Monday, 5 July 2010

WATCH opposes the archbishops' amendment

Press Statement from WATCH (Women and the Church) 5th July 2010

WATCH Opposes Archbishops’ Amendment Regarding Women Bishops

The text of the Archbishops’ amendment on women bishops appears innocuously brief and simple. However, their proposed small alterations to the draft legislation hide some changes for the Church that WATCH sees as highly contentious.

In removing the reference to ‘delegation’ we are returned to the idea of ‘transfer’ of jurisdiction: a female bishop will have some of her job automatically removed as soon as she is appointed. This was rejected (as TEA) by the House of Bishops in 2006, and found unworkable in practice after detailed examination by the Revision Committee.

When it comes to having ‘coordinate jurisdiction’, the Archbishops appear to be seeking to create, in effect, two Diocesan bishops in each Diocese: one to minister to those who accept ordained women, and one to minister to those who don’t. This is a step further even than flying bishops. Such an innovation must not be accepted without serious examination of the consequences.

Senior clergywomen have written in the last week to the Archbishops asking them to withdraw their amendment. They say that the proposed amendment ‘brings dismay and despair amongst women priests, and many have voiced their reaction by saying how deeply undermining it is of their ministry as ordained women.’ WATCH remains opposed to the Archbishops’ amendment.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 1:23pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
Comments

I don't like the implication that the opinions of senior women over rule that of traditionalists just because they are senior women. There's the ominous feeling of threat here and it turns me more and more against WATCH. if it said, yes here's why we should go against the received understanding of the undivided faith (rc, orthodox - and to an extent Anglicanism) then I'd be more convinced, but every time I see another of these releases, I get more and more opposed, and I'm not a member of FiF.

Posted by: Tristan on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 2:02pm BST

I fully support the statement by WATCH. They have been more than patient over many long years. Seeing their sisters in other provinces of the Communion being consecrated to the episcopate. Seeing visiting women bishops visiting the Church of England being treated less than what and who they are.
Many moons ago now, after many years of prayer and deliberation the Church of England chose to ordain women to the priesthood, in the fulll knowledge that this must lead to consecration to Bishop. Those who have long apposed this decision were clearly in a minority with the will of the church. In my opinion they should have accepted the mind of the church, and individually decided wether to stay or go. Not caused division, hurt and in some cases downright rudeness over these last many years. Synod is right to say enough is enough and move on without them.
The Archbishops amendments are wrong and demeaning to the women of the church.

Fr John

Posted by: Fr John on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 2:46pm BST

I couldn't disagree with you more, Tristan. There is no threat here at all - simply a recognition that any solution that creates any kind of second-class bishop, one who does not have proper episcopal jurisdiction in her own diocese, would be completely undermining and impossible for so many people in our church, women and men.

The Archbishops' amendment will not help; it is a classic anglican fudge, to try and make everyone happy. But everyone can't be happy with the result of this: one lot say X equals Y and the others say X can't and doesn't equal Y.

To my mind the die was cast a long time ago - there not being anything essentially theologically different between priests and bishops. If you have the one then the other should follow - and about time too. If it means the parting of the ways and the crossing of the Tiber, then that is painful and no one will rejoice, but it will bring some much needed honesty to the Church of England, by letting her say with clarity that she thinks she has the capacity to make these kinds of decisions and her understanding is that God has called some women to be bishops. It will make the church as a whole a women-accepting church in ministry.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 3:28pm BST

why we should go against the received understanding of the undivided faith (rc, orthodox - and to an extent Anglicanism) then I'd be more convinced, but every time I see another of these releases, I get more and more opposed, and I'm not a member of FiF.

Posted by: Tristan on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 2:02pm BST

There IS no undivided church. Was there ever ?

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 3:38pm BST

Tristan

I think you meant senior clergywomen, not senior women.

You appear to be overlooking the fact that it is the senior clergywomen who are most likely to be ordained bishops at some time in the future; if they keep silent on the ABs proposed amendment now then they will be attacked by people like FiF for failing to show the leadership qualities necessary in a bishop.

And frankly, if you think that there's 'ominous feeling of threat' in the press release then I suggest you try reading the Pentecostal letter dispatched by Lambeth Palace for something which genuinely is a threat...

Posted by: chenier1 on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 3:46pm BST

"the received understanding of the undivided faith"

The only thing that would apply to that phrase is the Nicene Creed. And there is a little debate there, too.

Let's be honest: there is no such creature.

Look, whatever the Orthodox and the Romans and the Protestants and the Pentecostals do is entirely up to them and between them and God. The "broadly agreed upon understanding" in Anglicanism seems to be that gender is not an impediment to ministry or leadership.

Catch up, Tristan. Simply stating where we are isn't a threat. Saying that it is only says something about the person who makes such a claim.

Statements like this one from WATCH are a call to live up to our common principles.

Posted by: Dennis on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 4:08pm BST

"Tristan

I think you meant senior clergywomen, not senior women."

chenier1, perhaps Tristan does not believe the clergywomen are "real" clergy? Or perhaps his choice of the word was simply an honest mistake.

Posted by: Grandmère Mimi on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 5:08pm BST

I believe the Archbishop's proposed amendment is both cowardly and partly a tipping of the hat to the Vatican men who do not want to see women in the CofE consecrated as bishops. Think about it. If women are full bishops in the Church of England it brings the reality of women's ordination to the priesthood that much closer to the front burner on the Roman stove. Rowan has most likely made a few promises to Rome that are going to make him look foolish when this synod has completed its' work. As a Vatican II Catholic I am praying daily and nightly that women will be consecrated as full bishops in the Church of England and that these foolish and disingenuous amendments by the two Archbishops will be defeated. Shame on the two Archbishops for proposing such folly. The sooner women take leadership roles in the Church of England, the closer women's ordination becomes a reality in the Church of Rome. This scares the hell out of the Roman Pontiff and his "yes" men. We will all be the beneficiaries of the great and bountiful gifts that women will bring to the table of Christ. I believe it is time for those opposed to the consecration of women as bishops to take leave and join other Christian communities outside of The Church of England who are like minded. It is time for the Church of England to recognize the gifts that women bring to the Church. This is two thousand years overdue. It really is time to move forward on this issue.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 5:56pm BST

Dennis notes "The only thing that would apply to that phrase is the Nicene Creed. And there is a little debate there, too." How true. When I attend mass in the Episcopal Church (Rites I & II), I am reminded of this. The text for the mass in the Canadian BAS does not have filioque . The introductory article to The Eucharist in the BAS explains "The Words "and the son" filioque have been removed from the Nicene Creed in accordance with the Lambeth 1978 Statement[Lambeth citation then follows}. General Synod meeting at Peterborough in 1980 sated that the omission of the filioque does not imply a change of doctrine or belief on the part of the Anglican Church of Canada" [Book of Alternative Services of the Anglican Church of Canada, 1985. p. 176]

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 6:33pm BST

"It will make the church as a whole a women-accepting church in ministry" Pemberton.

Mr Pemberton has made the classic implicit suggestion that traditionalists are not accepting either of women or women's ministry. Another clear misrepresentation, if ever there were one. What about all those other ministries, apart from priesthood and the episcopate, in which women are fully supported by traditionalists? Readers, lay pastoral workers, lay chaplains, deacons etc. etc.? And no, if we are talking about women bishops and priests, the whole church will not be accepting of their ministry. As I stated at an earlier juncture, there are many traditionalists who will stay in the Church of England and simply refuse to accept such ministry. No amount of persuading or cajoling is going to change that fact. Liberal dogma will always be resisted when it comes to matters of Christian conscience.

Posted by: Benedict on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 7:10pm BST

@Rod G: in several trial liturgies before the 1979 BCP was approved, the filioque WAS removed (to placate the Eastern Orthodox). But then it was restored (to placate the RCC).

I *wish* that all the theologians, East and West, could admit that the inner workings of the Trinity are WAAAAAAAAY above *anyone's* pay-grade! But no: the "I'm right, you're wrong, neener-neener-neener" 'tude continues...

On-topic: Go WATCH! Preach it!

Speaking of my wishes: I *wish* there would be some admission that the "traditionalist" opposition to women's ordination dates all the way back to . . . the beginnings of women's ordination! (i.e., no older than Li Tim-Oi in China, 1944). But again, no: the *absence* of women's ordination is equated to God's *opposition* to women's ordination (as if damnable patriarchal sexism could somehow magically be separated from "the way the Church has always done things". Feh.)

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 5 July 2010 at 10:28pm BST

"What about all those other ministries, apart from priesthood and the episcopate, in which women are fully supported by traditionalists? Readers, lay pastoral workers, lay chaplains, deacons etc. etc.?"

So, you will accept women in any ministry except one that involves actual decision-making and leadership?

"And no, if we are talking about women bishops and priests, the whole church will not be accepting of their ministry. As I stated at an earlier juncture, there are many traditionalists who will stay in the Church of England and simply refuse to accept such ministry. No amount of persuading or cajoling is going to change that fact. Liberal dogma will always be resisted when it comes to matters of Christian conscience."

So, why is it that you cannot see that those on the opposite side of this question (and others) will resist conservative dogma when it comes to matters of Christian conscience? Or is it that conservative dogma is always the right one in your view?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 12:20am BST

I have a hard copy of "Authorized Services 1973" (Pew Edition)published by the Church Hymnal Corporation. After reading your post JCF, I pulled it off the shelf, blew the dust off, and checked the text of the Nicene Creed, and there it is (page 60), or is NOT actually, no filioque. You are correct. Thanks. What do you make of the claim by the Anglican Church of Canada that the removal of filioque "does not represent a change in belief or doctrine"? The way it works in Canada is, if you are using the Canadian Book of Common Prayer (or the tradtional rite in the BAS)now you see it, but if your are using the BAS contemporary rite, now you don't. I have another question you, or some other poster out there, may be able to help this little old Canadian with. What is the protocol for singing "The Star-Spangled Banner during services? On what occasions is it deemed appropriate in TEC? I know its done because I've sung it while visiting TEC on occasion. (Our national anthem, O Canada, is in the hymnal, and is used in church on various occasions).

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 12:47am BST

"Liberal dogma will always be resisted when it comes to matters of Christian conscience . . ."


This statement is clearly incomplete:

". . because war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength."

Fixed!

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 4:50am BST

Benedict -

Let me be more explicit. Traditionalists not accepting of women? You know (or if you don't you must be going around with your eyes closed) and I know that amongst traditionalists (not all of them to be sure) there exists a camp, closeted, misogynistic, gin-soaked, theologically ultramontane subculture of skirt-twitching clergy who simply can't abide women. They can cope with them in the parish as tea makers and flower arrangers. They have a special devotion to two women - who interestingly are as de-sexed as they can make them - Our Lady, and their mothers. Even more strangely they speak to each other with female pronouns and call each other by the girls' names they were given when they went to Staggers (Lord Hope of Thornes was known as Ena the Cruel when he was principal). But show them real women, capable, strong, creative, sexual, able to lead, spiritually mature and not dependant on "father knows best", and they cannot bear them. Listen to the horror stories of bullying and excluding that some women have had to put up with since 1987.

I did not say that the whole church would be accepting of their ministry. I said the church as a whole. In other words, that (theoretically) in every diocese, and in every parish, the ministry of a woman as bishop is authoritative, valid and acknowledged according to the law of the Church of England. Of course I understand that there will be some who will die in the ditches to resist this - but should Synod do the right thing and open the episcopate to women on the same terms as men this coming week, then that will in fact signal that the Church as a whole takes this view of women and their ministry - the Church will have a moved to becoming gender-blind. That is not liberal dogma - just a statement of what would be the case.

Of course people have the right to think as they wish, and to believe that no woman can be a priest or a bishop. I think personally that the arguments against are tissue-thin, unconvincing, and depend on an understanding of the church that is demonstrably not Anglican. And no one I know of is wanting to drive people out of the church for holding a minority opinion. But it will not be in a church that any longer makes structural provision for that opinion. Pastoral provisions for those who are opposed will be made - but under her authority.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 11:09am BST

I've never been to a service that used "The Star-Spangled Banner" in church. Usually, if a church wants to use a "patriotic" hymn, say for Independence Day or the funeral of a military man, the choice will be "America the Beautiful" ("Oh, beautiful for spacious skies....").

I can understand the problem with using the national anthem, with its warlike imagery...I suggest it is in the hymnal for the same reasons "God Save the Queen" is in the CoE hymnal.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 11:11am BST

Thanks Pat, for your post. I've also done some looking around at parish websites, those that make available Sunday leaflet downloads, and found one Episcopal parish, so far, that appears to have used the National Anthem Sunday past. The parish has historic connections, so that may be part of the explanation. Anyway, interesting issue, but I don't want to "bunch up" the thread here. Thanks again for your reply.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 3:44pm BST

'Let me be more explicit. Traditionalists not accepting of women? You know (or if you don't you must be going around with your eyes closed) and I know that amongst traditionalists (not all of them to be sure) there exists a camp, closeted, misogynistic, gin-soaked, theologically ultramontane subculture of skirt-twitching clergy who simply can't abide women. They can cope with them in the parish as tea makers and flower arrangers. They have a special devotion to two women - who interestingly are as de-sexed as they can make them - Our Lady, and their mothers. Even more strangely they speak to each other with female pronouns and call each other by the girls' names they were given when they went to Staggers (Lord Hope of Thornes was known as Ena the Cruel when he was principal). But show them real women, capable, strong, creative, sexual, able to lead, spiritually mature and not dependant on "father knows best", and they cannot bear them. Listen to the horror stories of bullying and excluding that some women have had to put up with since 1987.'
(Canon Jeremy Pemberton)

Very, very well put. It really needed saying.


Posted by: Pantycelyn on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 8:01pm BST

Rod:

One last post on the topic--I checked my own parish's order of service for July 4 (I was out of town and did not attend). We used "My Country 'Tis of Thee" (sung to the tune of "God Save the Queen" for the Brits among us) and "America the Beautiful" as the processional and offertory hymns, respectively.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 at 9:33pm BST

How strange.

I'm in the Deep 'Murkan South, and the closest we got on the fourth was the Naval Hymn, largely because we have so many Marines in our parish.

Our new-ish choir director - a Lutheran who joined us - wanted to do "America the Beautiful" as an anthem, and both the priest and verger said it was inappropriate, and she agreed and we sang The Gift of Love. After the service, we had First Sunday Brunch as a 4th of July picnic, and a quartet sang various patriotic songs, but none in the context of the actual service.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 5:19am 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.