Thinking Anglicans

Press coverage and comment

Updated Wednesday morning

Today’s General Synod news is extensively covered in the Press, and leads many of Wednesday’s front pages.

The Guardian has

The Telegraph’s main story is

In the Independent the coverage is headlined:

Update
Channel 4 News has a report which includes video from Church House and also an interview with Tony Baldry: Church of England votes against women bishops.

For many more links, see the CofE Media Briefing for today.

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Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
9 years ago

The problem is that “theological” minorities are not real social minorities.They are men. What we are talking about here are those who are in a solid majority in organised religion circles. Let’s face it, there are three camps here. (1) Anglo-Catholics who are locked into some medieval “substance and accidents” hocus pocus when it comes to women. (2) Those who believe that an ancient near eastern mythology from two thousand years ago is the definitive word regarding gender roles and (3) politicians who are “worried” about in-house fall out if gender equality goes forward. If a major semi-arm of government… Read more »

Randal Oulton
Randal Oulton
9 years ago

This comment from the Guardian’s Editorial made be laugh out loud: “Most of the public have little time for arcane theological arguments from traditionalist Anglo-Catholics about the Apostolic Succession and the fact that Jesus chose only men to be his disciples. (He also only chose Jews…)

Froghole
Froghole
9 years ago

Last Sunday afternoon Rowan Williams attended a farewell evensong in Canterbury Cathedral, and I was reminded of the scene just over twenty years ago when, at an evening eucharist on St Theodore’s day, Robert Runcie – in his own farewell message to his diocese – begged his hearers “not to mock Synod”. However, I now think that a little candid invective is in order. All I can say now is why should Synod not be mocked? Indeed, why should Synod not be abolished? Forget about the Prayer Book fiasco – a modern Parliament, for all the unbelievers it contains, could… Read more »

tbpilgrim
tbpilgrim
9 years ago

The quickest way to achieve a reversal of the disastrous decision is for all female members of the church and other supporters nationally to withhold their contributions to the collection in church until women are admitted to the episcopacy. Nothing will bring the church to its senses faster than a financial crisis, The C of E is dependent on income – we need action from the pew to bring Synod to a decision.

karenmacqueen+
karenmacqueen+
9 years ago

How is it possible for a significant minority in the Lay House to vote against the position of the diocese they are sent to Synod to represent? Do these persons represent only themselves or their parishes or a factional activist group? TEC polity is regularly dismissed in a condescending manner by the officers of Canterbury, lately on the first day of Synod. In TEC most dioceses elect those who will represent the majority view of the diocese. I can’t imagine the uproar that would ensue if a determined minority defeated a measure with overwhelming support in the dioceses. As long… Read more »

ruidh
ruidh
9 years ago

Last time around, progressives joined with conservatives to defeat the measure because of the language inserted by the bishops. Did the measure fail again because a few progressives still objected to the watered down provision in the measure voted on today?

Jonathan Jeninngs
Jonathan Jeninngs
9 years ago

It’s worth remembering that the House of Laity margin in favour of women priests in 1992 was only two votes over the two thirds. A key handful of the laity in 1992 changed their minds, persuaded by the debate; some, intending to vote against instead abstained and some actually voted in favour – led by friends with whom they were in profound disagreement but who they trusted. That debate – still counted the finest in the Church of England’s history – was characterised by prayerful and loving persuasion of the dissenting minority and a proper regard for the function of… Read more »

rjb
rjb
9 years ago

@Rod Gillis: And where, exactly, in the Scriptures and traditions of the Church do you find evidence to support your claim that “the church ought to make a clear stand in favor of human rights”? The language of ‘human rights’ (among which the right to be a priest is not numbered) seem to me to have much less to do with the core of the Christian faith than the “medieval hocus-pocus” and “ancient Near Eastern mythology” for which you have such evident contempt. Why bother to be a Christian at all if you want to put all that pre-modern nonsense… Read more »

Jonathan Jennings
Jonathan Jennings
9 years ago

rjb, you are right to suggest there is no ‘right’ to be a bishop, priest of a deacon.

But there would surely be a right to be considered? to be heard and to have a vocation tested and properly explored?

Jonathan Haggar writes somewhere ‘we have women priests because we baptise girls’. Surely every qualification after that is suspect …

Original Observer
Original Observer
9 years ago

The point repeatedly made contrasting GS’s failure to approve the Measure and the votes of 42/44 Dioceses is bogus. The Dioceses are like large parliamentary constituencies (or American States), 42 of which contained a significant minority of ‘No’ votes, two a majority. Counting the Dioceses is a winner takes all method, which effectively ignores the minority. The GS HofL is of course by contrast a one person one vote affair, whose vote reflects precisely the balance of opinion at the time. This is all very straightforward, not amazing or shocking. The GS votes reflected the wider balance of opinion reasonably… Read more »

Robert Ellis
Robert Ellis
9 years ago

Well we cannot blame the bishops this time….perhaps the next time there are Deanery Synod and General Synod elections the voting laity might read the manifestos a little more carefully and probe a little deeper at the hustings…..who was it who said “We get the representatives we deserve”?

Anne
Anne
9 years ago

tbpilgrim writes: “The quickest way to achieve a reversal of the disastrous decision is for all female members of the church and other supporters nationally to withhold their contributions to the collection in church until women are admitted to the episcopacy. “ Please don’t do this, tbpilgrim. Speaking as a woman priest, I can say that all this would do would be to cripple the work of individual churches and put their parish priests (many of whom are women) out of a job. Many conservative evangelical churches would be completely unaffected if this happened, since they often promote tithing very… Read more »

Clare
Clare
9 years ago

I wonder if a significant aspect of the issue is the ‘make up’ of the House of Laity, which partly constrained by the question of who are the Laity who can manage to spend most of two full weeks on General Synod each year. So it probably leads to an over-representation of retired people and of married women who for philosophical reasons don’t have a full time job themselves but tend to see their (and other women’s) role as being primarily to ‘support’ their husbands – and men in general. I may respect the right of such women to hold… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
9 years ago

Roll on 2015. It cannot come soon enough – when the current G.S. Members will have, hopefully, been questioned on their recalcitrant behaviour, when what in fact they should have been doing is truly represent their own diocesan Synods. It just needs a few younger and more pro-active non-sexist lay people in synod to overcome the patriarchal inertia.

Maybe, in 2015, the opponents of Women bishops will get no such generous provision as was promised in the failed legislation. That would aloow poetic justice to take the place of the justice that has been denied in this case.

Barbara Moss
9 years ago

With regard to the two-thirds rule, can anyone tell me:
1) apart from issues of woman priests and women bishops, in what other cases has it applied?
2) how many dioceses voted two-thirds in favour of the women bishops motion referred to them as Chapter 8 business?

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
9 years ago

Robert Ellis it might help if Diocesan Synod reps actually voted for General Synod reps. The percentage who actually vote is shockingly small..perhaps Peter Owen could tell us. the House of Clergy tend to vote on “party” lines…those who stand for the H of L are those mostly who can give time to it and are often voted in because they are deemed “good laity, who do things” and whose opinions are not deeply scrutinised.

Laurence C.
Laurence C.
9 years ago

“By again rejecting women bishops, the Church of England has detonated its credibility with modern Britain” Lucy Winkett

Given that gender discrimination has been illegal for everyone else in this country for the last 37 years, I would question whether the Church of England only lost its credibility yesterday.

Jeremy Pemberton
Jeremy Pemberton
9 years ago

I think the 2/3ds rule applied in the case of the Covenant with Methodism. Another dark day where a very good scheme was narrowly lost. The proposing bishop, David Brown of Guildford, died the next day of a heart attack.

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
9 years ago

As I posted on another thread overnight, the problem lies almost entirely in the makeup of the House of Laity, which is hopelessly and shamefully unrepresentative of the views of the laity at large. In the diocese of Rochester, three of the nine elected representatives on GS come from the same conservative evangelical parish. In a diocese of 220 parishes, it simply should not be allowed for any one parish to provide a third of the GS reps. The fact that the same parish also withholds a significant proportion of its parish share only exacerbates the sense of unfairness and… Read more »

Charlotte
Charlotte
9 years ago

I’m very interested in Claire’s comments (above) about the makeup of the House of Laity in Synod. I have noticed (admittedly as an observer at a distance) that Synod members seem to hold more extreme views than the general run of parishioners, and hold them more doggedly. This creates difficulties for the Church and stumbling blocks for the unchurched. One reform that might make a difference would involve shortening the face-to-face meeting times of Synod. Some face-to-face business could surely be done through Internet meetings and “webinars.” Shortening the length of face-to-face meetings would open membership in Synod to a… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
9 years ago

@ rjb “And where, exactly, in the Scriptures and traditions of the Church do you find evidence to support your claim that “the church ought to make a clear stand in favor of human rights”?” The short insouciant answer to this question is that there is no exact evidence in scripture or ancient tradition that propels the church to make a clear stand in favor of human rights–certainly not if one accepts that the gender roles embedded in ancient Mediterranean texts have been dictated from heaven and are binding for all time, or if one believes that the gender roles… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
9 years ago

Despite all the earnest offers by Reform, FiF and Catholic Group for talks, nothing can be achieved until there is a new synod in 2015. There is no basis on which the business can return during this 2010-2015 quinquennium and even if it did it could not complete a brand new legislative process in under three years, by which time we will have a new synod. As noted in comments above, the problem is the unrepresentaitive House of Laity. Those reactionaries who voted against will be targeted in the 2015 elections and the hope might be that the business can… Read more »

Original Observer
Original Observer
9 years ago

Had the original HoB amendment been retained I suspect the outcome would have been different. The Appleby amendment, with its talk of ‘respect’, would probably have amounted to a distinction without a difference in practice, but it nonetheless gave the impression that something vague and watered down was being substituted. To have had sight of a functional draft code of practice would also have been helpful. It could have happened, but in the end it was all thrown away.

Chris H.
Chris H.
9 years ago

Clare, that’s possible, but not necessarily true. TEC’s delegates are almost all older, retired, well off people who can afford to spend two weeks at GC and it doesn’t stop them from being progressive. It could be that the laity really is more conservative than the leaders give them credit for. It could also be that more progrssive folk aren’t members of the churches, preferring to attend but not become members, or that the delegates this time around came from conservative parishes. Or maybe they believed, like many of the posts earlier this year, that too much was being given… Read more »

robert ian williams
robert ian williams
9 years ago

Tt really saddens me when I hear the traditionalists saying they want the unity of the Church and that could only be obtained by proper safety measures for them. They claim orthodoxy ( when in effect Reform and Anglo catholic conservatives) hold diametrical understandings of the Gospel, yet they would vote for what they perceive as heresy and wrong as long as they have their security! Some orthodoxy that is! I was surprised to hear the Archbishop of York on the today programmme stating that these people need stronger safe guards to guarantee passage of the measure.That is nonsense and… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
peterpi - Peter Gross
9 years ago

Andrew Brown wrote: “[Conservative evangelicals] do not, quite simply, believe that women should exercise teaching authority over men.” Endless debate. Endless articles, commentaries, blogs, etc. Neatly summed up in one concise sentence. The conservatives never will believe. Period. They take a few words of St. Paul and others out of the time and place they were writing in, and make them permanent, universal, unchanging, over-riding Holy Writ. After all, for centuries, they have been told God made man in His image. Notice, God made man. God is “He”. No leading “wo” or “S” anywhere to be found. Now, some hand-wringing… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
9 years ago

‘All in the end is harvest.’

Jeremy
Jeremy
9 years ago

“But I also wonder if it was a big mistake to insist that the Code of Practice could not be agreed until the main measure had been passed. Why not?”

Because the gory details would not have satisfied WB opponents, and would have caused more WB proponents to vote against the measure.

John
John
9 years ago

Proper procedures were followed. There was a result. One can’t rewrite the rules. One should not vilify anti-WO people. One should not exaggerate the scale of the crisis (as, for example, Rowan Williams did). One should try to get a ‘fix’ which will satisfy everyone. This seems to mean ‘liberals’ letting go a little more. It’s not actually a big ask. There is far too much hysteria going on.

Jeremy
Jeremy
9 years ago

“One should try to get a ‘fix’ which will satisfy everyone. This seems to mean ‘liberals’ letting go a little more.” It rather seems that conservatives are still misjudging the weakness of their position. Such tone-deafness is hard to understand, after the political reaction over the past few days. But it goes some way toward explaining why conservatives refused to recognise that this was the best measure they could hope for. Now the misogynists have made themselves convenient political whipping boys. Westminster–so rarely united–is furious. Please continue, misogynists. You are very good at digging your own graves. And MPs can… Read more »

John
John
9 years ago

Jeremy,

I think you are seriously wrong in characterising opponents of WO as per se ‘misogynists’.

Jeremy
Jeremy
9 years ago

John, the Synod majority spoke nicely, and look where it got them.

Opponents of women’s ordination are hiding bad theology behind demands for grace and courtesy. This results in a lot of dishonesty.

Enough of the double-talk.

Jesus did not mince words with the Pharisees. He had enemies and he told them exactly what he thought of them.

So let’s defeat the epistemic circle.

If anyone objects to the word “misogyny,” there are alternative phrasings.

Discrimination is wrong, sinful, unChristian, and evil.

There should be no honoured place for bigotry.

Jeremy
Jeremy
9 years ago

@John: “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

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