Thinking Anglicans

Philip North asked to decline appointment to Sheffield

Updated again 6 pm Friday

The Guardian carries this report by Harriet Sherwood
Opponent of female priests urged to decline bishop of Sheffield post

A senior Church of England theologian has called on the newly appointed bishop of Sheffield to stand aside ahead of his consecration, saying his opposition to female priests will “cause significant pastoral and public damage to the church”.

Martyn Percy, the dean of Christ Church, Oxford, urged Philip North to either renounce his membership of the Society, a C of E organisation that rejects female priests, or decline his nomination as bishop of Sheffield, which was announced last month.

Percy claims there is a “substantial amount of resistance building up” to North’s appointment, which he says would “represent the toleration of gender-based sectarianism”.

The full press release from Modern Church is available here: Oxford theologian invites bishop-designate of Sheffield to decline nomination and is copied below the fold. Follow the link at the end of the original press release to download the full essay as a PDF.

Updates

WATCH has issued this: The Five Guiding Principles: Whose Flourishing do they serve?. Scrolling down leads to this section:

The Sheffield situation

Recently the announcement of the new Bishop of Sheffield was made. The press release made no comment about the fact that he is a bishop who cannot accept the ministry of women and will not ordain them as priests. In fact, those of us who have raised concerns that this bishop will now be presiding over a diocese where nearly a third of the clergy are women, have been told that his views on women are unimportant. Worse, we have been consistently told that this is a working out of the five guiding principles; mutual flourishment in practice.

So the question is, how is his appointment to a diocese, where nearly third of the incumbents are women, promoting mutual flourishing? For twenty years this has been a diocese in which women are ordained. These women have up until this point simply been priests in the diocese, regardless of gender. Now they are women priests. The incoming Bishop reassures them that he will work to the utmost limits of his theological position where they are concerned but, this is little comfort to those who are used to being treated in the same way as their male colleagues; as those whose priesthood their bishop truly recognises.

The women of the diocese were not asked how this would help them flourish. Neither of the Archbishops has offered any kind of support to them as they deal with the sense of hurt and disillusionment as, yet again, the Church of England expects women to be the ones who accept discrimination in the name of theological conviction.

The House of Bishops Declaration, which lays out clear guidelines for the provision necessary for those who cannot accept the ministry of a woman bishop, has nothing coherent to say to the women clergy of Sheffield diocese as they struggle to come to terms with the prospect of a Bishop who cannot fully accept their ministry. It seems that the hierarchy of the church has deep pastoral concerns for those who cannot accept the ministry of women and no real pastoral care for women who find their ministry fundamentally undermined by the theological views of the one with whom they are to share a cure of souls.

There is no provision for the male clergy who are deeply committed to a church in which men and women minister as equals. No provision for the lay members of the diocese who value the ministry of women clergy. Those many, many clergy and laity in the diocese who are theologically committed to the full inclusion of women in the church will no longer have a diocesan bishop who shares their theological conviction…

The Church of England has issued this: Statement on Bishop Philip North

In response to an enquiry from the Guardian on 23 February 2017 on an article concerning Bishop Philip North the Church of England’s Communication office provided the following response:

“Many if not all of Martyn Percy’s arguments were raised and presented during and before the General Synod debates on this issue in 2014. In supporting the ordination of Women as Bishops the Synod overwhelmingly rejected these arguments and favoured a position of mutual flourishing for all in the Church.

As Martyn Percy’s article makes clear Bishop Philip has stated in a meeting to women clergy in the diocese that he is favour of women’s leadership and would actively promote it.

The beauty of the Church of England is its theological breadth and its ability to hold together disparate views across a range of issues whilst still finding unity in Jesus Christ.

The Church of England supports all orders of ministry being open equally, irrespective of gender, and remains committed to enabling all people to flourish within its life and structures.”

Oxford theologian invites bishop-designate of Sheffield to decline nomination

The Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, has invited the Bishop-designate of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Philip North, to decline his nomination to the See because of his opposition to women’s ordination.

The Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy has made a case against the elevation of the Rt Revd Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley, in an article published on the website of Modern Church, a society promoting liberal Christianity, of which he is a Vice President.

Professor Percy argues in the article ‘Questions of Ambiguity and Integrity?’ that the logic of Bishop North’s theological position makes it impossible for him to affirm and receive the ordained ministry of all his female clergy. Moreover, the same would apply to any male ordained by a female bishop. Women account for around one-third of the clergy of Sheffield diocese.

Commenting on this, Martyn Percy observed that:

the ratio of male clergy to female clergy in Sheffield Diocese is 2:1. In a Diocese like Chichester it is more like 10:1. A non-ordaining Bishop in Sheffield Diocese is a serious matter for the female clergy, who are present in very large numbers. This will feel like a step backwards for many parishes and clergy, as the full acceptance of women clergy was patiently established under the ministry of Bishop David Lunn, who had begun his episcopacy as a leading opponent of the ordination of women. His acceptance of women clergy is a defining moment in the life of the Diocese. The Crown Nominations Commission has shown a marked insensitivity to this history in nominating Bishop North to the See of Sheffield. The initiatives that were developed to accommodate conscientious objectors in the Church of England were simply not designed to be implemented against Dioceses such as Sheffield.

Sheffield, as a City and Diocese, has a proud record in relation to issues of justice and equality. Percy believes the inevitable inequality that would be introduced through Bishop North accepting the nomination to the See would have profound and disturbing ramifications for the public witness of the church in the region, and for the pastoral oversight of its female clergy across the Diocese. He adds:

Sheffield is a go-ahead, vibrant, progressive city, with cutting-edge universities and research-led industries. It is thoroughly modern. The public will neither comprehend nor welcome this rather fogeyish sacralised sexism of the religious organisation known simply as ‘The Society’, whose Council of Bishops includes Bishop Philip North.

Percy is particularly concerned with a proposal from The Society to issue ‘identity cards’ to the priests of his organisation in the near future, in order to guarantee their sacramental purity. This proposal would, in effect, says Professor Percy, amount to clergy listing their ‘(male) ontological genealogy’:

…travel forward, if you will, a century from now. Those identity cards…will need to show that the bishop who ordained you, was, in turn, ordained by someone pure and efficacious, and in turn, was ordained likewise – stretching all the way back to our present time.

The proposal endorses clergy having to demonstrate an unbroken chain of ‘ontological purity’, via a ‘taint free’ litany of bishops.Percy writes:

As bishops turn over every ten years or so, the genealogy will eventually be longer than the one we have for Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

He added that he

could not envisage a Diocesan Bishop functioning well who is also an ambassador for gender-based discrimination, and an advocate of inequality. The women clergy are already in a state of grief about the appointment, moving through the early phases of shock, anger and denial. But bargaining and acceptance are unlikely to be options. Their situation is profoundly unjust.

Professor Percy’s article discusses the principle of integrity – a key issue enshrined in the Church of England’s attempts to find a way forward, together, for groups holding irreconcilable positions within the church (The Five Guiding Principle of the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests, June 2014, which are not enshrined in law.)

Professor Percy calls upon Bishop North to clarify his position on women clergy, and men ordained by female bishops. He says the issues cannot be ‘fudged’ through an over-investment in ambiguity, as ‘fudging’ lacks iintegrity, and ambiguity destroys authority:

if these differences can’t be resolved, then the virtue and practice of integrity suggests some new paths: acquiescence or withdrawal. Either the bishop has to step aside and step down from exercising episcopal ministry at this level and in this context, or the men and women have to resign, as their own bishop does not recognise and affirm their sacramental efficacy.

Professor Percy adds:

Bishops have a paternal and maternal relationship to their clergy and parishes. As a ‘Father in God’, Bishop North needs to be able to give his unequivocal support and affirmation to his male and female clergy alike. It can’t be a partial and conditional affirmation, based on gender. You can’t have a pastoral situation in which the Bishop effectively says to his clergy ‘I will love, support and affirm you all; but not all of you equally’. Such a statement would amount to the most awful parenting. In more Patriarchal terms, Bishop North’s stance on women is of a similar sort to the discrimination that Abraham showed to Isaac and Ishmael in the book of Genesis. Bishop North’s stance imputes ‘doubtful parentage’ on his women clergy – that their ‘ontological heritage’ is invalid.

Professor Percy continues,

Such a witness would lead to a dysfunctional episcopacy and an unhappy Diocese. Family breakdown will be inevitable. This cannot lead to ‘mutual flourishing’. Bishop North’s appointment would represent the toleration of gender-based sectarianism, and will ultimately cause significant pastoral and public damage to the church.

Professor Percy concludes, that

“the Church of England has always embraced a wide range of beliefs and practices. But it has begun to discover in debates on sexuality, and on gender, that if you truly want to be one church, you can only ultimately afford one integrity”.

Click here to read and download the full 3000 word essay, Questions of Ambiguity and Integrity, by Very Revd Prof Martyn Percy.

ENDS

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Father David
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Father David

Ah, the unofficial Leader of the Church of England’s Opposition is proving that persecution within the Established Church is not yet dead! So much for “Better Together”, Dean Percy!
Does not the Guardian newspaper realise that Philip North has already been “consecrated”? What we now have to look forward to with much joy, gladness and anticipation is his Enthronement as Diocesan Bishop of Sheffield. Hang on in there Father Philip and shew all those episcopal managers and meddling deans exactly how to be a true pastoral bishop and a faithful Father in God.

Peter S
Guest
Peter S

Appalled by this which seems to me to border on bullying. Bishop North has assented to the Canons of the Church of England. Isn’t that enough? Surely the campaign should instead be for the clergy of the diocese by the fruitfulness of their ministry to astonish their new bishop into changing his mind, and for the bishop to demonstrate the breadth of Christian love across the boundaries of difference. The logical extension of this attitude would be to insist that all same-sex partnered clergy must resign their posts.

Robin Ward
Guest
Robin Ward

We should be clear about the process that has led to this appointment. The diocese could have specifically excluded a candidate who would not ordain women priests when it drew up the Statement of Needs – it did not. The diocese could have elected representatives to the vacancy-in-see committee who would have excluded a candidate who would not ordain women priests – it did not. The vacancy-in-see committee could have elected members to the Crown Nominations Commission who would have excluded a candidate who would not ordain women priests – it did not. The diocesan members of the CNC could… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Equal consecration only got through ’cause traditionalists were assured they’d remain welcome. I’ve not seen anyone offer evidence that North has personally undermined ordained women, and several people have gone to bat for him on the grounds that he’s supported them. This opposition appears to be purely on the basis of his beliefs, not his actions. If so, it’s illiberal. All that aside, this again points to the urgency of introducing episcopal elections. If the diocese truly oppose him, he’d never have been voted in; and if he were, those who disagree would at least have had the consolation of… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Or perhaps, Fr Robin, the members of the diocese you refer to had thought, as I had, that the appointment of a non-ordaining diocesan was no longer a possibility after the settlement reached in 2014, and the first two of the five guiding principles. I agree that the members of the CNC could (and should) have raised an objection on the grounds Dean Percy raises. Another correspondent mentions bullying – I suspect this must have occurred in the CNC and there is only one person on my list of suspects. This is not mutual flourishing – it is separate flourishing… Read more »

Clive Sweeting
Guest
Clive Sweeting

For the last thirty odd years opponents to the ordination of women priests in the Church of England have been sidelined. Bishop North had already politely declined the see of Whitby which had a tradition of recruiting from this under-appreciated sector. What arrant nonsense to invite a further gesture of abnegation!

Michael
Guest
Michael

This campaign against the consecration of Philip North is quite shocking. As was noted (by Robin Ward) due process was followed in every respect and many of us saw it as proof that mutual flourishing actually means something in the Church of England.Please stand your ground here, Bishop Philip. Any change of mind would be a shattering blow not only to the 20 or so catholic parishes of the Diocese of Sheffield but also to all our poor parishes in Council Estates and deprived areas of which God knows we have enough.Bishop Philip has genuine concern and understanding of my… Read more »

Philip Hobday
Guest
Philip Hobday

I don’t know Bp Philip and I support strongly the consecration of women. But the Church agreed that there would continue to be a place for those who disagreed with that development. Bp Philip was properly chosen under the Church’s currrent processes which include a very strong voice for the elected representatives of the diocese. Given the Church’s decision to promote the flourishing of all (including those opposed), and that proper processes were followed, this attempt to force his withdrawal does not seem – to say the least – very reasonable.

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

As I mentioned in an earlier thread when the nomination was announced, “I am hugely surprised that a non-ordainer has been nominated for a diocesan see. It is a massively retrograde step and will certainly not serve the needs of the Diocese of Sheffield, excellent priest/bishop though Father North is. However not being a member of the CNC these days I can only comment from my armchair. There is much going on in the Church of England that is far more troubling than whether certain bishops will or will nor ordain women as deacons or priests and/or preside at their… Read more »

Fr. John E Harris-White
Guest
Fr. John E Harris-White

Canon Percy should hang his head in shame, such unadulterated bullying and nonsense.
BISHOP North has shown at Burnley, and his priestly ministry previously a great love and pastoral concern for all God’s people in many and varied pastoral situations. He reminds me of the great Fathers of the church who ministered in Thameside, the Fr Potters of their day. We need more Bishops and priests like Bishop North.
Bishop Martin of Chichester is of like ilk.

Canon Percy sounds like a jealous person, with a sour heart.

Cantab
Guest
Cantab

I guess rather than focussing on the abstracts of this decision I’m more interested in what exactly will happen in practice, and how that will foster mutual flourishing. What exactly will +Philip’s relationship be with parishes that are not members of the Society? Will he visit them? Will he carry out confirmations there? What if the incumbent priest is female or was ordained by a bishop who is female? Who will carry out ordinations in the diocese? Will we have in +Philip what we have had in +Richard in London, i.e. a Bishop who does not ordain anybody at all… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

This shows why unity in diversity is so problematic. To conservatives, Philip’s enthronement is a straightforward consequence of mutual flourishing. If he can’t take up this position, mutual flourishing is fatally wounded. To liberals, it is straightforward discrimination. Ministers – all men – who object the ordination of women get flying bishops; women who object to anything other than equal treatment get a bishop who do not believe in their ordination. The asymmetry is obviously unacceptable. The two positions cannot be reconciled. There is no good outcome of this. Worse, it proves to both wings that a muddy compromise for… Read more »

CT
Guest
CT

Surely it would have been better to appoint someone who shows more loyalty to God than to some outdated sectarian organisation like “The Society”. And what is it with FiF ACs that they always have to go on about ministering to the poor as if they are the only ones doing this? They are not. In many cases AC people do next to nothing because they are in thrall to an ideology.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“Bp Philip was properly chosen under the Church’s currrent processes which include a very strong voice for the elected representatives of the diocese. Given the Church’s decision to promote the flourishing of all (including those opposed), and that proper processes were followed, this attempt to force his withdrawal does not seem – to say the least – very reasonable.” That misses the point. If you were a female candidate for ordination in the See of Sheffield how would you feel about the appointment of a bishop who did not believe you should be ordained? Who would you feel about diocesan… Read more »

Richard
Guest
Richard

I’m not sure that Dean Percy would swap the biggest stipend in the country for a mitre, if that’s what the jealousy is intended to mean.

RosalindR
Guest
RosalindR

I note all the comments so far are from men. Whether or not the question of a non-ordaining diocesan was ever clearly asked in the listening part of the appointment process, I have no idea, or if those in the wider diocese were ever made aware this was a realistic possibility. But, as we discovered in Nov 2012, being unsure whether your church, in this case represented by a Diocesan bishop, doesn’t think you are a “real” priest is very painful, demoralising, however nice the man himself may be. I am very happy to work with ambiguity with ecumenical colleagues;… Read more »

Andrew Lightbown
Guest

I was surprised by Philip North’s appointment to Sheffield, but would echo Fr Robin’s point. Presumably, hopefully, the voice of female clerics in the diocese has been heard and listened to. If we have, as a church, learnt one thing from the events of the last few weeks it is surely to let those with the greatest personal stake have their voice. If the voice of female clergy in Sheffield hasn’t been heard the process is flawed and they should be given the opportunity to speak now, if it has been heard and the diocese still want Philip to be… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

I also note that the appalled commenters are all men. It is a horrible situation for female clergy to have a boss who doesn’t accept their calling. Kudos to Martyn Percy for having the integrity to speak this truth. “Mutual flourishing” may have to mean that non ordainers have to accept positions as suffragans but not diocesans. Because there simply is no way for women and girls to flourish under the leadership of a bishop who denies our essence as equally created in the Image of God. That has always been the problem with this “two integrities”. In practice, it… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Kate, I must be one of the most liberal people on here, and it’s precisely because of that liberalism that I must accept this appointment. A core tenet of liberalism is toleration. I strongly disagree with sexual discrimination in the church, and I’d be overjoyed if all bishops embraced the ministry of all, but I don’t have a right to expect my views to be imposed on everyone else. RosalindR, I’m not claiming to know how female priests in the diocese feel (although it’d require a tin-ear to have no idea, even if many women hadn’t made their feelings plain,… Read more »

Anne
Guest
Anne

Disappointed to see the personal abuse for Martyn Percy who is surely right – and courageous – to question whether Society bishops should lead a diocese. How can they possibly be a focus for unity, or share the cure of souls with people (male and female) whose orders they don’t recognize and whose sacramental actions they don’t believe are valid? Can they be bishops? Yes. Diocesan bishops? No.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

You surprise me, James Byron. In your many posts on this site, especially those on threads about LGBTI issues, your position as I read it (and pray forgive me if I have misheard you) is that nothing less than absolute equality will do, and any post advocating any restriction of that equality, in the interests of other considerations within the church, is given very short shrift indeed. And yet on this thread, and the earlier one on the same subject, you appear to be quite happy to underwrite +North’s appointment on the grounds that he has been supportive of women… Read more »

rjb
Guest
rjb

I am an admirer of Bishop Philip, and though I disagree strongly with his position on women’s ordination, I nevertheless think it is a sign of maturity that the church can offer senior positions to gifted men and women from different traditions and theological backgrounds. We should be able to continue to debate and discuss these issues within the family of the church. I am not sure that Martyn Percy’s intervention reflects the spirit of charity one would hope for in such matters – it’s a bit too redolent of the campaign against Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading. It… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

As I understand it, Dean Percy has argued that +North should EITHER renounce his membership of SSWSH OR decline his nomination to Sheffield. Most posts thus far have looked only at the second suggestion. I would like to focus for a moment on the first suggestion. If only +North would follow the example of his episcopal colleague Mark Sowerby of Horsham, change his mind and joyfully accept that women can and should be priests, then we could all rejoice in this appointment. As it is, I will continue to deplore it, and to give thanks for those brave senior churchmen,… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

This blog article is worth a read
The Bishop of Sheffield and Mutual Flourishing: a Guest Blog

https://educationpriest.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/the-bishop-of-sheffield-and-mutual-flourishing-a-guest-blog/

Linda Woodhead
Guest
Linda Woodhead

Interesting set of comments, very divided by gender, sadly. The perspective is largely clerical and focused on structures. I wonder what the people of Sheffield diocese think. Surely a bishop of the Church OF ENGLAND is to serve God and them first and foremost. A survey could tell you quickly and easily what they think about the matter. It would be good practice for a societal church to take the laity’s views into consideration, and modern means of polling make that easy and affordable. Parliamentary control used to serve the purpose of democratic accountability. Alas, no longer.

Frank Nichols
Guest
Frank Nichols

I confess to a profound sadness at the tone of this thread encouraged by the Guardian article. I thank God Lent is almost here, and that I am reminded by the Gospel this Sunday to “set my heart on His Kingdom first and on His righteousness.”
So much of the cacophony of argument and noise around us in these fractious times misses our call as the people of Christ to set our hearts on His Kingdom of Love. May we be forgiven. God’s voice speaks most often in silence, and we would be wise to shut up!

Kelvin Holdsworth
Guest

It is an absurd departure from catholic order for an Anglican province to think it can proceed with the appointment of a diocesan bishop who doesn’t accept the orders of all of the priests in their diocese.

Matters relating to anyone’s opinion on the ordination of women or indeed the suitability of the candidate in other ways, seem to me to be largely irrelevant when compared to the significance of what is being proposed in terms of church order.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Some of us on this board wished for Synod to be dissolved in 2014.

Why? Because we anticipated that a new Synod would approve a better women-bishops measure, one that did not systematise discrimination against women.

So I have to say: We told you so.

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

Very disappointing, but sooo stereotypical: WATCH et al demanding “tolerance”, “breadth”, “mutual flourishing” for themselves but no-one else!

Why are such myopic groups allowed in the CofE?

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Thank you, Kelvin, for a wonderfully pithy post which goes right to the nub of the issue. The irony is that it is largely the contributors who consider themselves more catholic than we hoi polloi (if not more catholic than the Pope!) who are attempting most strongly to defend this indefensible appointment. I wonder why they can’t see the incompatibility with catholic order?

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Malcolm, discrimination’s an action: so long as women are treated equally, a bishop’s beliefs don’t violate equality. That doesn’t mitigate the pain caused, but the only alternative’s schism, and that wasn’t the path chosen. My position’s consistent: I’ve repeatedly said that priests (and bishops) holding traditional views on sexuality should have the right to hold office and, if they so choose, refuse to marry same-sex couples. I couldn’t disagree more strongly with North’s beliefs if I tried, but that’s irrelevant. It was agreed by all parties that traditionalists could not only stay, but were welcome, and that promise must be… Read more »

Nancy Goodrich
Guest
Nancy Goodrich

I’d be very happy if Bishop Philip stayed here in Blackburn Diocese. His theology regarding ordaining women is complex but wrong which is difficult in a diocesan role. It brings with it the need to compromise which forces others to compromise too and there is the question of theological integrity, as we all know. But, as +Philip said to local clergy yesterday, imperfection doesn’t stop us being an eschatological church, proclaiming Christ and being the John 21 community, the body of Christ incarnate on earth. It is a significant theological compromise that has proved to be unexpectedly easy for everyone… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

James, thank you for explaining your thinking. But what about ordination, which is an action? +North can”t ordain women without invalidating his membership of SSWSH, but if he doesn’t, whilst still ordaining men, he is clearly being discriminatory. The London option of not ordaining anyone is not practicable in a small diocese like Sheffield.

Michael Mulhern
Guest
Michael Mulhern

Is not Martyn Percy’s intervention, in principle, identical to the hounding that Rowan Williams suffered after his Sharia Law speech? Behind all the eloquence, this is just bullying. Period. I have not heard women in the Diocese of London calling for the resignation of Richard Chartres because of his opaqueness over womens’ ordination. Nor did the women of Exeter Diocese, under Michael Langrish, who would not ordain any priests (male or female)either. Philip North will have had to be the unanimous candidate of both the internal and external selectors to be appointed to Sheffield. He was, presumably, appointed because he… Read more »

Tim M
Guest
Tim M

Where was Modern Church when bishops with links to Reform or Church Society were appointed? On the face of it, rescinding membership of SSWSH sounds reasonable, but it creates a problem in how far bishops should go with their patronages.

On the same basis, can a bishop be a member of Modern Church?

Kate
Guest
Kate

“Malcolm, discrimination’s an action: so long as women are treated equally, a bishop’s beliefs don’t violate equality. That doesn’t mitigate the pain caused, but the only alternative’s schism, and that wasn’t the path chosen.” A female minister in Sheffield will offer obedience to a diocesan bishop who does not believe her ordination is right and valid. All female ministers are affected. No male minister will be affected. The effect is entirely “because of” Sex. That is direct discrimination. You might believe it is acceptable or agreed discrimination but, sorry, that doesn’t mean that it is not discrimination. As to “agreed”… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

How many non-ordaining bishops does it take for a small minority of people in the CoE to flourish? And can someone please explain to me how this appointment encourages the flourishing of traditionalist Anglo-Catholics in other Dioceses? The Flying Bishops concept made sense – one bishop responsible for all those parishes in the church and for none other. That a Diocesan who doesn’t believe that his own female priests are ordained doesn’t contribute to their flourishing and that of most women in his Diocese is obvious. But how does he contribute to the flourishing of traditionalists anywhere other than in… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Synod in 2014 accepted a House of Bishops declaration which expressly allows the appointment of diocesan bishops who do not ordain women. Moreover, the agreement was that the Church has reached a final decision on the topic. People have opined what female clerics within the Diocese of Sheffield might think about the appointment of Bishop Philip: I am not sure that the canons actually allow them to have an opinion on the matter so I do think it is important for others to speak out on their behalf.

Mother Hubbard
Guest
Mother Hubbard

Too many posters on here seem to equate “mutual flourishing” with preferment, and elevation to Diocesan in particular. I fear Sheffield will experience the same that Chichester has been plagued with for decades. And, no, it has not changed in the last four years. Female clergy, even newly ordained ones, leave the Diocese in droves, many as soon as their title is served, if their personal circumstances allow. The ones that have left are indeed now flourishing. Most stipendiary posts, and even more so parish clergy posts, that are filled with women here have been, and are going, to women… Read more »

James A
Guest
James A

Does @Mother Hubbard actually have any recent experience of the Diocese of Chichester, where women priests, denied recognition for so long (not even being allowed to wear stoles at diocesan gatherings) are being fully affirmed and given a full voice by a traditionalist catholic bishop. No, +Martin doesn’t ordain priests (of either gender) but neither did +Richard Londin. And, unlike his predecessors, +Martin insisted on appointing a suffragan who would ordain women. What’s more, the Diocese is in good heart and motoring.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Malcolm, even if it applies to all, other bishops (including Sheffield’s suffragans) can surely cover ordaining duties? Disagree with the CNC system as I do, I’d at least trust them to have considered practical matters like this, and be satisfied with whatever solution’s been proposed. Kate, if it is “direct discrimination” (and given that no-one’s proposing that female clergy in Sheffield be denied office or preferment on the basis of their sex, I don’t believe that it is), it’s direct discrimination that all parties agreed to in order to pass equal consecration. If a single-clause measure was non-negotiable, the compromise… Read more »

Will Richards
Guest
Will Richards

I’m sat here, scratching my head, trying to think when it was that a group of self-righteous clergy, led by a high priest, whipped-up a frenzy of opposition to a preacher whom they considered to be not ‘not one of us’ and it all ended up with someone being crucified for his convictions. Does anyone else contributing to this thread have trouble remembering the detail? I find this episode deeply distasteful and I am, frankly, surprised that Martyn Percy is aligning himself with it. As a scholar of Anglicanism, he of all people should know that it is the unique… Read more »

Martyn Percy
Guest
Martyn Percy

I hope readers will be happy for me to clear up one or two matters relating to the correspondence on the matter of integrity, above. It is worth restating that my essay calls for Bishop North to either unequivocally affirm the sacramental validity of all his clergy; or, as a matter of integrity, decline the nomination – for the simple reason he does not, currently, believe one third of his clergy to ‘real’ priests. That is the position of The Society, in which he has a leading role. Minor Matters: 1. The Dean of Christ Church is not paid by… Read more »

David Keen
Guest
David Keen

I worry at the way the CofE is increasingly governed by public campaigns and outrage. Welcome to PostModern Church. Oh for the good old days when we prayed and took our concerns to each other in private, the way Jesus recommended.

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Kate, you say that ‘Synod in 2014 accepted a House of Bishops declaration which expressly allows the appointment of diocesan bishops who do not ordain women’. Can you give us ‘chapter and verse’ for this please? The second phrase you quote comes from the ‘5 guiding principles’, but I see nothing in there which expressly allows the appointment of a non-ordaining diocesan, and I don’t believe that Synod would have voted for such a thing. Indeed, I would argue that the first two of the guiding principles at least implicitly rule out such an appointment , because a non-ordaining diocesan… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

In response to Linda’s comment about the gender split on here. I am with Martyn Percy on this one. It is not bullying for him to express his opinion. That is just people trying to shut him up. He acknowledges the good personal opinion of Philip North that many people have, so it is hardly rubbishing the man unfairly. His point is a point of principle, with which others may disagree. I cannot understand how we have got ourselves into this ludicrous situation. If I were a man and had a female diocesan who didn’t believe in the validity of… Read more »

David Lamming
Guest
David Lamming

To those who are concerned at the appointment of Philip North to be Bishop of Sheffield, may I commend them to read these paragraphs from Bishop North’s speech on 31 January 2017 when his appointment was announced: “We need to transform fear into joy. And we can do that – we can do it because we know the future. It is God’s Church, not ours. He has already won the victory. The future is the joy of heaven, the triumph of love, the peace and justice of the Kingdom. It is not our job to save the Church because it’s… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Here one can see the difference between the absolutist position of TEC and an effort to find another way forward in the CofE, with people in both contexts applauding the different alternatives. In TEC it was much easier to get the desired outcome, due to drifts over the past decades. All that was required in the end was eliminating diocesan canons and individual diocesan Bishop resistance. The way for that was paved during the WO period. One can recall assurances being given that then timed out. Then the PB carved out a Title IV authority that could be used to… Read more »

gerry reilly
Guest
gerry reilly

If Bishop Philip cannot accept the valid ordination to the priesthood of women, how can he, as diocesan bishop, appoint or consent to the appointment of women to parishes to conduct invalid Eucharists, and other invalid sacraments;I refer to invalidity in his theological understanding. This might be considered as condoning a sacrilege.
If I were a woman priest in his diocese, I would feel demeaned by his toleration of, despite his refusal to accept my ordination as valid sacramentally.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Martyn, as it happens, I agree with you equating discrimination on grounds of sex with discrimination on grounds of race. I find both indefensible. And yet. This was known when equal consecration was passed in England, yet all parties compromised as a condition of change. That being so, all parties are obliged to honor the promise that traditionalists would be welcome, and not disadvantaged because of their beliefs. Regarding the limits of toleration, they’re contextual, not ideologically pure. North’s beliefs don’t exist in a vacuum. Their history as the normative position of the church doesn’t mitigate their wrongness, but it… Read more »