Thinking Anglicans

See of Sheffield: Affirming Catholicism responds

A response to the nomination of the Rt Revd Philip North to, and his resignation from, the Diocese of Sheffield March 2017

Affirming Catholicism has watched with deep concern the circumstances surrounding the nomination of the Rt Reverend Philip North as Bishop of Sheffield and his subsequent withdrawal from that nomination. We are very aware of the hurt caused to many of those involved, including to many of the clergy and lay people in the Diocese of Sheffield and +Philip himself. We believe that the current situation reflects a failure to take seriously – on several sides – the Five Guiding Principles (see below) but we also believe that it illustrates how difficult is going to be to put these principles into practice, and reveals how much hurt and distrust still exists within the Church of England around questions of the ordination of women and the place in the Church of those who cannot accept it. It seems to us that the Church of England needs to reflect carefully on the three concepts which underpin the Five Guiding Principles: simplicity, reciprocity and mutuality.

We have been surprised by the apparent lack of recognition in some quarters of the fact that the Church of England has since 1994 been living with a situation in which a small minority of its bishops are in some sense “not in communion” with their female clergy. This situation existed before the admission of women to the episcopate in the Church of England, and we believe that reflecting on experiences of such situations can shed some light on what has happened over the past weeks.

There can be no question that clergy – including female clergy – and lay people who affirm the ordination of women can flourish in dioceses in which the diocesan bishop does not ordain women. Indeed, the Five Principles were in part predicated on the fact that relationships in such contexts had been found to be not only workable, but capable of promoting flourishing amongst all the clergy and lay people of such dioceses. It should probably also be recognised, however, that the dioceses where this is the case have often had a long history of having bishops who have had doubts about the ordination of women, and that this self-understanding has played a role in how relationships function.

Moreover, it is important that the complexities in describing experiences of ministry not be underestimated. The same situation may be experienced by different people in very different ways. One priest may experience the ministry of her bishop who does not recognise her priestly ordination as personally supportive and deeply affirming. Another may experience the ministry of the same bishop as profoundly undermining and unfriendly.

It must also be recognised that very difficult situations have sometimes arisen, in which female clergy have found themselves subject to discrimination, or opponents of women’s ministry have been appointed to parishes without proper consultation even when female clergy were already in post.

Those who do not accept the ordination of women have similar stories and mixed experiences from their own perspective.

We are aware too that the two positions which the Church of England is seeking to hold together are rooted in very different – and even opposed – understandings of what it means for women to be created in the image of God. For those who cannot accept the ministry of ordained women or those ordained by a woman, women are created spiritually equal but are called to different offices or ministries, or to a different place in the order of creation. For those who rejoice at the ordination of women, this is a fulfilment of a gospel imperative to equality, articulated in Paul’s recognition that “In Christ there is no male of female” (Galatians 3:28), and only slowly recognised after many centuries, and now anchored also in law. It is very hard for some of those who believe this is the case to understand how it can be right to take a different view on the ministry of women, or how that ministry can be properly affirmed by a diocesan bishop who does not ordain women.

All this results in complex series of relationships which are not easy to negotiate. And all too often it is the bad news stories which have been shared, whilst reports of flourishing across difference have been less prevalent. We believe that it is not always appreciated how much hurt has been caused and trust lost though the way in which the Church of England decided to proceed, not only in the ordination of women to the episcopate, but also in the ordination of women to the priesthood. We suggest that it would be helpful for the Church of England to compile a series of case studies which offer examples of mutual flourishing across difference, whilst being realistic about the difficulties which are sometimes expressed.

The settlement which the Church of England reached in order for women to be ordained to the priesthood and to the episcopate may be seen as theologically or ecclesiologically inconsistent. Consciously paradoxical, it was intended to enable the Church of England to move forward and the whole church to flourish. The Five Guiding Principles affirm that the Church is a community, not an organisation, and that its business is love, not unanimity.

What has happened in Sheffield raises profound questions about the integrity of the Church of England’s paradoxical way forward. If the Church of England is to make progress in moving forward together over the issue of same-sex blessings and same-sex marriage and leaving behind the double-think that LGBTI clergy currently face, it will be necessary to develop a similar accommodation whereby we agree to live together with profound disagreement. The current situation has shown vividly how painfully little trust exists in the Church of England across differences about the ordination of women. It shows the immense challenges facing the Church of England as it seeks to move forward together with a similar respect for difference on the issue of human sexuality.

Affirming Catholicism believes that the church is not a place in which there need to be winners and losers. Rather, other ways of living with difference are possible. These require of all involved patience, tolerance and openness – and in this way the fostering of trust.

The Five Guiding Principles are:

  • Now that legislation has been passed to enable women to become bishops the Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience;
  • Anyone who ministers within the Church of England must be prepared to acknowledge that the Church of England has reached a clear decision on the matter;
  • 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;
  • Since those within the Church of England who, on grounds of theological conviction, are unable to receive the ministry of women bishops or priests continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion, the Church of England remains committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures; and
  • Pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will be made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England.

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Anonymous

We have all been struggling through the thousands of words which have been written about the debacle in Sheffield with the appointment of a Bishop of The Society to the Diocese of Sheffield and his subsequent withdrawal from the post. I think that much of what has been written may have missed the point. In a number of places we have heard people in the Diocese of Sheffield, lay and ordained, male and female, who have said that they did not realise they needed to put in the Diocesan Statement of Needs that they wanted a Bishop who would ordain… Read more »

Eamonn Rodgers
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Eamonn Rodgers

‘One priest may experience the ministry of her bishop who does not recognise her priestly ordination as personally supportive and deeply affirming’. I’m not in a position to comment on individual cases where this may be true, but in principle a bishop’s refusal to recognise the validity of a woman’s ordination surely implies that in his eyes her actions at the holy table are automatically and permanently deemed to be null and void. I’m not clear as to how this can be ‘affirming’.

David Runcorn
Guest

Once again we have a statement that by-passes core theological questions with appeals to ‘patience, tolerance and openness’. What can possibly be ‘mutual’ where one side simply does not believe the other side validly exists? That some have found the grace to live within this is impressive and gracious but not actually the point. Andrew Lightbown summed up the situation well when he recently wrote ‘the Church of England has in fact veered off in a direction where the concept of leadership is, in reality, prized over and above priesthood, ontology and sacramentality’. Theology is being sidelined. It is very… Read more »

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

To Eamonn Rodgers: There are many Anglicans who don’t recognise women’s orders. To acknowledge such people’s rightful place in the Church of England is affirming of them.

David Emmott
Guest
David Emmott

Eamonn Rodgers: there are many Roman Catholics, priests and laity, who would theoretically have to say that sacraments celebrated by me as a male Anglican priest are ‘null and void.’ In practice this is not how they see things; any more than we Anglicans who (again theoretically) have to say much the same thing about Methodists, URC and others would dismiss their ministry. Many Catholics are happy to receive communion from Anglican priests of both genders, whatever the official rules might say. It’s not as clear-cut as some might want.

William
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William

“A bishop’s refusal to recognise the validity of a woman’s ordination surely implies that in his eyes her actions at the holy table are automatically and permanently deemed to be null and void. I’m not clear as to how this can be ‘affirming’.” Hasn’t this happened for years in the Church of England? What about an evangelical bishop who has to minister to an Anglo-Catholic? Presumably the evangelical bishop would not recognise the Catholic credentials of the Anglo-Catholic priest. It is quite possible that the bishop might not believe in priesthood at all and simply see his clergy as ministers… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Indeed, William.

Mutual non-recognition of orders is endemic in Anglicanism. Many evangelicals don’t even believe in priesthood; Anglo-Catholics should, if they’re obedient to Rome, believe that their own orders are invalid; and the CoE has tried to give its apostolic succession a boost by importing Old Catholics with the magic touch.

That’s the mess you get with a broad church. If the CoE’s gonna stay one, a way’s gotta be found to live with it.

Philip O'Reilly
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Philip O'Reilly

I have many evangelical clergy colleagues who believe that there are only two sacraments and that ordination isn’t one of them. They would find talk of ontology and priesthood to be deeply unanglican. As Anglicans all we can do is ask our bishop’s to license us. We cannot expect them to necessarily affirm our own understanding of ordination as that takes us way beyond the Elizabethan settlement. Another reason why +Philip should have gone to Sheffield.

John Swanson
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John Swanson

Building on David and William: Non-conformists, on the whole, don’t care whether Anglicans recognise the validity of their priestly ministry, because they don’t claim to have that sort of ministry themselves to start with. They see themselves as ministers not priests, and what matters most to them is that their Anglican colleagues recognise that: that they are good pastors, preachers, teachers, leaders. There are quite a few Anglican priests whose theology is in practice pretty similar. These are presumably likely to be among the ones who praise Philip North’s episcopacy: they don’t care whether he thinks they are valid priests… Read more »

Charles Read
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Charles Read

Can someone explain to me in what sense this statement is actually affirming of women’s ordination in the Church of England? If i were a member of AffCAff I would be asking for my money back under the Trades Descriptions Act.

‘I agree with David’

Pam
Guest
Pam

For me, the key words in this statement are “The Five Guiding Principles affirm that the church is a community, not an organisation, and that its business is love, not unanimity.” “Love” is very often indefinable and is the hallmark of any true relationship.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

No William. The difference is that being a woman is obviously a state of being and theological differences (Evangelical vs. AC) are matters of belief. The E vs. AC is a classic way to get along in disagreement, because no one’s very being is attacked. No one is saying that E’s or AC’s are less equal in the eyes of God. Non ordaining bishops, particularly those card carrying members of the Society who believe in the Donatist, and deeply offensive, theology of taint, attacks the very being of women and girls. Andrew Lightbown expresses the problem beautifully. And many people… Read more »

Chris
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Chris

Cynthia, your comments are either tragically misinformed, or shockingly offensive. Traditional Catholics categorically reject anything that goes by the name of “taint”. Like it or not, traditional views on the nature of Holy Orders, and who may be admitted to them, are affirmed as entirely legitimate and valid. Not only that, but those who hold them have been promised that they will be enabled to flourish – not just to exist, but to flourish. The Church needs to move on from this debate, accept that the 5GPs were the way we agreed to have women bishops, and deal with the… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

“Hasn’t this happened for years in the Church of England? What about an evangelical bishop who has to minister to an Anglo-Catholic? Presumably the evangelical bishop would not recognise the Catholic credentials of the Anglo-Catholic priest. It is quite possible that the bishop might not believe in priesthood at all and simply see his clergy as ministers of the Gospel.” The difference is that your hypothetical evangelical bishop would feel the same way about everybody, ++ including himself ++. A traditionalist sees himself and some others to have greater validity than women. That is a pretty stark difference so your… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Am I correct (speaking as a New Zealand Anglo -Catholic) in assuming that ‘Affirming Catholics’ have assumed that title because of its members’ affirmation of Women priests and bishops? If so, surely – unlike the members of the ‘Society of SS Wilfrid and Hilda’- Affirming Catholics do believe that women may be validly ordained in the Church of England. How can they then, for any logical reason, support the divisive appointment of an opponent of the women clergy under his direct pastoral care? Such a process is not ‘Unity in Diversity’, but rather; ‘Denial in Disunity’. This is not in… Read more »

Dominic
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Dominic

I am a priest of The Society. I have never met anyone who subscribes to Cynthia’s “theology of taint”, but I have met some people who ascribe it to us. It is not found in The Society’s Declaration that clergy, including women deacons, make when asking for episcopal oversight. None of our bishops, including Philip North, teach, encourage or hold Cynthia’s theology of taint. The Society instead specifically speaks against it, as Cynthia can read for herself on The Society’s website. Finally, it’s hardly a Boys’ Club (apostrophe, note, Cynthia) when women deacons are to be found there. The whole… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

The increasingly obvious problem James is that we are a broad church that isn’t “at ease with itself”. We mostly function like congregationalists on the ground. Above that its like a boxing match where the bouts go on and on but no one can deliver the knock out blow.

Daniel Berry, NYC
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Daniel Berry, NYC

“We suggest that it would be helpful for the Church of England to compile a series of case studies which offer examples of mutual flourishing across difference, whilst being realistic about the difficulties which are sometimes expressed.” It’s not hard to do this: all you have to do is look to us, your cousins, across the water. One supposes that the leadership in the CofE feels that the experience of the American and the Canadian churches has no meaning or validity (in all the ways one may use the term) for themselves – has nothing instructive or useful to say… Read more »

cathy
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cathy

I don’t get all these denials of a theology of ‘taint’ although I would like to believe it. Because the question has been asked several times and no answer has ever been given (that I have seen anyway):
Why, if he does not hold to this theology, did the ABY not lay hands on Philip North? Surely he could have readily scotched those rumours (if that is indeed what they are) so easily at that point.
Someone explain please??

Nancy Goodrich
Guest
Nancy Goodrich

I wish that people would try more to understand the theology of Forward in Faith, even if like me, you don’t agree with it. There may have been members who had an idea of taint in the past but now it is wholly rejected by everybody. Anyone, member or not, who espouses it can be comprehensively reprimanded. I was ordained Deacon by the then diocesan Bishop of Blackburn, now retired and a bishop of SSWSH and was ordained priest by the suffragan bishop in his diocese who of course ordains under the authority of the diocesan bishop. I was collated… Read more »

Clive
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Clive

With great respect, I don’t think the US or Canadian churches have anything helpful to offer the CofE in terms of mutual flourishing as neither of them have a place for those who are unable to accept the ministry of women priests or bishops. They abolished any and all provisions a long time ago and make no effort to live with difference on the issue – which is why I had to go to Rome after moving to Canada. If the CofE wasn’t trying very hard indeed to truly enable “mutual flourishing” they wouldn’t have these problems either, but they… Read more »

Phil Burland
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Phil Burland

Chris,
“The Church needs to move on from this debate, accept that the 5GPs were the way we agreed to have women bishops, and deal with the reality that there are, and will continue to be, traditionalists in senior posts.”

You are right. We are a broad church.
We should have traditionalists in senior posts (As Jonathan Clatworthy suggests we could even create some if necessary).
Obviously.
Mutual Flourishing depends on it.
But just not as ‘diocesan bishops’.
Obviously.
Mutual Flourishing depends on it.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“I don’t think the US or Canadian churches have anything helpful to offer the CofE in terms of mutual flourishing as neither of them have a place for those who are unable to accept the ministry of women priests or bishops.”

This is surely an overstatement.

Does either TEC or ACoC bar such people from holy orders?

Grumpy High Churchwoman
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Grumpy High Churchwoman

I understand entirely the discomfort with the term ‘taint’. I would like very much to think that it is mistaken theological shorthand for a more complex ecclesiological position which I, and many of a catholic theological tradition, have failed to understand, though to be fair, not without trying. To help with that, could someone explain in terms of catholic order: 1) Why the Primate of the Province of York was *not* the chief consecrator or the celebrant at the Eucharist as he should have been when the bishop of Burnley was consecrated – and remembering that PEVs have, I believe,… Read more »

Dominic
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Dominic

The Primate did not want to create a wrong precedent. If he were to be succeeded by a woman as Primate… You can see where that’s going. It’s nothing to do with “taint” which, as has been pointed out, is not held by The Society or FIF. In my case, I was ordained both deacon and priest in the same service as women; never has any cleric of The Society (of which.I’m a priest) ever behaved any differently towards me than towards one another. I am also a Priest Associate at Walsingham. Taint? Utter rubbish.

Clive
Guest
Clive

Jeremy, Yes, it is my understanding that to be ordained in the Anglican Church of Canada you have to sign a statement in favour of the ordination of women. Nobody opposed can be ordained, and besides, there are no measures that would enable anybody opposed to remain in the Anglican Church in good conscience. It’s one way or the highway in the US and Canada. And there are good and logical reasons to do that; it’s certainly cleaner and tidier and traditionalists were a much smaller minority here than in England. But it isn’t what the CofE decided and not… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Clive, your response is quite general, even as to Canada. Can anyone cite something specific?

And to say that “there are no measures that would enable anybody opposed to remain in the Anglican Church in good conscience” is simply to say that there is no PEV scheme.

Anne
Guest
Anne

Dominic, thank you so much for your comment. I would be grateful if you could clarify one thing for me. You say that you are a priest of The Society and that you were ordained both as Deacon and as Priest in the same service as women. Did the Bishop who ordained you also ordain the women? I had understood that to be a Priest of the Society you had to be ordained by a male Bishop who had not ordained women. Have I misunderstood? I should be really grateful if you would clarify this for me. Thank you.

Grumpy High Churchwoman
Guest
Grumpy High Churchwoman

Dominic,

Thank you. I admit I can’t recall the ABY saying that he did not do what he normally would in a consecration because he did not want to ‘create a wrong precedent’ in case his successor was a woman – the argument being, if I’ve followed, that he was creating a ‘right precedent’ by not doing what he would normally do …? Could you point us to the statement where he explains this, please? It would be very helpful to read.

Kate
Guest
Kate

“I had understood that to be a Priest of the Society you had to be ordained by a male Bishop who had not ordained women.”

For certain the Society won’t accept male priests ordained by a female bishop either directly or indirectly. That is incompatible with accepting the validity of female ordination. That too is taint. Appeals to mutual flourishing aren’t going to magic the issue away. The present structures just aren’t suitable.

Sam
Guest
Sam

Anne, that is not correct. The criterion is that the priest must “have been ordained by a male bishop in the apostolic succession of bishops at whose ordination male bishops presided”

http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/006809.html

I was ordained by my diocesan bishop at the same time as women were ordained. I would be eligible to be a priest of the Society, should I desire such a thing. (I don’t.)

Cathy
Guest
Cathy

Dominic that will not do.

By your own admission the idea is to prevent a potential female successor of the ABY laying hands on a future bishop of ‘The Society’.

But if there is no effect (not even of taint) in her so doing, then it seems to me that as long as a bishop approved of by ‘The Society’ also lays on hands then the consecration is still valid.

Excluding a future female ABY from so doing is then, at best, contrary to the first principle of ‘due respect’ – and looks more like a theology of taint.

Sheila
Guest
Sheila

I’m am pretty new to church politics so I apologise if there is some well known reason for this, but why are the arrangements for traditionalist male priests under a female diocesan bishop (i.e. so called flying bishops who have care of them) not mirrored by the same arrangement for female priests under a traditionalist diocesan bishop?

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re: Jeremy,Clive and Canada, The decision was made to ordain women as priests in 1975. A conscience clause was put in place which stated (paraphrasing) that no one should be penalized or otherwise required to violate their conscience as a result of the decision to ordain female priests. The conscience clause was grand-fathered out in 1986 because some opponents of women’s ordination used it as a shield to continue to publicly oppose women’s ordination and in some cases undermine the ministry of colleagues. As I understand the situation now, anyone ordained in the Canadian Church is required to acknowledge that… Read more »

Dominic
Guest
Dominic

Anne, in each of the two ordination services, the same bishop ordained all of us, men and women alike. Clearly he was not a traditionalist bishop!

Father Ron Smith
Guest

” I think the view of Forward in Faith is that there may be a fracture in the college of priests, but women are still priests.”
– Nancy Goodrich (priest) –

Indeed, Nacy? It would be most helpful, then, if the ‘Forward in Faith’ members themselves were to declare this fact. From my limited understanding, the whole edifice of F.i.F. exists because of its disbelief in the ontology of women’s ordination.

JKR
Guest
JKR

Thank you Anne. I also have a question for Dominic. I have wondered what would happen if a man were ordained by a female Bishop but over time came to believe that the Society’s position was the correct one. Could he become a member of the Society and aspire to become vicar of for example one of London’s Fulham parishes? Or would he be forever beyond the pale? I am not being facetious; I am genuinely interested.

Tony Phelan
Guest
Tony Phelan

I too would like an answer to the question that Anne puts. It’s good to hear that the Society repudiates ‘taint’, but does that only mean the unpleasantness of the term is rejected? Or are male priests ordained by a male bishop who also ordains women to the priesthood welcome as priests ‘of the Society’? If not, the repudiation of ‘a theology of taint’ seems to address only a verbal squeamishness.

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Re: Taint. If it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. If it’s “unacceptable” for even a single woman to lay hands on a priest or bishop (amongst many male hands), it’s taint. If men who believe in WO, or have been ordained or consecrated by WB’s are excluded, then it is taint. I’m sorry. There is no sophistry around the offensive theology of taint. Card carrying members of the SSWSH can’t lead any diocese that contains girls and female clergy without doing harm. There is no way around this. Women and… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“I don’t think the US or Canadian churches have anything helpful to offer the CofE in terms of mutual flourishing” I disagree about TEC (I don’t know about Canada). Parishes can call the rector who is the right fit for them. So if they prefer men, or conservatives, or whatnot, they can do that. There are lots of conservative parishes. More conservative dioceses can elect a more conservative bishop, though there are limits to the power of bishops. For some, this works very well, because they are getting what they want in their own local parish. As CoE is learning,… Read more »

Dominic
Guest
Dominic

JKR, The Society’s catch-phrase is, “receiving sacraments with confidence”. Nobody queries the validity of orders given through the historic apostolic succession, which we share with the RC and Orthodox Churches who have not tampered with it. As they don’t ordain women, Anglicans took the decision alone, losing the confidence we once had. The Society is a database of those whose orders are in that historic line.

Dominic
Guest
Dominic

Tony, I answered that very question earlier.

Helen King
Guest
Helen King

On the one hand, I find it really hard to believe that there are men showing their credentials as members of something that chooses to abbreviate its name to ‘The Society’. Don’t they realise how sinister that sounds? On the other hand, at a purely intellectual level, I still don’t understand how they maintain their credentials. For example, if Dominic – ordained both deacon and priest by a man who also ordains women – should become a bishop, is what matters simply that the man who ordained him didn’t have any women laying hands on him? And thus Dominic can… Read more »

Janet Fife
Guest
Janet Fife

‘I have many evangelical clergy colleagues who believe that there are only two sacraments and that ordination isn’t one of them. They would find talk of ontology and priesthood to be deeply unanglican. As Anglicans all we can do is ask our bishop’s to license us. We cannot expect them to necessarily affirm our own understanding of ordination as that takes us way beyond the Elizabethan settlement. Another reason why +Philip should have gone to Sheffield.’ (Philip O’Reilly) As I have posted elsewhere, officially Anglicans believe there are only 2 sacraments: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Ordination is not a… Read more »

Jules
Guest
Jules

The theology of taint is a misconception. It isn’t about taint – male bishops who have ordained women are still bishops and still administer valid sacraments. For traditionalists, the problem is one of communion. They see the ordination of women as a public act of schism from the wider church, and thus see the bishop not as ‘tainted’ in any ontological sense, but as having wounded the Body of Christ – and thus he has impaired his own communion through an act of public disobedience. There is also the understanding that priests who have been ordained by a bishop form… Read more »

Dominic
Guest
Dominic

Kathy brings up – again – taint. Stop it! I’ve already explained it’s a matter of confidence in the apostolic succession, which we get from when there was only one Church. It was accepted by RC, Orthodox and (until very recently) Anglican Churches that only male bishops would ordain. To depart from this unilaterally, as the C of E and other Anglicans have done, impairs communion and questions the succession. The Society maintains that succession within the C of E for reasons of sacramental assurance.

Dominic
Guest
Dominic

On the ABY, yes the primate usually ordains, but there is no legal compulsion. As Fr Philip North was to be ordained very soon after Libby Lane (I think a deliberate juxtaposition and test of the mutual flourishing), the ABY was conscious that if he were to be succeeded by a woman as Primate, there might be an expectation that she would lay hands on subsequent traditionalist bishops, which would cause inevitable problems. Better for him not to lay hands and set a different precedent. You might also have seen a photo of +Philip and +Libby embracing warmly at the… Read more »

JKR
Guest
JKR

Hello Dominic. I am trying to say this in the gentlest way possible – but – I’m not sure that ‘tampering’ is quite the word to use! My question is actually a serious one (and you haven’t answered it …). Let me see if I can re-phrase it within 400 words. I am perfectly able to put to one side my personal views about the ordination of women. When I do that, I find it easy to view the Society and Forward in Faith (through the lens of the Fulham set-up, as I have been London-based, and through regular reading… Read more »

Dominic
Guest
Dominic

Helen finds the title “The Society” sinister. How can a group representing a minority within the C of E be any kind of threat? Does Helen think they’re a secret society like the Masons? They’re not. You can find out anything you want about them from their website: there are no secrets, there is no plot, it doesn’t protest against women’s ordination. And, it’s actually The Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda. I can’t think St Hilda would find anything sinister about us or we wouldn’t be benefiting from her intercession. And do, please, remember our women deacons (distinctive… Read more »

Dominic
Guest
Dominic

Thank you JKR for your thoughtful post. “People in the apostolic succession” would indeed be welcome to all of us, were this possible. I think what is difficult is the go-it-alone action of Anglican Churches. We are a fraction of the number of Christians on the planet, most of whom are RC or Orthodox. Were the Holy Spirit to move the majority towards the ordination of women, traditionalists would readily accept it. At present, what we do know is apostolic succession in the direct male line is commonly held by those other two groupings. That is holding to the Tradition,… Read more »