Newman
Guest

Am I being stupid or can you not actually access the results of the survey via that link? There are a lot of press clippings about the survey, an option to buy it as a booklet, but nowhere that simply shares the data. Or did I miss it?!

primroseleague
Guest
primroseleague

Alistair Newman, I think this is probably the most comprehensive summary:

http://trushare.com/86JUL02/JY02SURV.htm

Not very happy reading for the Pro Camp…

John
Guest
John

I’m on the side of ‘Original Observer’ in this philosophical debate (though I am on the opposite side as regards the actual issue). The C of E has decided that women priests are right; that does not entail that those who in good conscience (etc.) cannot accept them (or, are not convinced of their validity) are ‘wrong’ in any strong sense. It could be that both views are legitimate – even equally legitimate. I personally think that the anti-WO (shorthand terminology) is wrong, but that is easy for me, because I attach little value to keeping in step with the… Read more »

Alastair Newman
Guest

It still doesn’t help not to see the original data rather than the highly biased reporting of it! Also interesting to know what the numbers would look like now, ten years on.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“On a more pragmatic note, if it should turn out that the Measure fails to achieve a sufficient majority at Synod, because the Con Evos and FiF/’Catholic Anglican’ people vote against it…” These groups will never vote for the Measure regardless of how it is worded. The task is to ensure that enough of the moderates vote for it to get it through. And it would help everyone on the conservative side to remember that this compromise has been long in the making and that WATCH had not asked for the Respect amendment but had wanted to go back to… Read more »

John
Guest
John

‘These groups will never vote for the Measure regardless of how it is worded.’

That’s completely wrong, Erika. You haven’t read FiF material on this.

I’m entirely in favour of getting the measure through. I just think it will be a great pity if it is done in such a way as to trample over these groups.

Further delay would be further debilitating for everybody.

Original Observer
Guest
Original Observer

Erika Baker – you say that if the Measure should fail there would follow a few years of wrangling followed by a single clause Measure. That sounds like a threat to me.

If the Measure should fail – and precisely how ill thought out it is becomes the more obvious as the decision day approaches – I would have thought that there ought instead to follow a period of protracted silence accompanied by some deep soul-searching by all concerned.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

You’re right, John, I have only read the FiF statements and no other of their material. Their last statement of 16 September does not recommend that the Measure should be supported nor that it should be rejected. Instead, it talks of the many open questions and says there is a good deal more work to be done (http://www.forwardinfaith.com/artman/publish/article_567.shtml) This is not a ringing endorsement. Reform have already recommended that people vote against the Measure. As far as I’m aware, FiF has yet to make a formal recommendation. The hand wringing on this thread about the GRAS statement is naïve. Do… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Original Observer
“you say that if the Measure should fail there would follow a few years of wrangling followed by a single clause Measure. That sounds like a threat to me.”

I am in no position to threaten anyone even if I wanted to.
I am just saying what everyone from both sides of this depate appears to have been saying.

Of course I could be wrong.