Anthony Howard writes in The Times today about the forthcoming Rochester report, due next month, on women bishops. And he doesn’t like what he thinks it will say.
The Bishop of Rochester’s 15-strong working party has come up with what is, in effect, a shopping list. And a pretty ludicrous one it is, too.
Its suggested courses of action for the future range from a kind of ecclesiastical Noddy land in which women could become suffragan bishops but not diocesan ones, through an even greater fantasy world in which they could hope to be full-scale diocesan bishops but never Archbishop of Canterbury or Archbishop of York, to a somewhat dismal and defeated maintenance of the status quo under which our present crop of women priests may become deans or archdeacons but never break through the stained-glass ceiling to sit on the episcopal bench.
(For the benefit of readers outside Britain, ‘Noddy’ is a character in a simplistic children’s storybook.)
As for next week’s Windsor Report he comments:
punitive action hardly looks like an essentially Christian activity and it is impossible to see anything but damage coming out of this particular piece of reprisal. Conceived in panic, it seems doomed to end in recrimination. No situation is ever surer to delight the outsider than the sight of those who purport to uphold standards of forgiveness and charity failing to live up to them.