Wednesday, 9 July 2008

women bishops: two press releases

Inclusive Church has issued a press release, The vote for women bishops. A copy of the text is also below the fold.

WATCH has issued a press release. The text appears below.

WATCH Press Statement
9th July 2008 – for immediate release

The Church of England has been debating whether women should be ordained as deacons, priests and bishops for nearly 100 years, and today marks the beginning of what we hope is the 26th and final mile in the marathon of discussions and debates since then.

Yesterday the Church agreed to drawing up legislation for women bishops and also for a code of practice with arrangements for those who in conscience cannot accept the Episcopal ministry of a woman.

After 6¼ hours of debate, the House of Bishops Motion was passed by a substantial majority in all three houses. The Legislative Drafting Group for Women Bishops will now work on the legislation and on the contents of the code of practice, which will be debated in General Synod in February 2009.

In spite of the recent statement from the Vatican that Synod’s vote created new obstacles to unity between the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches, two facts remain: Rome’s official stance is still non-recognition of all Anglican orders, male and female, and the Anglican Church has had women bishops for the last 20 years. The question remains as to why the vote presents a fresh obstacle?

WATCH welcomes the outcome of the vote and rejoices that women will soon takes their place alongside men as bishops in the Church of England.

WATCH Chair and member of General Synod, Christina Rees said, “This is good news for the whole Church and for the nation we serve. Women will soon be able to bring their experience and gifts to the Episcopal leadership of our Church. We rejoice that God has led the Church to this moment.”

During the debate, Robert Key MP said that the people of England are making a judgment on us; a reference to how detached the church has become from the rest of society through refusing to make women bishops. The Bishop of Bath and Wells stressed that we need to trust each other and not have legislation.

Earlier this year, over 1,300 clergywomen signed a statement which was sent to all bishops in the Church of England, declaring that they wished the Church to proceed on a basis of trust and not law: that arrangements for those opposed to women bishops should be managed by the local diocesan bishop, be they male or female as is the case in the fifteen provinces which have already agreed to consecrate women to the episcopate. If such arrangements were enshrined in law then their response would be “thanks but no thanks”. It is to be hoped that the Statutory National Code of Practice requested by General Synod will reflect these concerns.

Christina Rees Chair, WATCH
Hilary Cotton Co-Vice Chair, WATCH

Inclusive Church press release

Women as Bishops
9th July 2008

Inclusive Church is delighted that General Synod voted by a large majority to move to the consecration of women as bishops.

Canon Giles Goddard, Chair of IC, said “It is a time for rejoicing. We have reached another milestone in the long process of removing the barriers to inclusion in the Church of England. The gospel is a gospel of welcome and this decision will make us more able to be welcoming in our churches.“

Inclusive Church includes many catholics, liberals and evangelicals among our supporters, who have recognised that a national code of practice is the best way forward. Through a code of practice, the concerns of those who do not yet accept the ministry of women can be recognised, but there not be “no go areas” for women. It has worked in other provinces and no doubt it will work in England.

Although the response of some of our ecumenical partners has been negative, we have no doubt that many members of other churches will welcome the decision.

We pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as the Church of England continues to try to fulfil its role as the Established Church. There is still a great deal of work to do to complete the process. We look forward to working with our partners and, we hope, with those who are opposed to the decision. We hope that helpful past dialogues can be revitalised to make sure that the legislation and the code of practice are as effective as they can be.

Canon Giles Goddard

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 7:42pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | InclusiveChurch

No-one in Rome seems the least concerned that the Bishops of Rome's claim to be King of the Bishops presents a major obstacle to unity as far as we and pretty everyone else is concerned. So, the goal for unity is what, doctrinal agreement with Rome?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 9 July 2008 at 11:07pm BST

Thanks be to God---Holy Li Tim-Oi, continue to pray for us!

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 12:18am BST

King of bishops... I have never seen that title before...where is it Ford. Catholics do not see him , as like one of those grotesque caricatures you see in the popular press, with a great head in disproportion to the body.

Catholicism is truth, proportion and beauty.

Bishops are brother bishops, and he just has the powwer to intervene if there isan extraordinary issue amongst the ordinaries.

By the way I think the statement by the women at WATCH that Catholicism does not recognise is spot one. According to the Catholic Church Anglicanism lost its apostolicity first in 1550 ( with its new Ordinal) and finally in 1559, not in 2008.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 6:17am BST

"Anglican churches", not "The Anglican Church."

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 6:25am BST

"Bishops are brother bishops, and he just has the powwer to intervene if there is an extraordinary issue amongst the ordinaries"

RIW, first of all my "king of the bishops" was a bit of hyperbole for effect. All the same, the above quote is not entirely accurate. The Papal claims were the inciting cause of the Great Schism, and played a great role in the Reformation. The Pope claims authority to do far more than merely intervene as the elder brother. The situation you describe sounds like what Orthodox and Anglicans want the situation to be rather than an accurate description of what actually is.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 12:53pm BST


I will try to interpret your words in the most generous way possible. If you meant to say that the Pope was a super-bishop, to call him "king of the bishops" is an overstatement at best and a caricature at worst. Yet the substance of that statement is consistent with Unam Sanctam and other similar papal claims made in the past, culminating in the infallibility doctrine of Vatican I, the attempt to balance it with collegiality at Vatican II, and the Holy Office trying to retract it a bit just after Lumen Gentium was passed.

I think Robert does not realize the reality of the situation, because while bishops are theoretically brothers and equals, the Roman Church seems to have made it clear that one bishop is more equal than the rest, and in the minds of ordinary Catholics, the Pope is sometimes seen as a "super-bishop." That's how most people see him. Not necessarily the king, but someone more than a mere diocesan bishop.

Posted by: Ren Aguila on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 2:52pm BST

Robert Ian Williams wrote: “Catholicism is truth, proportion and beauty.”

No, no, dear RIW. That is Neo Platonism ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 4:06pm BST

À propos de the Bishop of Rome and Kings, Innocentius IV did claim that he “deposed” and excommunicated Emperor Fredric II in 1245 17/8, didn’t he?

And his son Conrad II, 1228 King of Jerusalem, 1235 Duke in Schwaben, 1237 Roman King, 1250 King of Naples and Sicily??

And the grandson Corradino was betrayed, executed in Naples in 1268 by a Rival king set up by Rome???

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 4:25pm BST

Ren, I'll tone it down. Yet, up till Paul VI, popes were crowned, a powerful symbol of monarchical authority. No Bishop of Rome has styled himself as such, certainly, and I do believe the successor of Peter deserves more respect than that shown by my statement. I do, however, feel that Popes claim more than just status as primus inter pares. It was a major contributor to the great Schism, and the Anglican break with Rome (that and the political insecurity and laciviousness of a certain king), and the solidification of Papal power has progressed since then. Still, sorry to give offence, I will be more circumspect in future.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 10 July 2008 at 5:49pm BST

Indeed they do, Ford, indeed they do. I would only hope that the Pope's aides take the "servus servorum Dei" title more seriously sometimes, now that the problem is bishops who whack people with their staves first before listening to them... especially, of course, gays and lesbians.

Posted by: Ren Aguila on Friday, 11 July 2008 at 2:04am BST
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