Saturday, 1 October 2011

Women Bishops - diocesan debates

Updated Saturday night to add the Peterborough results.

Two more diocesan synods held their debates on the women bishops legislation today.

1) At Ripon and Leeds the motion

That this Synod approve the proposal embodied in the draft Bishops and Prietsts (Consecreation and Ordination of Women) Measure and in draft Amending Canon No 30.

was carried overwhelmingly in all three houses. Here are the detailed voting figures.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops2 0 0
Clergy42 3 0
Laity30 4 2

A ‘following’ motion calling for stronger legal provision for alternative male bishops to be set up by statute rather than a code of practice was debated but was defeated by 70 votes to 12.

The diocese has issued this press release: Overwhelming vote for women bishops.

2) At Peterborough the main motion (in favour of the legislation) was carried in all three houses with these voting figures.

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops1 0 2
Clergy37 10 2
Laity30 14 5

The following motion, seeking more provision for opponents, was defeated in all three houses:

 ForAgainstAbstentions
Bishops0 1 2
Clergy9 35 3
Laity20 27 2
Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 1 October 2011 at 5:20pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

What's the betting that there will be even a slight majority in Chichester?

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Saturday, 1 October 2011 at 11:54pm BST

Certainly, even Chichester will be more approving of women as fellow human beings in Church affairs than the Diocese of Rome, Robert.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 2 October 2011 at 11:18am BST

Voting figures like these would give the Government in Westminster 576 of the 630 seats at Westminster. An unimaginable landslide for any politician.

Maragret Thatcher never governed on more than 42 per cent of the vote.

Posted by: Robert ian williams on Sunday, 2 October 2011 at 1:31pm BST

Catching up with Sweden -- or, in the case of Chichester, with Gothenburg.

Posted by: William Tighe on Sunday, 2 October 2011 at 2:17pm BST

William Tighe: "Catching up with Sweden"... and Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway... and unlike, erm, Berlusconi's Italy, with its rather different way for leaders to treat women.

Which would be better to resemble, I wonder?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Sunday, 2 October 2011 at 7:43pm BST

Certainly, even Chichester will be more approving of women as fellow human beings in Church affairs than the Diocese of Rome, Robert.

Does this include the 300 million adherants of the Orthodox faith who hold the same position as Rome on this issue?

Posted by: William on Monday, 3 October 2011 at 8:35am BST

"Certainly, even Chichester will be more approving of women as fellow human beings in Church affairs than the Diocese of Rome, Robert."

This risks being an unfair caricature of the Roman Catholic position and, by extension, that held by many loyal Anglicans. Women play a significant part in catechesis, worship, and religious life of those communities, and I am quite sure that those communities assert the absolute and equal value of all human persons regardless of gender. The full humanity of both men and women is not the same issue as the question abut whether women may be ordained - a development I support, while being deeply uncomfortable with some of the comments on this blog about those who (acting honestly and faithfully) take a different view.

Posted by: Philip Hobday on Monday, 3 October 2011 at 9:48am BST

I don't have my papers to hand, but from what I can remember the majority of deaneries in Chichester passed the legislation. However, when it comes to the total number of votes cast the figures were much closer, with only a small majority in favour. If the Diocesan Synod members reflect the views of their deaneries then the legislation will pass, but it will be close.

Posted by: Justin Brett on Monday, 3 October 2011 at 9:50am BST

Not even all Roman Catholics hold the same position as Rome over this matter.

Posted by: Lister Tonge on Monday, 3 October 2011 at 9:57am BST

"the 300 million adherants of the Orthodox faith who hold the same position as Rome on this issue?"

I suggest that is not correct.

The Roman Catholic view on this has recently changed, whereas the Orthodox view remains the same.

Orthodox are more than comfortable discussing the possibility of women's ordination and there is some suggestion of movement in thinking with regards to women as Deacons in some quarters.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 3 October 2011 at 11:03am BST

In the case of Chichester it will surely be a clear instance of the Return of the Repressed.

But the whole discussion about 'whether' to appoint women ministers as bishops makes no sense in the twenty-first century. The churches slip further and further into mind-boggling irrelevance.

Why have bishops at all, is a much more relevant but over-looked question.Bishops who happen to be female will not revolutionise the ministry you know. It will be same old, same old.

But then the C of E does not wish to change, and continues its unstoppable slide into irrelevance, as the latest stats testify.

Where the church manages to be relevant, to be vital or visionary, it tends to be stiffled from the centre -whether the diocese or Church House.

E.g. the dismantling of Pastoral Care and Counselling in Southwark diocese, by the last bishop. Meanwhile people in ministry burn out, unsupported.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 3 October 2011 at 11:14am BST

"Does this include the 300 million adherents of the Orthodox faith who hold the same position as Rome on this issue?"

Can anyone confirm that the Orthodox have begun discussions on the possibility of the admission of women to the diaconate? I have heard this from a source I would regard as reliable, but would be interested if anyone else had heard of this. If it's the case Rome's 'don't even talk about it' stance becomes even harder to defend.

Posted by: david rowett on Monday, 3 October 2011 at 3:06pm BST

While Roman Catholics have been advised that the subject is off the table for discussion, a number of Eastern Orthodox theologians are engaging with the possibility of the ordination of women to the ministry of priest and bishop, based on the implications of the Chalcedonian Definition, and other aspects of patristic theology. It has also been suggested the major difficulties relate to discipline rather than doctrine. The reports of the Eastern Orthodox / Old Catholic consultation from early in the last decade on this subject are illuminating. One difficulty for us in the West is that many EO explorations of the subject are only available in Greek. The EO/OC papers were translated a few years after the event and published in the Anglican Theological Review.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Monday, 3 October 2011 at 6:07pm BST

Probably not, William.

Even though the place of Mary in God's plan of redemption is seen, by the Orthodox (I mean the real 'Orthodox' Church), to be pivotal to the theology of the Incarnation of Christ. - And she was a woman!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 4 October 2011 at 12:16am BST

"Does this include the 300 million adherents of the Orthodox faith who hold the same position as Rome on this issue?"

Absolutely not...there is no chance of female altar servers let alone deacons.

They couldn't even get their act together to convene a pan Orthodox Cobnference.

However , sadly because the Orthodox are not protected by the Petrine promises they accept contraception and divorce/ re-marriage.

Plus, please note that there are probaably less than 200 million Orthodox.Even that figure is boosted by including all Russians. Indeed the Orthodox Church has revived in Russia, but less than 2 per cent of Russians regularly attend.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Tuesday, 4 October 2011 at 7:29am BST

Philip Hobday,

I agree with every last syllable of your comment. I am quite sure many 'on our side' do.

John Moles.

Posted by: john on Tuesday, 4 October 2011 at 10:23am BST

"The full humanity of both men and women is not the same issue as the question abut whether women may be ordained"

It absolutely IS.

What the opponents of the ordination of women (and sadly, their enablers) fail to notice, are the actual WOMEN---specific, individual Imago Dei---involved.

To deny women ordination isn't an abstraction. It is to tell *individual* women---created, named, beloved of God---that their ***divine calls are a DELUSION*** (all of them, w/o exception. By definition, for lacking a Y chromosome. And those who define it, HAVE that Y chromosome).

Short of physical rape, I can't think of ANYTHING more "full humanity" DENYING.

You opponents/enablers keep trying to weasel out of this, and I'm going to keep calling you on it. You can't have it both ways, Laodiceans.

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 4 October 2011 at 7:39pm BST

Agree with JCF.

Telling half of humanity that they can't be priests or bishops is dehumanizing -- is telling them that they are inferior and second-class.

Anyone who thinks otherwise is engaging in mental contortionism.

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 2:58am BST

You can just imagine JCF in the Garden of Eden saying, " This rule about not eating from the tree of knowledge is a denial of my fundamental rights."

JCF Stop thinking of human rights and start thinking of the prerogatives of God.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 6:22am BST

RIW
Absolutely. After all, we know from Jesus that God is completely opposed to fundamental human rights.

Wherever human rights are in conflict with human made theology, it's surely the theology that's wanting, however many people have traditionally held a particular view, however many still hold it and however firmly they hold it.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 7:59am BST

Individuals can and do mistake their calling. To deny that God can want any woman to serve as priest is another thing.To say to an individual that they don't have the right practical qualities to be a priest is not demeaning - they are practical things. A good priest needs levels of tact, resilience, etc that while they are part of God's own qualities, are not the more God-like than qualities such as great originality ad creativity that a priest does not need, and are also God-like. However to say that a whole section of humanity, a whole gender, while having the practical qualities needed are so unlike Christ that they cannot stand in for him, that IS demeaning.

RIW makes the matter one of God's arbitrary will - something some philosophers (eg Wyclif) would at once accept - but I and (eg)Aquinas, don't see it like that. God's will is not arbitrary, but runs according to the threads of right and wrong, like and unlike, he has woven into his universe.

Posted by: Rosemary Hannah on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 8:15am BST

Thanks for generating light instead of heat, Rosemary.

Posted by: Lister Tonge on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 8:52am BST

Chichester votes on Saturday. Please light as many candles and cross as many fingers etc as possible.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 9:54am BST

Stan: It's every man's right to have babies if he wants them.
Reg: But ... you can't HAVE babies!
Stan: Don't you oppress me!

Off-topic and a teeny bit inappropriate, but the exchange above brought this to mind...

Posted by: tommiaquinas on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 10:41am BST

RIW said: You can just imagine JCF in the Garden of Eden saying, "This rule about not eating from the tree of knowledge is a denial of my fundamental rights."

Well of course it was. That rule was also a denial of God's own prior promise. Compare Genesis 1.29:

God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food."

Every tree . . . .

RIW, do you really think that there was an arbitrary ban in a place called Eden on the eating of the fruit of a certain tree?

And even accepting the story as true on its own terms, was it really such a bad thing that humanity gained self-knowledge, and awareness, and the capacity to distinguish between good and evil, and the ability to set up websites like this?

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 12:05pm BST

Quite agree Jeremy 'Oh happy fault, oh necessary sin of Adam'. and 'Blessed be the time that apple taken was..'

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 12:59pm BST

Tomasaquinas,
yes, some people believe that women being priests is impossible and they use the example of men having babies as an illustration of their views.

Doesn't make it in any way logical, though, and only "works" if your premise already is that women can't be priests.

Otherwise it's about as meaningful as the "jokes" we used to tell when I was little: Fish can't ride bicycles because yoghurt doesn't have bones.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 1:48pm BST

So, let me get this straight,since they don't have women priests (neither did CoE for centuries) there haven't been women human beings in the church for centuries and The Catholic Church doesn't consider Mother Teresa or any other woman as a human being? I'm not Catholic, but I can't see it. That idea does explain, or rather, reinforces the view of one of the female priests I've met who said that she had no choice but to become a priest because she couldn't serve God as a lay person, that's too second class in the church. Better start building more seminaries if people aren't people unless they're priests.

Posted by: Chris H. on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 5:09pm BST

Well, Chris H., you might have a point if the Church of England were governed only by a House of Laity.

But it isn't. So you don't.

Posted by: JeremyB on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 8:55pm BST

People are people and Christians whether they are priests or not. To be a priest is a very particular thing, and takes a mixture of practical and spiritual gifts.

But some people are arguing that there is something lacking in women that makes them inherently and essentially unlike Christ and that is why they cannot be priests, ever, even if they have the full range of necessary abilities. It is a very serious thing, and very demeaning to women to say they are in themselves so very unlike Christ that none of them can be priests. It is totally unlike saying that particular people are not the right person to lead a church, in the present circumstances of church life.

To say that no woman can be a priest because only a man is Christ-like enough to be a priest is to deny something very real and important about every woman even the really great saints.

Posted by: Rosemary Hannah on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 9:37pm BST

Sin is always evil, but God can bring good out of it.The supreme example being the tragedy of the cross.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 9:42pm BST

Exeter also votes on Saturday. A surprisingly large number of Deaneries have voted in favour - but prayers still very welcome for Saturday's debate and vote

Posted by: Maggie on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 at 10:43pm BST

Jeremy, I was referring to JCF's and your "dehumanizing" comments approximating not being able to be a priest with rape and trying to find a more realistic comparison than the one about pregnant men. The CoE has nothing to do with it. The priest who said she had to be a priest because she couldn't serve God as a layman was American and TEC has lay delegates to General Convention, but she didn't feel that was good enough.

Posted by: Chris H. on Thursday, 6 October 2011 at 3:26am BST

"That idea does explain, or rather, reinforces the view of one of the female priests I've met who said that she had no choice but to become a priest because she couldn't serve God as a lay person, that's too second class in the church."

Great, let's get into duelling anonymous anecdotes: THAT will settle things! O_o (Not)

@ RIW: strange, how "prerogatives of God" so resembles the Old Boys Club. Who made whom in whose image?!

"Wherever human rights are in conflict with human made theology, it's surely the theology that's wanting, however many people have traditionally held a particular view, however many still hold it and however firmly they hold it."

Amen, amen and AMEN, Erika!

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 6 October 2011 at 6:33am BST

"You can just imagine JCF in the Garden of Eden saying, ' This rule about not eating from the tree of knowledge is a denial of my fundamental rights.'"

Actually, I can't.

First, JCF is a real person, the Garden of Eden is a mythological symbol.

Second, God speaking directly to an individual is very different from an ancient Bavarian in dress-up claiming that he speaks for God to everybody.

This constant repetition of legends about "Petrine promises" and papal authority on a website for and about Anglicans is getting sadly laughable, Robert. You have nothing to say, other than that? Do you really think we *care* what your denomination has to say on the matters at hand?

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 6 October 2011 at 9:46am BST

Chris H.,

What you are still left with is the denial that a female individual is capable of making the discernment that a male individual is in pursuing her ministerial calling.

This, by definition, renders a female second-class to a male.

Here's a better anecdote: I know a guy - oh, heck, he won't mind me saying his name - named Mark Brunson. He was violently-opposed to females in the ordained clergy, using every argument from "no female disciples" to "Jesus was a man" to "Tradition holds. . . " In the face of actual female ordained ministry, however, he found that they neither lacked, nor had, more than any comparable male portion of the priesthood. Some were better. Some were worse. What he was humbled to realize was that the *real* reason he'd opposed it, what his heart knew all along, was that a woman in such a position of authority was a visceral shock, and a threat to his cherished, selfish views of how "special" men were.

Now, that's an anecdote I can back up.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 6 October 2011 at 9:54am BST

I can back up Mark Brunson's anecdote almost completely. His only error is the name, it should have been Martin Reynolds ........ a slip of the proverbial pen ......

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 6 October 2011 at 4:26pm BST

Mark and Martin,
you two are amazing!
Thank you both.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 6 October 2011 at 10:39pm BST

Chris H said "Jeremy, I was referring to JCF's and your "dehumanizing" comments approximating not being able to be a priest with rape."

Chris H, please do not put words into my mouth.

What I said was, "Telling half of humanity that they can't be priests or bishops is dehumanizing -- is telling them that they are inferior and second-class."

If every time you hear the word "dehumanizing" you hear an accusation of "rape," then your thought processes are, shall we say, interesting.

As for which church the woman you were speaking with belongs to--the Episcopal Church isn't governed only by a House of Laity either. So my point still stands.

Your contrary take would suggest that it is an acceptable manner of governance to have women and men in the House of Commons, but only men in the House of Lords. Why wouldn't such an institutional arrangement make women second-class subjects?

Posted by: Jeremy on Thursday, 6 October 2011 at 10:43pm BST

Robert I Williams; as you have said God can indeed bring good out of evil - in fact, God is the only One who can. Just look at the Roman practice of the Sale of Indulgences (a real evil). Through this was brought about, via Martin Luther, the Reformation - a manifest Good.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 7 October 2011 at 12:29am BST

Jeremy, in a final bid to be understood, though I doubt it will work,please go back and read the comment from JCF you agreed to in the first place. That comment mentioned rape and dehumanizing and YOU agreed to the statement. MY reply was referring to both comments, not just yours. I was trying to imply a "Can you really mean that?" in my answer. So if you don't see it that way, be careful what YOU agree to.

As for the comments on the Church of England or TEC not being governed by laity, I'm really not understanding you. The point I was hoping to convey is that there is a sense in some areas that only priests/bishops are valuable and since not everyone in a church can be a priest, something should be done to emphasize/re-establish the value of the laity. That's all.


Posted by: Chris H. on Friday, 7 October 2011 at 6:42am BST

Chris H, as snippets of the debate will show, you are putting words in the mouth of JCF as well.

JCF said, "Short of physical rape, I can't think of ANYTHING more "full humanity" DENYING."

"More . . . denying." What about the word "more" do you not understand? I understand the word "more" to be a word of comparison and distinction.

You then said, "I was referring to JCF's and your "dehumanizing" comments approximating not being able to be a priest with rape."

So it was _you_ who first raised the notion that rape, on the one hand, and gender discrimination in the order of bishops, on the other, are "approximat[ions]."

You didn't get that notion from JCF, and you didn't get it from me.

"Approximating" was your word. I think it is you who need to be more "careful."

On the governance point, you're still not answering the question of whether it is morally tolerable to have an order of clergy -- and therefore a church-governing entity, because votes take place by orders -- that is only men.

You can raise up the laity all you want, but there is still (in TEC) a House of Bishops and still (in the C of E) voting by orders, as well as a parliamentary role for bishops.

Fortunately TEC has women bishops, so misogyny is no longer formalized in TEC's governance.

Is it in the C of E? Time will tell.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 7 October 2011 at 6:27pm BST

No Ron, out of the evil of the Reformation came the truth and glory of the Counter Reformation.

As for the Martin analogy.. where Martin went wrong was in his false understanding of tradition.

If he had an infallible magisterium to guide him, then he would not have changed his views.. however his objections were based on sentiment and prejudice.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Saturday, 8 October 2011 at 3:57pm BST

"If he had an infallible magisterium to guide him"

This side of heaven, RIW, nobody does. Not me, and not you!

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 9 October 2011 at 1:24am BST

And, Robert, out of Vatican II - generally accepted as Good; has come what? Retrenchment and reversal.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 10 October 2011 at 11:52am BST
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