Thinking Anglicans

Women in the Episcopate: Forward in Faith responds to latest drafts

Press release from Forward in Faith:

Women in the Episcopate: The Latest Drafts

Jan 17, 2014

Women in the Episcopate: Draft House of Bishops’ Declaration and Resolution of Disputes Procedure Regulations

Forward in Faith welcomes the publication of the House of Bishops’ report (GS 1932 – available from http://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/structure/general-synod/agendas-and-papers/february-2014-group-of-sessions.aspx).

In commenting on the proposals in November we set out three matters that still needed to be resolved. We are grateful that two of them have been addressed: the draft Declaration now contains transitional provisions, and the House of Bishops’ Standing Orders will provide that the Declaration cannot be amended unless two-thirds majorities in each House of the General Synod support the amendment. We also welcome the other minor improvements which the House has made to the draft Declaration and Regulations.

However, we note that the draft Declaration does not address the third of the matters that we raised in November. Para. 42 of the Steering Committee’s report (GS 1924) pointed to the need for ‘an agreed way of proceeding’ with regard to ‘issues that will arise in relation to consecration services for Traditional Catholic bishops’, including the ‘further and sharper issues that will arise in due course as and when there is a woman archbishop’. The Steering Committee was clear in envisaging ‘an overall, balanced package’ and that the dioceses should ‘vote on the legislation in the knowledge of how all the elements of the package fit together’ (para. 42).

It is essential that an acceptable way of proceeding in relation to the consecration of Traditional Catholic bishops is agreed before the legislation is referred to the dioceses. Resolution of this outstanding matter is crucial for the acceptability of the package as a whole.

We also note the publication of a first draft of the Guidance Note for Bishops and Parishes (GS Misc 1064). Forward in Faith will study this closely.

+ JONATHAN FULHAM
The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham
Chairman

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Revd Laurie Roberts
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Revd Laurie Roberts

FiF seem to want but don’t quite say, separate services for the consecration of anti-WO bishops.

Father David
Guest
Father David

I wonder how come the words “smoke and mirrors” come to my mind?

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Is that what FiF want? Or would they settle for services in which women bishops are not ordained and consecrated alongside ‘their own’, and in which women bishops do not take any episcopal or presbyteral part?

At the moment there are not special services for bishops just because they oppose women priests. One might argue that this should continue. The alternative is to continue to isolate such people, and that’s not a good thing in my experience, as we saw with the previous flying bishops.

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

Follow the logic: if you believe a particular bishop not to be a bishop (s)he cannot be the co-consecrator of a new bishop. But since we have promised that those who hold such a view will have a continuing place in the CofE, there has to be a way found to allow those that hold that view to flourish and propagate their ministry. It is rightly pointed out that the problem is magnified if some believe that an archbishop is not a bishop and is not qualified to preside at the consecration of new bishops. Furthermore, we will all soon… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“It is essential that an acceptable way of proceeding in relation to the consecration of Traditional Catholic bishops is agreed before the legislation is referred to the dioceses. Resolution of this outstanding matter is crucial for the acceptability of the package as a whole.” – FiF Statement – FiF’s use of the term ‘Traditional Catholic bishops’ would seem to presume that only bishops they approve of would qualify for this epithet. Does this them mean that the future legislation will identify two separate types of bishop in the Church of England, demanding two separate types of episcopal ordination? If so,… Read more »

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

Ron, the “provisions” are outside the legislation.

More generally, it would seem that we are in the process of surrendering the claim that the CofE maintains the historic ministry of the universal Church. Whither the Via Media? We are sawing off the branch on which we sit. The greater part of the Church universal has not moved at all on the policy of only ordaining men, and shows no signs of doing so. The international majority may yet, of course.

Revd Laurie Roberts
Guest
Revd Laurie Roberts

‘Is that what FiF want? Or would they settle for services in which women bishops are not ordained and consecrated alongside ‘their own’, and in which women bishops do not take any episcopal or presbyteral part?’

This is completely unacceptable and I hope if comes to it, that Parliament (remember them ?) will not permit it.

jnwall
Guest
jnwall

FiF is about setting up a situation in which there are two Churches of England. One is the one in which the process of ordination and consecration of clergy and bishops proceeds normally. The other is one in which women are excluded, including those clergy and bishops who are supportive of the ordination of women. This is the one which FiF promises to recognize as the Church of England. The other one is not a church at all, in their view. So we arrive at two parallel churches, one in which things proceed normally, and one fenced off from the… Read more »

Revd Laurie Roberts
Guest
Revd Laurie Roberts

‘Traditional Catholic bishops’

oh yes FiF and the PEV are very ‘Traditional’ and very ‘Catholic’ !

at least they have a sense of humour ! – that should help.

We have all of us been ordained since Florence Li Tim Oi was priested during WW2 – so none of us can be That traditional – but we all still belong to the Catholic Church last time I looked….

JCF
Guest
JCF

“it would seem that we are in the process of surrendering the claim that the CofE maintains the historic ministry of the universal Church. Whither the Via Media? We are sawing off the branch on which we sit.”

Poppycock. The “Via Media” is between Protestantism, and Romanism (and “Easternism”, I guess). FINALLY rectifying the situation of affirming God’s Call to anyone ***God*** is calling, regardless of sex chromosomes, is hardly “sawing off a branch”. Rather, it’s the cessation of unGodly pruning!

Father David
Guest
Father David

“Third Province by the back door?” Bring it on!

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

Poppycock?

There we have the problem in a single word.

The concerns of a proportion of the CofE which has been recognised as legitimate are just dismissed in a word.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“More generally, it would seem that we are in the process of surrendering the claim that the CofE maintains the historic ministry of the universal Church.’ – Labarum –

My first question, Labarum is: ‘By whom?’ Rome already does not consider Anglicans to be legitimately ordained in their understanding of Catholic Order. So what changes here? This, despite the fact that we now have a N.Z. Anglican Bishop as the Anglican Communion’s official representative to the Vatican. How convoluted can relationships in the body of Christ get? Yet still, the Church goes on apace. Thanks be to God!

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

“The “Via Media” is between Protestantism, and Romanism (and “Easternism”, I guess)” Now I have been for a bracing bike ride I will clarify my claim that the Via Media is being abandoned, or at least very seriously weakened. One of the claims of the English (Anglican) Reformers was that they were attempting more modest adjustments to late medieval Christianity than the continental reformers. Part of that was the assertion that they were continuing, rather than abolishing, the historic three fold order of Bishops, Priests and Deacons; and that the orders of the CofE were substantially identical and interchangeable with… Read more »

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

Crossed posts, Ron.

But mine makes a stab at answering yours.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

But Labarum, you must know that there is a long standing RC doctrine (which I believe we Anglicans inherited) stating that the character of the priest or bishop does not interfere with the grace of the sacraments. The idea that a priest’s ordination or a bishop’s consecration is invalidated by the presence of a woman – especially when there are male co-consecrators – is not supportable by tradition or doctrine. It is a modern invention. This idea of “taint” goes against centuries of doctrine, used most recently with the RC’s assuring people that sacraments at the hands of pedophiles are… Read more »

Geoff
Guest

If Labarum thinks all female Anglican priests are Protestants, I must be blessed to associate with a higher calibre of them!

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

“If Labarum thinks all female Anglican priests are Protestants . . . “

He doesn’t.

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

“The idea that a priest’s ordination or a bishop’s consecration is invalidated by the presence of a woman – especially when there are male co-consecrators – is not supportable by tradition or doctrine. It is a modern invention.” Cynthia, you overplay your hand more than you claim I am. The doctrine of taint – which I do not accept – does not touch the objection, but the one being ordained does need to recognise the orders of the one doing the ordaining. As FIF have noted the problems are greatly magnified if the Archbishop is not believed to be a… Read more »

jnwall
Guest
jnwall

This talk of “taint” is a clear reminder that a major temptation always facing Christians is to give up being a religion and become a purity cult.

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

It is essential that an acceptable way of proceeding in relation to the consecration of Traditional Catholic bishops is agreed before the legislation is referred to the dioceses.

Translation…..if you want this measure to pass quickly,an untainted line of succession please.

I think proponents, should consider waiting to a more representative synod is elected rather than conceding this ” bantustan ” for the likes of Bishop Baker and co.

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

“an untainted line of succession please.” Robert, you are misusing the term “taint”. A bishop’s credentials are said (by some) to be “tainted” if he ordains persons not qualified (by gender) to be ordained. What that claim amounts to I am not sure, as the said bishop’s orders are not invalidated by the (illicit) ordination. FIF is seeking assurance that only bishops validly ordained according to the historic criteria (ie male bishops ordained by male bishops) will be deployed to ordain ministers for service within the traditionalist circle. Since the CofE is promising the traditionalists room to flourish “without time… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I’m glad that FiF have finally mentioned a female Archbishop because this really does have to be sorted out once and for all. But is it really possible that the CoE would accept a solution that required one traditionally consecrated male Archbishop at all times? Could there be any other solution?

robert ian Williams
Guest
robert ian Williams

The Church of England would be mad to allow a parallel episcopate to emerge which thought itself purer and ” more valid.” It would be a knife poised at the very heart of the Church of England, and imagine if an evangelical bishop was consecrated as well.. unlike Anglo-catholics they have viable congregations, with the potential to become self supporting.

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

I think it is historically accurate to understand that the (recent) need for three consecrating bishops is in case any are in some way “defective”. Only one is theoretically required. Until we have a male bishop consecrated at the hands only of female bishops, I don’t myself see how the putative succession of men is actually broken. My own understanding of the consecration of bishop involving God and the Church as a whole does not place such a high view on the individuals involved. Since (a) the male bishops consecrated in the conservative catholic tradition are likely to have only… Read more »

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

Although I see Mark’s contributions as serious Erika, his point will not satisfy all; but I don’t see either the need for one Archbishop always to be of traditionalist pedigree. It would be sufficient to have a continuing understanding that the presiding bishop and all co-consecrators should be in the male only pedigree when requested. So also for the ordination of deacons and priests. Mark is right that, over time, the issue might take a different shape. Either the number of traditionalists will reduce to (near) zero, or they will cede from the CofE, or an international consensus for female… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

All I can say at this juncture is; Thank God the Anglican Tradition does not only rest with the provenance of the Church of England!

We in other Provinces of the Communion have no such problem with supposed ‘sacramental assurance’. It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us that we have accepted women as a constituent part of the human race, capable of bearing office in the local Anglican Church as God’s sacred ministers.

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

Ron said:

“We in other Provinces of the Communion . . . “

but not all of them.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Surely FiF aren’t going to wreck the carefully constructed and balanced proposals over this? They mustn’t be allowed to have separate consecrations where only male and untainted bishops are present. The worst thing that has happened over the past painful 20 years is separate Chrism masses, which should never have been tolerated, but separate ‘untainted’ consecrations would be worse than that. The Steering group’s proposals said that, after the legislation was agreed, no-one would be able to suggest that the CofE was a church which did not believe that women could be validly ordained to the threefold ministry. Holding separate… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Labarum,
if I understand correctly, all bishops are consecrated by an Archbishop. In order to continue to have traditionalist Catholic male bishops you would therefore have to ensure that there is a traditionalist Catholic or Evangelical male bishop to perform this task.
Is that not correct?
And yes, we are not looking at the immediate future here, but I had understood FiF to have asked for the question to be looked at and answered within the coming legislation and provisions.

Am I misunderstanding this?

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Erika – CofE Canon C2 currently reads C 2 Of the consecration of bishops 1. No person shall be consecrated to the office of bishop by fewer than three bishops present together and joining in the act of consecration, of whom one shall be the archbishop of the province or a bishop appointed to act on his behalf. 2. The consecration of a bishop shall take place upon some Sunday or Holy Day, unless the archbishop, for urgent and weighty cause, shall appoint some other day. 3. No person shall be consecrated bishop except he shall be at least thirty… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Thank you Mark!

Revd Laurie Roberts
Guest
Revd Laurie Roberts

‘It would be sufficient to have a continuing understanding that the presiding bishop and all co-consecrators should be in the male only pedigree when requested. So also for the ordination of deacons and priests.’

This is insufferable. No way ! I see you are teasing us with your wonderful sense of humour.

I hope so. It is totally unacceptable for FiF and the rump left in the wake of the ordinariate to try to call such a tune.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Again, the theology of “taint” is ridiculous. And why would evangelicals care??? As long as some of the co-consecrators are guys, it keeps the male line going. The presence of a woman does not invalidate the sacrament. That is absolutely insane. It goes against ancient doctrine about the validity of sacraments. They are making this up, a brand new “tradition.”

There is no reason to have separate rites. All can be accommodated by the presence of male co-consecrators. Diversity is a good thing. It would look like God’s Creation, for one thing…

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cynthia, it is not about taint. If you believe that it takes 3 ordained people to ordain someone else, and if you believe that women cannot be ordained, then the presence of a woman reduced the number of people doing the ordaining to two. Yes, I know it’s rubbish, but the church has said that it wants to keep FiF within its fold, so there we are. I quite like Mark’s thought of returning to the understanding that only one person is needed to effect the ordination. And,Labernum, there is no single solution that “will satisfy all”. The task is… Read more »

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

Cynthia, of course you are right. It’s not about taint. The notion gets thrown in to muddy the waters. I doubt that FIF would insist that three bishops are required to ordain another. The Canons of the CofE apply that rule, as do the customs of other Churches. Three is the belt and braces norm, but (in general tradition) one bishop is sufficient to ordain another. Surely the FIF objection is not one of taint – the objection is not that some of the consecrators are tainted bishops but that they are not bishops (not even priests) and should not… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Labarum, In general I embrace your logic and am not much bothered by the ‘branching’, even ‘fracturing’, thereby entailed. But could you have a female priest, even a female bishop, even eventually a female archbishop present (and visibly present because wearing some of their regalia [negotiable]) but not actually consecrating? If that were possible, it seems to me that it would be very helpful for maintaining a commonness which to some degree overrides the ‘branching’. After all, such ‘smudging’ occurs all the time, e.g. ordinary members of the C of E who may be pro-WO and their priests (ditto) do… Read more »

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

John wrote: “In general I embrace your logic . . . could you have a female priest, even a female bishop, even eventually a female archbishop present (and visibly present because wearing some of their regalia [negotiable]) but not actually consecrating?” The logic of the case does not rule that out; but I do not and cannot speak for FIF or the traditionalist Evangelicals. The “Diocesan Bishop” could be present in the Cathedral and the “Archbishop” in the Metro-political Church (or St Paul’s) and watch the rite (even from the cathedra), having, by prior administrative act, “delegated” functions to more… Read more »

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

Cynthia, Conservative evangelicals do not believe ordination is a sacrament. Indeed, the doctrinal basis of certain Anglican ConsEvo organisations contain a specific denial of any spiritual gift being imparted even in baptism and the Lord’s Supper, let alone in the five “lesser” sacraments. In the same way, the notion of “validity” is utterly foreign to conservative evangelicals. No female apostles means no female bishops. End of argument. “Validity” is a nasty Roman concept and isn’t biblical in their view. Part of the problem in England is that opposition to women’s ordained ministry comes from two groups with totally opposed theologies… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Labarum,

I agree. You put it eloquently when you write:

The “Diocesan Bishop” could be present in the Cathedral and the “Archbishop” in the Metro-political Church (or St Paul’s) and watch the rite (even from the cathedra), having, by prior administrative act, “delegated” functions to more suitable ministers, in order that all members and ministers of the CofE might continue to flourish and practice their faith according to conscience as legitimate members of the national Church.

Personally, I would find that very moving.

Of course, I too hardly speak for anyone other than myself (and sometimes not even that).

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Let’s see if I got this right. Labarum wrote “I am exercising my sense of logic.” concerning “the objection is not that some of the consecrators are tainted bishops but that they are not bishops (not even priests) and should not be standing there.” My sense of logic tells me that if there are always male co-consecrators, then every male priest, bishop, and archbishop will be male line and their orders valid. It does not have to be “male only,” it just has to be male participatory. Otherwise, we get into the superstitious realm of taint. There is perfectly good… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Labarum,
my point is the same Cynthia is making, and which I believe Mark to have made. Male only bishops are not necessary if you accept that it takes only 1 person to effect an ordination, because then you can have 3 co-consecrators of whom 2 could even be women provided the third one was a traditionally ordained male.

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

Cynthia, the issue is not taint but qualification; not superstition but a reasonably held theological view that is to be respected as legitimately Anglican. Those being ordained, and the congregations who are to receive the ensuing ministry, are asking for assurance that the ministers of the ordination be qualified for the purpose. The need for three consecrators is, as I have already said “belt and braces” – one consecrator is sufficient – three are deployed to cover the case where some consecrators should in the future be shown to have been defective. It is quite a different issue to admit… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

The point is that one valid consecrator is sufficient to establish succession (though whether consecration is properly a human act or a divine one is open to discussion). The Roman Catholic Church does not accept the validity of orders in the Church of England – one reason given for this is that the consecration of Matthew Parker as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1559 was defective and broke the succession. As I understand it, there was – at one stage – some conscious attempt to repair the succession by inviting Old Catholic Bishops to participate in consecrations – but I believe… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin

No, I don’t think Old Catholic bishops have ever been used in a ‘conscious attempt to repair the succession’.

First because the CofE does not admit that there was any break in the succession, so consequently no ‘repair’ is necessary.

And secondly, because the inclusion of Old Catholic bishops is a symbol of the mutual recognition of Orders between the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, and the Church of England and other Anglican Churches, and is a direct consequence of the 1931 Bonn Agreement between the two Churches.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

To answer my own question put in an earlier post on this thread, Yes, it does look as if FiF would wreck the carefully balanced package of proposals over this issue, at least to judge by the comments of their sympathisers here. So it’s no more the glad confident morning of Nov 2013, and back to the gloom, despondency and national derision of Nov 2012. If Parliament and the secular media were incredulous then that we should find any grounds for not having women bishops, how much more incredulous would they be if we derailed a widely supported set of… Read more »

Rosalind R
Guest
Rosalind R

The recent comments on this thread seem to be forgetting that any legislation to enable women to be ordained as bishops in the C of E is based on the 5 principles agreed last February, and which are being written into the Declaration. The first of these includes: “now that legislation has been passed to enable women to become bishops , the Church of England….. holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are the true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience” and then the… Read more »

Labarum
Guest
Labarum

Rosalind, I touch on your point here http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/006390.html#comments The issues I raise were not followed up. The paragraph that stands stands against the others you do not quote. I do: “Since it continues to share the historic episcopate with other Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and those provinces of the Anglican Communion which continue to ordain only men as priests or bishops, the Church of England acknowledges that its own clear decision on ministry and gender is set within a broader process of discernment within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God; “ As… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Simon – p365 of JG Lockhart’s biography of Lang says of the agreement with the Old Catholics “It established inter-communion and – of perhaps even greater significance – carried the necessary authority for inter-consecration. […] It served to dispel some of the doubts of Orthodox theologians about Anglican Orders” There is another relevant passage at p359-60 “that whatever view might be taken of the original validity of Anglican Orders, they might in time acquire a footing identical with that of a Church whose orders were not questioned.” Stephen Neill’s “Anglicanism” p373-374 (4th ed 1977) has “This raises an interesting point… Read more »

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

Just out of curiosity – is the practice of the Church of England to have only three bishops consecrating?

It’s my understanding that in TEC there are three “official” consecrating bishops but at every TEC consecration I’ve ever been to, there are a significant number of other bishops that join in the consecreting.

Even if there was a problem with one – or all three – of the “official” consecrating bishops, there would almost certainly be a bishop in the accompanying horde that didn’t have problems, which would make the consecration unquestionably non-problematic.