Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Affirming Catholicism and the bishops' amendments

Affirming Catholicism issued a statement today on the House of Bishops Amendment to the Women Bishops Measure. They say that

the idea that parishes should have statutory authority to demand specific provision of oversight according to particular theological views is a dangerous precedent to be setting, both for the Church of England and for the Anglican Communion as a whole.

The clause 5 amendment raises significant questions about the credibility of the Church of England’s insistence on the historic episcopate as one of the bases for our ecumenical relationships

and conclude that the amendment to Clause 5 proposed by the Bishops “calls into question the catholic nature of the ecclesiology of the C of E”.

On procedure they strongly support the motions in the Convocations and the House of Laity to refer the amended measure to General Synod, but strongly urge Synod to refer it back to the House of Bishops.

The full statement is here.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 at 5:30pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
Comments

The Bishops seem to have time on their hands to draft and sneak in things such as the amendment to Clause 5.

Thankfully, though, the Daily Telegraph has come to the rescue with an exposé today of just how much the Bishops are raking in, expenses and all, from being able to sit in the House of Lords.

The publication of this piece might help to focus their minds on other things and solve the problem of their having spare time on their hands.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9345817/Bishops-sitting-in-House-of-Lords-claiming-thousands-to-attend-Westminster.html

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Thursday, 21 June 2012 at 10:22am BST

If only all Anglo-Catholics were so Affirming. What they are pointing out here is the fact that the house of Bishops ought really to allow the 'Mind of general Synod', which produced the original Draft Measure for the Ordination of women to the Episcopate, be heard by the July Meeting of the G.S. - unimpeded by the obfuscating Amendment produced at the mast moment by the House of Bishops.

It would be demeaning of those who worked so hard on the Draft Measure to overlook the fruit of their well-considered plan to all Women to become part of the historic episcopate - without prejudice. Someone really needs to politely ask the House of Bishops to withdraw their amendments

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 21 June 2012 at 11:51am BST

Randal, it was the Independent's scoop:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-lords-will-provide-bishops-paid-up-to-27000-for-attending-parliament-7870135.html

Posted by: Andrew on Thursday, 21 June 2012 at 8:17pm BST

Perhaps a province that has adopted the Covenant could raise a threat of relational consequences.

The triumph of irony would then be complete.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 22 June 2012 at 3:51am BST

A question out of ignorance (apologies if so)....

Is the question of women in the episcopate a "primary issue" i.e. a salvation issue - we need to believe view X on the issue to be saved? I would think that in this respect it isn't and that it is a "secondary issue". If this is so, there are many issues of this nature that the Anglican communion fundamentally disagree on yet manage to somehow hold unity together on without either side having to give way to the other - for example the celebration of the Eucharist and whether it is transubstantiation, consubstantiation, remembrance...etc.

My question, why can't the same unity be held on the episcopate?

Posted by: Bob on Friday, 22 June 2012 at 1:09pm BST

Fr Smith needs to remember that in all votes thus far, when translated into support for the Measure in its original form, have never commanded the two thirds majority necessary, at least in the House of laity. There is no guarantee whatsoever that even were the latest Bishops' amendments to be withdrawn, it would be any more likely to get through. Indeed, at the last GS the Chairman of the House of laity suggested that although a majority were keen to support the innovation of women bishops they would be uneasy to do so without better provision. Be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: Benedict on Friday, 22 June 2012 at 5:24pm BST

'no guarantee whatsoever that even were the latest Bishops' amendments to be withdrawn, it would be any more likely to get through.'

Let it stand or fall on its own merits in synod.

Do the diocesan votes count for nothing ?

If equality is dropped how will Parliament react?

The only 'provision' necessary is one line saying 'he or she'. End of.

I should have thought years of generous C of E compensation, and now the Ordinariate - headed by most of the former flying bishops all got up as Monsigori, is 'provision' in spades.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 22 June 2012 at 10:32pm BST

I have been struck by the enormity of the Church's failure on the issue of female equality, demonstrated in the issue of ordaining women - in fact, mainly Not. Look back over twenty years, fifty years, and more, (Florence Li Tim Oi and on over 100 years of this issue.

I now realise rather clearly why the Church is doomed not to survive.

'blessed are the dead which die in the lord' ?

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Friday, 22 June 2012 at 10:49pm BST

And in the meantime, other Provinces of the Church get on with their daily task of affirming God at work in ALLl creation - including that part of it which is female. How long, Oh Lord, how long?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 23 June 2012 at 8:45am BST

Bob,
as no-one else seems to want to reply - it is easy to hold different views when they have no practical impact on anyone else. We could kneel side by side, you believing in transubstantiation and me not believing in it, and no consequences would arise for either of us.

But the view that women cannot be priests or bishops does have actual consequences. Either it means that women are not allowed to be priests and bishops - in which case their view and that of their supporters is not given equal weighting, or it means that they are full priests and bishops, in which case those who don't agree could not remain in the church, or it means that we have to create a church within a church to seal off those who don't accept women as priests and bishops from the rest of us.
This is at least as serious an innovation as ordaining women and it has real consequences for how we worship together and how our episcopate is structured.

A neutral side by side is not possible.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 23 June 2012 at 12:16pm BST

"Do the diocesan votes count for nothing". Laurence Roberts. There is often a convenient lapse of memory when mentioning the Diocesan votes in that around a quarter of them passed following motions for better provision. Are we simply to disregard what amounts to almost twenty five percent of the Church (if the figures are taken to be representative of the wider voice?) Furthermore, also conveniently forgotten is that the General Synod members are representatives and not delegates, so as difficult as it may seem to those proponents of women bishops who would have it all their own way, they are not bound by Diocesan votes, but by their own consciences. Thankfully, our Bishops have been far more understanding of our position than those who would deem us expedient for ejection from the Church of England.

Posted by: Benedict on Sunday, 24 June 2012 at 4:05pm BST

Let's look at this claim that "around a quarter of the dioceses asked" passed following motions for better provision for opponents.

42 of the 44 Dioceses considered such a following motion. 33 dioceses rejected it. 9 dioceses (that's 20.45% of 44) supported such a motion. But 9 is nevertheless 21.42% of 42, the number of dioceses which were asked to vote on this. Or if you prefer, 33 is 78.57% of 42.

The two dioceses which did not debate such motions voted very strongly indeed in favour of the existing legislation (over 90% support) and it is reasonable, in my opinion, to suppose that a following motion for better provision would have failed.

On which basis 35 dioceses (that's 79.54%) declined to endorse a move for better provision.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 24 June 2012 at 4:39pm BST

As I said, when you join 'the Ordinariate' you will find Mgr. Andrew Burnham and most of the PEVs waiting for with open arms ! In fact, Mgr. Keith Newton is in charge ! It will seem just as 'Church of England' as ever (it did) !

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Sunday, 24 June 2012 at 8:17pm BST

Simon Sarmiento is splitting hairs. A number of the Dioceses voting in favour of the measure did so by simple majorities and not by the two thirds which is what will be required on July 9th at General Synod. That is the only vote now which really counts and it is by no means a foregone conclusion that there will be this required majority. Sad but true, at least for those who are advocates of women in the episcopate.

Posted by: Benedict on Sunday, 24 June 2012 at 11:23pm BST

" Sad but true, at least for those who are advocates of women in the episcopate." - Benedict -

Sadder, I think, for the Church of England; which will have shown that gender equality is not as important as patriarchal tradition.

Sad, too, for those Provinces of the Communion who are meant to relate to the C.of E. on matters of common justice.

This just goes to show that an Anglican Covenant would never have stayed the course. - Too many inequalities.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 25 June 2012 at 12:00pm BST

Erika,

Many thanks for your response to my question. The thing I'm still wondering though is that why there cannot be a choice. Keeping the example of the Eucharist (and leaving aside wanting to go my parish church), I have the choice of two churches to attend Church X which holds to transubstantiation and Church Y which holds to consubstantiation, I don't agree with the theology of Church Y so I therefore chose to go to Church X. This same principle can be followed with women priests - she, the vicar of Church S is my sister in Christ but out of personal conviction I chose to go to Church T - this happens a lot in the UK with total clergy (male & female) support. The question in my mind with women in the episcopate is that without any alternative oversight available there can no longer be this choice - why can't there be a sense of equilibrium between both sides....if there cannot be, are we then saying this becomes a "primary issue" (as spoken about in the previous question)? I appreciate this is a huge, sensitive and difficult issue and thank you again for your previous answer. B

Posted by: Bob on Monday, 25 June 2012 at 2:22pm BST

Bob,
I'm not sure I understand the question. I think you're looking at this from the point of view of the individual churchgoer, whereas the church is currently looking at this from the point of view of its priests and bishops.

The side by side you are asking for is what has happened in parishes around the country, but it has already required an additional framework: flying bishops. And it has mean that while there is no single parish in the country that is barred to male priests, there are many wthat are barred to female priests.
That is not a genuine, equal side by side.

With women bishops the issue gets more complicated, because in every diocese there are likely to be some parishes who will not recognise their own bishop if she's a woman, so every woman bishop will have to have a male bishop to delegate her authority to.

Whether you think that's a good idea or not - it cannot be said that it is an equal side by side where women are bishops on the same footing as men.


Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 25 June 2012 at 4:29pm BST

Benedict - you are doing your best to put cats amongst pigeons. I believe that, as well as the large majority of dioceses which voted in favour of the legislation as it was, and the substantial number which rejected any changes, the individual votes of bishops, clergy and laity, when taken in total, were over 75% in favour in each house - three quarters is more than two thirds. The Diocesan voting is unequivocal.

I have taken a look at the General Synod voting myself. There are those who will always vote against legislation of this kind and will never be satisfied, because they believe this is something the church should not do.

Then there are the people who have been voting consistently in favour of the kind of legislation we now have.

Then there are others who have been struggling to help synod to find the best compromise by voting in a range of patterns over the years: these include people who have continued to favour a single clause measure, and others who wanted to give various other ideas a chance of being considered. I do not think it is clear that these people would vote against the legislation at final approval in the same numbers they have voted against before, simply because the time for considering options has passed, and the time for final decision has arrived - it is a different kind of question: no longer whether I prefer this option to that one. Some may well vote against the legislation which came back from the dioceses. I know there are some who would vote for it.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Monday, 25 June 2012 at 5:39pm BST
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