Friday, 30 May 2008

women as bishops: further items

Updated Saturday

Today, the Church Times reports that ‘Chaos’ warning as rumours fly after Bishops’ meeting by Bill Bowder.

.. A spokesman for Forward in Faith said that it did not comment on speculation based on leaks.

News of a possible decision by the Bishops not to offer legal provision for the objectors was reported in The Sunday Telegraph this week. It said the move had been opposed by a “substantial minority”, and that the Archbishop of Canterbury had argued that, although creating jurisdictions with male bishops only would further divide the Church, it would honour promises made to traditionalists.

On Tuesday, however, a Church of England spokesman refused to confirm whether the Bishops wanted a simple “code of conduct” for objectors, in order to keep the legislation to a minimum, and had rejected the idea of a third province. He also declined to comment on whether they wanted to end the right of parishes to opt out of the ministry of women priests.

“The House of Bishops had a full discussion of the Manchester report [News, 2 May], and agreed that the options in the report should be debated by the Synod in July. The House agreed a motion to act as a starting point for the Synod debate. The wording of this will be issued with the other Synod papers next month,” the spokesman said.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York would set out in a covering note “the considerations [the House of Bishops] believes that the Synod will need to weigh in coming to a decision”.

In the paper edition this article also says that:

“Two online petitions, one for male clergy (including retired bishops), and the other for laity, have been set up by Thinking Anglicans to support legislation for women bishops that does not give legal protection to objectors.”

This sentence is wrong and has been corrected on the Church Times website. Thinking Anglicans did not set up these petitions. Nor did we set up these petitions opposing such legislation.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph today has a further story, see Church of England closer to appointing women bishops after MPs signal approval by Martin Beckford.

Members of Parliament’s Ecclesiastical Committee had previously said the church was not ready for women priests to become bishops, an historic step which has divided Anglicanism for decades.

But this week MPs on the committee, whose approval would be needed before any legislation is passed, said most are now in favour after bishops voted to go ahead with the reforms without any concessions to opponents…

And here is another parliamentary exchange that occurred recently, well on 8 May, concerning this matter.

Robert Key (Salisbury, Conservative)
There is clearly still some way to go. Does the hon. Gentleman agree with me that it really is time that the Church of England stopped discriminating against 50 per cent. of the human race when it comes to episcopal appointments? Can he imagine this House finding it expedient to agree to any Measure from Synod that sought to discriminate against women, in the hope that it was going to allow women bishops in the Church of England—but not at any price?

Stuart Bell (Second Church Estates Commissioner; Middlesbrough, Labour)
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his comments. He will remember that this House voted almost unanimously, but certainly overwhelmingly, for women priests way back in 1992. Given that he is a member of the General Synod, he will know that in July it will look at the options for progressing the ordination of women as bishops, informed by the recently published report of the legislative drafting group, chaired by the Bishop of Manchester. This House—in its majority, I think—supports women bishops and we urge the Church in this case to make haste less slowly.

Update Saturday
Matt Cresswell has a similar report for Religious Intelligence Parliamentary boost for women bishops campaign.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 30 May 2008 at 8:40am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

Perhaps Anglicans will take note of yesterday's degree from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that all Catholic bishops of the sui juris Latin Church who attempt to ordain women will incur excommunication latae sententia (ie, automatically). The women who attempt to receive sacred orders will also be excommunicated. A similar penalty is to be imposed on bishops of the sui juris eastern churches who attempt the same.

Posted by: Dr Grattan on Friday, 30 May 2008 at 1:25pm BST

Dr. Grattan,

How the Roman Catholic Church chooses to order itself - whether or not we Anglicans think it correct or just - is entirely up to Rome, for better or for worse. Anglicans might disagree with Rome's absolute exclusion of women from Holy Orders, but, in the spirit of ecumenism, ours is to remain in dialogue and perhaps model approaches we believe more appropriate and holy.

If your point was, however, that Anglicans should be worried that Rome will not recognize the validity of the orders of women serving amongst Anglicans in Holy Orders (and those they might ordain), let it be said again: Rome does not recognize Anglican orders as valid anyway - even if some nuances have been introduced with regard to the 20th century admixture of Old Catholic orders - and Rome *already* considers all Anglicans as excluded from its communion. Threats of excommunication thus have little meaning for Anglicans, even if the reasons for such threats inside the Roman Church do make clear how very far away we probably still are from our ecumenical goal of full communion.

Posted by: christopher+ on Friday, 30 May 2008 at 2:03pm BST

The majority of members of parliament's ecclesiastical committee are in favour of women bishops. BUT that is not the issue. No one expects parliament to oppose the consecration of women.

What is at issue is how parliament will fulfil its obligation to provide for all of Her Majsty's subjects and how easy it will be to set asside the promisses given in 1993.

The key question is whether parliament will endorse legislation without provision. If it does, there may well be significant legal implications.

Synod & Parliament should remember that ALL the options in the Manchester Report lead to the consecration of women - as, for that matter, does Forward in Faith's proposal contained in "consecrated women".

Posted by: David Malloch on Friday, 30 May 2008 at 2:44pm BST

When, Dr Gratten, note has been taken of these outside excommunications, for women as priests never mind as bishops, then what? It is of no relevance, as the hands of the clock are not going into reverse.

Posted by: Pluralist on Friday, 30 May 2008 at 2:56pm BST

Many of us did note what the Church of the Roman Scism said the other day. We also note that we did not accept the innovation of papal fiat nor of the authority of Rome to order all Christians around.

There will allways be room for those who want to rexplore the Church Catholic's true self, away from the mendacities of the Roman Pontiff on this side of the Tiber.

Posted by: John Robison on Friday, 30 May 2008 at 3:26pm BST

The new development ( / edict) from the RC denomination is very interesting. The fact that it is considered necessary indicates that the movement for ordination of women is gathering strength in that denomination.

I note it is now a number of years since women were ordained by RC bishops in France, Canada and the UK. So it is no wonder that there are more vocations emerging among women.

For me, it evokes the Cenacle and how 'the apostles continued together in prayer with Mary the mother of Jesus.' (Acts)

What a shame that the RC denomination should have lost sight of That.

Posted by: L Roberts on Friday, 30 May 2008 at 7:53pm BST

"the Archbishop of Canterbury had argued that, although creating jurisdictions with male bishops only would further divide the Church, it would honour promises made to traditionalists."

Promises (so-called) made BY whom???

The "promisses given in 1993" spoken of by DavidM, were made BY a CofE hierarchy that HAD no ordained women!

One can hardly expect the ordained women of 2008 (and beyond)---nor all who support them, who weren't part of the decision-making process 15 years ago---to be bound by such "promisses."

[Would be as ridiculous as drawing *current* U.S. Congressional (population-based) district boundaries, based upon the 1789 Constitutional "promise" to count a black person as 3/8ths of a white person! :-0]

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 30 May 2008 at 8:00pm BST

"the Church of the Roman Schism"

Is this the same as the Italian Mission?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 30 May 2008 at 8:35pm BST

L Roberts: "What a shame that the RC denomination should have lost sight of That."

Erm, I see nothing about Mary actually being ordained here. Plus I think it is hard to claim that the RC Church has lost sight of this event. After all, the descent of the Holy Ghost on Mary and the Apostles at Pentecost is the third meditation in the 'Glorious Mysteries' of the Latin-rite rosary.

Posted by: Dr Grattan on Saturday, 31 May 2008 at 12:13am BST

"the mendacities of the Roman Pontiff"
Wouldn't "the detestable enormities..." be more traditional Anglican parlance?

Posted by: Ley Druid on Saturday, 31 May 2008 at 4:57am BST

L Roberts: "What a shame that the RC denomination should have lost sight of That."

Erm, I see nothing about Mary actually being ordained here. Plus I think it is hard to claim that the RC Church has lost sight of this event. After all, the descent of the Holy Ghost on Mary and the Apostles at Pentecost is the third meditation in the 'Glorious Mysteries' of the ...rosary.

Posted by: Dr Grattan on Saturday, 31 May 2008 at 12:13am BST

Yes, you quite right the members of the RC denomination have not lost sight of the Cenacle vision, but really Joseph Ratzinger and the ruling elite would seem to have, on this occasion !

But as I said the ministries of women RC priests must be bearing fruit for such athreat to have been issued out of the blue. ;-)

Yes, out of the Blue


Posted by: L Roberts on Saturday, 31 May 2008 at 1:57pm BST

Promises and assurances are not legally binding, and anyway there was no promise to set up a Church within a Church.

If FIF and Reform believe that women bishops are an heretical move, disastrous to the Cof E..they should leave with integrity like the Puritans and non-Jurors.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 1 June 2008 at 4:48pm BST

With half of its members drawn from MPs, The Ecclesiastical Committee can, in some respects, claim to be more representative of the laity of the C of E, than can Synod, and seems to take a livelier interest in the ‘constitutional rights of all His Majesty’s subjects’ in terms of equality. Waiting for draft Measures from the Legislative Committee must be like watching paint dry, or worse. Parliament has a popular mandate and a duty to speed things up.

Robert Key explains the background to the Ecclesiastical Committee in this essay:

http://www.inclusivechurch2.net/fileadmin/documents/Robert_Key_April_2007_Consecrated_women.doc

I liked his conclusion:

"In 1993 the Ecclesiastical Committee recognised the gifts women would bring to the priesthood and acknowledged the objections, concluding the Measure was a compromise. Fourteen years on I suspect that in the climate of today the Committee would be pleased to learn that a compromise would no longer be necessary. They are also less likely to impressed by arguments that statutory provision should be made for priests and for parishes to opt out of the pastoral oversight of their lawful diocesan bishop.

"They will have noted the strictly time-limited concessions granted to the Roman Catholic Church (supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury) in the Sexual Orientation Regulations which outlaw discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, in respect of child adoption agencies I am sure the General Synod will have seen the writing on the wall. The people of England have accepted that we cannot pick and chose when we want to discriminate on grounds of sex.

"If push comes to shove in a Commons vote (and I suspect in a Lords vote, too), the Established Church will have to recognise that under the 1919 Act the constitutional rights of all Her Majesty’s subjects include the right of women priests to be accorded equal rights with men when it comes to the appointment of Bishops. That is how those Commons voting lobby reinforcements will see it, whatever the theologians say. Queen Elizabeth I would have approved. I suspect Queen Elizabeth II will, too.

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Sunday, 1 June 2008 at 5:34pm BST

"Promises and assurances are not legally binding" - and so, presumably, can be set asside.

I fully agree with these sentiments, which, of course, illustrate why a code of practice is as much use as a chocolate tea pot!

Posted by: David Malloch on Sunday, 1 June 2008 at 6:59pm BST

""the mendacities of the Roman Pontiff"
Wouldn't "the detestable enormities..." be more traditional Anglican parlance?"

LOL!!! Thing is, Ley Druid, there are a few attendees of the Italian Mission on this board, and I suspect "mendacity" was considered less offensive than "detestable enormities", though you are quite right, it IS the preferred term.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 2 June 2008 at 1:52pm BST
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