Thursday, 14 March 2013
Women Bishops - ten minute rule bill
The Hansard record of yesterday’s ten minute rule debate in the House of Commons is now available: Bishops (Consecration of Women).
A recording of the debate can be watched on Parliament TV, starting at 12:37:30.
Alternatively (and more conveniently) the BBC includes video of just this debate in its report: Labour MP bids to bring in female bishops despite Church opposition.
Posted by Peter Owen on
Thursday, 14 March 2013 at 9:34am GMT
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Church of England
Anyone know what the implications of this are?
It's a ratcheting up of the parliamentary pressure. Slower than I would have liked. But the bill's second reading is scheduled for May 3.
Stephen, there are some pertinent comments on the thread from Friday 8th March, before it got diverted into a discussion on the gender of the Holy Spirit! The second reading of the Bill will be on Friday 3rd May. Private Members Bills are usually opposed by the government at this stage, on the grounds that there is not enough time for them; but given the outcry in Parliament over the November vote, it will be illuminating to see how this one is treated. (Although given Mr Cameron's recent record on alcohol pricing and Leveson I am not too hopeful!) I suppose it depends how much support the bill draws from other MPs and the general public?
The reality is that this Bill will go nowhere and those who think otherwise "need to get with the programme" to borrow the Prime Minister's awful phrase. Diana Johnson's intervention is just another way of highlighting the issue. Mr Cameron made it very clear that the government is not minded to interfere in the affairs of the Church, whatever his own views, and that is absolutely right. It would be a retrograde step and one of which Thomas Erastus would be proud. The State can not and should not exercise supremacy in Church matters. That would be a very slippery slope indeed, when Parliament can dictate to the Church on matters of doctrine. I suspect the majority of Parliamentarians are not church members anyway, if they reflect society as a whole. It would be the tail wagging the dog.
Benedict: 'The State can not and should not exercise supremacy in Church matters.' Sorry, but while I agree with this claim strongly as a general principle, it does not apply to the Church of England. As long as the church remains established (and church measures must be ratified by Parliament), it does exercise exactly that kind of supremacy. And under the legal rule of parliamentary sovereignty it must have that power (although I'm not a fan of the doctrine). Bottom line: Bishops out of the House of Lords? Fine, use the criteria you like... Bishops in the House of Lords? Parliament has the power to regulate the qualifications of its members...
Scot Petersen, although Parliament, in theory, may have supremacy, it has rarely exercised it for the simple reason that it would be viewed as interference in the affairs of the Church which, rightly, are governed by General Synod. What would be the point of that body, otherwise. If you have been following media reports on the debate in Parliament, you have probably heard it stated on a number of occasions that Ms Johnson's bill is unlikely to get anywhere.
Most encouraging. Who knows how this seed may sprout and bloom in the fullness....
With regard to Diana Johnson's bill I expect Benedict is right. However, the restriction of bishops' seats in the Lords to men is not a situation which Parliament is likely to allow to continue for much longer.