Tuesday, 6 July 2010

More briefings on women bishops

Christina Rees who is a member of General Synod has written a detailed press briefing entitled A Response to the Archbishops’ Amendments.

In addition to the web page version linked above, there is a PDF version here.

Andrew Goddard has made a detailed analysis of what the conservative evangelical objections are to women bishops, see at Fulcrum Evangelical opponents of women bishops: What is sought and required?

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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
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"A Church that recognises in law the views of those who hold that consecrated women are not really bishops, and that consecrated men who minister with those women can be rendered legally unacceptable, is not a Church that is preaching the Good News of Christ with any authenticity in this generation."

- Christian Rees, General Synod Member -

Not only is such a Church in danger of subverting the Gospel message, it is also illogical in its supposition that a Bishop, while being a Bishop, is at odds with the ordination of other Bishops.
To allow for two different standards of episcope is to introduce an altogether new Order into the Church - something neither Nicaea nor any other Council of the undivided Church would countenance.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 2:04am BST

Christina Rees should be the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

"the underlying theology and ecclesiology, and the ecumenical, practical and legal implications need to be questioned."

In addition, there is the rather important question of the implications for the Anglican Communion, especially in light of the proposed Covenant. The introduction, without prior consultation, of Flying Bishops in England was a serious violation of Catholic order and of Anglican ecclesiology. Flying Bishops are, in my view, an ecclesiological abomination. The presence of this office in the CofE has created all sorts of mischief in other Provinces.

Now we have this cockamamie proposal to undermine the legitimacy and the authority of women bishops. The potential harm to other Provinces is incalculable. If the General Synod decides to take that route, there should be an immediate reference to the SCAC, and the Instruments of Communion.

The Bishops of the Church in Wales had it right: women bishops are bishops, full stop, and will not be introduced on any kind of second-class basis.

Posted by: Nom de Plume on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 2:44am BST

Ah, Ms. Rees: bless you. On this (western) side of the Pond we appreciate your analysis. It's much the same problem that has plagued efforts in the Episcopal Church to work with and include opponents of incorporating GLBT fully into the life of the Church. We also have been saddened by those who deny that the call for justice in Gospels and in the Prophets is Biblical, much less theological.

As for Mr. Goddard's analysis: I was struck by the comment that Anglo-Catholics and Anglo-Evangelicals have "different ecclesiologies." Notwithstanding some differences in opinion, how can those with different ecclesiologies claim to be in the same institution?

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 4:48am BST

"Notwithstanding some differences in opinion, how can those with different ecclesiologies claim to be in the same institution?"

Good question -- but aren't you a bit late in asking it, since it has been the case ever since 1559?

Posted by: William Tighe on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 1:51pm BST

Thank you, Christina, for you excellent briefing, and especially for drawing attention to the somewhat slippery way that language has been used in the recent debate. It is, I think, particularly poisonous to restrict 'conscience' or 'theology' to those who oppose women's ministry. The implications carried by much of the vocabulary need to be highlighted, not least because failure to do so has the effect of allowing this language to call into question the theology and ecclesiology of the mainstream of the Church of England. This part of your briefing needs to be picked up widely.

Posted by: Hannah on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 3:49pm BST

Noted by Marshall Scott. "I was struck by the comment that Anglo-Catholics and Anglo-Evangelicals have "different ecclesiologies." Notwithstanding some differences in opinion, how can those with different ecclesiologies claim to be in the same institution?" Differences in ecclesiology are not necessarily radically problematic. Consider the Roman Catholic development in ecclesiology i.e., the Church as "the people of God". This particular emphasis has profoundly impacted Roman Catholic liturgy and church architecture. Yet it continues to be treated disparagingly by some within the Roman Communion.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 7:13pm BST

Brother Tighe:

Well, late, yes, although I wouldn't have dated it to 1559 so much as after the Tractarians; but perhaps late, yes.

However, I think the "different ecclesiologies" as laid out by Mr. Goddard are more different, more polarized than I experience in the Episcopal Church. My experience is of a theology of episkope that balances functional and charismatic understandings - that is, a vocation to specific functions for which the Spirit provide the person the specific charismatic gifts. Perhaps most folks in the Church of England think (when they think about it at all) much the same, and Mr. Goddard presents the poles for clarification and sake of argument. However, the wider rhetoric, and especially all the talk of "taint," suggests that there are indeed folks in the Church of England embracing the extreme positions.

Perhaps the question isn't why they're still in the Church of England (if not exactly "together"), and not in the Episcopal Church. In the American context, where all ecclesial communities are matters of choice and none is "by law established," the extremes have largely left, forming new communities (and, two points: rhetoric from some notwithstanding, no one has been thrown out, but some have walked away based on conscience, feeling, as we often say, "better fed spiritually;" and second, there are indeed splinters in the American context *more* liberal than the Episcopal Church). One wonders if without Establishment these folks would have chosen to stay in. So, is the answer to my question that they remain together legally for reasons that don't affect their theologies of the episcopate?

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 7:25pm BST

The more I read some of the comments on this website the more perturbed I become at the self-congratulatory and smug attitudes espoused and exposed by those who express them. Whenever anyone attempts to offer an argument at variance with the prevailing view, they are either summarily dismissed or attacked with a ferocity that is anything but Christian. This is not a website for serious theological reflection or thought at all; it is simply an excuse to indulge in navel gazing of the worst kind. I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to reason or arrive at any kind of compromise with many of the contributors. Have those of you who have had so much to say on a number of threads ever contemplated the notion that you might just be wrong? I doubt it.

Posted by: Benedict on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 at 10:07pm BST

"The introduction, without prior consultation, of Flying Bishops in England was a serious violation of Catholic order and of Anglican ecclesiology. Flying Bishops are, in my view, an ecclesiological abomination. The presence of this office in the CofE has created all sorts of mischief in other Provinces."

- Nom de Plume, on Wednesday -

This is at the heart of the problem for other Provinces of the Communion: trying to understand the rationale behind the idea of 'Flying Bishops'. Their wings should have been clipped before being released from their cages. The Communion at large should have made a protest at the very beginning of this catastrophe, which neither accords with catholic and apostolic credibility, nor with the
modern understanding of the place of women in the church and the World. To continue with this farcial process of apartheid in the Church is to regress to pre-Vatican II theology.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 8 July 2010 at 12:05am BST

Where is the ground upon which the contest for gender equality is to be played out? Is it purely theological ground upon which one tries to shift the material from purely religious sources in one direction or the other? Or, is the ground one where there is a revision of theological perspectives in tandem with an updated social anthropology--a kind of socio-theological "aggiornamento" ? I've attached links to two articles that have just been posted in the Anglican Journal. One is about unemployed women in pastoral ministry in India. The subject matter is closely connected to themes found in this debate here. The second article is about clean water as a human right from the perspective of a Christian conference. It seems to me, that despite the two very distinct subjects in each article, there is a kinship of approach by Christians to the two.
see
hhttp://www.anglicanjournal.com/nc/news-items/article/water-as-human-right-campaign-gets-global-protestant-backing-9262.html
and see
http://www.anglicanjournal.com/nc/news-items/article/indian-women-theologians-lament-unemployed-female-pastors-9264.html

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Thursday, 8 July 2010 at 4:39am BST

'Catholic order and of Anglican ecclesiology.'

Oxymoron surely.

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Thursday, 8 July 2010 at 9:17am BST

Gazillions of thanks to C Rees for decoding so clearly the spin doctoring from rightist Anglican antiwomanizers. These folks now look and sound more like the early Christian Judaizers than ever before in global Anglican history.

We all know who prevailed in the early Juadizer controversies; and tossing circumcision aside was neither a small-mean matter nor a secularizing trick in those covenantal Moses-Patriach God's promise days. PS, I cannot avoid suspecting that few if any of the status quo believer crowd would have risked following Abraham, out from among the legacy traditions and practices which settled everybody so neatly and so nicely into the ancient near eastern known and well-received.

Or, to put it differently. The fight between Ishtar and Yahweh as to who is the real god is pretty much settled, until and unless one realizes that Yahweh was a whole nother way of being a deity ... and that pitched struggle still goes on, apparently. My god can kill off your god just doesn't cut much mustard these days. Church wars about cooties only go so far ... and we shall soon see just how far that distance measures out.

The Anglican churches cannot simultaneously valorize women and keep woman cooties at bay, categorically. That premodern push has come to a very modern-contemporary shove. The lives, persons, and callings of real women and real girls are at stake. Not to mention all those who know/love them in a gazillion varied contexts.

Posted by: drdanfee on Thursday, 8 July 2010 at 7:40pm BST

If the Archbishop's ammendment is accepted you will have two castes of clergy in the Cof E....
those of the "pure male uncontaminated line" and those male and female clergy of the female contaminated lineage.

Aparthied died in South africa in 1994, and theological aparthied is being established in the Church of England in 2010.

A bantustan for Forward in faith and Reform.

Posted by: Robert Ian Wiolliams on Thursday, 8 July 2010 at 8:16pm BST

"Have those of you who have had so much to say on a number of threads ever contemplated the notion that you might just be wrong? I doubt it."

- Benedict, on Wednesday -

One might ask the same of you, Benedict. The answer might be similar. (Splinter and LOG?)

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 12:52pm BST

I am nearly always plagued by such thoughts, such doubts and introspections ...

Thing is it doesnt really matter as long as a
we don;t harm self or other. N'est pas ?

NONE of our religous postions, statments, visions are or can be literally true --can they ?Why should they ?And how would they ?

More like poetry surely or soccer ,,,,,,,,,,,

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 10:22pm BST

Benedict, at least dissenting posters are allowed to post at Thinking Anglicans - unlike most of the net-organs of the Anglican right.

And I think you'll find that if you make substantive posts, you'll get substantive responses. To date, however, I don't recall seeing much substance in your posts at all - apart from the general ickiness of "liberals."

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Saturday, 10 July 2010 at 7:02am BST
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