Monday, 7 July 2008

General Synod: Monday afternoon's debate

For the final form of the motion before Synod and the voting figures see the end of this article

Synod began its main debate on women bishops at 2.30 pm today.

The Order Paper is here

I have copied this below, but have amended it to include the votes in synod as they took place.

Note: Where a vote is taken by houses, the motion must be carried in all three houses to be carried.

The Bishop of Gloucester moved:

20. ‘That this Synod:
(a) reaffirm its wish for women to be admitted to the episcopate;
(b) affirm its view that special arrangements be available, within the existing structures of the Church of England, for those who as a matter of theological conviction will not be able to receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests;
(c) affirm that these should be contained in a national code of practice to which all concerned would be required to have regard; and
(d) instruct the legislative drafting group, in consultation with the House of Bishops, to complete its work accordingly, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice, so that the Business Committee can include first consideration of the draft legislation in the agenda for the February 2009 group of sessions.’

The Bishop of Winchester moved as an amendment:

66. After “That this Synod” leave out paragraph (a) and insert:
“(a) anticipating the ordination of women to the episcopate in the Church of England, and noting the Manchester Group’s assertion in paragraph 22 of GS 1685 that “far and away the most important question that the Church of England now has to face is the extent to which it wishes to continue to accommodate the breadth of theological views on this issue that it currently encompasses”,
(i) affirm the assurances included in paragraphs 67-69 of GS 1685;
(ii) reaffirm (GS 1685 paragraph 74) Resolution III.2 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference “that those who dissent from, as well as those who assent to the ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate are both loyal Anglicans”;
In paragraph (b) leave out “within the existing structures of the Church of England”; and
In paragraph (c) after “in” insert “legislation and in”.

Amendment 66 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
14
31
0
clergy
62
120
0
laity
78
114
0

The Revd Prebendary David Houlding (London) moved as an amendment:

67. Leave out paragraph (a) and insert:
“(a) affirm that the wish of its majority is for women to be admitted to the episcopate”.

Amendment 67 was carried after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
28
17
0
clergy
90
89
4
laity
97
85
7

The Revd Stephen Trott (Peterborough) moved as an amendment:

68. Leave out paragraphs (b) and (c) and in paragraph (d) leave out “, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice,”.

Amendment 68 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
3
40
2
clergy
28
149
4
laity
36
147
5

The Revd Miranda Threlfall-Holmes (Universities, York) moved as an amendment:

69. In paragraph (b) leave out all the words after “affirm its view that” and insert “this should be done with the simplest possible statutory approach, with local diocesan arrangements for pastoral provision and sacramental care;”;
Leave out paragraph (c); and
In paragraph (d) leave out “, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice,”.

Amendment 69 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
7
37
1
clergy
66
107
9
laity
68
118
4

The Revd Canon Simon Killwick (Manchester) moved as an amendment:

70. In paragraph (b) leave out “the existing structures of”;
In paragraph (c) leave out “national code of practice to which all concerned would be required to have regard” and insert “Measure”; and
In paragraph (d) leave out “accordingly, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice,” and insert “by preparing a draft Measure and associated code of practice providing new dioceses for those who cannot in conscience receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests,” and after the words “so that” insert the words “, if possible,”.

Amendment 70 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
10
32
3
clergy
53
124
4
laity
71
116
2

The Bishop of Exeter moved as an amendment:

71. In paragraph (b) leave out “the existing structures of”;
In paragraph (c) leave out “national code of practice to which all concerned would be required to have regard” and insert “Measure”; and
In paragraph (d) leave out all the words after “accordingly” and insert “by preparing drafts of possible legislation in accordance with paragraph (c), to include further draft Measures, together with associated codes of practice, based on diocesan structures for those who cannot in conscience receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests, so that, if possible, the Business Committee can include consideration of these options in the agenda for the February 2009 group of sessions.”.

Amendment 71 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
14
29
2
clergy
65
116
1
laity
77
112
0

The Bishop of Ripon and Leeds moved as an amendment:

72. In paragraph (c) after the words “affirm that these should be” insert “either by way of statutory transfer of specified responsibilities or”; and
In paragraph (d) leave out “complete” and insert “develop” and leave out the words “first consideration of the draft legislation” and insert “further consideration of both alternatives envisaged in paragraph (c) ”.

Amendment 72 was lost after a vote by houses (since it was defeated in one house).
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
21
21
1
clergy
84
92
2
laity
98
87
0

At this point (6.30 pm) Synod broke for its dinner break. The session will resume at 8.00 pm

[Miss Emma Forward (Exeter) did not move her amendment so it was not considered:

73. In paragraph (b) leave out “special”.]

The Revd Gillian Henwood (York) moved an amendment:

74. Insert after paragraph (b):
“(..) affirm its view that special arrangements should be available, within the existing structures of the Church of England, for those who as a matter of theological conviction wish to exercise or receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests in episcopal areas where the bishop has stated that he is not able to ordain women;”.

Amendment 74 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
5
31
3
clergy
68
85
20
laity
82
90
7

Canon Dr Christina Baxter (Southwell and Nottingham) moved as an amendment:

75. After paragraph (c) insert as a new paragraph:
“(..) require that the Measure enabling women to be admitted to the episcopate should require:
(i) that the Measure should only come into force once the code has been agreed;
(ii) that in order for the code of practice to come into effect, it must receive the approval of the General Synod with a two-thirds majority in each House; and
(iii) that any future changes to the code can only be made by the General Synod with a two-thirds majority in each House;”.

Amendment 75 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
15
19
5
clergy
86
78
8
laity
81
88
10

Ms Jacqueline Humphreys (Bristol) moved as an amendment:

76. In paragraph (c) insert “statutory” before the words “national code of practice”.

Amendment 76 was carried on a show of hands.

the Revd Canon Robert Cotton (Guildford) moved as an amendment:

77. Insert as a new paragraph after paragraph (c):
“(..) agree that the code of practice should relate only to the exercise of episcopal functions and describe a commitment to mutual support and cooperation between members of the House of Bishops to help with pastoral provision and sacramental care when situations arise affecting those with conscientious difficulties relating to ordination to the priesthood and the episcopate; and”.

Amendment 77 was lost after a vote by houses.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
1
35
4
clergy
38
129
5
laity
44
129
7

His Honour Thomas Coningsby QC (ex officio) moved as an amendment:

78. In paragraph (c) leave out all the words after “national code of practice” and insert “which all concerned would be required to follow”.

Amendment 78 was lost on a show of hands.

The Bishop of Durham moved that the debate be adjourned. This motion was lost with 180 votes in favour, 203 against and 9 abstentions.

Final form of the substantive motion

As a result of the two successful amendments (67 and 76) the final form of the substantive motion became:

That this Synod:
(a) affirm that the wish of its majority is for women to be admitted to the episcopate;
(b) affirm its view that special arrangements be available, within the existing structures of the Church of England, for those who as a matter of theological conviction will not be able to receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests;
(c) affirm that these should be contained in a statutory national code of practice to which all concerned would be required to have regard; and
(d) instruct the legislative drafting group, in consultation with the House of Bishops, to complete its work accordingly, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice, so that the Business Committee can include first consideration of the draft legislation in the agenda for the February 2009 group of sessions.

After a vote by houses the substantive motion was carried.
Voting figures

 
 for 
 against 
 abstentions 
bishops
28
12
1
clergy
124
44
4
laity
111
68
2
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Comments

Um, for the lazy, ignorant and Yankee among us (speaking for myself, of course! *g*) . . . what does all this *mean*?

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 7 July 2008 at 7:48pm BST

Did you notice how the GAFCON leading light, Canon Sugden was speaking at the Synod for the opponents...however note how to keep Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda on board they dropped the women's ordination issue entirely from GAFCON, designating it a secondary issue....you see thats how you operate with "Biblical truth" when your a GAFCONITE.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Monday, 7 July 2008 at 10:42pm BST

Well done General Synod, a marathon effort and a great result!

Posted by: MrsBarlow on Monday, 7 July 2008 at 10:56pm BST

Here's a novel solution; One Bishop - Two Persons option; for each seat two persons occupy the role of bishop; One a Man another a Woman. Sounds inspirational to me.

Posted by: stephen low on Monday, 7 July 2008 at 10:58pm BST

So, after all that (thanks Peter for this detailed record) we have a motion approved in substantially the form in which it originated. Three caveats.

1. the change to the first paragraph means that opponents of women bishops can vote for it because they are voting that the Synod majority wants to do this, not that they do. This is probably only a cosmetic change.

2. More importantly, the code of practice is required to be statutory. That's quite a biggy. And

3. the motion was carried in the House of Laity by less than a 2/3 majority. That means that any Bill that received the same majority would fail. Of course, there is likely to be a Synodical general election before the final vote. But this indicates that it is not a given that it will succeed.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Monday, 7 July 2008 at 11:09pm BST

For JCF:

1. The point of this motion is to allow for two things:
a. the General Synod has said that it will consider legislation by Measure to permit women bishops--but as Simon Kershaw pointed out, it is not certain whether the Measure (which will be considered law in England once Parliament does not stand in its way) will be approved.
b. that legislation will contain measures to ensure that people who cannot accept the ministry of women bishops are protected--but apparently the demand for so-called "parallel dioceses" has been shot down for the moment.

What I found appalling was the rejection of amendment 66's form of paragraph (a), which would have enabled a form of words that took into account the views of opponents into account. I think the Synod would have to think about this very hard as I believe the current threat of a schism on both ends of the spectrum is a real one and must be taken seriously.

In other words, this motion basically serves to set the legislative process in motion, but does not really mean anything. Unless some people pull off a "Philadelphia 11"-like consecration, which I doubt will happen, we will not have women bishops actually ministering in the CofE within the next four years at least.

Posted by: Ren Aguila on Monday, 7 July 2008 at 11:38pm BST

The vote confirms the process begun with the vote to ordain women as priests back in 1987, a process of theological cleansing. The Anglo-Catholics are being excluded from the Church of England. As the Bishop of Fulham said on tonight's Newsnight, the Church of England is ceasing to be Catholic and Reformed, instead it will just be Reformed. It was inevitable after women were ordained as priests, nevertheless, it will leave the C of E a very different and feminised church.

Posted by: Paul Rowlandson on Monday, 7 July 2008 at 11:51pm BST

Has anybody determined the exact date on which the world will come to an end as a result of this. Surely it can't be long. :)

Congratulations to the people of the Church of England.

Posted by: Richard Lyon on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 1:06am BST

Simon or Peter,

Would one of you define what a 'code of practice' is, please.

Posted by: Chip on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 2:56am BST

Thank you to Peter for the detailed record. I almost felt lik I was there. (Wish I were!) And thank you to Simon for the analysis. A couple of comments:

I think the change in (a) was cosmetic from the perspective of the actual effect, but for those who are opposed, I think it made the whole thing easier to vote for, as it didn't imply that they were personally in favour, simply that they recognized the reality that the majority are. That may have won a few votes.

I noticed that word "statutory" being slipped in on the code of practice. I don't know how much of a biggie it is, Simon, can you say more? As I read it, all it means is that the Measure that will be developed will refer to and require a Code of Practice, and thus it will be authorized as a kind of secondary legislation pursuant to the Measure. Is there something I'm missing in the vagaries of the law?

The really big news, in my view, is that the phrase "within the existing structures" means the end of the talk about "Super Bishops", which would have been a further erosion of the ecclesiological underpinnings of the Church. I suppose that by using a statutory code of practice, which will inevitably refer to the PEVs that will solidify the Flying Bishops, but they weren't about to go anywhere anyway, were they?

A long day's work, and good news all 'round.

Posted by: Nom de Plume on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 3:28am BST

Love you, TA, but this is the stupidest possible way to describe the action. My eyes glazed over even before I got to the "vote by houses." As if anyone gives a damn.

Posted by: Josh Indiana on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 4:20am BST

FiF's initial reaction says at the end

'However, members of both the General Synod and of the Church of England will understand that actions always have consequences.'

I really don't like this threatening language - it does not help their case at all.

Posted by: Wilf on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 7:22am BST

Chip asked 'Would one of you define what a 'code of practice' is, please.'

I am happy to oblige:

Church Measures (which have the force and effect of an Act of Parliament) often contain within them the creation of powers for certain people or groups of people (e.g. the Bishop of a diocese, the general synod etc).

What a Code of Practice does is gives more or less binding guidance on how the person with the power goes about making the decision to exercise that power and in what circumstances. So, for instance, the powers of Bishops, Synods, the Church Commissioners etc in re-drawing the boundaries of benefices is informed by the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Measure 1983.

In this case the Code of Practice would determine what arrangements would need to be made for the appointment of a woman as a bishop in a diocese, and in particular, what provision would be made to cater for those who felt unable in conscience to accept her ministrations.

The Devil is, of course, in the detail. We will need to wait and see.

Go on, ask me another one.....

Posted by: Wilf on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 8:50am BST

Wilf - I am not a member of FiF so I can't speak for them, but the statement that actions have consequences is accurate. The liberals and the feminists, along with many evangelicals, have combined to expel the Anglo-Catholics. The consequences of this vote will inevitably lead to a change in the character of the church. You may welcome that, others will deplore it, but the intended and unintended consequences will take place. There is no 'threat' in the FiF language, just a recognition of the fact that the C of E has now redefined itself as an exclusively Protestant church.

Posted by: Paul Rowlandson on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 9:05am BST

On Paul Rowlandson's comment: It seems to me that one style of Anglo-Catholics (there is at least one other style) already excluded themselves in 1992 by the creation of 'flying bishops' - quite an un-catholic accomodation by which those parishes in effect opted out of the C-of-E (the RC church would never allow such opting out). I think the universality expressed by the idea of catholic is much more present where women also share in ordained ministry. Lots of self-styled Anglo-Catholics agree.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 9:23am BST

"I really don't like this threatening language - it does not help their case at all"

It isn't a threat - just a statement of fact. Despite the heartfelt pleas of both Arch Bishops, senior diocesans, the prolocutor and the chair of the House of Laity, synod voted to go down a path which makes it impossible for the legislation to make the minimal provision to meet the needs of traditionalists. NB All the speakers mentioned above and many others made this plea despite their personal determination to consecrate women.

The synodical decision has consequences. It is too early to know what they might be but the status quo is not an option:
Traditionalists need to consider their futures and their new relationship to the establishment. The house of bishops needs to consider the implications of rejecting the pleas of its leaders. The Archbishops need to consider how they operate in a church which rejects what they say.

There are consequences and they will be the result of the decision. We should pray for the Arch Bishops as they try to lead the church through the consequences of a decision they powerfully counselled against

Posted by: David Malloch on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 10:08am BST

David Maloch wrote: 'The house of bishops needs to consider the implications of rejecting the pleas of its leaders. The Archbishops need to consider how they operate in a church which rejects what they say.'

There is nothing new here. The Church of England has operated in this way for hundreds of years. That is one of the differences between us and, say, the Roman Church -- that there is no single, central magisterium. The Archbishops have moral authorty and leadership, just as diocesan bishops have moral authority and leadership. But the synods of clergy and lay people also participate in debate and decision. That is their right, under God. As I was reading the other night, the 1559 BCP was authorized by the laity with every episcopal voice dissenting.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 10:59am BST

Its nice and eadsy to pore over for those who were already assured of provision and preferment. But I deplore how quickly those who use the language of inclusion and justice rounded on traditional Anglo-Catholics - forcing a decision which clearly expells us from an honoured place in the church of our baptism. I am having to sit down and ask where to go from here. My house, vocation, family, parish, parishioners are all thrown into turmoil as I am forced into the wilderness. My crime? Upholding the faith that this very church taught me and refusing to accept an innovation that historic Anglicanism, Romanism and Orthodoxy claim to be spurious.

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 11:17am BST

All this talk of being now just a Protestant church is nonsense. The motion which was approved did not achieve 2/3 majority required, and would only do so if trad Catholics prematurely give up the labour to maintain a Catholic presence.

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 11:25am BST

Simon Kershaw writes that the doctrinal authority in the C of E, the Synod, is composed of the bishops, "clergy and lay people", and that it is this democratic convention's "right, under God" to determine doctrine. He is, of course, right. There is no magisterium in the C of E. The ultimate authority is the Houses of Parliament.
'Vox populi, vox dei' - the voice of the people is the voice of God'.
Alcuin of York in 798 commented on this belief:
'Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit': 'Those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.'

Posted by: Paul Rowlandson on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 11:28am BST

"...it will leave the C of E a very different and feminised church."

Surely, you do not intend "feminized" as a derogatory....or do you?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 11:28am BST

I don't really understand why FinF are so unhappy about what's happened.

A statutory code of practice is a stronger measure than is around in every part of the Anglican Communion that already has women bishops. Hopefully it will ensure that both those in favour of and those against this change will be treated fairly and with respect and love. It will however require trust on all sides and there doesn't seem to be that much of that about, which is a shame.

I think it's really important (for the sake of Christian decency as much as anything else) that there is provision for those against but also that there is no discrimination against women priests/bishops enshrined in legislation. For me it comes down to a simple question: is a woman's ministry just as valid as a man's or not?

Posted by: Katie on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 12:01pm BST

One is not 'expelled' by the presence of women bishops in the Church of England. Why would the fate of the C of E not be different than that of those other parts of the Anglican world which have made provision for the election/consecration/appointment of women bishops. I'm trying to remember the exact date in Canada when we expelled the anglo-catholic wing of the church. Try as I might I have no pictures of men in Roman cassocks being tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. The earth did not open up. It swallowed precisely nobody.

One can decide to fall on one's sword. Let's not use adolescent language about sundry groups 'combining to expell' the anglocatholics. It's rhetoric. The sun will come up tomorrow nonetheless.

Posted by: Raspberry Rabbit on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 12:27pm BST

"Traditionalists need to consider their futures and their new relationship to the establishment"

This is only too true. Perhaps those bishops who were talking to the Vatican last week should seriously consider a change of topic. Instead of asking for inter-ecclesial meddling from the Pope, they should be seeking an opportunity for reconciliation with the Holy Roman Church.

Posted by: kieran crichton on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 1:27pm BST

This is the first time that I have felt the need to jump in here but after several months of reading and paying attention I felt I needed to on this issue.

As a woman in the church in Canada who would consider herself on the Anglo-Catholic end in terms of liturgy I am thrilled to bits for my sisters and brothers in the CofE for moving forward on this issue. It has been my great pleasure to know many fine women deacons, priests (some of whom are my dear friends) and to work with and get to know the fine women bishops in our church. I suspect that once some fine women are ordained bishops in the CofE everyone will be asking themselves why didn't we do this sooner.

I understand that the CofE process is longer than it could ever be here or in TEC so I will continue to pray for all of you as you go through this.

Posted by: Fiona Brownlee on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 1:45pm BST

Many of the bitterest opponents of the ordination of women seem unable to accept authority - hence the use of the Roman Missal and the prevalence of active homosexuals amongst their ranks - this may lie at the root of the failure of Forward in Faith clergy to go over to Rome, something which they constantly threaten. Since their opposition to women in positions of authority seems idolatrous it would be spiritually good for them to finally do as they constantly threaten. Their departure would enable the presentation of the good news of Christ through an emphasis on the sacraments to undertaken much more thoroughly within the Anglican Communion. Does this sound harsh?

Posted by: William McDowell on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 2:07pm BST

Very well put Simon Kershaw.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 3:08pm BST

OK, so you have two possible sets of consequences.

You either:
1. agree to institutionalised discrimination
2. you vote for equality which may place some of those who believe in institutionalised discrimination in a difficult position.

The problem is the conservative view which institutionalises discrimination. The problem is the traditional position of the church is simply not acceptable.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 3:23pm BST

Paul Rowlandson takes issue with my comment about the responsibility of bishops, clergy and laity. But you put words in my mouth, Paul. Whether one agrees with Paul or not, though, the English Church does not provide for the mob rule that Paul quotes Alcuin complaining of. It is representative clergy and laity who are given the responsibility, under God, for this process, and that has been the case for several hundred years.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 4:17pm BST

I see that the motion did not get a 2/3 majority in the house of laity. Why did it get through then? Does it not need to have a 2/3 majority in all three houses?

Posted by: Tom on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 4:17pm BST

Paul Rowlandson takes issue with my coment about the responsibility of bishops, clergy and laity. But you put words in my mouth, Paul. Whether one agrees with Paul or not, though, the English Church does not provide for the mob rule that Paul quotes Alcuin complaining of. It is representative clergy and laity who are given the responsibility, under God, for this process, and that has been the case for several hundred years.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 4:17pm BST

David Malloch says that the English Primates and senior prelates have much to ponder on as their own House – as well as the other two houses of General Synod – act contrary to their advice.

I agree.

I can think of no better example (in recent years) which demonstrates as clearly why rule by Primates is so inappropriate to our Anglican heritage. All further talk of “enhanced responsibility” must now surely be dead.

Indeed much of what underpins the thinking of the Covenant is not of us, and so those like myself who are keen for closer relations between the sister Churches of the Communion are left opposing what in principle we are keen to see move ahead.

I thank Peter, his work here kept me fully informed.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 4:37pm BST

Re the 2/3 majority.

The situation is that on a bill for a Measure that is ruled to require it, at the final reading of that bill in the Synod, then to be deemed to have been approved, the bill must receive a 2/3 majority in each of the three houses of the Synod -- Bishops, Clergy and Laity.

The vote on Monday was a vote that draft legislation be prepared and introduced to a future meeting of the Synod, together with a draft code of practice. That vote needed only a simple majority in all three houses in order to be carried. Monday's motion was approved by a large majority, but it is easy to see that the majority was slightly less than 2/3 in the House of Laity. A similar just-less-than 2/3 majority occurred last time too -- was it last year?

The point is that the next synodical election will determine the composition of the next House of Laity (and House of Clergy) and therefore whether any legislation is likely to succeed or not. That election takes place in 2010. The lay electorate (the voters) for that election was largely determined by the elections from parishes to deanery synods that took place earlier this year.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 4:37pm BST

Simon,

many thanks indeed!

Tom

Posted by: Tom on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 5:23pm BST

Well, I'm not so lazy, ignorant or Yankee NOT to know that the following quotes

"a process of theological cleansing. The Anglo-Catholics are being excluded from the Church of England . . . the Church of England is ceasing to be Catholic and Reformed, instead it will just be Reformed."

"The liberals and the feminists, along with many evangelicals, have combined to expel the Anglo-Catholics."

"forcing a decision which clearly expells us from an honoured place in the church of our baptism."

are clearly hysterical breaks-from-reality (w/ more than a hint of "bovine elimination" about them).

Anyone watching what's happening in Zimbabwe? There persons have been "forced" to vote for Mugabe. There, Zimbabweans are being "expelled" and "excluded" from their own democratic rights.

To use these SAME terms, for the *discomfort* one feels upon discovering one is in a democratic minority, is to *torture language* (in the same way a Mugabe thug might torture their opponents).

Lord have mercy! God, speed reconcilation---and affirmation of ALL Your children, male and female---in Your Church!

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 6:55pm BST

I was there. It was painful even for those of us committed to women bishops and celebrating the affirmation of women's ministry. Those whom we have hurt are at the least acquaintances respected as faithful Christians and loyal Anglicans; in many cases, personal friends.

Perhaps we should not have gone on so long in formal session. We listened better to each other - and allowed ourselves to be more vulnerable - in small groups on Saturday morning.

But it is a bit rich for bishops to complain at Synod, and at the laity in particular, when their own house was so divided. Synod passed the bishops' own motion, with two amendments designed to soften it for traditional Anglo-catholics - alas, it seems, not enough. Their house voted down by 2:1 majorities the amendments put up by +Winchester and +Exeter. On the critical amendment put forward by +Ripon & Leeds, bishops tied 21-all with 1 abstention: laity approved.

(Archi)episcopal leadership would have been welcome, but one couldn't actually fathom out from ++C's late intervention which amendment(s) he'd want us to vote for. Such a pity: ++Rowan's sermon at York Minster on Sunday had been clear, powerful and persuasive to generosity - if only we could have worked out how.

There are rays of hope yet. For one, a very well-attended eucharist at 0730 this morning which was deeply moving, where we stood together as and with the broken body of Christ, and shared both peace and tears. Fittingly, the service was presided over most graciously by +Beverley, who gave an inclusive and profound homily. For another, look at the actual words of the motion passed: there's still quite some latitude there for the drafting group - whose task I do not envy.

Philip GS390

Posted by: Philip French on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 9:39pm BST

"one is in a democratic minority"

But the Church isn't a democracy. Just because we vote doesn't make it so. It's about discrening the will of God. It isn't the Republic of God, nor the Constitutional Monarchy of God, after all. So, it's about finding out that one is in a minority that is unable to discern the guidance of the Spirit when the majority of the Church does, a very different thing. I remember the reasons given for OOW by clergy in Canada thirty+ years ago. If there aren't any better explanations of why this is right now than there were then, I don't blame people for feeling that they are right and the Church really hasn't discerned anything other than a call by society to political correctness. It took me a very long time to realize I was wrong on that score too, and the final arguments were given by a female bishop!

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 12:43pm BST

"...I don't blame people for feeling that they are right and the Church really hasn't discerned anything other than a call by society to political correctness."

Is it impossible that the Spirit acts through society as a whole...calling the Church to a specific action by having society demand it?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 12:56am BST

Ford
"I don't blame people for feeling that they are right and the Church really hasn't discerned anything other than a call by society to political correctness"

You keep making this point, but is there any credible theology that would place God in opposition to social justice?

It's easy to call it "political correctness" and yes, politically implemented it can be descriptive and over the top. But the principles behind it, the underlying issues of justice, are genuine.

I really struggle to see how God could possibly not be on the side of increasing awareness of what is morally right.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 8:26am BST

"is there any credible theology that would place God in opposition to social justice"

I keep making the analogy with motherhood. Conservatives claim, with theological and traditional backing, that the priesthood is necessarily male. I disagree with their theology, but that's another point. If they are right, this is no more an injustice than the fact that I, being male, can never be a mother. Just for the sake of argument, say they're right. Is it not more of an injustice to us all to say words over people and tell them and us that they are something they cannot ever be, especially when what it is we claim they are is so important to the life of the Church? I believe a woman priest is indeed a priest. They think otherwise. If this is about empowering women and that's all, then there are better ways to do that than pretend a woman can be something it is impossible for her to be, providing of course we agree with the latter point, which I don't.

So, the argument that the Church, in contravention of God's will, has oppressed women in this for the past 2000 years doesn't hold much water unless you can prove that women ARE called to the priesthood and the Church has been ignoring it. I believe this to be the case, but I had to come up with my own reasons long before I heard anyone actually charged with making such arguments make the attempt. All the while this was being discussed in Canada, every clergyman who spoke on this issue seemed unable to see it in terms of anything but rights, as though theological issues were just some embarassing little aggravation to be scorned away. It is all the more frustrating because the arguments are not hard to make. The fact they seemed unable to do so made me doubt their understanding of the faith and their credibility as teachers of it, rather like my attitude towards the GAFCONITES now, and exactly like the attitudes of the anti-woman crowd today. While I support OOW, the situation doesn't seem to have changed.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 1:26pm BST

Whether or not we agree or disagree with the consecration of women bishops, it is difficult to accept that lessons have not been learned after 14 years of the ordination of women as priests. Back then the wheeling and dealing with dissenters to get the vote in favour has led to problems that are no closer being solved now than 14 years ago; and no likely hood of anything changing whilst new male ordinands are still accepted who do not accept women’s priestly ministry, and (in theory at least) new male bishops consecrated who do not accept women’s priestly ministry either.
If those in favour of women bishops are convinced it is God’s will, then they should trust God that the vote will go that way. There should be no deals or unworkable compromises. Likewise, those against. Whichever way the final voting then went, all should fully accept it, or leave.

Posted by: G. Herbert on Friday, 11 July 2008 at 11:07am BST

I was there too. It was a bruising debate. Does anyone know when we can get details of who voted which way - I pity the bishops who abstained when their names get out. Don't seem to be on the CofE website yet

Posted by: Ian on Friday, 11 July 2008 at 4:40pm BST

Ian
Based on past experience, I would expect the voting details to be published by the end of next week.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 11 July 2008 at 5:06pm BST
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