Tuesday, 23 October 2012

women bishops: press release from GS Catholic Group

PRESS RELEASE from The Catholic Group in General Synod

Women Bishops’ Legislation Not Fit for Purpose

The legislation is unfair, unstable and incoherent; it does not command consensus; there is a better way forward.

UNFAIR

1. There is no legally-binding provision for minorities; instead a Code of Practice is proposed, to which bishops would “have regard”. The only form of appeal against a bishop’s decision would be judicial review, which few parishes could afford.

2. Bishops provided for traditionalists would not have proper oversight as bishops; they would just be allowed to conduct services. There would be no guaranteed future supply of bishops for traditionalists.

3. There is no legal prohibition on discrimination against traditionalist candidates for ordination.

4. Traditionalists would become 2nd. class Anglicans served by 2nd. class bishops.

UNSTABLE

5. The Code of Practice cannot be decided until the legislation has become law. Supporters of the legislation have already stated that they will oppose any further provision being made for traditionalists in the Code of Practice. There would be more years of in-fighting before the Code was agreed.

6. The Code could be changed at any time, meaning that any provision it made for traditionalists could be campaigned against and whittled away over time.

7. The application of the Code would vary from one diocese to another – a postcode lottery.

INCOHERENT

8. The draft legislation would oblige male bishops to delegate certain functions to male bishops - a pointless exercise! It needs to be more specific and to provide for religious conviction.

9. The House of Bishops amendment stating that the Code of Practice shall give guidance as to the selection of delegated male bishops is not enough: (a) the details should be in the legislation itself; (b) the word ‘respects’ has no legal definition – meaning that the amendment is not prescriptive of the contents of the Code; the Code is therefore an unstable instrument.

LACK OF CONSENSUS

10. Major changes in Church order require a clear consensus; this is why legislation like this needs a two-thirds majority in each of the three Houses of the General Synod, in order to pass. At no stage in the process so far has this draft legislation achieved the required majorities in the Synod, meaning that there is no clear consensus. No real attempt has been made to reach consensus outside the formal synodical process.

11. Supporters of the legislation realise that there is not enough consensus, and are resorting to unprincipled attempts to pressurise those opposed to the legislation to abstain, rather than to vote against, as their consciences would dictate.

A BETTER WAY

12. A better way would be to follow the example of the Church in Wales, whose Governing Body rejected unsatisfactory legislation for women bishops, and is now looking at a new process with two linked pieces of legislation, one to provide for women to be made bishops, and the other to provide for traditionalists; the legislation for women bishops cannot come into force until the legislation providing for traditionalists has been passed. Such an approach would lead to the prayerful and reconciling dialogue the Church of England now needs in order to move forward.

ENDS

29th September 2012

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 at 4:11pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
Comments

I don’t understand the “Lack of Consensus” argument. If the votes are there to pass the legislation, there is a consensus. If not, there isn’t, and none of the other arguments matter.

Posted by: Lionel Deimel on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 at 5:29pm BST

I love people who discriminate against others and then fear that they will be discriminated against themselves.

It's time we stopped allowing people to use theology to mask their prejudices.

Time passes. Life moves on. The liberation has come. Get over it!

Posted by: Deacon Charlie Perrin on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 at 9:51pm BST

Translation: The Church in Wales has adopted a policy which, as long as it is place, ensures women will never be ordained as bishops.

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 at 10:35pm BST

One might have expected this demeaning view of what might be achieved by allowing the Ordination of women as Bishops in the Church of England to be expressed by this group - which surely does NOT represent the majority of 'catholics' within the membership of the general Synod.

To arrogate the title 'Catholic group in synod' implies that its members are the only catholics in the General Synod of the Church of England. they may be more vociferous, but are they more 'catholic'?

It is surely theologically 'un-catholic' to want everyone to believe that God is treating his human creation as needing to show deferential treatment towards the male of the species, at the expense of the female? Jesus' treatment of women - in his lifetime - was one of the reasons for which the Scribes and Pharisees criticised Him. Is the Church meant to perpetuate their misogyny?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 at 10:40pm BST

I have gotten to a point where I have to ask a question that strikes me as the elephant sitting in the room and waiting to be noticed. It seems that some of the traditionalists want to be overseen by a bishop who regards sees with women diocesans as vacant. How would the presence of even a single bishop who regards women as invalidly ordained affect the collegiality and functioning of the House of Bishops? How will a "traditionalist" bishop be able to operate collegially with bishops he doesn't recognize? If one carries some of their requests to the extreme, one would have to have bishops who regard any other bishop who had ordained women as being less than loyal to the church's teaching. Wouldn't this lead to completely dysfunctional House of Bishops in the long run? Perhaps there would be House A and House B that simply would never meet together. That sounds very close to where TEC was until some bolted for ACNA.

Posted by: David Bieler on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 at 10:44pm BST

There would be no guaranteed future supply of bishops for traditionalists and there is no legal prohibition on discrimination against traditionalist candidates for ordination

I believe these two points below are both important, how can this measure ensure "Respect" is given to candidates for ordination who in conscience cannot accept the ordination of women. The answer is that it can't unless this is legally supported within the legislation and necessary procedures should be put into place in the event that DDO's, Bishops and BAP panel are found to have discriminated against a candidate because of their theological conviction.

Again the future supply of Bishops for traditionalists, our understanding is a male bishop who shares the same theological conviction as the petitioning parish.

There is no guarantee that "Trad Catholics" & "Conservative Evangelicals" will be over looked when it comes to preferment, this is because there is no guarantee for future supply of Bishops to those opposed.

All this newly worded says is that we will respect that you've submitted a letter of respect on the grounds of theological conviction and that we will give you a Bishop but not necessarily one of your theological conviction.

How can your respect the grounds we sent a letter but not understand the basis of our convictions and requirements. The CofE need to return to the drawing board and possibly do what the Church in Wales have done with their whole process.

It is inevitable that the CofE will have Women Bishops but may God's will be done. If it's not passed in November it will not be the end of the CofE.

The world would rather see a united and stable church rather than a church in tatters and disunity. The world would more rather respect the CofE for working to be a stable and accomplished place for everyone rather than a simple place which is not pleasing to everyone neither pleasing in the sight God.

Posted by: Chuchu Nwagu on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 at 2:11am BST

In response to Chuchu I would want to say that it is entirely possible to "understand the basis of (y)our convictions" and hence to treat you with respect without personally sharing them.

It is an important aspect of the legislation that it does not allow anyone to specify the particular theological convictions of the bishop exercising oversight of them. The Code will make it clear that any bishop so appointed by the diocesan will be someone whose orders and sacraments are not subject to doubt on this score, but nobody has ever had the right to "pick a bishop", that would be grossly anti-catholic, and nobody is going to be able to pick a bishop to suit their own theological leanings in the future. All bishops subscribe to the customary oaths and declarations, and that is as far as the Elizabethan Settlement allows to be proper.

Posted by: David Walker on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 at 8:53am BST

Fr Ron Smith - Can you please define UN-catholic.

The word catholic when taken from Latin (Catholicus)from the Greek adjective "Katholikos" means Universal and Katholou means "according to", "whole". In English is means "all embracing"

So if Forward in Faith and Reform are campaigning to keep the church's teachings "Universal" and "according to the full doctrine of the early church" surely that is doing the Catholic thing.

So as a church if we believe Pope Benedict XVI to be Primus Inter Pares surely we should follow the teachings he has set for the Universal Church.

The legal definition of un-catholic means "Not adhering to the teachings and practices". In the times when Jesus was around women had certain barriers but if Jesus wanted to still have apostles who were women in his infinite mercy it would have happened

Posted by: Chuchu Nwagu on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 at 10:19am BST

"In the times when Jesus was around women had certain barriers but if Jesus wanted to still have apostles who were women in his infinite mercy it would have happened."

And if Jesus had wanted to have apostles who were not Jewish, in his infinite mercy, it would also have happened too, presumably. However, the twelve were all Jewish. What is significant, Chuchu, is that if you read the New Testament you find there are a great number of women acting as apostles, carrying the message of faith out into the world. Romans 16 contains ample evidence of this. In the earliest days of the church it is clear that women played a far more prominent role in leadership than they did later on. In allowing women bishops we are being faithful to the original pattern of the church, not doing something new.

Posted by: Anne on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 at 1:54pm BST

"So as a church if we believe Pope Benedict XVI to be Primus Inter Pares surely we should follow the teachings he has set for the Universal Church."

If you believe Benedict XVI to be primus inter pares why on earth do you not join his church?

Posted by: Alastair Newman on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 at 2:14pm BST

"So as a church if we believe Pope Benedict XVI to be Primus Inter Pares surely we should follow the teachings he has set for the Universal Church."

That's just it - we don't. Anglicanism began because we rejected papal authority.

Posted by: Charles Read on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 at 2:59pm BST

Suddenly they're worried about "legally-binding provision for minorities" and "legal prohibition on discrimination against ... candidates for ordination"?

Such worries didn't seem to come through in their statement of support for the Covenant: http://www.catholicgroup.org/about-the-anglican-covenant.html , where they seemed okay with a "here's your hat, what's your hurry" approach to provinces that wouldn't do as they were told:

"It will be possible for present members of the Anglican Communion not to join the Covenant which will take them out from a full part in the decision making processes of the communion, but they would not cease to be part of the communion. The same would be the case, if they chose not to heed the advice given by the Standing Committee, though they would no longer be bound ‘in a single and unrestricted sacramental communion’."

So, yep, gotta say I agree with the first poster, Charlie Perrin: "I love people who discriminate against others and then fear that they will be discriminated against themselves."

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 at 4:22pm BST

Alistair and Charles - I personally don't claim these to be my understand, I have great respect for the Pope as Head of the universal church. Many clergy and laity claim that the Church of England is the Catholic Church in England, so with that they recognize the Pope's ministry but not his authority.

The Anglican church recognizes +Rowan Cantuar as Primus Inter Pares for the Anglican Communion and have claimed that the Holy Father (Pope Benedict XVI) is the Primus Inter Pares for the Universal Church

Posted by: Chuchu Nwagu on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 at 7:04pm BST

Hmm 'Primus inter pares' isn't QUITE the same as accepting the Magisterium, is it? ('Pares' is a significant word!) Flawed logic there, Chuchu?

Posted by: david rowett on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 at 7:42pm BST

"So as a church if we believe Pope Benedict XVI to be Primus Inter Pares surely we should follow the teachings he has set for the Universal Church."

Even IF this were true for the Anglican Communion (and there is NO Anglican consensus it is), why in the world would "follow his teachings" be the consequence of "Inter Pares"?! O_o

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 at 9:37pm BST

Because the leader enforces the teachings of the church (Magisterium) - I will also feel extremely so +Rowan Cantuar because for so many years he spoke but was never listened to or given the respect he deserves as Leader of the CofE and Anglican Communion.

The only time people decide to listen to him is when he's saying to vote for the women bishops measure.

In response to JCF - there is NO Anglican Consensus that Pope Benedict XVI is Primus Inter Pares just like there is NO Anglican Consensus that this measure is suitable for those opposed, so why should we do it if it's not the will of the whole church.

The CofE will eventually have women bishops if not in 2014 then in 2020 but it will happen. Firstly we must make sure that we get proper provision in place and that we have a Anglican Consensus before we can move forward.

For many years people have said that FiF and Reform are prejudice and discriminating against women clergy but what will it look like when you've got women bishops and people turn round to you all and say that supporters are being prejudice and discriminating against those opposed.

Stephen Cottrell seems to think that the world will think a lot if we don't pass this measure the world will look at us in disgust but what will the world think of a divided church, full of hatred towards each other - Is that really preaching the message of God's gospel? I THINK NOT and for that reason I urge many to vote against this measure in November

Posted by: Chuchu Nwagu on Wednesday, 24 October 2012 at 10:29pm BST

...and of course, not just on the ordination of women. Ineffabilis Deus, Humanae Vitae, Munificentissimus Deus, Pastor Aeternus. How many takers? Oh, and Apostolicae Curae, of course....

Posted by: david rowett on Thursday, 25 October 2012 at 12:41am BST

@David Walker, How then are bishops in the CoE chosen if the diocese has no say? In TEC the diocese picks and then the others approve or deny the choice. Even then it can go wrong. My bishop was chosen as a "via media" middle of the road type to bring everyone together after a scandal, but once in the post he announced he was not hiring from conservative seminaries and none of the priests he's allowed in are very conservative. One church here left TEC because the local son and favorite went to the wrong seminary and couldn't get the job. What's to stop liberal and/or female bishops in the CoE from simply never hiring conservative priests at all? Sounds like the answer is "Nothing".

Posted by: Chris H. on Thursday, 25 October 2012 at 3:03am BST

See this article
http://peterowen.org.uk/articles/choosing.html

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 25 October 2012 at 8:30am BST

Chris H,

Quite apart from how bishops are chosen in the CofE, it is not as simple as bishops simply 'hiring' clergy to suit their colours (though clearly that does, at times, happen). Parish clergy are appointed by a panel that includes the bishop or his representative, any patrons, usually the area dean, the team rector if it is a team vicar post, and parish representatives.

Posted by: Hannah on Thursday, 25 October 2012 at 5:10pm BST

"In response to JCF - there is NO Anglican Consensus that Pope Benedict XVI is Primus Inter Pares just like there is NO Anglican Consensus that this measure is suitable for those opposed, so why should we do it if it's not the will of the whole church."

Apples & Oranges, Chuchu. Your talking differences of scale, of polity. We're talking about the CofE, which has a clear polity (and democratic majority, not consensus, rules in the General Synod). You may not agree w/ what the democratic majority rules, but there is no doubt about the process of governance which arrived at that ruling.

"will of the whole church": you're not seriously suggesting that Benedict16 dictates, or even represents, same? Or that one person ("Peter" {snort} or no!) even COULD???

I will once again quote [paraphrased] Sir Winston: "Democracy is the worst form of governance...except for all the others."

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 25 October 2012 at 9:16pm BST

May I add to Hannah's helpful comment.

In most parishes in my patch the bishop is not the patron. The patron has sole right to present candidates to be vicar or rector and the representatives elected by the parish(es) have sole right to decide whether to accept a priest so nominated.

The bishop then has the right to refuse to accept the nomination, but on very limited grounds (which may be appealed to the archbishop of the province). If the patron fails to nominate an acceptable candidate after 9 months his or her rights default to the archbishop of the province.

Posted by: David Walker on Thursday, 25 October 2012 at 9:19pm BST

A BETTER WAY (Para 12) is misleading. The Church in Wales vote was lost because provision for traditionalists was allowed to lapse on the retirement of the Provincial Assistant Bishop (PAB). The Archbishop determined that he and the other bishops would provide sacramental and pastoral oversight despite holding beliefs contrary to those they supposedly care for. The new proposal is a ruse to establish the principle of women bishops while pretending to make provision for those unable in conscience to accept the measure. The Archbishop has made it clear that no new PAB will be appointed. Such duplicity is no recommendation.

Posted by: AncientBriton on Friday, 26 October 2012 at 5:06pm BST
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