Saturday, 8 May 2010

WATCH response to Report of the Women Bishops Revision Committee

WATCH (Women and the Church) has issued this initial response to the proposals of the Report on Women Bishops published today.

WATCH encouraged by draft legislation on Women Bishops

WATCH is very encouraged by the Report of the Women Bishops Revision Committee which was published today, Saturday 8th May (see http://www.cofe.anglican.org/news/pr4210.html). It proposes that women should be consecrated as bishops on the same basis as men. WATCH has argued for this for the last fifteen years, as there are sound theological reasons for it as well as scriptural warrant: the first chapter of Genesis says we are all made in the image of God, both male and female, and St Paul says that in Christ there is no male or female.

WATCH will be studying the details of the Report carefully over the coming days and will give a fuller response in due course. Our initial reaction is that we hope that the draft legislation will be approved by General Synod substantially as it stands in July and then be sent out to the 44 dioceses of the Church of England for them to debate and approve; which is the next stage in the legislative process.

A major concern of the Revision Committee has been how to draft legislation that does not create second-class bishops and yet enables those opposed to women bishops to remain in the Church. We are pleased that the Revision Committee has found a way forward that acknowledges their position, because it has never been the aim of WATCH to exclude those with a differing conscience. However, it is now right for the Church of England as a whole to accept women and men as equal before God in all parts of its ministry.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 8 May 2010 at 2:26pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
Comments

"However, it is now right for the Church of England as a whole to accept women and men as equal before God in all parts of its ministry
- WATCH -

This is perhaps the crucial part of WATCH's response to the Revision Committee's statement. Whatever happens in General Synod, this must be the factor that governs the whole enterprise. While one can commend the desire to accommodate those who have problems with the ministry of women, any attempt to provide certain 'special arrangements' which would in any way compromise the authority of the Local Ordinary - be they male or female - would constitute a departure from catholic order - more problematic, perhaps, than the prospect of extending episcopal ministry to women, who have already been ordained into the sacerdotal priesthood.

The idea of 'Flying Bishops' (how I hate that term) was surely, provisional - to last only until the (inevitable?) acceptance of women in Orders.
Having then taken more than ten years in the process - without having secured the expected recognition from the nay-sayers, why should the
F.B. process (not particularly 'Catholic') remain in place? After all, its prime exponents - the Flying Bishops themselves - have already sought sanctuary with Rome, encouraging their followers to do the same; why then should the Church be held to ransom by these fly-by-nights bishops?

I hope General Synod will see the need to follow the natural process of women's preferment - for the gift is will be for the Church. Just ask those Provinces where it is already working. As Gamaliel said: "If it is not of God, it will fail!".
Well, just see which Church is losing vocations!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 9 May 2010 at 12:27pm BST

I find Fr. Ron Smith's comments to be right on target. I am curious. Has there been any discussion of these "Anglo Catholic Parishes" who are so against women priests and bishops, trying to take Church property and assets with them, as has been attempted in other countries? The more I read the comments of the Anglo Catholic bishops, the more I see the spoiled child not getting his way type of attitude. It's amazing to me that they try to argue that the Church has no power to ordain women. There is very sound theology behind the ordination of women. It is also a matter of justice. I believe it would be best for all concerned if those against the ordination of women priests and bishops, would just go quietly and with some dignity. If they think they are going to find peace in Rome, they are in for a rocky ride. The Roman hierarchy is imploding and until radical reform of the papacy and the abolishment of the College of Cardinals, the future for Roman Catholics will be unsettling and like a mine field.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Sunday, 9 May 2010 at 9:42pm BST

God Bless the Affirming Catholics./

As one Bishop once commented to me FiF? Forward in Faith, but backward in spirit.


Fr John (Scotland)

Posted by: Fr John on Monday, 10 May 2010 at 12:22pm BST

I must say, I am saddened by some of the comments I have read concerning the Revision Committee's report. I am a loyal Anglican opposed to the move to consecrate women to the episcopate, and I know many other faithful ministers, also opposed, who have served their church well over many years. We hold to the faith as the Church of England has received it, and we have preached that faith. I am not one who would 'go quietly to Rome.' As an evangelical I do not want to go to Rome! I am praying for an outcome in this debate that will be fair and broad and have good legal provision for those of us who cannot in conscience accept this move. How sad it would be if those who have served their church faithfully over the years are treated so shamefully and made to feel like outcasts. Surely, the Church of England would not be so unthinking nor so unfeeling! Surely justice will prevail!

Posted by: Revd Rob Desics on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 at 5:14pm BST

Rev. Rob: The Church constantly continues to "receive" the Holy Spirit. When you say : "We hold the faith as The Church of England has received it", it makes it sound like the Holy Spirit is no longer at work. The faith continues to be received as long as there is a world to receive it. You do not have to go to Rome. This is a decision that only you can make. Perhaps a protestant evangelical community may be a good fit for you. If the outcome to the upcoming debate is to be fair and broad, then maybe you can try accept women as equal to men in the eyes of God. There is sound theology behind ordaining women to the priesthood and episcopate. You must be willing to open your heart to justice and try to realize that the love of Jesus is all inclusive, and that means women share equally in all roles provided by the Church. It is precisely because The Church of England is trying to be sure that "justice prevails" that women are finally ascending to the episcopate. If you are unable to accept women in equal roles, then perhaps it is indeed time for you to find a new Christian Community that shares your views. The Roman Catholic Church is imploding over this issue. I know, I am a Roman Catholic and the picture is not a pretty one. Until women are given the same equal access to the priesthood and episcopate in the Latin Rite Churches, there will be very little peace and justice. Your pain over the future of changes The Church of England is about to make is real for sure, but think of the many centuries that women have been denied access to leadership roles in the episcopate. There is great pain there as well. Open your heart Rev. Rob Desics, and love your neighbors, especially the ones who have been left out in the cold for so long. God be with you.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Thursday, 13 May 2010 at 4:35am BST

Chris thank you for your thoughts and words to the Rev Rob.
The hurt you refer to by many women who have been denied ministry is well documented by them, and is heart rendering to read. How can so called 'Christians' be so rude, and dismissive of the our sisters in Christ. They need to remember it was a woman who brought the news of the Risen Christ to the male disciples.
Our thoughts and prayers are with our Roman Catholic bretheren as they seek to move forward in the Spirit to become inclusive as we were crea
ted by God.
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA is a fine role model.
We need to remember in the early celtic church of England, the very strong women who led the church , such as Hilda of Whitby.
May we journey together into God.
Fr John (Scotland)

Posted by: Fr John on Thursday, 13 May 2010 at 3:14pm BST

Yes, Father John, The Presiding Bishop of the American Episcopal Church is a remarkable woman and just about the best example of a leader one could find anywhere. As a Vatican II Catholic I know many similar Catholic women who would make excellent candidates for Bishop of Rome. I know a woman will lead us someday but the men in Rome who are desperately trying to stop any discussion of women as priests and bishops will stop at nothing to derail this process. It's not going to work. There are actually a small percentage of bishops who agree that women should and eventually will be ordained as priests and elevated to the episcopate. The Holy Spirit will find a way to dismantle this wall just as the Holy Spirit will bring about a Third Vatican Council. It will happen. It frightens those who hold the power. Hilda of Whitby is an excellent example of early female leadership as is Catherine of Sienna. Thank you, Fr. John for your comments in this thread.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Friday, 14 May 2010 at 7:43pm BST

How sad it would be if those who have served their church faithfully over the years are treated so shamefully and made to feel like outcasts. Surely, the Church of England would not be so unthinking nor so unfeeling! Surely justice will prevail!

Posted by: Revd Rob Desics on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 at 5:14pm BST

And what of women ministers and women members of the C of E ? Do you include them in the wide reaqch of your concern and empathy ?

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Sunday, 16 May 2010 at 5:01pm BST

One way forward wopuld be for those opposed to women as bishops to accept it with good grace and maturity for the commonweal.

Maybe saying, "Well, we've had it our own way for about 2,000 years - so why not give the other point of view a chance ?"

Now, there's a Thought ....

Over to you

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Sunday, 16 May 2010 at 5:03pm BST

There are loyal catholic anglicans who desire and pray for the restoration of communion between the C of E and the Roman Catholic Church and there is a certain type of papalist "Anglican" who uses the Roman rite and has as little to do with the C of E as possible. Inevitably their situation is that of a cuckoo in the nest. Now they have a way out with the Ordinariate. Surely, logically, they should take it. I cant really see why they ever got ordained in the C of E in the first place, not least as they can't even use the standard conservative evangelical argument ( that also pains me) that they are in the C of E because it is the best boat to fish from..The C of E doesn't pretend to be the "best" form of Christianity or the only "true" church. It is what it is, warts and all..but it is curious to say the least, to make the Declaration of Assent when in your heart of hearts your ecclesiastical allegiance is really elsewhere.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Sunday, 16 May 2010 at 7:02pm BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.