Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Catholic Group comments on diocesan voting for women bishops

press release from The Catholic Group in General Synod

Women Bishops Legislation

A quarter of Church of England Dioceses vote for proper provision for traditionalists

While Dioceses showed overall support for women bishops, a quarter of Dioceses voted for proper provision to be made for those who are unable in conscience to accept the oversight of women bishops. This figure is highly significant, given the need for a two-thirds majority for the legislation in all three Houses of General Synod; put bluntly, the legislation needs to be amended if its safe passage through the Synod is to be guaranteed.

The legislation as currently drafted provides neither for conservative Catholics in the Church of England, who need bishops and priests ordained by male bishops, nor for conservative Evangelicals who could not accept the oversight of a woman bishop on scriptural grounds. It relies on a Code of Practice to fill out its provisions – a draft of the Code will be discussed by the House of Bishops in December, and by the General Synod in February. General Synod members will want to scrutinise the draft Code carefully to see how the draft legislation is seen as working in practice, and whether it provides fairly and graciously for the significant minority of traditionalists.

It is likely that the February Synod will also debate a motion calling on the House of Bishops to exercise its powers to amend the Measure in the manner of the amendment jointly proposed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in July 2010 – an amendment which commanded an overall majority of the Synod at the time, and could have gone a long way to meeting the needs of traditionalists.

40% of the members of the current Synod are new; it is vital that they have the opportunity to consider these issues properly before the Synod comes to the Final Approval vote in July 2012. Members of the current Synod have already expressed their disquiet on legislation passed by the previous Synod, when they took the unprecedented step last July of refusing to approve a new Parochial Fees Order made under legislation passed by the previous Synod – effectively blocking implementation of that legislation.

Canon Simon Killwick, Chairman of the Catholic Group in General Synod, said, “Final Approval of the current draft Women Bishops legislation is not a foregone conclusion; the best way to secure its safe passage would be to amend it to provide properly for traditionalists; modest amendment of the legislation, together with a suitably drafted Code of Practice could yet enable the Church of England to move forward together on women bishops in 2012. Failure to amend the legislation could result in the failure of the legislation at Final Approval, which would delay the introduction of women bishops for many years to come.”

The Catholic Group in General Synod is the voice of conservative Catholic Anglicans on the General Synod. We include bishops, clergy and lay people among our members, and represent members of the Church of England, male and female, lay and ordained, who hold to the faith and order of the undivided Church, a conviction shared with many other Anglicans worldwide, and with the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 at 11:21pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

21.4% of dioceses does not equal one quarter, and 78.6% is a lot more than 66.6%. Is there a tally for total votes of laity, clergy and bishops on the follow on motions for further provision, or were too many votes taken on the voices?

Posted by: Peter Sherlock on Thursday, 24 November 2011 at 3:01am GMT

"The Catholic Group in General Synod is the voice of conservative Catholic Anglicans on the General Synod."

Then why isn't it called the "Conservative Catholic Group"*? Trying to pretend they speak for ALL "Catholic" Anglicans?

* I still believe "Misogynist-Like-Roman-Catholic Group" would be more accurate.

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 24 November 2011 at 6:43am GMT

The Roman Catholic Church would not accept that these self professed Catholics hold to the faith of the undivided Universal Church.

The Roman Catholic Church does not accept their male Holy orders either.

They can forge an unholy alliance with the Evangelicals ( who contradict them on key doctrines, such as the eucharist and the very nature of priesthood) and maybe block and delay the legislation..but they can only delay the waves that will submerge them.

A bit like the white Rhodesians..they delayed majority rule by 15 yearrs . However in the end they lost everything.


Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Thursday, 24 November 2011 at 7:20am GMT

Hmmmm. Looks like someone should buy the Catholic Group a calculator.

Posted by: Grumpy High Church Woman on Thursday, 24 November 2011 at 8:52am GMT

Just a guess (haven't checked the figures) but London rejected the main motion and also rejected the following motions. If you add London to the list of those who approved a "conservative" following motion, does that get you nearer 25%?

There would be some logic in that line of reasoning.

Posted by: tommiaquinas on Thursday, 24 November 2011 at 9:54am GMT

Perhaps one needs to identify who, precisely, would call themselves followers of the self-named: "Catholic group in General Synod". I would question whether very many Anglican Catholics are anti-women bishops. Now putative Roman Catholics may be a very different kettle of fish - and some of these CGGS people are probably very close to the Pope.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 24 November 2011 at 10:17am GMT

It is also entirely possible that the new synod could say that conservative catholics do not NEED what they WANT and the same with conservative evangelicals.

Posted by: Wilf on Thursday, 24 November 2011 at 10:26am GMT

I disagree with the Catholic Group, but I don't believe they're particularly misogynistic (it is, at any rate, not a charitable assumption that they are), and I don't think what they're asking for is unreasonable. We liberals are getting what we want, i.e., women bishops (of course, some of us hail from provinces that have had 'em for decades) - can we then not stoop to conquer? Could we not demonstrate a little magnanimity to that 20% (or whatever) who in good conscience cannot assent to women priests, presidents, or preachers? And can we at least not immediately assume that our fellow Anglicans must be motivated solely by prejudice?

Posted by: rjb on Thursday, 24 November 2011 at 11:53am GMT

Judging by the contributions at the open consultation meeting on the new Bishop of Chichester last night in Brighton, the Catholic lobby's new line is that, if their tradition has an 'honoured place' in the CofE, there should be at least one Diocesan bishop who represents their interests in the House of Bishops. To which one might reply 'why does it have to be us all the time?' I suppose that if they lose Chichester, they know that they have lost altogether because no other non women-ordaining diocesan is now likely to be appointed in future?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Thursday, 24 November 2011 at 12:08pm GMT

Question: would members of the 'Catholic' Group in Synod actually vote for the legislation if there were 'modest amendments'? I am not persuaded that they would and would like some re-assurances.

Posted by: Canon Andrew Godsall on Thursday, 24 November 2011 at 1:13pm GMT

To rjb:

the current proposals do contain concessions to those opposed to the ordination of women - namely that they will be catered for by a Code of Practice which will enable them to be looked after by a 'suitable' bishop. What the CGGS et al are asking for is that we give one more concession - but for many of us who are in favour of the ordination of women the concession asked for is a step too far as it would render women bishops as second-class. That's why we oppose amending the legislation -it is already a compromise for most of us.

Posted by: Charles Read on Thursday, 24 November 2011 at 3:18pm GMT

The request for "proper provision" obscures the fact that the present proposals are already a huge compromise. After much study, discussion and prayer we have agreed as a church that there is no theological reason why women should not become bishops. If we put in place further provisions beyond those set out in the Statutory Code of Conduct we are in danger of creating a self-contained, self-perpetuating enclave within the Church of England which will place a permanent question mark over the validity of any woman bishop's authority. For instance will this group accept previous confirmation by a woman bishop as valid for their ordinands?
Pace Richard Ashby, will geographical areas come to be established where women priests will in perpetuity have to answer to a bishop who does not recognise the validity of their orders?
A return to the proposals in the Archbishops' Amendment would tie each woman bishop to sharing her authority with a man who in the nature of the case will almost certainly refuse to to acknowledge that she is indeed a bishop.
We all hold an honoured place in the church, whatever our views on this particular matter, - I voted for that motion in Synod - but that does not mean that one very small group should have the right to permanently undermine the prayerful decisions of the vast majority.
I fear we could be in danger of setting the scene for decades of dissension and exploitation of loopholes, as happened after the Act of Synod.

Posted by: Canon Jenny Reid on Thursday, 24 November 2011 at 9:45pm GMT

tommiaquinas: basic logic would imply that (except in exceptional circumstances with low integer numbers) adding something to 20% would get you closer to 25%. What would interest me would be a list of the 25% of Dioceses to back up the claim.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Thursday, 24 November 2011 at 10:09pm GMT

On the substance of the matter, I'm with RJB. I wish, however, the statement of the Catholic Group were more gracious. Equally, I wish the reactions of people on my side were more gracious: the formulations of JCF, Father Ron and Charles Read employ unseemly, junk terminology which should not be employed by Christians in dialogue with other Christians.

John Moles.

Posted by: John on Thursday, 24 November 2011 at 11:52pm GMT

John Moles, I do object to your term 'junk terminology'. I did not, but if I actually HAD used the word prejudice in my comment, above, it would surely have come into the category (cf.Chambers Dictionary) -'biased against'? Because this is precisely what the Catholic Group in General Synod is exhibiting - in its opposition to the Ordination of women Bishops in the Church of England. It is 'biased against' - for whatever reason!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 25 November 2011 at 2:00am GMT

". . . the formulations of JCF, Father Ron and Charles Read employ unseemly, junk terminology which should not be employed by Christians in dialogue with other Christians."

Rather like dismissing the heartfelt and passionate, and, in Charles Read's case, rational clarification of the situation as formulations of "junk" terminology?

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 25 November 2011 at 4:28am GMT

Canon Killwick seems to be unaware of the answer given to a question by Revd Hugh Lee in the Feb 2011 General Synod (Q18 for those who want to locate the full text), the substance of which is that:

"The constitution is clear that Article 8 legislation cannot be finally approved by the Synod unless the substance of the proposals embodied therein have been approved by a majority of dioceses, so a second reference to dioceses would be necessary if the House had amended the substance of the proposals."

The current reference was made in July 2010 and will come back to General Synod in July 2012. Presumably a re-reference would require a further two year reference period - asking dioceses to vote again on something they have already considered, and which they supported by large majorities in its current form. I am not sure what makes Canon Killwick think that less popular proposals would have a greater chance of passing - a significant majority of dioceses, given the option, have already told us that they prefer the current legislation to the prospect of revised legislation.

Following Canon Killwick's suggestion would be administratively unwieldy (to say the least) and result in significant delay, quite apart from the fact that the numbers don't justify stalling the normal democratic synodical processes.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Friday, 25 November 2011 at 5:20am GMT

re Mark Bennet's remarks, above; It would seem that the protesters against Women's Ordination in the Church Courts are well served by any means that secures indefinite delays in decisions being made by General Synod. Bureaucracy gone mad!

Let's hope the Provincial Archbishops do not fall for the blandishments of the ultra-montanists.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 25 November 2011 at 11:52pm GMT

Were I a conservative Anglo-Catholic, I would take the current legislation as the best deal I am going to get.

If General Synod defeats this legislation, then the ensuing public scorn will ensure that the next round of legislation contains no provision whatsoever.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 26 November 2011 at 12:06am GMT

Is misogyny a forgiveable sin?

Of course it is---all sins are forgiveable.

But I'm NOT going to stop calling misogyny what it is, just because Concern Trolls become "concernstipated" [hat-tip, JoeMyGod!] about it.

Re "stoop to conquer": as in, "She Stoops to Conquer"...as bishops-who-are-women WILL do (delegate episcopal functions to those who can't accept hers), WHEN given a chance. If bishops-who-are-women aren't, in general, TRUSTED to do so? See re "misogyny"!

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 26 November 2011 at 1:34am GMT

Following RJB above, but trying a different issue that was debated a few decades ago.

"I disagree with the Catholic Group, but I don't believe they're particularly racist (it is, at any rate, not a charitable assumption that they are), and I don't think what they're asking for is unreasonable. We liberals are getting what we want, i.e., black bishops (of course, some of us hail from provinces that have had 'em for decades) - can we then not stoop to conquer? Could we not demonstrate a little magnanimity to that 20% (or whatever) who in good conscience cannot assent to black priests, presidents, or preachers? And can we at least not immediately assume that our fellow Anglicans must be motivated solely by prejudice?"

With the view of hindsight, what was the better option? Should people at that time have argued that racism was not allowable under any circumstances. Or should they have reluctantly agreed to enclaves where people who had a profound belief that racist views were the "natural" condition, sanctified by scripture, could continue to exclude black people from certain positions.

I suspect the same quote would have worked quite well with the issue of slavery inserted instead, and it would have fitted the arguments being made at that time

I accept RJB's valuable trait of wanting to be sympathetic to people with a different view from his, but going that way can be dangerous. His proposal is sympathetic to the needs of the Christians who are affected by this and who have the power to protest and make a loud noise. But this proposal forgets the black people, or slaves, or women, who would have remained in those enclaves, and who also needed, or now need, to be heard.


Simon

Posted by: Simon Dawson on Saturday, 26 November 2011 at 11:18am GMT

Difficult to debate with you, Father Ron, because all normal standards of debate seem to be suspended and sacrificed in the name of 'the greater good'. That way madness and badness lie. Your comment about 'bias' illustrates this perfectly. As for your original comment, it was captious and contemptuous. This is absolutely no way to debate with fellow Christians, still less fellow Anglicans. All this, though, ironically, I'm 'on the same side' as you. But, in another sense, I'm not on the same side at all.

Posted by: john on Sunday, 27 November 2011 at 7:57pm GMT

Thank you, John. God bless you!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 27 November 2011 at 11:50pm GMT

OK, Father Ron, your response - to me (not to 'traditionalists') - is gracious. It disarms - for the nonce.

Best,

John.

Posted by: john on Monday, 28 November 2011 at 7:14pm GMT

Now that we have feedback from grass roots level in the form of actual percentages, and as we muddle through the cryptic implications of all potential legislation and amendments my hope is that any proposed 'Provision' might be truly APPROPRIATE and PROPORTIONATE to those figures.

Posted by: Helen Rawdon on Tuesday, 29 November 2011 at 6:55pm GMT
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