Thursday, 8 July 2010

Choosing bishops including Southwark

Updated again Friday morning

The Guardian has three articles this evening all connected in some way with the choice of the next bishop of Southwark.

Riazat Butt How to become a bishop – secret ballots and royal approval
Andrew Brown Jeffrey John and the global Anglican schism: a potted history
Stephen Bates How the Church of England became the church of state

Stephen Bates also has this news item: Rowan Williams under siege over gay bishop veto

Stephen Bates also has this: Profile: Dr Jeffrey John

And in The Guardian Riazat Butt and Stephen Bates write Church divided over gay rights: new fears of schism and anguish for archbishop

And for good measure, there is an editorial in the Guardian The state and religion: The church risks looking absurd.

…This week a gay but celibate cleric, Jeffrey John, the dean of St Albans and a man of the highest intellectual and moral standing, was rejected as a candidate for the diocese of Southwark because of his sexuality. No other private or state institution would have been allowed to do this. No institution, either, would be allowed to bar women from applying for the job, allowing them to be ordained but not promoted.

The internal agonies of a church caught between its Protestant and Catholic, and its liberal and conservative, tendencies cannot excuse this official institutionalisation of intolerance. It is true that disestablishing the church would require a huge amount of constitutional unpicking – much of it beneficial, such as the removal of anti-Catholic discrimination from the Act of Settlement. No government is likely to devote parliamentary time to the cause. It is true, too, that the established part of the church tends to be the more liberal, and that pulling back state involvement may do little to advance the cause of men such as Jeffrey John. Any mechanism that allows dialogue and change between the hard core of the committed and the penumbra of the vaguely supportive has something to be said for it. Religions that are entirely cut off from the surrounding culture neither die nor fade away, but turn crazy and dangerous. But formal disestablishment need not mean isolation, only the end of an unhealthy pretence that one church above all others can speak for a diverse nation.

David Hume once argued: “The union of the civil and ecclesiastical power … prevents those gross impostures and bigoted persecutions which in all false religions are the chief foundation of clerical authority.” The Church of England can obey his advice and accept the tolerant norms of modern society, as defined by the state. Or it can decide, privately, what it believes. Caught between the two, it risks becoming, as its archbishop feared, absurd

Damian Thompson writes in his Telegraph blog about The second humiliation of Jeffrey John: Rowan’s liberal credentials go up in smoke
Martin Beckford in the Telegraph has Archbishop of Canterbury accused of second ‘betrayal’ of gay cleric
Jonathan Wynne-Jones on his Telegraph blog writes The Church of England looks mad following the Jeffrey John snub

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 8 July 2010 at 11:06pm BST | TrackBack
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Comments

I'm far away on vacation/holiday/work assignment...I had no time to check the computer until this glorious moment of joy when I read The Very Reverend Jeffery John was a candidate for Bishop of Southwark...I have often found HOPE to be soulsaving when faced with the ongoing disappointment and great sadness of and everyday reality of cowards at Church who harm people like me...Rowan Williams, please resign in shame.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Thursday, 8 July 2010 at 11:41pm BST

There's something in one of these article calling PM Cameron to "over-ride" the Crown committee and appoint JJ+. Now I don't know how that can be done, but if it can, it should be, and ++Rowan should pull the pin and get out.

Posted by: evensongjunkie on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 1:52am BST

How sad. How much longer do we cave to the Global South/CANA crowd

Posted by: John on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 3:58am BST

This is all a huge flurry of rumors. Do we really know what J. John's chances of becoming Bp of Southwark were or what they are now? If another name is handed to the PM can anyone confidently say that this would be the result of some skulduggery? As to encouraging the PM to override the ecclesiastical decision, that would undermine any claim to autonomy that the Church of England can sustain over against the State.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 8:50am BST

I'm with Nick Baines on this one. I think the media is the story in this case; whatever the committee may have discussed, it is clear that the truth of Dr John's name having been before them can only ever be a matter of speculation. That is unless someone is going to break the confidentiality of the meeting.

What if the so-called leak was a bald faced lie, or simply wishful thinking? Given the amount of coverage given to a mere *possibility,* who would be more responsible for building up false hopes then?

Posted by: kieran crichton on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 9:56am BST

Jonathan Wynne-Jones sounds more than a bit rattled in his blog post. Colin Coward is guilty of drink-fueled dishonesty? Liberals Anglicans are "hysterical" and "paranoid"? +Pete Broadbent is "bonkers"? J W-J's fading credibility is certainly not helped by that sort of post.

Posted by: Graham Ward on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 10:10am BST

Don't believe all that you read in the papers. Today's GUARDIAN states:-
"...Williams twice approved his (Jeffrey John) name going forward for the bishopric in Reading in 2003 and did not prevent it being put forward again now for the much more significant post at Southwark - which may now go to Stephen Cottrell, the man who became bishop of Reading instead."
Excuse me .... but wasn't it announced weeks ago that Bishop Stephen is to be the next Bishop of Chelmsford? Or is that mere speculation also?

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 10:41am BST

Is it cos I iz Welsh?

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 11:15am BST

I'm really uncomfortable at the suggestion that the Prime Minister insist on Fr Jeffrey's name being put forward. Bishoprics should not be political appointments. There is an argument that given the events of the last week, Cameron could deetremine the process to be so deeply flawed that he insist the CNC restart the process. But given that the membership of the committee would be unlikely to change, I could see little purpose in that. However, an appointment being made to satisfy a politician, allowing him to prove his libertarian credentials to a sceptical nation and party, would resolve nothing.

Posted by: Graham Ward on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 11:16am BST

Riazat Butt's article spells out quite clearly that the process of appointing a bishop in the Church of England is primarily the task of the Church. The two Archbishops, six representatives from the Diocese concerned, and six from the General Synod of the Church of England, are together asked to decide on 2 of the selected candidates' names to be put forward for approval by the Prime Minister and The Queen. The Primates, obviously, have no 'casting vote', so accusations of an archiepiscopal veto cannot be levelled at the stage where the Commission actually meets.

This system of electing Bishops is different from most other Provinces of the Communion, where a more 'democratic' process of election obtains. The Church of England's historic link with the State requires a certain cooperation between the two entities that is uniquely different from those Provinces where there is no direct involvement by the State in Church affairs. However, the Primates do not have any more power to elect Bishops than any other member of a Nominations Commission

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 12:35pm BST

Stephen Bates' article on how the CofE became a state church is interesting, but I do wish he would put to rest the idea that Henry VIII wanted a divorce. It wasn't a divorce he wanted but an annulment. There's a big difference!

Posted by: Nom de Plume on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 2:22pm BST

Bishop Broadbent's grim determination to prevent a particular colleague who is in compliance with current clergy standards from being promoted because he does not like his opinions may not be bonkers but it is deeply offensive.

As for Fr Coward, if Mr Wynne-Jones think the well-documented efforts of the realignment movement to establish a worldwide conservative "No Homo" communion are a paranoid fantasy, he doesn't know much about recent Anglican history for a "Religious Affairs and Media Correspondent," does he?

Posted by: Geoff on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 4:49pm BST

"The Primates, obviously, have no 'casting vote', so accusations of an archiepiscopal veto cannot be levelled at the stage where the Commission actually meets."

Well, I'm no longer sure that how bodies and institutions connected with the CofE appear on paper reflects how they act in the flesh. The Lambeth Conference is supposed to be a non-legislative, consultative meeting, but in recent years its resolutions have been treated as Holy Writ. The AofC is supposed to be primus inter pares, but at least the last two holders of that office appear to have forgotten it. The Anglican Communion is supposed to be a family of associated Churches, but many people seem hell bent on acting as if it were a worldwide curial Church - not even bothering waiting for the approval of the Covenant.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 5:08pm BST

is it cos I iz Welsh?

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 9 July

Quite poss / likely Ti'n Gymro --
eitha pos / tebygol

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 6:36pm BST

Here is a list of those involved in the CNC process (HT Peter Ould):

Southwark Members

April Alexander
Vasantha Gnanadoss
Adrian Greenwood
Christine Hardman
Ruth Kirk-Wilson
Andrew Nunn

Ex-Officio Members

Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of York

Elected Members – House of Clergy
The Very Revd Colin Slee (Deans)
The Revd Canon Peter Spiers (Liverpool)
The Revd Canon Glyn Webster (York)

Elected Members – House of Laity

Mr Aiden Hargreaves-Smith (London)
Professor Glynn Harrison (Bristol)
Mrs Mary Johnston (London)

Non-Voting

Ms Caroline Boddington (Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary)
Mr Paul Britton (Prime Minister’s Appointments Secretary for senior ecclesiastical appointments)

Posted by: rjb on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 9:25pm BST

Plus, Nom de Plume - how often do we have to repeat this? - the Anglican Settlement is the fruit of the 1559 Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity, not of Henry's break with Rome. Henry's responsibility begins and ends with fathering of Anne Boleyn's daughter.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Friday, 9 July 2010 at 10:18pm BST

'Letter to Dr Laura' is good !

cf. Stephen Hough blog via the Damian Thompson piece

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Saturday, 10 July 2010 at 12:00pm BST

Lazinbizarre --

Yes - Henry VII broke with Rome (the "King's Matter" was an "annulment" but everyone referred to it as a "divorce" -- the terms were not as precise as now) & Edward VI's handlers were toward extreme (at the time) Protestantism & Mary made the C of E Roman Catholic again (even though she died at war with the Papal States) & Elizabeth (& Hooker) birthed the Anglican settlement (which succeeded-- insofar as it did -- because she had a long reign & James thought it was a good thing to continue).

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Saturday, 10 July 2010 at 3:06pm BST

The Anglican settlement of Elizabeth was thoroughly Protestant.

The Jurisdiction of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York derived from her...and in 2010 , the Queen is still the ordinary source of jurisdiction to the the same Archbishops.

No discerning Catholic could join the Elizabethan Anglican church, and many paid the price with their lives, fines and prison.

Later the puritans were persecuted and hence that is why we have a New England in North America.

The much vaunted Anglican tolerance is a fruit of the enlightenment and the nineteenth century.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 11 July 2010 at 8:56pm BST
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