Sunday, 1 March 2009

Which bishops are against women bishops?

Last year, I made an analysis of the July vote which I titled Bishops give a clear lead, in which I said:

Episcopal opposition turned out to be almost entirely limited to a core group of only twelve bishops. These included five who later signed the 15 August letter (see below) and who also have votes in Synod, i.e. the Bishops of Blackburn, Chichester, Europe, Burnley and Beverley. There were also seven others: the Bishops of Birmingham, Exeter, London, Rochester, Winchester, Dover and, significantly, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

At the end of the debate, the Archbishop abstained, and the other eleven all voted against the substantive motion. The only other bishop who voted “No” was the Bishop of Durham, whose earlier motion to adjourn the debate had support from only 46% of the synod. He had consistently opposed every amendment throughout the debate.

So, how did these thirteen bishops vote in February 2009, and who else voted AGAINST this legislation?

An examination of the February voting record shows as follows:

  • The Archbishop of Canterbury voted in favour of both items.
  • The Bishops of Blackburn, Chichester, Europe, Burnley and Beverley voted against both items, EXCEPT that: Chichester did not record a vote on Item 508 (draft canon) and Europe voted FOR the draft canon.
  • London voted against both items. Birmingham and Winchester voted FOR both items. Exeter and Rochester recorded no vote on either item. Dover voted against the draft measure but for the the draft canon.
  • Durham voted for both items.

Thus altogether only seven bishops of the “July thirteen” voted against the draft measure, and only five voted against the draft canon.

However, there were other bishops who cast negative votes: Chester, Norwich and Wakefield voted against the draft measure, and Salisbury and Wakefield voted against the draft canon while Chester abstained in relation to the canon (Norwich voted for it).

In summary, the bishops gave a even clearer lead than in July.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 1 March 2009 at 5:13pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

"the bishops gave a even clearer lead than in July."
If it comes from the bishops it is likely to be neither clear nor a lead.

The problem is that we don't know why individual bishops voted as they did. We know that very few are actually opposed in principle. We know, from the debate, that some in favour feel the price is too high and that the legislation should be dropped. We also know thsat a number of bishops are in favour of the principle and voted for the draft to be sent to revision because at that stage alternative models of provison can be reintroduced - if there is not stronger provision they will not support it at the finsal stage. Some bishops probably like the draft in its present form. Some may want to make the provision weaker.

So, they have given a lead in sending a draft to revision, but there is no common mind beyond that. Indeed this could delay the whole process - if the legislation is going to fall, it would surely be better it fell in the next 18months so it can be brought back in the next synod. If it falls early in the life of the next synod (i.e. nov 2010 onwards) it is dead until 2015, at which point it starts again from scratch.

Posted by: david malloch on Sunday, 1 March 2009 at 6:51pm GMT

+Norwich said in debate why he was not in favour of this legislation going forward, but does anyone have any idea why +Wakefield voted against? This seems a rather strange volte face.

Posted by: Wilf on Monday, 2 March 2009 at 7:55am GMT

I think that we're in danger of falling into the same trap that FiF did following the July Synod. You can never interpret precisely why a person casts their vote in the way in which they do. From discussions I've had with some of my colleagues, and without attributing, there are a number of quite different and nuanced views around. These include:

1. In favour of women bishops, but believe that the code of practice goes too far, and that the legislation as proposed can't be rescued through the Revision Committee.
2. Against proceeding to legislate at present - "it's not the right time"
3. Against Canon A4 as drafted, on the grounds that it makes no theological sense, and can't be mended.
4. In favour, but wanting provision by force of law

And there are more variations on a theme than you can shake a stick at.

Posted by: Pete Broadbent on Monday, 2 March 2009 at 9:12am GMT

They are equally divided on the issues of human sexuality and Christian life and witness today.

Maybe someone might venture an analysis of that ?


Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Monday, 2 March 2009 at 10:03pm GMT

Pete Broadbent's analysis makes me Really Keen to receive such wonderful,visionary and courageous leadership - Not.

They are nearly as pathetic on this, as they are on civil partnerships, and that is saying something !

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Tuesday, 3 March 2009 at 12:18am GMT

Are they all pro divorce?

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 3 March 2009 at 6:03pm GMT
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