Sunday, 11 November 2012

women bishops: lobbying against the Measure continues

updated again Thursday morning

The Chairs of Reform and the Catholic Group in General Synod have jointly published a printed booklet which has been sent to all synod members. It is available online as a PDF: Women Bishops Legislation Not Fit for Purpose.

Update and here is part 2: Yes 2 Women Bishops Part 2: The Right Measure at the Right Time

Church Society has published a video urging a vote against the Measure. See the associated press release here.

New articles continue to be posted at the website Replace the Measure.

Further material in the Church Times is mentioned in this news article: Synod women-bishops vote appears too close to call by Madeleine Davies.

Andrew Brown asked at Cif belief Female bishops vote: heading for a full dress fiasco?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 11 November 2012 at 11:45pm GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
Comments

Andrew Brown's article does seem to have put his finger on the real stumbling block against the possibility of approval of the general Synod for the amended Draft measure on women Bishops.

Ultra-montane Anglo-Catholics and conservative Evangelicals have formed an unlikely alliance in their bid to avoid the authority of a Woman Bishop. They both want legal exemption from the tainting of either a Woman Bishop, or a Male Bishop who has had anything to do with Women's Ordination. That much is now abundantly clear.

We in other Provinces who already enjoy the ministry of Women Clergy and Bishops in our Churches, can only hope that those Women who are doubtful about the legislation (it still would allow some members of the C. of E. to deny the existence of Women's ministry) will see the way clear to vote FOR the proposal as it stands - without risking the possibility of further delays to the immense pastoral resource that Women Bishops could offer to God's Church.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 12 November 2012 at 10:23am GMT

Keep calm and carry on!

Posted by: Jean Mayland on Monday, 12 November 2012 at 11:31am GMT

Interesting that the intensity of the lobbying against is now far in excess of the lobbying for. The Church Society seem to be on another planet. 'Maintaining the unity in the bond of peace' is crucial Pauline teaching, but not when it is 'unity' on the terms that you crave. By what process do they deem the Measure 'bad law'? To suggest that it leaves the way we are going to live together unaddressed flies in the face of Herculean efforts to provide the kind of protections and 'honourable place' that Reform, Church Society et al seek and deserve. They must be under no illusions that if they procure that the Measure fails, they will never again be able to influence the debate and will single-handedly have been the architects of disunity. There are no other options available: no different proposals are capable of being put before General Synod. Proponents of the ordination of women as bishops (including the vast majority of people in the dioceses) will continue the process until a two-thirds majority can be obtained in all three houses, but there will be no innovation in the proposals and there may be fewer protections. Turkeys are ill-advised to vote for Christmas.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Monday, 12 November 2012 at 10:48pm GMT

I think that Hercules laboured a little more strenuously than Mr. Archer is suggesting. I hardly regard it as "Herculean" to water down Amendment 5(1)(c) thus offering far less protection for those opposed to the un-Scriptural innovation before the General Synod on the 20th of this month than that which was present in the original unamended amendment. Respect is all well and good and I seek always in Christian courtesy and charity to offer that to those with whom I disagree come what may. But as those who are currently strongly lobbying against the Measure see all too clearly - this legislation - like Henry's famous bucket - has a hole in it!

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 12 November 2012 at 11:54pm GMT

Curiously, the House of Bishops back in 1992 issued a document entitled "Bonds of Peace". A pity they did not keep their promises or the situation we are now in might never have arisen - it is impossible to take seriously any such assurances a second time.

Posted by: Al Marsh on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 12:25am GMT

Actually, some in other Provinces who already enjoy the ministry of women are hoping that the Church of England will _not_ create a second-class group of bishops, and will _not_ promise to "respect" discriminatory theology.

Synod should reject this measure. The C of E will then come under enormous scrutiny, and potentially ridicule, from society and from government. Such scrutiny will be healthy and cleansing. And the Church will get it right the next time.

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 12:30am GMT

I am humbled by those good folk who possess the power to see into the future with certainty. From where I type, there is a difference between "you'll get nothing better than this" and " I hope that if it comes back again you get a lot worse". With a new Archbishop, who knows what might happen?

Graeme Buttery

Posted by: Graeme Buttery on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 8:18am GMT

Fascinating piece from the Bishop of Chester in the Church Times, who is in favour of women bishops, says that he could not support the Measure. He challenges the claim that rejecting it would be "disastrous": "this is a poor argument, if the underlying proposal lacks wisdom." He cites three concerns: the apparent assumption that admitting women to the episcopate is "inevitable"; the destruction of the "sacramental unity of the episcopate"; and the impact on ecumenical relations. The Church should, he suggests, wait until "80 per cent or more" are in favour of the change, "and then proceed without the qualifications that are currently enshrined in the Measure and its prospective Code". I don't agree with him and would vote in favour of the Measure as it is, but his analysis accords with mine in the event that Final Approval is lost. The Church will merely proceed, over time, without the Code.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 9:27am GMT

"The Church should, he suggests, wait until "80 per cent or more" are in favour of the change, "and then proceed without the qualifications that are currently enshrined in the Measure and its prospective Code"."

The problem, as I see it from this side of the pond, is that as long as the CoE continues to accommodate those who oppose women's ordination with "flying bishops" and the like, it is unlikely you'll ever get to that 80 percent approval. You have created a self-perpetuating minority of clerics and laity who will oppose this measure forever.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 11:24am GMT

It doesn't take a crystal ball. It just takes an understanding of the politics and the demographics.

"With a new Archbishop, who knows what might happen?"

Answer: Not much. Recent events have established that the Archbishop of Canterbury has little power to persuade the Church of England to do anything it does not want to do.

And surely Bishop Welby is already acutely aware of the heavy parliamentary pressure to allow women bishops.

Women bishops will be ordained soon. The only issue is whether, after their ordination, the women bishops will be second-class bishops.

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 1:15pm GMT

++Rowan may well have presided over an unruly church, but I would not expect that sane Anglicans would want to make the future ++Justin's life hell right from the word go. If the Measure were lost then he may take the view that repeatedly bringing it back until it gains assent would not be a fruitful course because it would be utterly divisive and would make the CofE look ridiculous. Destination: long grass.

While Parliament would certainly support women bishops if they were proposed, and may even question any "Code of Practice", I doubt MPs would care very much at all if the Measure were lost.

Posted by: Original Observer on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 2:08pm GMT

"I would not expect that sane Anglicans would want to make the future ++Justin's life hell right from the word go."

In other words, because there's a new Archbishop of Canterbury, Synod should throw women bishops under the bus?

"I doubt MPs would care very much at all if the Measure were lost."

Wrong again.

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 4:20pm GMT

What sickened me was the Church Society video, pleading for inclusion. But they will be giving no inclusion to the women if the vote is lost.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 4:24pm GMT

Just to be clear what will happen if the Measure is rejected: it then cannot be considered again on the First Consideration Stage in the same form until a new Synod comes into being (in 2015)
unless the Presidents, the Prolocutors and the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the House of Laity give permission (which is highly unlikely to be forthcoming). If the Measure is rejected on 20 November it will, in the first instance, be for the House of Bishops and the Archbishops' Council to consider how best to test the mind of the General Synod on what should happen next. In addition there are Diocesan Synod Motions for the General Synod to consider on the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 and the Ordination of Women to the Episcopate. The Business Committee agreed to 'park' these until the conclusion of the current legislative process. So, what we will see is a highly contested 2015 election with huge pressure on candidates standing for re-election who voted against the Measure and any new candidates needing to be absolutley clear about where they stand. The 1990 Group was set up in the late 1980s to attempt to pack the General Synod with those against women priests. It failed. What we would see this time (and there are people already thinking about it) is a 2015 Group whose agenda would be solely to get pro-women bishop candidates elected, and with the social media at their disposal today (unavailable 25 years ago) the campaign would stand a very good chance of succeeding. In addition, those who are seeking the abolition of the Act of Synod (requiring only a simple majority) will have their day immediately (probably in 2013). There will therefore be huge infighting, none of which will cast the CofE in a very good light. And for the record, the MPs care hugely: don't assume there would be no moves in Parliament.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 5:52pm GMT

"So, what we will see is a highly contested 2015 election with huge pressure on candidates standing for re-election who voted against the Measure and any new candidates needing to be absolutley clear about where they stand."

In other words: transparency, accountability, and democracy around a major issue.

And the problem with this would be...?

Posted by: Jeremy on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 7:05pm GMT

A few MPs may care in the sense that they would sound off. The State has the theoretical right to interfere in the affairs of the established church but there is no way that it would actually do so IMO.

Posted by: Original Observer on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 9:49pm GMT

Father David and Original Observer,

If it had been up to the likes of myself, you (lot) would have been given more. But it wasn't. Believe me, this is as good as it gets for you. If I were you (but I'm not), I would regard this as tenable. I don't personally like WATCH, but their recent statement was sensible - and it's interesting that even people like Jean Mayland (whom I mention with respect) sign up to it. This dispute is continuously debilitating. Under the present proposal, there is some equality of pain, as WATCH note. The practice could work. Recent episcopal (and indeed arch-episcopal) appointments should provide some reassurance.

Posted by: John on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 10:16pm GMT

"This dispute is continuously debilitating." Alas, John, not half as debilitating as it is going to be whether the Measure passes or fails. Either way, unfortunately, the debilitation will probably increase whatever is decided on November 20th

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 11:15pm GMT

"So, what we will see is a highly contested 2015 election with huge pressure on candidates standing for re-election who voted against the Measure and any new candidates needing to be absolutley clear about where they stand."

No problem at all Jeremy, but I am struggling to get it into the heads of the traditionalists that the current measure is the only game in town for them.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Tuesday, 13 November 2012 at 11:18pm GMT

Anthony, since the current measure offers traditionalists nothing more than oblivion, you can expect them to decline such a "generous" proposal.

Posted by: Al Marsh on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 at 1:31am GMT

@ Anthony Archer: Understood. If that is your theme, then the below might be your most powerful argument. It bears repeating.

"In addition, those who are seeking the abolition of the Act of Synod (requiring only a simple majority) will have their day immediately (probably in 2013)."

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 at 3:42am GMT

'I am struggling to get it into the heads of the traditionalists that the current measure is the only game in town for them.'

I am too - and I presume for the same motive: a belief in C of E pluralism (as far as possible). Ironies abound, but the 'Better Together' campaign/movement seems to indicate some acknowledgement of this from the traditionalist side.

Posted by: John on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 at 4:59am GMT

Jeremy, I confidently predict that whatever happens to the Measure on 20 November, the Act of Synod will be repealed in 2013. WATCH will tolerate nothing less.

Posted by: Al Marsh on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 at 4:45pm GMT

It does indeed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmCggfoomUc&feature=youtu.be

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 at 5:03pm GMT

Original Observer, I am not aware that questions get asked of the Prime Minister on subjects that MPs do not care very much about.

Indeed, the questioner (from the Labour side), the Prime Minister, and many other Members (who chimed in) all seemed to want women bishops soon.

Posted by: Jeremy on Thursday, 22 November 2012 at 9:43am GMT

And today there was an Urgent Question, and 34 minutes of debate engaged in by more than a dozen Members.

Posted by: Jeremy on Thursday, 22 November 2012 at 3:14pm GMT
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.