Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Anglican/RC solidarity on women's ordination

PRESS RELEASE – for immediate release

Roman Catholic and Anglican Solidarity on Women’s Ordination

The Roman Catholic group CWO (Catholic Women’s Ordination) and the Anglican group WATCH (Women and the Church) have sent a joint letter to all the Bishops of both Churches giving support to those in the Church of England for their recent vote in favour of women Bishops and calling for the Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales to look urgently at the growing desire for women priests in the Roman Catholic Church.

The letter has been sent before the joint meeting of Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, to be held at Hinsley Hall, Leeds on 14th –15th November 2006.

The letter says:

We say to the Anglican Bishops: please do not be afraid of raising the subject of ordaining women with your Catholic colleagues. It falls to the RC Bishops, when they gather in Synod, to consider whether these major issues in the Magisterium of the Church need to be looked at afresh. There are clearly many Catholic Bishops in England and Wales who personally believe that women should be ordained: we hope that in the privacy of your meeting that you will be able to discuss this, and perhaps help the Catholic bishops to consider ways of raising this formally in the structures of their Church. The XII Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is to take place in Rome in October 2008: such a gathering might well provide an opportunity for a discussion of women’s ordination. The RC Bishops of England and Wales, from their experience of working alongside Anglicans, will surely have much to say on the contribution that can be made by women priests.

To the Catholic Bishops we say: please do not feel this is a one-way dialogue. We believe you also have much to share with your Anglican brothers on the same issue. 14 years ago the C of E voted wholeheartedly for the ordination of women, by a two-thirds majority in all three houses of General Synod. This past July, Synod overwhelmingly agreed with the majority of the Bishops that admitting women to the episcopate was ‘consonant with the faith of the Church’. As Catholics we hope you will feel able to share with your Anglican colleagues that, as this is the step they are taking, they must appoint women as bishops on the same basis as men are appointed as bishops. To do otherwise would be to alter seriously the nature and understanding of episcopé. You will no doubt wish to point out that, in any future reconciliation between Rome and Canterbury, all priests and bishops will need to be universally recognised.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 8 November 2006 at 7:11pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Given the continuing reticence of the Roman hierarchy to seriously discuss the recognition of Anglican orders, everything here seems rather more hopeful than a first reading might suggest. Given that part of the argument here is effectively based on the notion of a de facto recognition of Anglican orders (including those of women clergy of whatever current and future rank) by the Roman hierarchy in the UK, something tells me that the step between the facts on the ground, as distinct from the view emanating from the centre of the hierarchy, might just be a little more difficult than it would appear. I don't think even Benedict can surprise us here.

Posted by: kieran crichton on Friday, 10 November 2006 at 4:00am GMT

I don't think this headline is honest as neither the Holy See nor the Anglican Communion (as in Lambeth), an entire Anglican province or even diocese (the basic unit of Anglicanism) said that.

It's as if Jews for Jesus and some unofficial Christian group, not a denomination, issued a statement and the subject heading read 'Jews and Christians agree on Jesus'.

Posted by: The young fogey on Friday, 10 November 2006 at 5:05pm GMT

As you say, why should Rome care what Anglicans think? I find the statement to the Roman bishops amazing. I mean, the presupposition that the Roman hierarchy considers Anglican bishops "brothers" and "colleagues" is odd, not to mention that they already believe we have already "alter(ed) seriously the nature and understanding of episcopé." They don't even believe we HAVE an Episcopate. What effect do they think this will have?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 10 November 2006 at 6:24pm GMT

Geez, people: you don't ASK, you don't GET. Period.

(Not that asking has the slightest chance of getting---only a slightly less remote chance, than *not* asking!)

When it comes to a group like CWO, we Anglicans must be open to Inside-Outside support&hospitality: supporting RCs who want change in their own tradition, even as we vigorously extend an invitation to join us by becoming Anglicans (even if only "temporarily", for however many days-years-generations it'll take Rome to recognize Imago-Dei-made-female).

I just really *feel* for RCs, especially those RC women who (by any FAIR process of discernment) are called to be priests. :-(

Lord have mercy!

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Saturday, 11 November 2006 at 12:11am GMT

Perhaps I should add to what I said before. Of course there are many individual Roman Catholic bishops who privately regard Anglican orders as basically valid - taken on a global scale these might even constitute the majority of bishops. Some of these might even view the ordination of women to the whole of the three fold ministry in the Roman Church as a highly desirable aspiration. However, at the public level the hierarchical view *must* prevail over whatever these bishops may hold in private.
Similarly, there are many Anglicans (even many clergy) who regard themselves as living under the triumph of Rome, even though they have not swum the Tiber. Think of all those clergy using the unexpurgated Roman rite where they should be using the relevant Anglican rite, and who make such a racket over keeping all the Marian feasts. I have often wondered if these people have ever considered the paradox their situation embodies.
The bottom line is that this report appeals primarily to the privately held views of Roman Catholic bishops; any progress is purely hypothetical until Rome returns to the ambiguity of it's own pre-1896 view of the matter. Given that in an earlier life Benedict has previously named Apostolicae Curae as a part of the teaching of Roman Catholicism requiring unquestioning assent and submission, I doubt very seriously if there are any real surprises in store here. Repudiating the validity of Anglican orders would appear to be a matter of salvation for Roman Catholics. All else is talk and nothing more.
The question for Anglicans is: what have we to loose (by clearing the way for women to become bishops) from another Church that clearly does not want to meet us half way?

Posted by: kieran crichton on Saturday, 11 November 2006 at 3:50am GMT

I suppose I regard these 2 lots of bishops thus :--

It's like asking a convocation of foxes to guard a hen coop!

But alas, if the RC denomination still regards ecumenism as, them saying to everyone else :-

" We've got it !, you need it , How about it ?" then ecumenism won't get far. Maybe that's why it hasn't got far in all these years to date.

I think ecumenism is better pictured as love making, in which each partner wants to give to the other in generosity and loving tenderness -- not grabbing all for self alone.

Posted by: laurence on Sunday, 12 November 2006 at 6:35pm GMT

There certainly have been hidden agendas around in 20th century ecumenism often purported to be of "The Early Church" or some such.

The selling of the 20th century forgery known as "The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome" comes to mind.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Monday, 13 November 2006 at 6:50am GMT
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