Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Women Bishops: Forward in Faith responds

press release from Forward in Faith


Forward in Faith thanks the many members of the Catholic Group in General Synod, together with other supporters, for their excellent contributions to yesterday’s debate.

Naturally, we are very disappointed that none of the amendments which would have ensured secure provision for those unable to receive the ministry of women as bishops and priests was passed. However, we are encouraged by the significant minorities, especially in the House of Laity, which did vote for such provision. We are confident that these votes, and the commitment which they represent on the part of many to a genuinely inclusive Church of England, in which all may flourish, will not be overlooked as the process moves forward. The alternative, which we would deeply regret, would be to pursue unsatisfactory legislation, lacking the necessary breadth of support, with the strong risk of ultimate defeat.

More detailed comments are set out below.

We welcome the commitment to continuing the facilitated conversations.

We welcome the widespread affirmation of the five points endorsed by the House of Bishops (GS 1886, para. 12), and trust that the draft legislation will embody and reflect all of them together.

We welcome the fact that 49% of the Synod voted for provisions to reduce the risk of legal challenge in the context of parochial appointments, and the resulting commitment to further work on this.

We strongly welcome the proposal, endorsed by many speakers (including the Archbishop of Canterbury) that the Steering Committee should be representative of a broad spectrum of opinion, and should draft legislation to which all can subscribe.

We also welcome the strong support of a very large minority of Synod members for legislation setting out rights and obligations that would create a clear and stable context for our future life together. We note the preference expressed by 40% of the House of Laity and over 30% of the Synod as a whole for provision to be made by Measure or by regulations under Canon.

In later votes even larger minorities, especially in the House of Laity, rejected key elements of the approach preferred by the House of Bishops and by the most uncompromising supporters of women bishops. In the end, 25% of the Synod declined to endorse even the drafting of legislation on that basis. The logical conclusion is that to do so would result in a repeat of last November’s failure.

We feel bound to reiterate that, while we are not trying to prevent women from becoming bishops in the Church of England, we cannot support any legislation which removes the existing rights of the laity to a ministry that they can receive in good conscience and which fails to offer the minority what the working group termed ‘a greater sense of security’ than the previous draft Measure.

We are unconvinced as to how a ‘mandatory grievance procedure’ binding on bishops can deliver this in respect of parochial appointments by lay patrons and incumbents. We question whether replacing Resolutions A and B with this is the right way of going about the rebuilding of trust.

We remain committed to playing our full part in identifying a consensus that will command the necessary breadth of support to enable those who wish to receive the ministry of female bishops to do so in the near future. We hope and pray that further facilitated conversations and a more broadly-based Steering Committee will achieve this.

The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham Chairman

Dr Lindsay Newcombe Vice-Chairman
9 July 2013

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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod

"...And therefore whosoever are consecrated or ordered according to the Rites of that Book, since the second year of the forenamed King Edward unto this time, or hereafter shall be consecrated or ordered according to the same Rites; we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully consecrated and ordered."

Posted by: Tobias Stanislas Haller on Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 10:08pm BST

Correction - the final vote was 80% For and 20% Against

Posted by: Tim Hind on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 12:59am BST

"rights of the laity to a ministry that they can receive in good conscience"

Something that those of us who favor "All the Sacraments for All the Baptized" are often told, is that "you haven't done the theology."

Where, pray tell, has the theology been done for the above claim?

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 6:09am BST

All of this means that there is no chance of legislation to make women bishops being agreed by this General Synod.

Posted by: Stephen B on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 7:29am BST


if you read the Ordinal it is clear it can only be used of a man: "Most reverend father in God, we present unto you this godly and well-learned man to be ordained and consecrated Bishop." or the litany praying "that it may please thee to bless this our Brother elected..." or various other passages.

But then when was the Ordinal last actually used?

I think FiF are right to point out the voting figures, but I'm reasonably encouraged that we moved from option 1 to 1.7.5. Moving from 1 towards 2 won't please some, but has to be the most realistic way to get this passed, I reckon.

I think there's encouragement in Nigel Stock's summing up, where he said that the votes which were close will be taken into account (about 60 mins into the afternoon's audio). Key questions - how will a mandatory grievance procedure work in terms of putting things right where a grievance is upheld? What provision will be made to protect against legal challenges? That seems a particular concern for nearly half of Synod to vote for that amendment.

This was a debate to steer what happens next rather than making outright decisions. I'm optimistic that we can now come up with something which works well enough for everybody.

Posted by: Bernard Randall on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 10:28am BST

The laity don't always believe what their priests would like. An Anglo Catholic Church in Bristol rescinded the Resolutions earlier this year to the surprise and chagrin of the local priest. How many other congregations listed on FiF's website simply don't care about the gender of their priest?

Posted by: Helen on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 10:36am BST

Bernard Randall,
being slightly facetious here, but only slightly:
the writers of the Ordinal didn't know about inclusive language and women were generally expected to feel themselves included in male language.

The Roman Catholics have gone back to purely male based language - the new YouCat is bound to turn off every single young female reader as we are no longer used to see ourselves "included" in male language and it now reads as if it was positively not meant for us.

But if I am meant to read "man" and "he" as including me, then I can also read "Father in God" as including women.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 10:59am BST

"that it may please thee to bless this our Brother elected..."

A female Roman Catholic friend of mine nearly walked out of church after the reintroduction of non inclusive language when the priest invited the congregation to: "let us pray, brothers".

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 11:58am BST

As one watches the debate, one realizes its not about women, its still about a small but influential male dominated conservative minority creating political grid-lock inside a church that just can't seem to get out of its own way. They may be theologically ridiculous, but they are real good at stonewalling. I suspect they will keep the guerrilla warfare on this issue going even in the unlikely event the Church of England can get this done in the foreseeable future. We have something of the same dynamic here in Canada. Our General Synod, just last week, voted to avoid making a decision on the Anglican Covenant until 2016--even though everyone except conservatives here are bored to tears with the blasted thing.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 1:50pm BST


the writers of the Ordinal were perfectly capable of finding inclusive language ("person" is sometimes used) - the point is that they didn't, and you're not "meant" by them to read "man" and "he" as including you. Sorry. In the BCP services (e.g. burial) words are italicized where they may be changed because of the specific person in question (e.g. "him" may go to "her", "brother" to "sister"). Not so in the Ordinal, thus no change allowed: males only, I'm afraid.

In this, at least, the Church of England's tradition is clear. Time for the BCP/Ordinal to be taken off the list of sources for CofE doctrine in Canon A5?

Posted by: Bernard Randall on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 2:33pm BST

Bernard Randall, as you may know, The Episcopal Church initially solved the matter of the full inclusion of women in all orders of ministry precisely by declaring, in our national synod, that all references in the canons and liturgy were to be understood in the generic sense. We did later clear up the discrepancies. One particularly telling change is in the Ordinal, where the initial address to the ordaining bishop (at the presentation of the candidate) was altered from "Reverend Father in God..." to "N., Bishop in the Church of God..."

However, my point was not about such niceties of language, but the more important principle (which I take to the be underlying concern of the Article) that those whom the church publicly calls and ordains are to be held as ordained. It is precisely about "sacramental assurance" and a hedge against qualms and scruples. If the church does not have the power to ordain whom it ordains, it has no power at all. (Some would say, just so, and hie to Rome or the East.)

Whether an accommodation can be found to meet the concerns of those who simply will not or can not accept these development remains to be seen. I do not think it will be possible to please everyone, though it may be possible to reach sufficient majorities to adopt what is finally agreed to.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 2:38pm BST

"it's still about a small but influential male dominated conservative minority" Rod Gillis

Indeed. And isn't Jonathan Baker one of the key players in the much-vaunted Pilling Review? Good luck with that.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 2:53pm BST

as I said, I was being slightly facetious.
But the fact remains - whatever anyone might have meant does not bind the church forever. "No change allowed" is not part of the CoE polity or its Canons.

Just as it is easily possible to substitute "a man and a woman" with "2 people" in the marriage service, so it is easily possible to change "Father in God" and "present this man", if we discover that the previous understanding was incomplete.

And having made it complete we remain with the affirmation that anyone consecrated according to the Rites of the Ordinal is validly consecrated.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 3:01pm BST

You see, Bernard, the writers of Roman Catholic texts are also perfectly capable of using Person occasionally.
And yet, the YouCat explanation of evolution includes the gem: "A Christian can accept the theory of evolution as a helpful explanatory model, provided he does not fall into the heresy of evolutionism, which views man as the random product of biological processes."

Women, presumably, need not trouble their pretty little heads about it.

Language doesn't create reality, we create language.
And where our use becomes wrong or meaningless, we are not bound to retain it.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 3:08pm BST


of course the Church is not bound for ever, change is allowed. My point is simply that the "Ordinal" is specifically the one usually bound in with the BCP, which does not allow for anyone other than a male person. Modern services are no problem in this respect - we can change them at will. Not so the old ones which are mentioned in the Canons as (partly) defining CofE doctrine. Hence my not entirely facetious question about changing that canon.

Basically, I'm just being pedantic about Tobias quoting Article XXXVI - it doesn't help us advance the cause of consecrating women, and it might even hinder.

Posted by: Bernard Randall on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 4:42pm BST

If the legislation comes back with provision in law again it will in all likelihood lose the support of those who favour enabling women to enter the episcopate. I hope we are not going round that particular hamster wheel again.

Posted by: Lindsay Southern on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 5:13pm BST

Looking in from the outside (in ACANZP), the current dancing of F.i.F. seems akin to amateur attempts at fire-walking in the South Pacific. When your foot lands on a hot coal, you immediately jump to another place in the fire - where, nevertheless, you are almost bound to get one or other, or both, of your feet burnt.

The actual feat is meant for the feet, only, of those with real faith - not in Christ or the Church, but in one's own ability to convince oneself that you can put your feet on the fire and not get burnt.

Being 'forward in faith' here seems to have little to do with faith in the Creator of both female and male persons - according to Saint Paul, with equal dignity before God. "In Christ, there is neither male nor female, says Paul, and I'm pretty sure he's talking not about genitalia but rather about their capacity to serve God and The Church with equal dignity and reverence.

The Church of England has already declared women to be bearers of the divine image and likeness, and of representing Christ at The Eucharist. Why do F.i.F. people still insist that this could not possibly be the case? Is it because they feel that the Church of England has ordained people with invalid Orders - like their R.C. confreres think? Or is it because their Faith in 'The God of Surprises' has deserted them?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 6:34pm BST

Does anyone else wonder how a group firmly committed to excluding one-half of the population from ordained ministry can even begin to think that their position will promote "a genuinely inclusive Church of England, in which all may flourish....?" Did I miss something?

Posted by: Mike Stephenson on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 8:07pm BST

Mike Stephenson wrote:

"Did I miss something?"

Yes Mike. The legitimacy of a mind-set that is not yours.

Posted by: Labarum on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 9:07pm BST

@ Laurence Cunnington. Here's the thing, someone needs to tell the traditionalists of tender conscience, (and the men who are supporting them, whether in favor of women's ordination or not) that its not about them. It ought to be about equality for members of the baptized who also happen to be female. The C of E is sending the opposite message. How the question is framed, indeed who gets to decide what the relevant questions are, these are telling matters. The whole process is about making major change without getting anyone upset, or requiring anyone in a position of privilege ( like social conservatives) to give anything up. Tell me this ain't a typical effete churchland non-decision making process.
In a world filled with religious based discrimination against women'sights, even those of us with a distant relationship to the C of E ought to be troubled by this. I think Jimmy Carter had the right idea on very similar issues with regard to Southern Baptists.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 9:18pm BST

...or, Labarum, you could actually ADDRESS MikeS's question. All the women, present and future, who have discerned a call to holy orders, and all those who have affirmed their call: how does FiF propose to include them in their version of the CofE? How will they flourish in it?

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 11 July 2013 at 8:06am BST

FIF's mindset claims legitimacy, but how far is it based on historical reality or the Gospels? Why do we never have any genuine debate or even discussion of these religious convictions? In any other sphere there would be. In the Church we must all be treated like children. No wonder people leave.

Posted by: Helen on Thursday, 11 July 2013 at 10:24am BST


because I think it comes under the heading of "uneasy truce." Pre 1992 all those debates were had, and the conclusion reached was, they're both legitimate (whether through expediency, dishonesty to get the vote through, or whatever) - hence we as a church went down the rabbit hole of allowing 2 completely contradictory beliefs to exist alongside each other, rightly or wrongly.

Since when, we've (as the whole CofE) not been allowed to have those debates, because the other side of the coin is to revisit the legitimacy of all the "religious convictions" on the table, including WO. I have absolutely no appetite for that, and I doubt anyone else has either. But to say to one side, because it's smaller and you don't agree with it, "let's go back again and look at how on earth you've ended up where you have and whether you should have done/it has legitimacy" does look rather one sided unless what both "sides" believe is up for discussion/debate/questioning of legitimacy.

And that A) isn't going to happen, and B)would tie Synod in knots for decades!

Posted by: primroseleague on Thursday, 11 July 2013 at 11:19am BST

"All the women, present and future, who have discerned a call to holy orders, and all those who have affirmed their call: how does FiF propose to include them in their version of the CofE? How will they flourish in it?"

By being ordained and serving in churches and parishes across the land, along with their brothers and sisters in FiF churches? That's the FiF vision, surely.

The - slightly caricatured - vision of Modern Church is that the Church of England will have no FiF churches.

More coherent, perhaps; more inclusive...?

Posted by: Richard on Thursday, 11 July 2013 at 11:57am BST

I think the question isn't so much about the legitimacy of the ideas of those who are anti-women's ordination (we're never going to agree on that), as their coherence. If the point was that for some congregations/individuals sacramental assurance could only be ensured via the performance of such sacraments by "male-line" clergy, then it would be possible (if difficult) to find ways round that. On that rationale, a male bishop who had himself been ordained by a male bishop ought to be accepted as a bishop whatever his views are. But in practice, FiF appear to have decided to segregate themselves from anyone who accepts women's ordination.

If those of us who support women's ordination had a small and fixed set of targets for specific accommodations, we might possibly be able to come up with some more creative solutions (e.g. that every newly-made male bishop has to ordain all the anti-WO candidates in his diocese first, so that they don't worry about the validity of their orders, and then he can subsequently ordain those who are pro-WO). But problems arise when FiF want more provision than their own theological justifications strictly require. That's why their theological premises start getting probed so carefully.

Posted by: magistra on Thursday, 11 July 2013 at 12:18pm BST

Actually primrose league, the legitimacy of the arguments of the pro WBs was both questioned and discussed in the November debate. It was FIF's and Reform's arguments that the bishops seem curiously unwilling to subject to scrutiny.

Posted by: Helen on Thursday, 11 July 2013 at 1:06pm BST


True, but the inherent "problem" stems from the acceptance that it's ok to believe women can't be priests, let alone bishops. The November debate skated perilously close at times to a rerun of the 1992 debate, but it was never quite allowed to become one (rightly).

But we will go round in circles until either there's an accommodation, the "traditionalists" leave, the "traditionalists" are driven out, or we go right back to first principles and put everything up for grabs, including WO, again. FWIW my money is on 1 or 3, I can't see 2 happening spontaneously,and 4 is as close to unthinkable as anything in the CofE ever gets.

I do agree with Richard, and also Magistra, however I think the ghettoisiation of FiF is explained by a fear that if they didn't band together to the nth degree, they'd be picked off one by one. I think it's wrong, and would support every measure you've said Magistra, but i can see where the cul-de-sac came from.

Posted by: Primroseleague on Thursday, 11 July 2013 at 2:15pm BST

primroseleague, I usually value your contributions to these boards, because you are careful about how you express your thoughts. But I'm about to challenge you on the phrase "the "traditionalists" are driven out". I recognise that if the C of E makes a decision about women bishops that some groups of traditionalists feel they are unable to live with, they may decide to leave and it may *feel* like being driven out, but in fact, it would be the sort of decision that individual Christians are making and acting on most of the time as they move from one congregation or denomination to another. Quite a few who support women's ordination did so after November, for example. I'm not underestimating how hard it might feel, but it would still be an individual choice, not an enforced ejection. And I hope and believe the number who may make this decision (for whichever reason) will not be great.

Posted by: RosalindR on Thursday, 11 July 2013 at 8:23pm BST

"The inherent "problem" stems from the acceptance that it's ok to believe women can't be priests, let alone bishops".
Quite so. No church should make windows into people's souls. But when there is a demand that the structure of the church should be adapted to reflect this belief, there is no reason why the basis for it should not be challenged on both historical and theological grounds, particularly by those who are tasked with spiritual leadership within the church.

Posted by: Helen on Thursday, 11 July 2013 at 11:16pm BST

"FIF's mindset claims legitimacy, but how far is it based on historical reality or the Gospels? Why do we never have any genuine debate or even discussion of these religious convictions? "

That's the question of the hour. Without that discussion, the argument boils down to "we're just as entitled to our bigotries as you are..."

It would be so affirming for women and girls to hear it again... God created male and female in God's image...

The traditionalist view doesn't hold water when it is unpacked and held up to the light. So I don't quite understand why the debate doesn't do the work? It isn't that hard.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 12 July 2013 at 4:02am BST

the debate is as hard and pointless as the lgbt debate.
If you insist that 7 tenuous references to same sex sexuality, taken literally and out of context, make up a binding prohibition of long term stable same sex relationship you are not open to any theology that uses different hermeneutics and that takes science and experience into account.

If you insist that the fact that the bible speaks of 12 male disciples and that Jesus himself was male and not male and female at the same time as clear evidence that no woman ever can be a priest, you are not open to any theology that uncovers Junia, that gives Mary Magdalen and all the other women their proper weighting and that takes science and reason into account.

In both cases you will always end up with a remnant that has to be "protected".

The church has agreed to protect those who cannot cope with women priests and bishops. It has done so because at the time anti-women theology still had much more currency than it has now and many genuinely believed that it was morally possible to support either view and that it was practically possible to live with a mix of both. And, of course, because of that moral equilibrium at the time it would have been impossible to get any other solution through GS.

As with all moral developments, times change and what was then seen as moral is now increasingly seen as immoral and damaging.
But promises are promises - they were made by people still around today to people still around today and they should not be broken.

I just hope it won't make such an error again with regard to lgbt people.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 12 July 2013 at 9:28am BST

"The traditionalist view doesn't hold water when it is unpacked and held up to the light."

Cynthia, surely you can see that a traditionalist would just swap traditionalist for liberal in that sentence and say exactly the same? This is religion, if it was as totally objective as your sentence then we wouldn't have denominations, let alone strands within them, everyone would just be a Christian. I agree with you that objectively the liberal view is AS valid certainly.

I do try and think it through Rosalind, perhaps that's the definition of a Thinking Anglican. Erika was very perceptive
Last year when she said it must be mentally quite difficult for a "traditionalist" to keep posting on here. But it's *because* I'm persistently told that it's bigotry, that I keep reading. I can only speak for myself, but it's a constant test of why do I believe what I believe when so many others don't? What can I learn? Can I change my mind? It's a continual test of my faith.

But, with bullying, racism, sexism, etc, have we not now arrived at a place in English law where if the person on the receiving end defines it as such then such it is? Therefore I was being quite careful with "driven out"- and I of course also apply it to any men or women who felt they had been pushed out by the November debate. The drivers don't get to define whether or not it was driving, that's for the driven.

I hope you're right on the small numbers. I'm not going anywhere. There's nowhere to go for me.

Posted by: Primroseleague on Friday, 12 July 2013 at 9:53am BST

"The traditionalist view doesn't hold water when it is unpacked and held up to the light."

Cynthia, surely you can see that a traditionalist would just swap traditionalist for liberal in that sentence and say exactly the same? This is religion, if it was as totally objective as your sentence then we wouldn't have denominations, let alone strands within them, everyone would just be a Christian"

Well yes, primroseleague, personal belief is affective and can never be objective, but on an institutional level theological convictions, of whatever hue, should surely be subject to a rather more critical examination than they tend to receive in this particular debate. There is, after all, plenty of biblical scholarship that can be drawn on.

Posted by: Helen on Friday, 12 July 2013 at 2:37pm BST


I totally agree. However, there is plenty of scholarship on both sides. Even today, one of the "benefits" of being in bed with flu, I've read someone dismissing all the Junia scholarship as "widely discredited" in a blog comment - I don't know on what grounds, obviously, but it's not like anyone is really unaware of their opponents' arguments. Although the number of people in the secular media that now think "headship" is the principle objection for all "traditionalists" and can't see a difference between Trad ACs and ConEVOs is mildly terrifying...

I still think the reason there is no critical debate is that both sides have made their mind up - each will pick the work that supports what they believe, and knock anything else, as Erika alludes. Strangely, I do sometimes think that there is more thinking done on the more open minded shores of the traditionalists, because we/I do question every day why it is that we believe what we do, when so many people are saying it's wrong.

I would imagine (I wasn't there) that it was the same for the pro WO people in the early days, when they hadn't succeeded anywhere - "I believe this and think it to be self-evidently right, but no one else does, am I wrong, or are all of them?" Obviously they had the advantage of history being on their side, whereas the best analogy I can think of for where I find myself is the non jurors sadly...

Posted by: primroseleague on Friday, 12 July 2013 at 3:54pm BST

"I still think the reason there is no critical debate is that both sides have made their mind up.."

I think the reason there is no critical debate is that it has been had. Extensively. 20 years ago before the CoE voted for women priests.
We cannot keep reinventing the wheel. We don't re-start any other historic theological debates, why should we re-start this one?

This is a church that has women priests and this is a church that has affirmed that it supports women bishops. Anyone wanting to make up their own mind about it now can access all the old discussion documents.
They can do their own reading to assess the validity of the Junia evidence. The responsibility lies with the individual, the corporate decision has been made.

The only debate we still need is that of provisions.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 12 July 2013 at 5:08pm BST

"personal belief is affective and can never be objective, but on an institutional level theological convictions, of whatever hue, should surely be subject to a rather more critical examination"

Exactly. Individuals can believe as they wish, and join the church or parish of their choice. The institution, however, is making a powerful statement about the nature of God, God's Creation, and our relationship with our Creator. If an individual thinks that women are inadequate for ordination and leadership, that's their business. If the institution enshrines this hateful view, that is the message to the world about the nature of God.

The institution needs to engage with the theology. And once isn't enough, Erika. At the Great Vigil of Easter we tell the story of our Salvation each year. We renew our Baptismal Covenant each year (several times usually). We state the creed weekly. We humans are amnesiacs, we do seem to need to tell our stories and to see how they resonate differently as we grow as individuals, communities, and society.

The story of WO and WB's changes in the context of having had them for decades now. WB's in other provinces, WO in CoE. Our growing relationship with God is a constant process.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the liberators and the "traditionalists" is, I believe, that liberators are engaged in a process of ongoing revelation and "traditionalists" are more fossilized.

It is important to engage.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 12 July 2013 at 8:06pm BST


I'm agreeing with you, in response to the multiple "why can't we go over all this again and put it to bed?"posts, (starting from the position that traditionalist views should be up for "critical" examination in isolation) and in particular agreeing with your 0928 post this morning, which is spot on. Hence no debate because both sides HAVE made their mind up. In this whole thread I've been totally consistent in that, not sure why I'm being jumped on other than that we've ended up in different places?

Posted by: Primroseleague on Friday, 12 July 2013 at 8:17pm BST

we state the creed weekly.
That is it.
We do not discuss it weekly and throw it all up in the air again.
Individuals may take this bit on board or that, dissent from this or that.
But,corporately, this is what we believe and what we state.

I thought you were saying that if there was critical debate people might change their minds. Whereas you are saying the same thing I'm saying - that people HAVE made up their minds.
I misunderstood you, apologies!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 12 July 2013 at 10:30pm BST

Primroseleague (and I hope the flu soon departs), I don't think we are quite in a place where the definition of bullying, abuse, and all the various "isms" are purely subjective definitions. A school I know has an effective anti-bullying policy which starts with the question"is it bullying?" and the answer is not always "yes"! I agree that there is much more realisation that victims need to be able to tell their own stories in their own words, and for their perceptions to be recognised rather than ignored and contradicted. But I'm not convinced that someone who leaves a church or denomination for reasons of principle is a victim - they are a person who has made a choice. Possibly a painful choice, possibly a liberating choice; possibly both at the same time. But no one has said "you may not stay with us" (and the tortuous attempts to find ways of enabling those who dissent from the ordination of women to remain in the C of E is the opposite of driving out) Hence, I still don't think that "driven out" is an objective statement but a subjective, and rather emotive one. AS far as the other conversation about both "sides" having made up their minds, I think this is generally true, which can be seen by the fact that to deny that women can be ordained is now such a minority position in the C of E. AS you suggest there was more theology being done to explore this view several decades ago (and much longer), though not because those who believed this doubted the belief . Those who did not think it possibly for women to be ordained challenged MOW and others, saying "Do the theology". So we did, but by now many of the books and booklets (no internet then) are out of print .

Posted by: RosalindR on Friday, 12 July 2013 at 11:31pm BST

Primrose League, I'm sorry if you feel you're being got at – I think maybe because you give such a clear impression of thinking critically about what you believe and listening to what others say, it's hard to resist the view that you might be won over to what we see as the more reasonable nature of our cause.

As to why those in favour of WO don't doubt their views now – it's because it's a not just a matter of theory or theology, but lived experience. We can see wonderful female priests, carrying out ministries that could not be carried out by them as laywomen. When our vicar goes into schools, she goes with an official status that she would not have as a reader. When my aunt retired as a missionary after 40 years of service, she came back to help her brother in his group of rural parishes. She could do far more to help him (and other parishes after he died) as a priest, and thus able to take all services, than as a deaconess. It's not just an abstract intellectual viewpoint I'd have to change if I decided women's ordination was wrong. I'd have to say that those good, holy women were wrong when they felt called to be ordained. That I know better than them what is right for them to do, even though I wouldn't have the strength and faith to do what they have done.

I am also willing to accept that there are good men and women who are anti-WO and I don't want them "driven out" of the church. But FiF are asking for things that have already been rejected by Synod as damaging to the Church of England as a whole (and often that Parliament would not accept). What I don't see in their statement above is any new practical thinking, only a threat to block legislation. If they don't come up with new practical suggestions – and also when they reject out of hand those that are made by others, such as the mandatory grievance procedure – then the traditionalists are going to be seen as purely obstructive.

Posted by: magistra on Saturday, 13 July 2013 at 7:55am BST
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