Tuesday, 8 July 2008

General Synod: reports and comments on women bishops

Updated to add link to article by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes

Reports

Riazat Butt in The Guardian Church vote opens door to female bishops

Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Church of England set to split over women bishops

Jennifer Gold in Christian Today Church of England votes to ordain women bishops

Jerome Taylor in The Independent Church risks split as Synod votes to ordain women bishops

Steve Doughty in the Mail Church of England faces clergy revolt after paving way for first woman bishop by 2014

The Press Association Church turmoil over women bishops

Ekklesia Church of England makes historic decision for women bishops

John F Burns in the International Herald Tribune As schism lurks, the Church of England endorses women as bishops

The Age [Melbourne] Anglicans vote in favour of women bishops

Stephanie Kennedy in ABC News [Australia] Anglican Synod votes to allow female bishops

Comments

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes in The Guardian There will be women bishops

Andrew Brown in The Guardian Super-bishops fly in

Damian Thompson in the Telegraph The Church of England is Protestant again

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Good.

Now it is time for all parties to prove they are trustworthy, rather than one camp relying on their plumbing and censorship control to hide their indiscretions whilst slandering the other.

Isaiah 49 - the females help the males, and the males in kind help the females (the latter part of redemption that males had seemed to have overlooked for millenia).

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 11:46am BST

"Protestant"? "Protestant"?

This is the Propaganda fide's word. It was a political lie. It remains propaganda.

Also churches outside Rome are Catholic, 1st Millennium.

The Greeks, the Church of Sweden, the Anglicans, the Russians...

Rome is Roman catholic. 2nd Millennium.

Rome changed much in the Great Schism and the Lateran, Tridentine and 1st Vatican Councils.

For historical and philosophical reasons the organization may be all male (Misogynous Neo Platonism), but its faithful adherents are more often pro women and pro married priests than one would guess from "official" pronouncements.

"Protestant"? "Protestant"?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 12:38pm BST

For those of us across the pond who don't grasp all the intricacies, what are the reasons it is unlikely there will be a female bishop before 2014?

Posted by: John B. Chilton on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 2:11pm BST

Is the Anglo-Catholic party more monolithic in the UK than in the US? The first "legal" ordination of a woman (Jackie Means) to the Priesthood in the US took place in The Episcopal Church of All Saints, Indianapolis. That parish is known as the Anglo-Catholic parish of the diocese. It celebrates Solemn Mass on Sundays (with incense, Sanctus bells, elevations, genuflections, etc.), practices Marian devotion, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, etc. But the members and clergy adore their Bishop, Catherine Waynick, they don't balk at using liturgies that refer to the Trinity in terms other than Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and their rectors have included both women and openly partnered gay men. There are other parishes like All Saints that would also be considered Anglo-Catholic. Is that such a rarity in the UK? I'm puzzled.

Posted by: Charles W. Allen on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 2:13pm BST

Charles W Allen. I'm glad you asked. I'm surprised that the many, many Anglo-Catholic parishes here that support women's ordination are not more vocal. It is true that there are many anti-women parishes, but in my experience, as soon as the anti-women priest leaves and an affirming catholic takes over most of the congregation are happy to accept women. If the FinF clergy go, there will be shortage of catholic clergy to fill the vacancies.

Posted by: poppy tupper on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 4:18pm BST

It will take until about 2012 for the legislation to go through. We have to draft the measure, revise it in committee and full synod, draft the code of practice and then send it to the dioceses (18 months consultation period). Once we get their response, it then goes to final approval stage, and then to Parliament (Ecclesiastical Committee).

Once we have the legislation, there will need to be a vacancy in a see (preferably two, so that we don't end up with one isolated woman having to pioneer). So 2013/4 looks likely.

Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 4:56pm BST

“If the FinF clergy go, there will be shortage of catholic clergy to fill the vacancies.”-- poppy tupper

The shortage, I’m sure, will only be temporary. If you need some High Church priests to fill in until replenishment, just call on us Yanks; we can loan a few hundred for you.

Posted by: Kurt on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 4:59pm BST

"they don't balk at using liturgies that refer to the Trinity in terms other than Father, Son and Holy Spirit"

Well, here's one AC who would dearly love to attend that parish for Mass, though I might well balk at some of the terms they might use for the Trinity. Gender inclusive replacements for Father and Son I might accept, though the sound would jar, at first. Get into Creator/Redeemer language, though, and I'd have issues no amount of incense could cover.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 5:01pm BST

@Charles W. Allen:

I suppose the easiest answer is:

http://www.affirmingcatholicism.org.uk/

Posted by: Walsingham on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 5:19pm BST

Charles W Allen, I'm afraid that ECUSA and the C of E are really quite different in many ways. We, like a different sort of pizzeria, have a whole different range of toppings! Our Anglo-Catholics, even when quite liberal, would probably balk at female priests and bishops, whilst our conservative evangelicals may or may not approve. Our liberals, of whom I am one, are found everywhere, in all sorts of flavours and we probably like women priests and bishops, feel very sorry and a little guilty about those who are hurt and see GAFCON as control freaks like Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell. Many of us, like me, are vicars to a handful of tiny rural parishes where we are 'all things to all men'. Today, I suppose we are all feeling a bit shell-shocked, but good old Anglican Fudge will soon put us right - its sweet, gooey and sticks everything together! P.S. I'm not really cynical - just old.

Posted by: Bernard Rumbold on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 5:50pm BST

Kurt, thanks for for the offer, you'd be very welcome, if you're inclusive. IT WAS A TYPO!!! I meant NO shortage. Sorry. :-)

Posted by: poppy tupper on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 5:55pm BST

Thanks for many of the helpful comments. I'm an occasional fan of Affirming Catholicism, thought of it as Anglo-Catholic, and again wondered why nobody was mentioning it when UK Anlo-Catholics were mentioned.

About language for the Trinity, I should clarify that parishes like All Saints do NOT jettison "Father, Son and Holy Spirit," and they avoid phrases like "Creator/Redeemer/Sustainer." But a sermon might begin with "In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity," instead of the traditional formula, and there's a popular benediction that goes, "Holy Eternal Majesty, Holy Incarnate Word, Holy Abiding Spirit bless you forevermore." But there's not a service that would not use "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" at least some of the time, just not as often.

Posted by: Charles W. Allen on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 6:11pm BST

As an occasional visitor and contributor who admires the thoroughness (if not the tenor) of this blog, I wish you all a fond farewell. The thinking Anglicans have won the day, and I'm joining the mindless reactionaries of Rome. I hope things work out better for those left behind than I think they will.

Posted by: Austin on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 6:25pm BST

Whatever this "Code of Practice" thing is, I heartily recommend it have a TIME-LIMIT! "In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female..."

God bless the bishops-of-God-made-female---THROUGHOUT the Anglican Communion! :-D

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 6:37pm BST

Kurt wrote:
"The shortage, I’m sure, will only be temporary. If you need some High Church priests to fill in until replenishment, just call on us Yanks; we can loan a few hundred for you."

While Kurt was responding to a message with a typo which reversed the intended meeting, I think it's worth remarking that on this side of the pond "High Church" is often used in a disparaging way to indicate a person/parish which quite likes dressing up and a nice fug of incense, but doesn't adhere too strictly to Catholic faith.

In the aftermath of General Synod's decision to kick me out of the C of E, I will refrain from further comment at present apart from saying that the Bishop of Fulham's calm manner when interviewed by Paxo last night (so laid back he was horizontal) does inspire some hope that there might be a Plan B...

Posted by: Alan Harrison on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 6:45pm BST

"In the aftermath of General Synod's decision to kick me out of the C of E..."

I find comments like this utterly mind-boggling. Because somebody, somewhere, might have a bishop who is female, you are "kicked out"?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 7:21pm BST

" I find comments like this utterly mind-boggling. Because somebody, somewhere, might have a bishop who is female, you are "kicked out"?"

It really does sound like children having a temper tantrum because the other children won't play the game according to their rules. It's really very simple. If you can't live with political reality, you can take your ball and leave.

Posted by: Richard Lyon on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 7:45pm BST

Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination. It simply won't do to allow the Established Church to continue to opt out of the laws of the land. In any case, Parliament would simply have thrown out any Measure legislating for continued discrimination; that awareness must have had some bearing on the voting. Also, the scary thought of super-bishops - we have enough powerful male conservative bishops as it is, without creating any more! And we urgently need women bishops in the House of Lords.

The next task for liberals is to counter the spectre of global Anglican homophobia, an altogether more entrenched problem to overcome. Pusillanimous liberal Anglicans should come clean!

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 8:38pm BST

I laud and congratulate the Church of England for moving in the long overdue position of acceptance of women as Bishops in your faith community. I would hope that it would one day help to bring my Roman Catholic leadership to open its doors to the fullness of the priesthood. It is tradition and tradition only that stands in the way. I assure you that there will be those who will transition over to your community in light of this decision. I celebrate this with you. Your Church will be greatly blessed!!

Posted by: Jo Ellen on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 9:09pm BST

"Because somebody, somewhere, might have a bishop who is female, you are "kicked out"?"

Those is TEC who object [or who have left] did so in response to women in ANY orders, since we did not do it step-wise. The specific problem with women bishops that some of them voiced is that since women can't be ordained to any order, the danger for those who don't recognize womens' orders is that they might unknowingly be given Communion that had been consecrated by a MAN who had been ordained by a woman.

This is always couched in the language of proper matter [is that the word? i think not] for ordination.

To me it actually sounds like fear of female cooties.

Would it help if all priests ordained after the first woman bishop in England is consecrated would wear little badges listing who had laid hands on them?

It is the custom in TEC for attending priests to also lay hands on the ordinand - would you need to list those folk too, in case a woman priest touched the ordinand?

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Tuesday, 8 July 2008 at 9:21pm BST

Cynthia - it isn't a case of 'taint' because a woman has touched an ordinand. More a case of needing a proper bishop to be involved in the process as well as all the assmbled priests who join in. And it remains the case that there is no agreement in Christendon yet that women can fulfil this function (pass on OR receive orders for that matter).

Posted by: Neil on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 12:23am BST

Damian Thompson is the best propagandist for women bishops -- if they are what it takes to exorcize the sectarian jabbering about "Protestant" as if that were a bad name.

The glory of Anglicanism is that it is both Protestant and Catholic at one and the same time. Damian Thompson fails to see this, as do both the Anglo-Catholics fleeing to Rome and the Evangelicals of Gafcon. What a pity that they cannot sustain the richest Christian chord -- the chord that unites Catholic and Protestant, the Fathers and Scripture. After the tragedies of sectarianism and intolerance that have besmirched European history, should we not have learned to celebrate and honour all the strands of Christian identity rather than invest in the rancid postures of past hatreds?

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 3:55am BST

Damian Thompson writes: "From the moment the C of E voted to ordain women priests in 1992, it cut itself off from the Catholic mainstream." Damian, my boy, Anglicanism IS the Catholic mainstream.

Posted by: WSJM on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 3:57am BST

I applaud the Church of England for its vote to allow women priests. I only wish the Episcopal Church had acted similarly and not spent the last 30 years coddling extremists. Bishop Iker to this day has free reign to try to harm our Church and will never, ever be punished for refusing to ordain women. He can simply do whatever he wants to the faithful Episcopalians in his diocese and get away with it.

The Church of England will suffer a little short term grief but saved itself the decades of pain the Episcopal Church has experienced. I am envious.

Posted by: Dallas Bob on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 5:15am BST

"I'm joining ... Rome. I hope things work out better for those left behind than I think they will". - Posted by Austin

...and I hope things work out for you, under your new master, than I think they will, Austin. Vaya con Dios.

***

Yeah, Pat. Perhaps the Agony Sisters here ought to compare to recent statements from a FOCA bishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya: "Gays, Get Out!"?

What is it about what is/ISN'T *between the legs* of someone saying "The Blessings of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be upon you and remain with you, this day and evermore" that the FinF crowd find so . . . expulsive? I'll NEVER understand this...

Lord have mercy!

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 5:33am BST

In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North;
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide earth.

Some people have forgotten this!!

Posted by: David Green on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 8:50am BST

neil claims there is no theology of 'taint'. I wonder, if neil is a priest, would he concelebrate the eucharist with a woman priest?

Posted by: poppy tupper on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 10:23am BST

"...it remains the case that there is no agreement in Christendon yet that women can fulfil this function (pass on OR receive orders for that matter)."

There's no agreement in Christendom that priests and bishops can be married, either. Should we now require all in the ministry to be celibate? And only ordain unmarried men from now on?

Geez, there's no agreement in Christendom as to exactly what we're doing in the Eucharist, for that matter.

If we waited for "agreement in Christendom" to do anything, we'd all still be standing around debating when Christ comes back.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 11:36am BST

"What is it about what is/ISN'T *between the legs* of someone saying "The Blessings of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be upon you and remain with you, this day and evermore" that the FinF crowd find so . . . expulsive? I'll NEVER understand this..."

Because you're trying to understand it as being about something that it is not actually about. It's about whether or not when a woman standing at the altar says "this is My Body, this is My Blood", leading the prayers of the assembled ecclesia, does God grant the essential transformation in the elements that He would if a man said those words? What does it mean for the priest to act 'in persona Cristi'? I believe He does. I know some pretty solid theology that convinces me.

For Evangelicals, who already believe that nothing happens to the elements anyway, for whom any baptised person can perform the memorial, the issue comes down to following the letter rather than the Spirit of the Law. Given that Paul says both that women cannot have authority over men, and that in Christ there is neither male nor female, their choice to practically ignore one of these statements while raising the other to near doctrinal status reveals their selective interpretation of Scripture to support their preconceived prejudices, to me at least.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 12:35pm BST

David Green: And you must surely sing it to "McKee" and not "Bourne" (as is on your website).

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 3:21pm BST

Cynthia - I'd be as likely to concelebrate with a woman priest as with a Methodist minister...but, and here is where 'taint' comes in...I would not reject the sacraments from a bishop who ordains women just because I believe him to be wrong about this.

Posted by: Neil on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 3:59pm BST

Run this by me one more time Ford Elms: -
"It's about whether or not when a woman standing at the altar says "this is My Body, this is My Blood", leading the prayers of the assembled ecclesia, does God grant the essential transformation in the elements that He would if a man said those words? What does it mean for the priest to act 'in persona Cristi'? I believe He does."

Let's go back to basics. To be a Christian is to be "in christ". So women and men together are "in Christ" and Christ is (so we are told rather less often, but very importantly) in us. In principle then, any Christian could operate 'in persona Christi' for another person - like when they visit them, or do their washing or ironing or whatever, acting 'in persona Christi' 'ad persona Christi' you might say. What kind of theology of God is it that says when this particular action is undertaken he is checking under the cassock first to see if it is possible? What deficiency of faith is involved that might make God not want to grant "the essential transformation"?

The way you have constructed that makes it sound like anthropology - and gendered anthropology at that - inhibits or permits divine action. This is clearly nonsense. God is free. God is able to transform anything God chooses to transform. And so God is also able to use categories of people, who sharing the same baptism are all "in Christ" and are therefore available for the services of Christ. It has been transformative for the church to have women say those words, and for us to receive from her hands the sacred Body and Blood.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 4:37pm BST

Poppy asks: "I wonder, if neil is a priest, would he concelebrate the eucharist with a woman priest?"

I would hope not. Now don't take that comment the wrong way, but here's my logic:

First, I don't buy into the whole concelebration shtick. It was invented, as I understand it, by the Romans in order to deal with the problem of every priest being required to celebrate the mass daily, and thus too many parishes having way too many celebrations daily with virtually no-one in attendance. With concelebration the various priests in a single parish (where there are multiple priests, of course), can all share the presidency of the mass together at the same time and avoid the abuse of multiple masses at quarter-hour intervals with no-one but the priest (and possibly a server) at any of them, whilst fulfilling the requirement that all the priests celebrate daily. If this is the case, it is a problem which we do not have in the Anglican Church, where priests are not required to celebrate mass daily. (They may, but need not, nor can they do so with no-one in attendance.)

Second, as I understand it the eucharist is celebrated by the whole community, and presided over by a bishop or, in the absence of the bishop, a priest. Having a gaggle of clergy concelebrating obscures the vital importance of the congregation, which may of course include clergy and laity, in my view, and over-clericalizes the liturgy. (Liturgy is, of course, the work of the people, not the work of the priest(s).)

Third, in the event that there is someone present who is not certain of the validity of a woman presiding at the eucharist, a male concelebrant runs the risk of "validating" the sacrament in that person's mind, and thus in fact undermining the legitimacy of the woman priest's orders. Better, in my view, for the male priest to act visibly in a capacity other than celebrant, and visibly and publicly receive the sacrament from the hands of the woman who is presiding, thus making it clear that her orders are fully valid.

Of course, I could be wrong....

Posted by: Nom de Plume on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 5:46pm BST

Ford asks: "What does it mean for the priest to act 'in persona Cristi'?"

Well, to the extent that the priest does this, it is limited in my view to the consecration of the elements, in collaboration with the gathered community and the Holy Spirit, of course. But we must remember that it is the Body and Blood of Christ that is offered to the faithful, and not the Body and Blood of the priest. (Much though some of the laity might wish a pound or two of the priest's flesh.)

That being the case, there is no impediment to a woman fulfilling the priestly role. (And since priesthood emerges from the episcopal order, there is no impediment to a woman being a bishop, either. I believe an Orthodox theologian made just that point to the General Synod a few years ago.)

Posted by: Nom de Plume on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 5:51pm BST

Jeremy and Nom de Plume, don't take my statement of the argument as support for it. Indeed, we are all in Christ, but a priest is someone set aside to function in that role in a specific situation. There is ample debate, and I'm not sure I understand it, but the priest is the "focus' in some sense of the priesthood of all believers. That said, for me, a priest acts in persona Cristi by virtue of sharing in the humanity, not the maleness of the Incarnate God. For me, the claim that only men can represent Christ at the altar is to claim that the Incarnation is only effective for slightly less than half the population.

"What kind of theology of God is it"

The kind of theology that recognizes that God has spoken very powerfully to us through symbols, and we must try to understand those symbols, that speaks to people whose souls are informed and inspired by that sort of thing, for whom something as insignificant as the clothes the priest is wearing, since after all, it ain't the chassie that makes the Sacrament, have meaning that informs their day to day practice of the faith. So, what the priest represents is important to people like me. You don't do any good acting as if these things are unimportant or meaningless, that's just disrespectful, and it is that kind of disrespect from the supporters of OOW that has driven many FiFers away. As I said, I don't agree with them, but at least try to engage with their practice of the faith instead of just labelling them as a bunch of stuffy old woman haters. The symbol of the Incarnate God being manifested in the world at the hands of a woman is particularly powerful actually, it reminds us that the first time He was manifested in the world was also with the express cooperation of a woman, and wouldn't have taken place without her. It reminds us of her fearful assent to be part of God's plan of salvation, and of her radical hymn of praise that speaks of Him throwing down the mighty and exalting the humble and feeding the hungry. I wonder how many FiFers would change their minds if they were addressed in this fashion instead of being called sexists.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 7:49pm BST

Ford,

It seems that in raising objections, you have made my point:

{to rephrase}

"What is it about what is/ISN'T *between the legs* of someone saying ...

"this is My Body, this is My Blood", leading the prayers of the assembled ecclesia"

that would lead to any DOUBTS re

"does God grant the essential transformation in the elements" or that said priest is acting "'in persona Cristi'"???


Why such agonizing doubts---such that one interprets the agony as "expulsion" or "forcing out" or somesuch---due to what is between the priest's/bishop's legs?

I *STILL* don't get it!

From genital-obsession, Good Lord deliver us!

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 7:49pm BST

Wake up JCF - the differences between men and women aren't only because what is between their legs. It goes far deeper and the point is we complement each other. Just wait...and you will soon find that progressive thinking will return to the wonderful differences we enjoy...and to the fact that it is natural to discover our manliness or womanliness PRIOR to the things we share as unsexualised/differentiated persons. Educational pyschology is moving in this direction and to the harm caused to boys being feminised by a reluctance to acknowledge the differences.

Posted by: Neil on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 11:24pm BST

Wake up JCF - the differences between men and women aren't only because what is between their legs. It goes far deeper and the point is we complement each other. Just wait...and you will soon find that progressive thinking will return to the wonderful differences we enjoy...and to the fact that it is natural to discover our manliness or womanliness PRIOR to the things we share as unsexualised/differentiated persons. Educational pyschology is moving in this direction and to the harm caused to boys being feminised by a reluctance to acknowledge the differences.

Posted by: Neil on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 11:24pm BST

Re: Concelebration.

Insofar as defining normative Anglican practice is a mug's game, let me comment on what I understand the theoretical norm is.

Concelebration is not the norm for Anglican practice, nor has ever been. The principle exception is at the ordination of priests, where the newly ordained priest(s) concelebrate with the bishop.

Any other concelebration would be an exceptional circumstance, and there should be something exceptional about the circumstance to justify the departure from the norm.

Apart from my ordinatio on the feast of St. Margaret of Scotland lo these many years ago, the oly time I have concelebrated was at my induction in one parish. At the time, there was no bishop in our diocese. I was inducted by the archdeacon. In the planning, there was an extended discussion and it was decided that the new incumbent, the archdeacon and the rural dean would concelebrate, each of us representing in a different aspect the delegation of the ordinary.

Whether this was an appropriate departure from the norm or not is an open question.

But to concelebrate in order to provide an implicit correction to the deficiency of the principle celebrant would not be a travesty, in my view.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 11:47pm BST

Can you not understand that, if I don't believe a woman can be a bishop, then I don't believe she is a priest, nor that any of those she ordains are priests, so that none of the sacraments celebrated by her or her ordinands are vehicles of grace? God, I don't believe the point but I understand it. I don't see why that is so hard. It is the same reason I wouldn't receive from a layman in Sydney. Whatever these laymen say over bread and wine, what they are celebrating isn't a eucharist. Of course, God is not bound by our doubts and fears. If a woman can't be a priest, though I believe she can, then she can say what she wants to over bread and wine and they remain nothing more than bread and wine. Let's say for the moment, that maleness is an integral part of priesthood in the same way that femaleness is an integral part of motherhood. Well, I can whine and complain for the right to be a mother, I can get all the lefties I want to support my right to be a mother, I can disrupt Masses all over the world demanding the right to be a mother, I can even get it enacted into law that I can be a mother, but I don't have the necessary attributes with which to be a mother, and no amount of official declaration can make that otherwise, and it is nonsense for me to complain that I am being persecuted because I do not have the requisite bits to be a mother. How is that so hard? I know you don't agree with it, neither do it, but I cannot understand what is so hard about conservatives believing there is something essentially male about priesthood, and a woman can no more be a priest than a man can be a mother.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 11:53pm BST

Re Concelebration.

I would add that in England this is probably rarer than it is in the Americas. My guess is that in very very few dioceses is concelebration practised at ordinations. English custom is generally as described by Nom de plume, and the theological objections to the whole practice of concelebration are very strong. Only in a small number of ultra Anglo-catholic or Romanizing places would you be likely to find it.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 12:01am BST

"...I cannot understand what is so hard about conservatives believing there is something essentially male about priesthood, and a woman can no more be a priest than a man can be a mother."

But the reason you cannot be a mother is one of physical human structure, Ford: You do not have a womb. Are you saying that it is reasonable to believe that that difference in biological function is equivalent to a perceived difference in spiritual function?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 12:54am BST

JCF quoted: "In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female..."

The Sinaïticus says:

"Ouk éni Here is (concretely, not abstract there is, i n the Congregation) not Jew or Greek,
not Free or Slave,
not man and woman.

You are all One in Christ Jesus."

(but the eldest manuscript, the Papyrus 46, says There is… ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 8:36am BST

Ford said: “For Evangelicals, who already believe that nothing happens to the elements anyway, for whom any baptised person can perform the memorial, the issue comes down to following the letter rather than the Spirit of the Law.”

And “does God grant the essential transformation in the elements that He would if a man said those words?” and “What does it mean for the priest to act 'in persona Christi'? I believe He does.”

The Church of Sweden doesn’t do any of this. Transubstantiation (IV Lateran 1215) was rejected by our Reformers (1571 Swedish Canons) as was the ideas of Zwingli (the 1563 “Liquorists” who used Beer to go with their Supper). The elevation of the Priest to “in persona Christi“ belongs to (IV Lateran 1215) as well.

“In persona Apostoli” I would grant, but Sorry.

We (Swedish Canons 1571) merely say; The words of Institution, and No explaining what you cannot know… And there is no "con-celebration".

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 8:38am BST

"The words of Institution, and No explaining what you cannot know"

I'm not trying to argue Transubstantiation, rather that the elements are changed, and, like you Lutherans, not explaining what we cannot know. Maybe this shared comfort with the unexplained is part of the slowly developing intercommunion between us. I am far more comfortable allowing what happens to the elements to be a mystery. I merely affirm that something happens to them, they are not merely bread and wine afterwards.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 1:04pm BST

"Are you saying that it is reasonable to believe that that difference in biological function is equivalent to a perceived difference in spiritual function?"

No. I'm saying it may be. Biology is part of our created human nature. I'm sure we would all accept that Christ assumed our human biology in the Incarnation, hence the 'cacagenar' figure in Spanish Nativity scenes. So, biology certainly is important, it being a part of our redeemed humanity. Note "humanity". I argue it is His assumption of our humanity in the Incarnation that is important, not the maleness that went along with it. We must repeatedly address this, even now, since the argument is still being made. So, what is the link between our human biology, redeemed in the Incarnation, and the spiritual function of the priest? That is the point. We spent centuries hammering out the Christology we now have. Our understanding of the Incarnation and the Triune cannot ever be complete, but can it continue to develop after the Conciliar period? Are we called to address the ordination of women now, at this time in the life of Creation, because we are now ready as creatures to understand something deeper about God than we have for the past 2000 years, or is it all hubris on our part? I think we're called to deeper understanding.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 1:43pm BST

Oh, and JCF, sorry about the tone of my last post, it was way too condescending. It's just that you have tendency to yell, and I guess my baggage makes me react to your anger and frustration in bad ways. Sorry.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 1:47pm BST

I have to say that I really admire Ford's posts here. He has taken the trouble to understand and try to communicate the reasons for a position that he opposes, not for the purpose of defending it (obviously), but to show that the position may be held for reasons that are not contemptible. Would that all of us could see our opponents with such charity!

Posted by: rick allen on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 3:04pm BST

Rick
"I have to say that I really admire Ford's posts here"

I second that! Ford has taught me much about what our faith should be about and how we should truly live as Christians. He's quite a hard act to follow!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 4:49pm BST

Rick and Erika:
BLUSH!! I wish I could extend to our opponents in the sexuality debate the charity you feel I extend to conservatives on OOW. I've been pretty nasty, overall, especially to Evangelicals. Rick, you need to read some of my old posts to see how uncharitable I can be! And Erika, I've learned a lot from you too, specifically but not limited to the fact that the push for gay marriage is NOT all about people trying to get validation for their relationships. I have not suffered in way as you have from institutionalized homophobia. Your story has been valuable to me. Oh, and you forced me to read Tobias's work on sexuality, and that was a great help.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 6:03pm BST

Rick: yes, you're right. Ford has a real ministry through his posts here.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 6:15pm BST

"But to concelebrate in order to provide an implicit correction to the deficiency of the principle celebrant would not be a travesty, in my view."

I'm going to have to start proof-reading better.

I think I started to write "would not be appropriate," and then decided to up it to "would be a travesty" and ended up with "would not be a travesty," which is exactly the opposite of what I meant.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 6:31pm BST

Malcolm+ "would be a travesty".

Agreed wholeheartedly, even if the "correction" is inadvertent, i.e., not intended by the concelebrating priest but perceived by a third party in the congregation.

Yet another reason to be clear and consistent about our distinctively Anglican liturgical theology on this point.

Posted by: Nom de Plume on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 11:57pm BST

I've come in late, but doesn't the scripture require that the bishop be the husband of one wife?
(Or as some would have it be a 'one woman man').

If it does, then we shouldn't need to have this discussion. Women aren't husbands (nor are they even a 'one woman man').

In Christ there is neither bond nor free - but in the present tabernacle prisons do exist. In Christ there is neither male nor female - but in this tabernacle there are separate restrooms for men and women.

As long as we are present in the world we most hold to the Scriptures, cast out the unrepentant from our communion (I Corinthians 5), and keep our married male Bishops.

It isn't about What the 'culture teaches' it is about what God said through the Apostles.

Posted by: Bo Register on Thursday, 17 July 2008 at 8:29am BST
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