Saturday, 3 March 2012


Riazat Butt writes in The Guardian about The women who oppose female bishops.

Also in The Guardian, Julian Baggini asks Why do the religious insist on presenting a united front?

Michael L Cooper-White writes in The Huffington Post about Genesis 17:1-7, 5-16 and Mark 8:31-38: God the Game-Changer.

Giles Fraser wrties for the Church Times: Correct the false ideas of dominion.

Savi Hensman at Ekklesia asks Is making staff work on Sundays discriminatory?

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 3 March 2012 at 11:00am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

If the logic uncovered by Riazat Butt is the best that women (or men) can muster against women bishops, then their case is truly pathetic. The case against women bishops basically comes down to the always suspect “we’ve always done it that way.” When I read Christina Rees’s assertion that the “understanding of theology [of women opposed to women bishops] is flawed,” I though the judgment harsh. On reflection, however, one can reach no other conclusion.

By the logic of the likes of Emma Forward—what an ironic name—God is male, there can be no American bishops because Jesus chose none, and no church can more forward unless every Christian church throughout the world does so at once.

Posted by: Lionel Deimel on Saturday, 3 March 2012 at 12:52pm GMT

"and no church can more forward unless every Christian church throughout the world does so at once" -- Lionel Deimel, critiquing Emma Forward

But, Lionel, I thought that was the whole aim and purpose of the Anglican Covenant!

Posted by: peterpi - Peter Gross on Saturday, 3 March 2012 at 11:43pm GMT


Yes it is, and the idea is romantic and supremely impractical. It is a recipe for stagnation and death.

Posted by: Lionel Deimel on Sunday, 4 March 2012 at 12:49pm GMT

All Churches moving together? Hm, remember Tertullian in 'De Pudicitia'? How long before the North African churches would have allowed the remission of serious post-baptismal sin?

It's a good way of squashing the prophetic, no?

Posted by: david rowett on Sunday, 4 March 2012 at 3:59pm GMT

":We'll meet and we'll talk as women do, woman to woman...about tights"

After 87 years as a female and 35 years of ordination, I can never remember discussing tights when meeting with my peers, especially at Synod. Are C.of E, women different from Canadian ones?

The old arguments being resurrected show a lack of understanding concerning the nature of the priesthood, the main one being that Christ is male and therefore a woman can not represent Him. Perhaps we can enter into a deeper understanding of the ordained priesthood if we consider the Eucharist.

People have argued that in the Eucharist, the priest represents Christ as the spouse, consumating the marriage, the spiritual union that is between Christ and His Church, therefore the priest has to be male. But they have never concluded also that the congregation must be entirely female, whch is surely a logical progression of that hypothesis.. When the priest
stands at the altar,the priest represents at the same time both Christ and the people of God. To quote the famous sentence of St. Augustine, "When Peter does it, when Judas does it, it is always Christ himself who does it."

That is precisely the meaning of ordination. If we baptise little girls, we should be willing to priest them. If we priest them, we should be willing to ordain them as Bishops (all things being equal???) If this is not the case then we should not baptise females.

Lettie James

Posted by: Lettie James on Sunday, 4 March 2012 at 6:57pm GMT

The article quotes Ms. Newcombe "I believe men and women should have the same opportunities in life. But this is a church matter."

What a perfect and concise talking point--one right out of the traditionalist patriarchal play book. It could also have have been taken right out of any debate about the role of women in any profession forty years ago. "I believe men and women should have the same opportunities in life but this a soldiering ( insert variously law, medicine, engineering) matter.

Ms. Newcombe is the equal of any man. In this case, she is equally wrong.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 4 March 2012 at 10:13pm GMT

@Lettie: Yes, when I read the "tights" remark, I re-read it umpteen times [was mainly looking for context---to show it had been a typo! :-X]

As it is, it is difficult to know what to say to Ms. Forward. Somewhere in her faith-formation, it seems Christian anthropology ("in Christ there is no male and female") was left out.

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 4 March 2012 at 11:23pm GMT

"But this is a church matter. Opposition to women in the priesthood used to be the majority view. I don't think we're such a small minority. It is a normal traditional Anglican belief to hold. Why is it that something that wasn't true 50 years ago is true now?" - Lindsay Newcombe -

This item - in Riazat Butt's excellent article - shows a very subjective understanding of the 'truth' of the primitive ethos of paternalism in the Early Church.

One is always surprised that even some educated women are content to go along with paternalism in the Church - even though they would not have a bar of it in their secular occupations.

The emancipation of women - something that Jesus was surely concerned with in his own lifetime, and for which he was criticised by the Pharisees and Scribes; is still alive and well - even amongst some women of education today.

This situation is perhaps expected among the male hierarchy of the Church, but not among women who have really understood the Gospel ethic of Saint Paul, who once said: "In Christ, there is neither male nor female. All are born of the same Holy Spirit".

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 5 March 2012 at 2:01am GMT

Mea culpa!! In my last argument - (Monday 5 March), I made a contextual error in the penultimate paragraph. The words 'The emancipation of women...'
Should have been preface by the qualifying words:
'Criticism of....' This makes better sense.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 8 March 2012 at 11:44pm GMT
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