Monday, 12 July 2010

Archbishop's presidential remarks today

The full text of what the Archbishop of Canterbury said at the start of Monday’s continued debate on Women in the Episcopate is copied below the fold.

Thank you very much Chair. 

Mention was made on Saturday during the debate of the possibility of some presidential reaction to where we are in the process. After conversation over the weekend with many people from different stances within the Synod, it seemed right to say something this morning.  First I’d like to say that I would want encourage Synod to complete the business here before it in York. It’s very tempting at times of stress and difficulty, such as we’ve been through in the last couple of days, to think: “We’ll drop it in the ‘too difficult’ basket” - I don’t really think that’s an option.

Archbishop Sentamu and I explained when we moved our amendment on Saturday that we didn’t think a further referral to a revision committee would really help us at all at this stage and we remain of that view. We believe that we now need the dioceses to give their wisdom, their prayer and their thought to this process, and to move on.

The second thing I’d like to say is - and we’ve had a meeting of House of Bishops this morning - the House of Bishops will set in hand promptly the necessary work involved in producing a draft code of practice which will be available for debate in Synod, when legislation returns from the dioceses in about 18 months time. That, of course, is the moment at which we’ll enter the final phase of this long and complex process. That is when all the material will be finally on the table.

I’m well aware that proposing an amendment as we did on Saturday, without an illustrative code of practice to accompany it, was asking a great deal of the faith and charity of Synod, but time was not on our side there. Nonetheless, the House of Bishops now wishes to proceed with as much speed as humanly possible to get that work done. That work will include trying to see how a code of practice can enshrine the best possible provision in the light of what we’ve heard and what we’ve discussed, in the light of the votes taken on Saturday.

You’ll also be aware that the next phase of committal to the dioceses, it’s possible for the dioceses to shape following motions. So the point I’m making is quite simply there remains work to be done. The House of Bishops will attempt to do the work that they need to do as swiftly and effectively as possible, and we ask for your prayers and support in what will undoubtedly be a very demanding task.

And third and last: obviously Archbishop Sentamu and I would have like our amendment to pass, that’s what you do when you pose amendments, but we would want to encourage those disappointed by the outcome, and also the whole Synod as seeing that not as the end of the road. We are, in the Church of England, in the middle of both a legislative process and a process of discernment, and, I would dare to add, a process of service to one another. 

The next phase of the work we try do together, I think has to be very, very closely focused on the service we seek to do one another. And that means of course, working in the interests of those who will be taking different decisions from our own, different paths from our own, so that all may grow up into Christ as best they can.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 12 July 2010 at 3:38pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

Dare I suggest that in all of this the real problem is that neither side has "done the theology" but is instead dealing with the old bugbears of justice and tradition?

Frankly, I think the theology, going back to Chalcedon, is all on the side of women in the episcopate, as the opposition rests on a faulty anthropology that leads to a faulty Christology.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Monday, 12 July 2010 at 4:00pm BST

I know that Anglicans are lovers of fudge; but please! Must we fudge _everything?_ Either women can be bishops or not! Make a decision! Take a risk! But whatever you do don't end up with something along the order of "Women can be bishops except where people don't believe in it." This is a formula for failure and continued schism. You're afraid that folks will run hellbent for Rome? So what! Let them go. Perhaps they will see that what they must sacrifice to do that is too high a price to pay for their all male episcopacy desires. Or perhaps they won't. Either way it would be better for for all concerned, than to continue to fudge the issue.

Posted by: Deacon Charlie Perrin on Monday, 12 July 2010 at 4:36pm BST

This reads to me like 'please tie the hangmans loose very gently'

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Monday, 12 July 2010 at 5:05pm BST

A wise and holy man leads our Church.

Posted by: Philip Hobday on Monday, 12 July 2010 at 5:19pm BST

Oh goodness sake, every hot button time so far that RW talks about mutual service or some similar plausible big tent sounding admonishment, it turns out in the end that he decodes to mean, hard service to the No Change Conservative Traditionalist Anglicans who still believe utterly horrid things about women and queer folks.

Decoder rings out, for all. Will Anglican decode in the future to mean, nothing but, Premodern?

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 12 July 2010 at 6:59pm BST

"This reads to me like 'please tie the hangmans loose very gently'"

...around the necks of women-called-to-holy-orders. [Minor slip-up you forgot that last part, Ed T?]

OK, OK, seriously: Ed T played the Hyperbolic Victim Game, and I shamelessly joined in. Mea Culpa.

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 12 July 2010 at 10:26pm BST

I believe the actions of the Synod will lead to open discussion of women deacons, priests and bishops in the Roman Catholic Church whether the current Bishop of Rome likes it or not. This is truly wonderful news for the so called Vatican II Catholic movement because the very fact that the Church of England Synod has moved in this direction today will open a free discussion on the same topic for Roman Catholics who have prayed for the same to happen in the Latin Rite Churches. Those Christians who oppose full and equal access to women in the three ordained ministries are ultimately going to appear as misogynists and elitists with a profoundly patriarchal consciousness that does not reflect the example of Jesus. I salute the Anglicans in this Synod for their actions of justice and equal treatment for women in all of Christ's ordained ministries. This is a wonderful moment for Christ's Church on earth.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Monday, 12 July 2010 at 11:21pm BST

Chris, you can call us misogynists and homophobes...or even paedophiles. A previous generation called us Papists and Romanists, but no amount of name calling will change the Catholic Church. Our mandate comes down from God, and yours up from the people.

This week in Synod marks out the Church built on sand to the household of faith built on the rock.

The matter of women's ordination is not open for debate in the Catholic Church as the last Pope made clear, when he declared that in his capacity of confirming the brethren, the matter was not open for discussion.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 8:47pm BST

"The matter of women's ordination is not open for debate in the Catholic Church as the last Pope made clear, when he declared that in his capacity of confirming the brethren, the matter was not open for discussion."

It may not be open to debate in the ROMAN Catholic Church, but I assure you that it is very much open to debate everywhere else. The Bishop of Rome, while being the occupant of one of the preeminant Sees of the Church, has no real authority outside of his See. And in spite of what Rome may claim, they do not speak for the whole church. The Church Catholic is far larger than they are willing to admit.

Posted by: Deacon Charlie Perrin on Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 3:35pm BST

Robert Ian Williams writes: "Our mandate comes down from God...." Do you really believe that Jesus EXCLUDES women from the same ministries as men? This "mandate" argument doesn't fly in most branches of Christianity, and just because this has been the era of two reactionary and restorationist popes, does not mean that the discussion of women's ordination in the Catholic Church is closed. There are many Catholic bishops who believe that women should be ordained to ALL ministries and as soon as the Holy Spirit provides the Roman Catholic Church with one of these bishops who will sit in the Chair of Peter, the entire issue will be addressed in a fair and just fashion as it is now be addressed by our Anglican sisters and brothers. People who are against women's admission to Holy Orders will then have to leave and start a "true" Church all of their own. The arguments against women's ordination are just so meritless and void of sound theology that time will change the entire discussion in Roman Catholicism and people like Mr. Williams will become cult followers such as the group in France that still do not recognize the current Bishop of Rome. Ratzinger and his reactionary followers are wrong on this issue and they will not be judged well by history. Most people do not buy the argument of your very own special pipeline to God, Mr. Williams. God is an equal opportunity employer. Get with the program.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 5:08pm BST

"Our mandate comes down from God, and yours up from the people."

As has claimed EVERY cult member, EVER. Lather, Rinse, Repeat...

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 15 July 2010 at 2:01am BST
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