THINKING ANGLICANS

More responses on the Sheffield bishopric

Updated yet again on Wednesday – scroll down for new items

See our original report here.

The Archbishop of York wrote an opinion article for the Yorkshire Post this morning: John Sentamu: Your have my word – female clergy will not be undermined by new Bishop of Sheffield.

A website called Sheffield Action on Ministry Equality has appeared, and has this further roundup of news items today (Saturday).

It also has this article by Sue Hammersley Sheffield Speaking Out—What Do We Want?

…What do we want? We want to break the silence of misunderstandings.

We want to understand the process which led to Bishop Philip’s nomination, why the Vacancy in See Committee left the diocese wide open to receiving someone who would not ordain women. This was never checked out within the parishes. Was it deliberate or was it because we all assumed that there was a direction of travel within this diocese? We weren’t expecting this.

We want to understand the relationship between Bishop Philip and the many societies he represents, The Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda and Forward in Faith being the most relevant. How free is Bishop Philip to make up his own mind about women priests? How appropriate is it for a diocesan bishop, not a suffragan bishop, to be aligned with a group which denies the priestly orders of women?

We want a thorough review of the theology, efficacy and use of the five guiding principles which are currently being used to keep us silent.

We want to find a voice of dissent which is also a voice of love and compassion, of truth and justice and equality. We want to ask, what would Jesus do?

Thomas Matthew Sharp has written: Man from a Woman Bishop’s Rib: a Man’s Perspective on Mutual Flourishing? which discusses the general issue, apart from the Sheffield specific instance.

There is another roundup of coverage from SAME over here.

And Archbishop Cranmer (Adrian Hilton) has this: If Philip North can’t be Bishop of Sheffield, the Church of England ceases to be catholic.

This article by Alice Whalley is well worth reading: The Bishop of Sheffield and Mutual Flourishing: a Guest Blog

The Yorkshire Post has published a response by Martyn Percy to the Archbishop of York’s article: Martyn Percy: Bishop’s views mean he should decline job.
The article as published is significantly shorter than the original as written. You can read the latter version over here:Finding the Wisdom of Solomon.

The Church of England has published 5 Guiding Principles On Women And The Episcopate – A User Guide. Here’s the first part of it:

Since the ordination of women began in 1994, there have been a number of diocesan bishops who have not ordained women. Currently in the Church of England the Bishop of Chichester does not ordain women as priests, and Bishop Richard Chartres, who has just retired after twenty years’ service as Bishop of London, also did not ordain women as priests. Both those bishops have supported the vocation and ministry of women within their dioceses.

It has been established for over two decades, both within the Church of England and within the Anglican Communion that both positions, those who support the ordination and consecration of women, and those who in conscience cannot support that, are fully Anglican.

For many years the Church of England wrestled with how to accommodate this commitment to supporting both positions while also permitting the consecration of women as bishops. The Church’s first formal attempt to do this failed when the General Synod rejected the relevant legislation in November 2012.

At the second time of asking, the Church of England did pass legislation to permit the consecration of women as bishops in July 2014, after a process of reflection and dialogue to learn the lessons of its previous failure. The package that was agreed, and passed into law, in 2014, was founded on a declaration by the House of Bishops, approved by the General Synod. The declaration comprised five guiding principles, and above all a commitment to “mutual flourishing” for all traditions within the Church. That declaration forms a key part of the package which permitted the 2014 legislation, and enabled the consecration of the first women bishops (now ten, by February 2017) within the Church of England.

The declaration specifically provides that:

  • A diocesan bishop may be either a bishop who does, or who does not, ordain women;
  • A diocese may express a view, prior to a diocesan see being filled, as to whether the diocesan bishop should be someone who does or does not ordain women;
  • In every case where the diocesan bishop does not ordain women, there should be at least one bishop in the diocese who does ordain women;
  • Senior leadership roles within dioceses should continue to be filled by people from across the range of traditions.

Those provisions are part of the “mutual flourishing” that is central to the declaration and to the package. The declaration also recognises that “there will need to be sensitivity to the feelings of vulnerability that some will have that their position within the Church of England will gradually be eroded and that others will have because not everyone will receive their ministry.” It appreciates that the practical working out of these arrangements may not be easy, for the Church as a whole or for individuals.

The nomination of Bishop Philip North was made by the Crown Nominations Commission, a group comprising six representatives from the diocese itself, six from the national Church, and the two Archbishops. The process of selecting Bishop Philip was made entirely in line with the provisions of the House of Bishops declaration. His nomination for the see of Sheffield is therefore also in line with the provisions that made it possible for women to be consecrated as bishops.

The argument against Bishop Philip’s nomination is based on a rejection of the five guiding principles in the House of Bishops’ declaration. Some critics of the nomination have made clear that they do not believe in the five guiding principles. Instead, they would like to reopen the settlement made by the Church of England in July 2014 which enabled both supporters of women’s consecration, and those who opposed it, to flourish alongside each other within the Church…

The Bishop of Wakefield has issued this statement on behalf of the Society of St Wilfred and St Hilda:

The See of Sheffield

The Bishop of Wakefield has issued the following statement on behalf of the Council of Bishops of The Society.

We are confident that the ministry of Bishop Philip North as Bishop of Sheffield will make a very significant contribution to the life and mission of the Church. We have been delighted by the welcome that his nomination has received from representatives of a wide range of traditions in the Diocese of Sheffield and in the Church of England more widely. The support expressed by many female clergy who have experience of his ministry and gifts is especially encouraging. Their response gives grounds for hope that the Five Guiding Principles and the spirit of mutual flourishing that they embody have begun to permeate through the Church of England.

We have also noted critical comments. Some of them have referred to the cards that are issued to Priests of The Society. The card merely states, ‘Fr John Smith is a Priest of The Society’, and that it is only valid while the priest holds a benefice, licence or permission to officiate in the Church of England. The cards are no different from the membership cards that are issued by many organizations. They are not available to priests who have not chosen to become Priests of The Society. We understand that the way in which the cards have been described has created a different impression, and wish to express our regret at the offence that this has caused.

In our 2015 statement ‘A Catholic Life in the Church of England’ we said: ‘We reject any so-called “theology of taint” whereby a bishop who ordains women to the episcopate or the priesthood thereby invalidates his own orders and renders invalid the orders of those whom he subsequently ordains.’ We made it clear that priests ordained by such bishops are welcomed as Priests of The Society. We are disappointed that our beliefs continue to be misrepresented.

One of the many aspects of Bishop Philip’s ministry which is exemplary is the fact that he values, and works happily with, both female and male clergy of different traditions. As bishops of The Society, we expect its clergy and people to respect all whom the Church of England has ordained and appointed to office, and to work with them in a spirit of mutual flourishing. The Five Guiding Principles, to which we are wholeheartedly committed, require this not only of the rest of the Church of England but also of us.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has described the House of Bishops’ Declaration as ‘a promise to love one another’. We call on all involved in the discussions that have arisen to recommit themselves to that promise, as we do ourselves.

Tomorrow sees the beginning of Lent – a season of prayer, reflection and spiritual renewal. We hope that throughout this season people will continue to pray for Bishop Philip and the people of the Diocese of Sheffield.

+TONY WAKEFIELD
The Right Revd Tony Robinson
Chairman of the Council of Bishops

There is a further news article in the Sheffield Telegraph New Sheffield bishop ‘getting on with his job’ amid objections.

And there is a further blog article, by Ian Paul titled Agreeing to disagree in Sheffield…?.

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Father David
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Father David

Excellent riposte from the Archbishop of York in response to the “unwarranted attack” by the Dean of Christ Church on the next Bishop of Sheffield. It is good to see that + Sentamu Eboracensis and + Paul Dunelmensis (2nd and 4th in the hierarchy of the Church of England)both support this inspired and inspiring appointment.
“Hills of the North, rejoice!”

David Runcorn
Guest

‘You have my word – female clergy will not be undermined by new Bishop of Sheffield’. What an extraordinary claim to make. How would he know? And he seems to have missed the significant number of women and men – clergy and lay – Sheffield and beyond – who already feel undermined by this appointment.

Jeremy Fagan
Guest
Jeremy Fagan

What does it mean to be ‘in favour of women’s leadership and […] actively promote it’ when you don’t accept the validity of their ministry or orders? I genuinely don’t understand.

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

Fr David and others – please read Martyn Percy’s article. He is not attacking Philip North but is asking some pertinent questions about this appointment and indeed broader issues about how the five principles are working out. There are many questions still to be answered – not least about what +Philip actually believes!

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

I so look forward to the ABY putting into practice the same principles and applying them to lgbti people in the church.

Pam
Guest
Pam

Readers will have to bear with me in reading this comment. A few years ago an Indigenous lawyer, Noel Pearson, gave a very moving eulogy at the funeral of former Australian PM, Gough Whitlam. Whitlam was of patrician bearing, an upper middle class white man who had never personally suffered discrimination. Pearson spent the first ten years of his life on an Aboriginal mission, in very oppressive conditions. Whitlam changed so much within society for Pearson. They had nothing in common, on paper. Except their shared humanity. By all accounts that I’ve read Philip North is an outstanding churchman.

Simon Kershaw
Admin

One of the consequences of this may perhaps be that every future vacancy-in-see committee meeting will state as a requirement that their next diocesan bishop must be someone who ordains both women and men. Did the Sheffield v-in-s committee forget to insist on that, so that the CNC was not bound by it?

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Yes, Simon, I made a similar suggestion on an earlier thread. It does seem to be one of the most likely ways of dealing with this flaw in the 2014 legislation. But is it the case that the CNC is bound to comply with the wishes of the diocese? I would have thought that they could be overruled in the interests of the wider church.

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

It is illogical (and unjust) for those who support equal marriage in church, and equality for LGBTI people generally, to oppose equality for those with a different view about ordination (and one which is still the majority view of the world’s christians). I would like to see the former; I don’t see why the church can’t accept those willing to perform ‘same-sex’ marriages as well as those unwilling to. So how can I or anyone object to a bishop who is unwilling to ordain women, much as I disagree with him? There is a lot of liberal arrogance around which… Read more »

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

“It is illogical (and unjust) for those who support equal marriage in church, and equality for LGBTI people generally, to oppose equality for those with a different view about ordination…” This kind of thing sounds very good, but you are mistaken. It is neither illogical nor unjust. The common denominator is a patriarchal male institution that presumes to qualify who is a person based on marginal differences. You are confusing institutional (self serving) policy with the ground of discrimination (sex/gender). “…one which is still the majority view of the world’s christian…” Ah yes, the tyranny of the patriarchal majority. Get… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

“I want an inclusive church as long as it only includes those who agree with me.” This reminds me of nothing more than Sister Monica Joan’s perceptive comment in a recent episode of “Call the Midwife” – “I find two opinions are always better than one, particularly if one is mine.” It is good to hear of the support for the Sheffield appointment being given by the female occupants of the Suffragan sees of Dorking and Repton who obviously agree with the strongly held views of Ebor and Dunelm. It would be enlightening to know the views of Newcastle (who… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

“It is illogical (and unjust) for those who support equal marriage in church, and equality for LGBTI people generally, to oppose equality for those with a different view about ordination (and one which is still the majority view of the world’s christians).” The word ‘equality’ is used but it is often an inapt shorthand for something quite different. The question, I think, is simple: was man alone made in the image of God, or were both men and women made in God’s image? If both, then both being the image of God then there can be no difference between men… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

And what of the lay members of the diocese? The House of Bishops has recently asserted that setting out correct teaching and doctrine are part of the episcopal role. So how should a lay member react to the woman who is the regular celebrant of Communion in his/her local church? Should s/he follow the teaching of his/her bishop and now see the celebrant as incapable of leading a service, or should s/he ignore the teaching of his/her bishop? The Church has really not thought through the consequences of this. It is a straight choice: either ministry by women is invalidated… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

There is a blatant flaw at the heart of your analogy, David Emmott. If two otherwise unattached people of the same sex get married in a church, no one is harmed or discriminated against. If, however, a non-ordaining bishop is appointed to a diocese, two groups of people are greatly harmed and discriminated against – the women priests and any male priests who were ordained by a woman bishop. They now have to swear canonical obedience to someone who does not believe that they are really priests, even if he has made mealy-mouthed and ultimately obfuscatory statements about accepting that… Read more »

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

Rod Gillis and Kate both make persuasive points about the theology of ‘equality’. I agree, but isn’t it arrogant in the extreme to unchurch those with a different view? Especially as that view was the universal tradition of the church until recently. The C of E at the moment closely resembles the Labour Party, in that no faction seems to want to concede ground to another. At least conservative anglo-catholics, unlike many conservative evangelicals, are willing to co-exist with others.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

If one church marries same sex couples and has same sex married priests, it affects no-one else.
If a Diocese has a bishop who does not recognise the ordination of his own priests, those priests are affected, as are all their parishioners.

There is orthodox theology for and against same sex marriage.
There is no orthodox theology for bishops not being in Communion with priests they are responsible for.

That’s the difference.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Kate, “trust in the teaching of your bishop on same sex marriage but ignore him – if you want – when it comes to the validity of the minister who has just led the funeral for your father.” I’m not sure that’s entirely correct. The official teaching of the CoE is that women can be priests and bishops. The church has created a space for people who do not believe that, but not believing it cannot be elevated to Teaching. Apart from that, you’re right of course. While accommodation happened for the very best of reasons, it really is repulsive… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: David Emmott, :…but isn’t it arrogant in the extreme to unchurch those with a different view? ” No one has to be “unchurched”. (Is there a ceremony for that? You know the “unchurching” of social conservative guys, something like the reverse of the sexist “churching” of women?) It’s not about arrogance, as if seeking equality and justice transparently makes victims of discrimination “uppity”. “…the universal tradition of the church until recently.” A “universal” view in an institution dominated by patriarchy. A dominance only in the early stages of reform in Anglicanism and one still very much entrenched in the… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

It is good to know, Fr David, that you welcome views other than your own. On your penultimate point, I would point out that the C of E agreed significant changes in its polity in 1992 and again in 2014. The positions of +Chichester (and, until after tomorrow, +London) are clearly anomalous against the post 2014 polity, but they are hangovers from the pre 2014 polity, which will in the fullness of time be corrected. I presume that neither the Dean of Christ Church, nor others holding more liberal views than your own, would wish to force an earlier correction.… Read more »

Michael Mulhern
Guest
Michael Mulhern

Sorry to sound like a stuck record, but one vital element is being conveniently ignored in this (and previous) discussions. Philip North’s appointment is a direct and logical consequence of the legislation the General Synod (and parliament) approved to allow women to become bishops. Earlier attempts, which would have prevented it, were thrown out and deemed too mean and uninclusive. We cannot now throw our hands up in horror and bang on about discrimination and injustice after the event. This is what we voted for, folks, and we have to be mature and generous enough to live with its consequences.… Read more »

Amos
Guest
Amos

This is depressingly similar to what happened to Jeffrey John when he was put forward as bishop of Reading. Focusing all the bile of a church dispute onto one person. And as it’s a bishop he’s fair game, so much so that those doing this will not see themselves a bullies as they see themselves (in this case) as standing up for an oppressed minority, so are excused the normal niceties.

Lets all take a deep breath and ponder: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

Erika: ‘There is no orthodox theology for bishops not being in Communion with priests they are responsible for.’ That’s how I see it too. But presumably those bishops (and their supporters) don’t see it like that and would claim to be orthodox. Since the C of E has been living with difference for at least the last 500 years I think a little more give and take might help us. I don’t know that I would like to be in a church where everyone agreed with me. And while we are still talking of +Philip North surely everyone agrees that… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

David,
I agree in principle. But I do believe that it is that lack of orthodox theology that is causing the current uproar.
Whatever we may think of it – and there are valid voices on both sides here in this thread… this will remain a crunch point until the theology has been done.

Cantab
Guest
Cantab

I don’t think Martyn Percy is being all that unreasonable here. I don’t read that he is calling for +Philip to turn down Sheffield diocese. He’s calling on him to choose between acting as a focus for unity in Sheffield and remaining on the Council of Bishops for “The Society”. I don’t actually think that’s unreasonable. It is difficult to see how +Philip can inhabit both roles at once. I disagree with whoever it was on a previous thread who said that +Philip should just change his mind on the issue of ordination of women. That is clearly an unrealistic… Read more »

Will Richards
Guest
Will Richards

@Amos is absolutely right. Replace Martyn Percy’s name with Philip Giddings’s, along with the threats to bankrupt the Diocese of Oxford, and we have a re-run of 2003. Miserere, indeed.

Charles Read
Guest
Charles Read

I have held off revealing this, but think I can do without revealing the identity of the person concerned. Some time ago, a member of the exec committee of WATCH was offered a senior post but was told they had to resign from the WATCH committee to take it up. Both of which they did. Now of course they could carry on believing all the things WATCH supports etc. – no-one can legislate for change of mind. And other WATCH members have been appointed to senior posts without WATCH membership having been an issue (though no committee member falls into… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re:Cantab, Canon Percy’s complete three thousand word essay is worth a full and careful read (available via link to pdf, see the TA post Update 6:00 pm Friday past). Reading the Yorkshire Post piece by Archbishop Sentamu, these bits from Percy’s essay immediately came to mind: “There is a problem, then, for any church that wants to talk about ‘two integrities’ coexisting within its life – especially when they are opposed to one another. The Church of England took a decision in 1993 to adopt precisely this position in relation to gender (the infamous Act of Synod), enshrining the rights… Read more »

Andrew Lightbown
Guest

Its not analogous to the 2003 Jeffrey John debacle because a significant number of bishops made it clear that they opposed John’s appointment. In this case the only bishops saying anything wish to affirm Philip North’s appointment. Their public declarations of support could do with a little more theology instead of relying on sound bite style rhetoric around ‘affirmation,’ etc. Maybe they coud carefully unpack the various issues in a more constructive manner to establish just how this appointment really does add to the notion of mutual flourishing.

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Rod Gillis..I seem to remember John Austin Baker Bishop of Salisbury making much the same theological points as Martyn Percy in an article in the Church Times at the time of the debate around the Act of Synod…alas I cant find it.I suppose the real problem is that the C of E is both catholic and protestant and the two co-exist in an uneasy symbiosis. Have we ever had a coherent ecclesiology?There have been several “anglicanisms”. The ambiguity attributed by Bill Pickering to Anglo-Catholics really extends to the whole enterprise.It was Simon Jenkins’ father the Congregationalist theologian Daniel Jenkins who… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: Perry Butler, “We have paid a high price for institutional unity.” True enough, I’m sure. I’d suggest however that the price of unity is more costly to some than to others. In the current instance, for example, the female presbyters in the diocese of Sheffield are likely going to carry an inordinate share of the tab. And, in light of Dean Percy’s analysis one could ask those who hold to the views expressed by Archbishop Sentamu ( he is not alone in his defense of the managerial status quo I’m sure) if standing on managerial principle is worth the… Read more »

Mary Hancock
Guest
Mary Hancock

Perhaps someone knows the answer to these questions? Would a bishop who does not recognise the ordination of women license a female priest to a parish? Can he share the cure of souls that is his with a female priest?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Yes, Society bishops do this all the time. I personally attended just such a service recently, involving the Bishop of Wakefield. There is a photo of the Bishop of Burnley on FB (or Twitter, or both) doing so just a couple of days ago.

I have also been present at such a service involving the (just about to retire) Bishop of London.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to believe!

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Your question, Mary, and Simon’s answer, remind me of the anecdote told earlier in one of the threads on this topic, where a bishop was asked if he believed in infant baptism. He replied, ‘Madam, I have seen it done!’ Non-ordaining bishops clearly *can* do these things, but the deeper question, implicit in your questions, is ‘Can they do it with integrity?’. The Dean of Christ Church, whose excellent essay sparked off this latest debate, clearly feels that they cannot, and I, and many others posting here, completely agree with him. But, unless I am mistaken, a suffragan bishop who… Read more »

Peter S
Guest
Peter S

If any good has come out of this debate, it might be the fresh theological voices from contributors such as Alice Whalley and Thomas Matthew Sharp, who reveal a commitment to love and companionship that is sorely missing in much of the more jaded commentary. If any learning has come out of the debate, it might be recognition of the ridiculous amount of power and authority Anglicans peculiarly want to invest in their diocesan bishops, power far greater than what is experienced by those who actually hold posts as ordinaries in the church. The diocesan bishops I know take all… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Everything suggests that Bishop Philip would make an excellent diocesan bishop. Had he, up to this point, been more low key about his beliefs on female ordination, ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ might have been sufficient. Of course, had he taken that approach he would also have been one of the diminished bishops of which we already have too many. I think Philip has greater integrity than most bishops and that he himself will not accept the appointment unless he believes he can be the focus of unity which is such an essential part of the episcopal duties. I think those… Read more »

Bernard Randall
Guest
Bernard Randall

@Rod Gillis:

“Our problems are the result of two radically different anthropological starting points, the one essentially mythologically based, the other essentially empirically based.”

Which is which?

Daniel Lamont
Guest
Daniel Lamont

I think that this thread is trying to do two different, albeit related, things: to defend Philip North’s appointment and to debate the issues raised by Professor Percy. I use his academic title advisedly because he is clearly doing his job when he applies a careful and thoughtful analysis to the situation in Sheffield.To many people both within and without the church, such analysis is deeply threatening. It seems that some commentators have read reports of Professor Percy’s essay rather than the actual essay which I have now read carefully twice. Even Alice Whalley refers us to Harriet Sherwood’s account… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

Re Michael Mulhern (yesterday) I can’t deny that we have to live with the legislation that has been enacted. But this legislation, like all new legislation, is inevitably imperfect and incomplete, so that issues will arise, particularly in the early years of implementation – unintended consequences or things that simply weren’t thought of at the time. These need to be addressed as they arise, wherever possible. In this case, the shortcoming seems to arise in the way a diocese indicates its preference for a new bishop. As has been teased out on another thread, Sheffield certainly didn’t ask for a… Read more »

Jane Charman
Guest
Jane Charman

Having thought about this I conclude that +Philip does not really believe that women cannot be priests or that the female priests of the Church of England are not in fact priests and therefore not efficacious channels of the Church’s sacramental ministry. By ‘does not really believe’ I mean that he does not believe it so fully or profoundly or unequivocally that he feels the need for this conviction to shape his decisions and actions as a soon to be Diocesan bishop. Indeed he could not now be appointed as a Diocesan bishop if that were the case. While the… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: Bernard Randall’s question ‘Which is Which?” Traditional approaches to moral theology, labeled variously as “biblical” morality or “revealed” morality and so forth approach or otherwise join the anthropological question(s) from the ground of biblical myth–even when the trajectory is intended as a climb from myth to theory. The alternative is an empirical approach to the anthropological question i.e what does the evidence indicate, suggest or reasonably hypothesize? Empirical in this instance meaning what does the evidence suggest, or what hypotheses makes best sense of the empirical evidence,about the relationship of things, not just to us, but to each other.… Read more »

T Pott
Guest
T Pott

The “About Us” page of the Society under the patronage of SS Wilfred and Hilda has the following: “The Society is intended to become an ecclesial body, not another catholic society among the many catholic societies of the Church of England. Membership of the Church is conferred in baptism (and initiation is completed in episcopal confirmation and first communion). It costs nothing to join the Church. Therefore, the Society is not a membership organization. The members are those baptized members of the Church of England who worship in parishes and institutions that receive episcopal oversight from the bishops of the… Read more »

Michael Mulhern
Guest
Michael Mulhern

Yes. @Malcolm Dixon, I get all that. But you simply cannot turn round and say ‘This is the legislation we voted for; but, if we knew Philip North was going to become Bishop of Sheffield, we would not have voted for it. And now that it has happened, under the Five Guiding Principles, we need to change them.’ You seem to want to have your cake and eat it. Meanwhile, I will be praying for forgiveness, tomorrow, for all the spiteful, unfounded hysteria that has been dumped on Philip North’s doormat; and praying that God will make a new creation… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

I see that the Lambeth Palace rebuttals unit, aka cofecomms, has been working overtime, but it’s hard to know where to start on a reaction to their ‘User Guide’. Let’s try this: So the bishops of Chichester and (still for a few hours) London have been supportive of women’s ministry in their dioceses, have they? That would be why those two dioceses have the lowest proportions of women priests in the country then. The claim that those who oppose this nomination have done so because they disagree with the 5 principles is breathtaking in its unqualified boldness, since it is… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Guest
Malcolm Dixon

No, you don’t get it Michael, otherwise you wouldn’t be attributing things to me which I didn’t say. I don’t want to change the 5 principles – I want them all to be observed, including the first two, which you seem to overlook. And you continue to suggest that all those of us who oppose this nomination are conducting a personal vendetta against +North. I don’t think you will find a single post in any of the three threads which does that. I consider him to be a fine priest and bishop, and he would in many ways make a… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

“But you simply cannot turn round and say ‘This is the legislation we voted for; but, if we knew Philip North was going to become Bishop of Sheffield, we would not have voted for it. And now that it has happened, under the Five Guiding Principles, we need to change them.’ You seem to want to have your cake and eat it.” While I agree with Jane Charman (above) that Philip can accept the position subject to setting out his position more clearly (and I think resigning from the Society), those who take a harder line will find support in… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

I used the word “renegade” advisedly to mean “rebel” or “rebellious”. Without doubt in sparking off this deluge of criticism against the appointment of +Philip North as the next bishop of Sheffield the Dean of Christ Church can indeed be seen to be both a rebel and rebellious. Without the dean’s “unwarranted” intervention, which was and is the catalyst for all the acrimony being heaped upon the Bishop of Burnley’s head the protests would have been decidedly more muted. I attended the Glastonbury Pilgrimage last year at which Bishop North preached. In 40 years of ministry it was one of… Read more »

Bernard Randall
Guest
Bernard Randall

Rod Gillis, you gave the answer I pretty much expected. The trouble is, I can’t see how it can be supported. Any morality of equality based on being created equally in the image of God (the basis for ordaining women for most people, I think) is based on the “myth” of humanity’s creation in Genesis. Likewise, any discussion of “gender” in the terms commonly used in current debates is involving social and linguistic constructs – the stories we tell about gender; similarly, “patriarchy” is not an objective fact observable in the world, but rather a story to explain features of… Read more »

Michael Mulhern
Guest
Michael Mulhern

@Malcolm Dixon, I do get it, actually, because I am not taking each of the Five Guiding Principles in isolation but accept them together. What I don’t get is the idea that we can do our theology of church, ministry and sacraments on the basis that those who complain loudest get what they want, even if it means undermining long-debated decisions reached by consensus. As a supporter of equal ordination, I find this situation extremely ungenerous. It also makes me wonder whether those who voted for this legislation did so with their fingers crossed, or simply didn’t understand what they… Read more »

Daniel Lamont
Guest
Daniel Lamont

Father David, ‘Renegade’ has a more precise meaning that just ‘rebel’ or ‘rebellious’. Its full meaning is either a deserter from one faith, cause, or allegiance to another or an individual who rejects lawful or conventional behaviour. I do not think that Professor Percy can properly be accused of any of these things nor is it fair to accuse him of being the ‘catalyst for the acrimony’ which Bishop North’s appointment has attracted – the fallout had begun before he published his essay. Nor can his intervention be called ‘unwarranted’. Professor Percy is an ordained Professor at Oxford University and… Read more »