Monday, 8 November 2010

Episcopal Resignations - press reports

In the Telegraph
Damian Thompson:
Five Anglican bishops resign to convert to Rome: statement

and A one-way pilgrimage to Rome
Tim Ross: Five Anglican bishops quit Church of England for Rome
Church of England in crisis as five bishops defect to Rome
and Church of England is ‘like a coffee chain going out of business’, defecting bishops warn

In The Guardian
Riazat Butt: Archbishop of Canterbury accepts resignation of Anglican bishops
Alan Wilson comments: The flying bishops crash to earth.

In the Catholic Herald : Anna Arco: Five Anglo-Catholic bishops resign

At the BBC: Five Anglican bishops join Catholic Church

At the Press Association: Anglican bishops join Catholics

WATCH (Women and the Church) has issued a press briefing.

Women and the Church (WATCH)
Press Briefing for immediate release 8th November 2010
Two Flying Bishops depart

The decision of the flying Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton to join the Ordinariate has been widely anticipated. WATCH welcomes the clarification that this announcement brings.

Since the days of Cardinal Newman there have been members of the Church of England who have discovered that they would be more at home within the Roman Catholic Church. It is right that those who hear God calling them to a different church should follow that call.

continued below the fold

Flying Bishops – the background

Flying Bishops, or Provincial Episcopal Visitors, are the creation of the Act of Synod of 1993. This legislation was passed in great haste and without proper consultation with the wider church.

The Act of Synod increased provision for those opposed to the ordination of women beyond that already included in the Measure (which already gave parishes the option of choosing to avoid the ministry of women priests).

The Act of Synod allowed parishes to ask for oversight from a special (‘Flying’) bishop responsible only for parishes opposed to women priests, rather than accepting the ministry of the bishop of their diocese. Their own Diocesan bishop, however, keeps his authority and jurisdiction over the entire Diocese, and PEVs work only at their invitation.

The Act of Synod has been disastrous for the Church of England. It has fostered division within the church, encouraging a small minority to see its identity as a sub-church opposed to that of the church as a whole.

Flying Bishops - the figures

Recently published statistics show that only 2.8% of parishes in the Church of England (363 parishes of 12,894) have requested the ministry of a Flying Bishop.

Of these, the flying Bishop of Ebbsfleet works with only 79 parishes whereas the flying Bishop of Richborough has 81.

These figures are tiny compared with most Church of England dioceses which average nearly 300 (293 to be exact)

Flying Bishops – what next?

If, as is widely anticipated, the current draft legislation is approved by Synod in 2012, the Act of Synod will fall and the post of ‘Flying Bishop’ will cease to exist.

In the meantime, WATCH notes that the Act of Synod requires the Archbishops to consult widely within the House of Bishops in deciding whether or not to re-appoint when a Flying Bishop retires.

Bearing in mind the small number of parishes involved and the temporary nature of any appointment, WATCH respectfully suggests that interim arrangements should suffice to oversee the 160 parishes concerned pending the final vote in Synod in 2012.

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 3:20pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Members of WATCH ought to keep counsel at the moment. In the Church of England, we are not yet in the totalitarian position of forcing Resolution C parishes to accept anything other than what they have petitioned for ie. alternative episcopal oversight. The prevailing legal conditions mean that the Act of Synod is still in place, and we do not yet have the required assent to women in the episcopate, whatever WATCH members might otherwise wish. They seem to have no regard whatsoever for the consciences of fellow Christians with whom they disagree. I am appalled by the lack of Christian charity and love in the language employed by adherents to the organisation. Good on both the Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of London that they are not caving in to the demands of WATCH at this sensitive time.

Posted by: Benedict on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 5:52pm GMT

Recent Church of England statistics show that only 2.8% of parishes – 363 out of 12,894 – have requested the ministry of a "flying bishop", providing leadership and pastoral care for opponents of women clergy. Of these, the flying bishop of Ebbsfleet works with 79 parishes while the flying bishop of Richborough has 81. -Guardian

Assuming that the figures are right they are worth bearing in mind when considering specualation about how many priests and people will follow the five bishops to Rome.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 6:19pm GMT

'The Flying Bishops crash to earth'

- Bishop Alan Wilson -

"And what a fall that was!!"

Bishop Alan continues: "The traditionalist *flying bishops* will go to Rome (God-speed them). It's the end of a failed experiment (No more of these, please). Don't prolong it by replacing them." (is the Bishop of london hearing this?) - content within brackets is mine.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 8:37pm GMT

Naughty, naughty! Your maths should be better. The 'average diocese' also has on average a couple of suffragans and two or three archdeacons. PEVs have had to fly solo. What is more, the PEVs have not simply ministered to their sixty or seventy "C" parishes each. In Chelmsford, for instance, there were about 16 "C" parishes, but some seventy priests attended the Chrism which I celebrated. It has not just been about parishes, but also individual priests and lay people - far more of them than you are ready to admit. PEVs, with little support, have to cover areas equal to about thirteen dioceses; in most of which each diocesan has a chauffeur. Good to see that the Archbishop is replacing both his PEV suffragans; and the Bishop of London has already made his appointment to care for C parishes. We are still, for a long time yet, in a 'period of reception' (or non-reception.)

Posted by: + Edwin Barnes on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 9:03pm GMT

+ Edwin

And PEVs are supposed to work in collaboration with the Diocesan authorities, and the parishes they serve are still served by Archdeacons, and Diocesan Offices, and Registrars, and the clergy and laity are still involved in Deanery, Diocesan and General Synods. PEVs have not had all these structures to manage.

You are clearly not in a "period of reception" - rather you have made and announced your decision. I am not in a period of reception either - I have received and welcomed the ministry of my female colleagues. Your "we" is wrong on both counts.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 10:06pm GMT

It is quite a surprise that 5 CofE Bishops are flying to Rome now becouse conservatives seem to have acquired a sufficient minority block in your Lay House of your General Synod.

We have here 3 possibilities: Or the minority block would be a lie or at least very unstable just becouse divided in many groups, some of them may be open to honest negotiation. Or they realised thet it is just a question of time to liberal reforms due to political intervention of the parliament, for example. Or, the worse of all, It would be part of an Odd game!...

And what will your ABC, your Prime Minister, your Parliament and your Queen do?... Nothing?...

Posted by: Pensamento Positivo on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 10:10pm GMT

"I am appalled by the lack of Christian charity and love in the language employed by adherents to the organisation. Good on both the Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of London that they are not caving in to the demands of WATCH at this sensitive time.

-Posted by: Benedict on Monday -

I, likewise, am appalled at the lack of love and charity towards the Church that has accepted the charism of women's ministry - and towards those women who have been ordained, and those who support their ministry - exercised by those now deserting their Mother Church because of their blatant prejudice.

Remember, you, too were once loyal members of the Church of England which has followed the call of the Holy Spirit to prom,oted and access the ministry of 'All the Baptized' called by God to minister in the Body of Christ.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 8 November 2010 at 11:35pm GMT

"I am appalled by the lack of Christian charity and love in the language employed by adherents to the organisation."

Yes, pseudo-priestesses and hellbound allies, be grateful and full of "Christian charity" that we XY elect are here to tell you're either 1) Crazy or 2) Evil, for believing yourselves called to Christ's holy priesthood. It's for your own good!

So much "love in the language".


On this side of the Atlantic, Benedict, we have an expression: "Don't pee on my leg, and tell me it's raining." Don't come whining w/ your *classic* Concern Trollery, re "lack of Christian charity", while you purport to DEFINE GOD'S LACK OF CALL to your sisters. In all charity (another Yank-ism), FUHGEDDABOUTIT!

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 2:31am GMT

"This legislation was passed in great haste and without proper consultation with the wider church."

Like it or not, the Act of Synod was passed by the same system of Synodical Government,and indeed the same individual members of Synod (less those who had left) as had previously passed the Ordination of Women as Priests legislation.

That Synod had made the journey through the first debate and knew enough about the prevailing conditions to judge that the Act was the best option to take the church forward.

I think we have to allow the possibility that they knew what they were doing.

Posted by: Jonathan Jennings on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 6:08am GMT

I do not see, and have never seen, any theological justification for demanding a bishop who thinks 'as we do'. While I can see that, for those who do not accept that women can be ordained a woman bishop raises problems, I cannot see that problems are raised by a male bishop who ordains women. We are told that 'there is no theology of taint' - well, if that is so, why flying bishops?? We all know that the unworthiness of a bishop, any bishop, cannot affect what he does as a bishop, so why the church-within-a-church??

Posted by: Rosemary Hannah on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 7:44am GMT

Actually Jonathan the point is that the legislation to ordain women was discussed over a long period in General Synod and also by diocesan synods. The Act of Synod was not. Many Synod members apparently (later) felt misled by being told they must pass this Act or Parliament would not approve the ordinmation of women legislation - which we now know was not entirely true.

Posted by: frozenchristian on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 3:32pm GMT


Perhaps we need to take stock of whether the period of reception for flying bishops is over, or not? After all isn't it an innovation outside the traditional Catholic order of the Church?

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 9:25pm GMT

"After all isn't it (Flying Bishops) an innovation outside the traditional Catholic order of the Church?" - Mark Bennet -

Oh Yes, Mark, but the thrusting F.i.F. sodality would never accept that. They would excuse it by saying that their unconventional catholicism was less of a problem than that of women in the ordained ministry of the Church.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 2:07am GMT
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