Monday, 19 May 2008

Affirming Catholicism responds to Manchester report

Affirming Catholicism has published A Response to The Report of the Women Bishops Legislative Drafting Group (The Manchester Report).

The copy of this on their website is here.

The full text of this response is also reproduced here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 19 May 2008 at 3:31pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

So, provision should be made for opponents in the form of a single clause measure with a code of practice? Exactly who are the opponents for whom this provision is intended? A few sexists who say "not in my back yard"? Certainly not the vast majority who opose the consecration of Women to the episcopate for sincerely held theological reasons and who are simply staying loyal to the universal practice of 2 millenia! What on earth is the point of offering this kind of provision?? Either a single clause and "get the bastards out" OR real structural provision which actually meets the needs of opponents. To claim to be making provision in the full knowledge it fails to meet needs and will thus not be implemented is just an unworthy contrick!!

Posted by: David Malloch on Monday, 19 May 2008 at 8:38pm BST

This is an excellent report, which asks vital questions of how a third province or special diocese could remain in communion with the rest of the Church. It sees the apartheid solution for what it is, schism by stealth.

Posted by: r on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 6:07am BST

“… for sincerely held theological reasons…”

What are those? I haven’t seen any. Just ingrained misogyny (at worst) and a certain traditionalism.

“… and who are simply staying loyal to the universal practice of 2 Millennia!”

How is it even possible to “stay l o y a l” to a mere accident of Time?

"What on earth is the point of offering this kind of provision?? Either a single clause and "get the bastards out..."

To make you think?

"... OR real structural provision which actually meets the needs of opponents.”

What “needs”? A no go zone?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 6:29am BST

David Malloch. As you ask, I'd favour the 'get the bastards out' option.

Posted by: poppy tupper on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 9:07am BST

David Malloch:
I could not agree more: to offer traditionalists a solution that you no they cannot accept is neither fair nor charitable. If the Church offers any provision it needs to be acceptable to those it will effect. The choice is simple; either we give traditionalists a structural solution that they can live or they will leave. The church has said from day one that we are all faithful Anglicans, it is time to prove that true and give us a solution that is acceptable, fair and generous. A structural solution is the only thing that will allow us to remain in the Church.

Göran Koch-Swahne
You seem to think that only those in favour can have a valued opinion; the FIF body has NEVER said women are not called; it has simply called into the question the ability of the Church of England to change the threefold ministry of the Church Catholic.

Posted by: Mark Wharton on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 9:38am BST

Many thanks to Goran for his response. So, this proposal is on the basis that opponents are ingrained misogynists! Synod will have to decide on that one, but it is not in keeping with the Lambeth statement embraced by the General Synod that they are equally loyal and faithful members of the church, it does not square with Synod's persistent pledge of equal treatment and it rejects +Rowan's statement that opposition is for us a matter of obedience.


You ask how it is possible to stay loyal to a mere accident of time; that question would make sense if today was the Day of Penetecost. However the reality is that the past 2 millenia have been post Pentecost and a time lived under the guidance of the Holy Spirit - of course one can be loyal to what has been believed always, everywhere and by all.

You say this pathetic excuse for provision is to make me think! Yes, it does. It makes me think that the motives behind it are very clear indeed: to dismiss the practice of 2 millenia and the present practice of the majority of the church as missogyny & to claim that 2 millenia of apostolic life are a mere accident of time and that those who support innovation have some unique line of communication with the Holy Spirit.

Well, if that is what you call Church, I think I'm probably relieved you refuse to make provision for me. BUT, is this really the way general synod is going to go? If it is, then it may not just be opponents of women bishops who feel they no longer have a place????

Posted by: David Malloch on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 11:06am BST

David M: Yes, we have been a misogynistic institution for most of the last 2000 years. That's true, isn't it? Read some of the Fathers or Scholastic theologians on women if you doubt this.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 12:09pm BST

David Malloch wrote: ”So, this proposal is on the basis that opponents are ingrained misogynists!”

Sorry, but I am not the General Synod of the Church of England. I live in Sweden and I only wanted to know if there are any “sincerely held theological reasons”, for I personally haven’t seen any, only ingrained misogyny (at worst) and a certain traditionalism and I don’t think that is enough or OK – and, if so, what they look like, if at all.

Sorry to have upset you (and Mark Wharton).

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 1:32pm BST

Provision has to be for ALL. The unresolvable conundrum is how to make provision in the same institution for those who want to live in communion with each other (and the practice of Fif etc, for reasons held dearly by its members, is to live alongside but not in communion with the bulk of the anglican church in England)and those whose principles and actions mean that they are daily rejecting ordained women in their essence. Because, whatever the words, ordained women are being rejected daily, and treated institutionally as though they don't actually exist and are not a part of the Anglican church. I find myself wondering why a code of practice (whether national or local ) is so threatening - unless the real agenda is to be able to continue as though nothing has changed when, whether or not FiF accept it, it has.
How can we make acceptable provision for those for whom institutionalised separation is the only option when this, by its very existence intitutionalizes the degradation of the calling of ordained women, and dismisses the experience of congregations and individuals across the country who have found faith and spiritual sustenance through the ministry of women.
If those who feel the existence of ordained women threatens their faith cannot remain within the church without a "cordon sanitaire", despite assurances and codes fo practice, then there is no solution.

Posted by: rr on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 1:37pm BST

I find myself wondering why a code of practice (whether national or local ) is so threatening.

It is so threatening because I cannot see its guidelines being adhered to. If we cannot guarantee that the guidelines will be adhered to then the code is useless. The Bishops struggle to stick to the legally binding arrangements within the Act of Synod, never mind an optional code that has no legally binding structures.

Posted by: Mark Wharton on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 4:57pm BST

Dave Walker of Cartoon Church has his cartoon here.
http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/blog_post.asp?id=56873

Posted by: Ann on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 5:29pm BST

"How can we make acceptable provision for those for whom institutionalised separation is the only option when this, by its very existence intitutionalizes the degradation of the calling of ordained women, and dismisses the experience of congregations and individuals across the country who have found faith and spiritual sustenance through the ministry of women."

Thank you, rr: well said.

*****

"we give traditionalists a structural solution that they can live [with] or they will leave"

The "structural solution that they can live [with]" is THEIR OWN CHURCH. How can One Church give *some* of their members their OWN Church---without it being a division, aka schism?

This is a nonsensical non-starter.

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 6:29pm BST

I suspect that attitudes to a "church within a church" are hardening as a result of the so called Anglican realignment activities which have spread from the US to the UK via such as the ill-fated Covenant for the Church of England and the GAFCON extremism of such as the Bishops of Lewes and Rochester.

Live and let live is very Anglican. Separation is not. Forward in Faith is asking for a totally separate province. The Church of England is very unlikely to give them that.

Posted by: badman on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 7:31pm BST

the legally binding arrangements within the Act of Synod

Well there's a contradiction in terms if I ever saw one. An Act of Synod is, by definition, not legally binding, surely?

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 9:33pm BST

Badman writes: "Forward in Faith is asking for a totally separate province. The Church of England is very unlikely to give them that."

I'm not sure this is quite correct. Forward in Faith is a membership organisation (2nd in size only to the mothers' union) in the C of E. Its members oppose the ordination of women for theological reasons, which they fully understand others don't share. There is a sense of realism that for those with different theoligical perpectives there is no difficulty with the issue of Women's ordination and, indeed, for many it is an issue of justice. FiF has always conceded that a church which ordains women priests cannot justify not ordaining women as bishops. However, when the CofE ordained women as priests, it gave very firm promisses that a permanent place would be made for opponents and the measure along with the Act of Synod provided such a place and it was on that basis that many thousands of people remained in the CofE.

The move to consecrate women as bishops means that the present provisions will not work. FiF has tried very hard to contribute positively to the discussions and to identify a way in which the CofE could move ahead on this whilst continuing to honour the promisses made to opponents in 1992.

The suggestion of a province, in no way ideal, is an attempt to secure provision in such a way as women are then able to fully exercise their ministry throughout the rest of the CofE without any of the unjust compromises which might otherwise exist. To what extent such a province des or does not relate to the rest of the CofE has always been for negotiation.

To my mind, the creation of a new province is still the best workable solution - it frees the rest of the CofE from any other restrictions. All the other proposals place restrictions of the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop - the province calls for a little rethinking regarding absolute territoriality but maintains total jurisdiction for the ordinary in all parishes under his/her authority.

Whether the Synod will grant this remains to be seen, but it could yet be the only alternative to a single clause measure - and it would honour former promisses with less compromise than even the present arrangements.

Posted by: David Malloch on Wednesday, 21 May 2008 at 12:34am BST

"attitudes to a "church within a church" are hardening as a result of the so called Anglican realignment activities which have spread from the US to the UK"

Too true. And what is saddening is that 'alternative structures' already exist in the form of Resolution A, B and C parishes under the pastoral eye of extra-diocesan bishops. This is all profoundly un-catholic, which is a bit odd given the stated theological tone of the clergy and parishes that seem to be caught up in these futureless structures. Faced with the prospect of a bishop-who-is-a-woman, if these little ghettos are not enough already, there are some legitimate ecclesial structures (ie other churches) that people requiring this sort of protestant-in-vestments innovation should be considering. For the FiF types, it is submission to the Holy Church of Rome - surely something they wouldn't find too hard to swallow on theological grounds. For the Reform types, it's Wee Free Presbyterianism.

No need to be forever making it up as you go along. No need to waste money on 'flying bishops'. No need to be perpetually whining and moaning about the state of the Church of England - FiF is also known as Backward in Bitterness for good reason. The biggest challenge to most FiF parishes is that their clergy display a pervasively negative attitude to the CofE already, it is hard to see how this would be conducive to successful mission. They have already curtailed their involvement in their dioceses through putting on separate Chrism Masses, and not generally attending diocesan events. If the present level of pastoral provision isn't enough, then maybe it is time to jump in the Tiber for a better future. Rome would benefit from their sense of liturgical style (since it's now back in fashion) and they would benefit from learning how to live under obedience with a bishop who can enforce his prerogatives. If these potential converts are all about mission, then this would be the opportunity to finally throw themselves into it, trust in God and see what happens.

Posted by: kieran crichton on Wednesday, 21 May 2008 at 1:29am BST

i suppose I shall have to look elsewhere “… for sincerely held theological reasons "... If be.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 21 May 2008 at 6:49am BST

I smiled reading Keiron’s comment on the new Roman vogue for the “liturgical style” of Forward in Faith types. Some of my best friends left for Rome when we ordained women and happily remain close. I remember their wailing over the minimalist liturgy they would have to embrace and it was no surprise when one of them was appointed to oversee the Latin/pre Vatican 2 liturgies in the diocese – he is back in heaven!

But it is these lads who are the most bemused by the “double think” that has happened since, but there you are, if the truth be told they would agree they never did feel very tolerant of Anglican breadth!

The most interesting paper to emerge recently on this whole issue was undoubtedly the recommendations of the Panel of Reference on the Fort Worth submissions.

While the claims of the diocese appear strangely just to be based on a nasty rumour circulating at the time of the retirement of the Bishop of Eau Claire in 1999, both the submission and the recommendations from the Panel approve an ad hoc arrangement made by the present bishop of Fort Worth and grandly named the Dallas Plan.

In a very informal way that relies entirely on the goodwill of all concerned the present bishop of Fort Worth offers those parishes who would like the ordained ministry of a woman to enjoy the oversight of a bishop he appoints and sends female aspirants to Holy Orders to another bishop of his choice to test their vocations.

The Panel says:

“The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Presiding Bishop and the other Primates of the Anglican Communion should publicly commend the adequacy of the Dallas Plan.”

If such a scheme has been overwhelmingly lauded and apparently universally accepted, then I wonder why those who are not in favour of women’s ordination should expect more than is on offer to parishes and individuals in the Dallas Plan.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 21 May 2008 at 12:33pm BST

Martin asks: "If such a scheme has been overwhelmingly lauded and apparently universally accepted, then I wonder why those who are not in favour of women’s ordination should expect more than is on offer to parishes and individuals in the Dallas Plan."

Please remember that what we are asking for gives more to both sides than is presently the case. By creating a separate, non-geographical, jurisdiction for opponents, the present situation of existing diocese having bishops who do not ordain women would cease. So, an english equivalent of the Dallas Plan would not be needed - women would be able to function fully as bishops and priests in all the existing dioceses. The Dallas plan, and for that matter the practice in Rhode Island, envisage diocesan bishops who do not ordain women - FiF and others are putting forward a solution which avoids these limitations on women's ministry.

Posted by: David Malloch on Wednesday, 21 May 2008 at 3:40pm BST

I am delighted David believes the FiF proposals are generous to all, this would be a great achievement, and a significant change in attitude too. Words are hardly able to express the shock and deep sadness I felt when I listened to the speeches of past FiF conferences available on their website, one from a priest I have known and respected for 40+ years – there was not an iota of generosity in what he and his fellows had to say.

So, I think I will remain persuaded by the Panel of Reference when they say that the Dallas Plan has worked for well over a decade and (most importantly) that it is adequate, I believe more attention should be focused on it along with the Panel of References’ ringing endorsement, it is uniquely placed in the development of Anglican polity to become a model for all.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 21 May 2008 at 5:41pm BST

"The move to consecrate women as bishops means that the present provisions will not work . . . The suggestion of a province, in no way ideal, is an attempt to secure provision in such a way as women are then able to fully exercise their ministry throughout the rest of the CofE"

And when a woman is appointed ABC, then what, David?

You're just delaying inevitable. Either GET OVER your *squeamishness*, that God is calling to the priesthood those w/ girl-parts (entirely consistent w/ Scripture, Tradition and Reason, BTW)...

...or avail yourself of the door. Vaya con Dios.

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 21 May 2008 at 8:06pm BST

Many urge that people trust the Church to be 'fair' in the future to those who hold women cannot be priests or bishops. A single clause measure might stand a better chance when backed up with evidence of appointments to the episcopate in the past ten years of bishops who cannot accept women's priethood or episcopacy.

Posted by: Neil on Wednesday, 21 May 2008 at 11:23pm BST

I gather the English Bishops have been meeting this week to consider the report of the legislative drafting group. Anyone heard of the outcome of the meeting?

Posted by: David Malloch on Thursday, 22 May 2008 at 8:41pm BST

Who owns the problem?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 23 May 2008 at 5:45am BST

If special jurisdictions were put in place for Anglicans who oppose the ordination of women, and Anglicans who oppose the presence - the very existence - of gay people, and Anglicans who insist that only the 1662 BCP is authentically Anglican - if all these special places were set up, would they be able to remain in full communion with each other and with the rest of the Anglican Communion? One has to wonder.

Posted by: christopher+ on Friday, 23 May 2008 at 11:06pm BST
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