Thinking Anglicans

Women bishops and the laity vote – voting records of the eight

We published earlier today details of a letter to The Times. It was signed by eight people who are supporters of women bishops, but voted against the Measure last week because they thought that the provisions for opponents were inadequate.

I have prepared a table of the recent relevant voting records of the signatories. This may give an indication of what they would find acceptable.

The main items are these three from July 2010 (the last meeting of the 2005/2010 Synod)

  • creation of additional dioceses,
  • compulsory delegation from women bishops,
  • the archbishops’ amendment (“co-ordinate juristiction”).

In each case a vote for the item was a vote in favour of adding the provision to the measure.

The links in the first column of the table are to our articles giving more details of the various votes.

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David Runcorn
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David Runcorn

If these proposals contained any theology it would be possible to have debate. But they contain none at all. This is applied pragmatism. We can’t agree. I’ll have my corner and you can have yours. OK – but don’t pretend it is the church of Christ.
It reminds me of the story of Solomon offering to carve up a baby between two women to solve their dispute. One woman pleads for a living baby even if it means giving it away into the hands of the other. The other is happy to divide it up.

Jonathan Edwards II
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Jonathan Edwards II

Bishop Lindsay Urwin talked on Youtube about the possibility of there being two ‘rights’ rather than a right and a wrong on this issue. Can we make space for those two rights? This is a Jewish concept and difficult for Western minds to accept.

Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

I agree with David Runcorn’s comments in this thread. Second Class status for women who wish to become bishops in the CofE is not a fair or balanced playing field. All bishops must be equal and that includes those who ordain women. No bishop should be permitted the position that excludes women from ordaining other women. Shameful that the fundamentalist elements continue to push what always appears to be a misogynistic undertone to their point of view.

John
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John

I’m all in favour of ‘applied pragmatism’, which is merely a functional – and pejorative – way of describing the greatest of all virtues – compassion – for which there is superabundant theology.

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

This is all about a Third Province, isn’t it? So the answer must ne no.

Chris H.
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Chris H.

David, that analogy would be appropriate if anyone outside the CoE weren’t Christians, but that argument doesn’t seem fit anymore. Perhaps it is time to admit that the big tent can’t stretch any more. Liberals won’t wait for the “weaker brother” and the conservatives won’t give up their scruples.

Father Ron Smith
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Sadly, these voters are asking for legislation that would enshrine in law a continuing divided Church of England. How can it exist, permanently, with two very different understanding of the qualifications of the Church’s bishops – based on a sexist ethos?

Unless, of course, the role of bishops in the Church of England is relegated to adiaphoral status! The present (male) bishops seem unable to live into an understanding of co-responsibility, in Christ, with the female of the species. Or is this just an issue for a small minority of Lay Anglicans in the U.K.?

Tom Lilley
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Tom Lilley

David, particularly in the light of some fairly horrid articles over the past week (Fraser etc.) your Solomon analogy can be read in a number of ways.

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

I am awaiting a response from anyone who is opposed to women being ordained bishops which does not simply “unchurch” me as a male priest ordained to priestly orders in the Church of God through the Church of England at the hands of a male bishop. I have asked on this forum several times, and have been studiously ignored. I do not wish to unchurch” them, but no Church can consistently legislate a two church solution. Perhaps someone out there can tell me whether they think I am a priest or not? And on what basis? Then we might have… Read more »

Richard
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Richard

Mark, yes, if you have been ordained by a Church England bishop, you are a priest in the Church of God and no-one would deny that.

Original Observer
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Original Observer

Mark Bennet – your status as a priest is beyond question, so long as that is what you intended at your ordination. Your support for the ordination of women may be an error in the eyes of some, but there is no theology I know of which holds that those in holy orders who fall into error should have their orders invalidated. Why would anyone wish to ‘unchurch’ you?

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Original Observer, The whole PEV system was set up on the basis that male bishops who support women’s ordination are not acceptable to Anglo-Catholic traditionalists. And that before there was a single one who was ever himself not validly consecrated in Anglo-Catholic eyes. In the eyes of traditionalists Mark Bennett is as unacceptable as a woman priest, and that although there is no question of sacramental assurance being at stake. If his status as a priest is beyond question, what was the whole PEV scheme about? On what basis was it decided that he was second class for Anglo-Catholics and… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

Erika – I think the idea is that you gather as a college of priests and people around a Bishop who is faithful to traditional Catholic order. I don’t think such people would claim invalidity of orders as much as irregularity (being in error) in the faith and practise of Bishops who ordain women contrary to tradition. So it seems to be a question of wanting to hold together as a body who disagree with majority on where truth lies.

Original Observer
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Original Observer

Erika Baker No Anglican should regard any Anglican bishop as not validly consecrated. And I do not believe that even FiF takes that line. The relationship of those bishops, clergy and laity who do not accept female orders with those who do is conditioned not so much by ‘taint’ (a red herring) as by communion and collegiality. I do not understand it very well myself, but this link attempts to deal with the subject. http://www.forwardinfaith.com/about/uk_code_of_pract.html Personally I would not regard Mark Bennett’s ministry as in any way unacceptable. The FiF demand for PEVs seems to me not to hold water… Read more »

Savi Hensman
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Savi Hensman

Original Observer, I struggle to understand why, though opponents of women’s ordination who are Anglo-Catholic and evangelical have long considered each other profoundly in error over the sacraments and other key issues, they managed to co-exist in dioceses when I was a child; yet now, some seem to want to keep themselves ‘pure’ from priests like Mark, let alone women clergy.

Neil
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Neil

Savi H – You don’t seem to get the point. It is not a question of being kept ‘pure’ at all. Rather being permitted to exist (and hopefully flourish in mission when all the arguments are over and proponents are prepared to co-exist) by a majority who seek to annihilate them. Opponents of women’s ordination have always been prepared to co-exist with those in favour whom they recognise to be in a majority. But the contrary is not now true. Women who were prepared to be ordained priest in a church which allowed dissent are not now prepared to be… Read more »

magistra
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Neil – it rather depnds on your definition of “co-existence”. Quoting from the FiF Code of Practice from the link in Original Observer’s comment. A priest “would find it impossible to celebrate the eucharist in any place where a woman was a regular and accepted minister of the eucharist.” Furthermore, “Priests…should act in such a way as never, by association or participation, to mislead others into assuming that they accept or countenance the priestly ministry of those ordained under the 1993 Measure. Also: “We believe that layfolk have a duty, wherever possible to re-align themselves with parishes which have sought… Read more »

Original Observer
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Original Observer

Savi H I think the issue for some AC priests is that they cannot belong to a bishop’s presbyteral college if it contains women. Accepting the sacraments from such a bishop involves a defacto recognition of a communion with everyone in his presbyteral college, something they will not countenance. It does not mean that they regard the bishop himself as tainted or invalid. I do to some extent share your bemusement about the need for PEVs because it is debatable whether they really do allow a college and a communion which is ultimately all male. PEVs undoubtably provide sympathetic teaching… Read more »

Neil
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Neil

Magistra – Well yes, of course I agree that some FiF advice is utter nonsense, although I guess it will improve as the post Broadhurst team get their feet under the table. Colin Podmore is rather more sensible for a start. Their rhetoric and practise (I actually wasn’t aware it was quite as strict as you outline) is perhaps not as harsh in practise as it appears (rather worryingly) in the quotes you give. I don’t agree with their position, but still wish to retain sensible Catholics within the CofE (people like the new Bishop of Chichester who I imagine… Read more »

Savi Hensman
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Savi Hensman

Neil, do you not think it hyperbolic to claim that the majority ‘seek to annihilate’ opponents of women’s ordination? During the Reformation, some Protestants and Catholics sought to annihilate one another. Some Ugandan Christians have been seeking to annihilate their LGBT brothers and sisters by pushing for capital punishment. In contrast, the majority have allowed a small minority the freedom to discriminate against women (including laywomen) in their own churches in ways that would be unlawful in non-religious institutions, and this is likely to continue. However, having two or three diocesan bishops with authority in the same geographical diocese would… Read more »

Randal Oulton
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Randal Oulton

Question: The fundies don’t actually believe in co-existence or compromise. They cannot, whatever they say; their belief set doesn’t allow them to. But rather than splitting off and joining splinter sect groups such as ACNA or whatever, as happened in North America, they genuinely seem willing to stay in C of E if they can carve out their own separate, protected church within it. Okay so my question to myself is, what’s different in England from North America, why are they fighting tooth and nail to get their own church within a church, rather than fighting tooth and nail over… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Dear Randal haven’t you heard the phrase “best boat to fish from”? Parish churches provide a lot of opportunities and a place in the community. Also socially..where cons evangelical churches are in nice areas or gathered churches attracting young professionals etc…they know few of these people would defect to an Evangelical Free Church of England worshipping in the local school hall. England just doesnt ( even now,,,tho it has changed a lot in the last 50 yrs) got that “free market in religion” that characterises the US…and there isn’t the money about to start new churches so easily.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Original Observer, I’ve been away for a few days so apologies for not having replied to you answer to my question. I am trying to understand what you are saying about trying to hold the church together and I respect that. I also understand that what is happening must seem like annihilation to you. But I genuinely do not see how a real side by side can be possible. The level of isolation you need from women priests and bishops is so comprehensive that giving you this level of isolation will destroy the unity of the church as comprehensively as… Read more »

magistra
Guest

On Christmas Day this year, the FiF website call for their supporters to pray for “All traditionalist Christians as they rejoice in the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Not all Christians, not all of humanity, but the people they agree with. I’m a liberal, but I don’t want to force people out of the church who disagree with me. Whenever individual Anglo-Catholic opponents of WO talk about how they do co-operate with ordained women whenever it doesn’t clash with their need for sacramental assurance then I feel encouraged to go the extra mile to keep them in the church.… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Original Observer, can I ask a question, please? This church unity you are seeking, would it include any genuine recognition of each other’s actions? Would a new member in your parish have to be re-confirmed if he had been confirmed by a woman bishop? Or by a male bishop who has participated in the ordination of women? Would the parish system as it stands still be valid and possible? Would people have to indicate whether they are CoE or CoE/orthodox? I mean… what level of unity would we actually have? Or would we be two churches as remote from each… Read more »