Friday, 19 July 2013

Women in the episcopate around the Anglican Communion

YES 2 Women Bishops has published this useful Infographic: women bishops in the Anglican Communion showing the status of women in the episcopate around the Anglican Communion.

They have also published a summary of what General Synod did last week, Synod’s resolve, and these thoughts on where we are now.

So where does this all leave us? A few thoughts:

1. It seems premature for anyone to try to decide whether this form of legislation is acceptable or not. Whilst on the face of it, the proposal seems to be closer to what supporters of women bishops wanted and further from what opponents wanted, the reality of how this works will be in the Act of Synod or House of Bishops declaration which will set out the provisions for those opposed. There is a bit of a phoney war already underway with opponents of women bishops claiming that only provisions set out in the face of the legislation are adequate. In truth they already operate very happily under an Act of Synod which is detested by women clergy. This would imply that this form of provision is perfectly acceptable in other areas for those who cannot accept women bishops. It is perfectly possible, therefore, that any new Act of Synod provides precisely the provisions that opponents are looking for and is problematic for supporters of women bishops, so we really don’t yet know what the final package will look like. There is still a lot of work to do.

2. The synodical arithmetic has clearly not changed in any significant way - opponents remain opposed and supporters remain supportive. If it were put to another final vote today, requiring a two thirds majority in each house, it looks like it would still fail. For this reason, the legislative timetable is intriguing. In theory the final vote could come in the last sitting of the current synod, before elections are held and a new synod is formed. It seems implausible that a final vote will be held in the current synod session if it looks like the blocking minority remains opposed to the legislation in the run up to the final vote. Instead, the final vote will be shunted into the next Synod session when a new group have been elected, in the hope that the blocking minority is removed. Such a tactic is high risk, as there is no guarantee that this would be the outcome of synod elections. This means that unless some hearts and minds are won over in the next 12-18 months, synod elections will be dominated by this issue as each “side” seeks to get more of their number into general synod.

3. We’re back on our way. We must remain hopeful that Synod will succeed this time. The resolution passed last week is strong and positive, and so must we be. We must give thanks to those who have worked to make this happen, and resolve to pray and support them in the months and years ahead until we finally see the day when Christian women are able to fulfill their divine calling and serve as bishops.

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 19 July 2013 at 3:32pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England | General Synod
Comments

Nice to see the map where so much seems covered (though small print hard to read but I'm sure the main thing is lot of coverage).

I know women in ministry was no panacea for the ailing C of E ., and I doubt women as bishops will be either. But I think it is only right and does make some difference.

I think it will be coming too late to save the C of E - but maybe it was beyond redemption any way.

I think of my Sunday School teacher who used call home to take me, age 3; Dss Molly Manclarke; Elsie Baker, Una Kroll,Dr Elsie Smith (who would nt have approved, late librarian Salisbury Cathedral), and many other wonderful women in my life; and in the life of the world.

Also remember Florence Li Tim Oi ordained during world war 2; and Mrs Willetts (whose first name somehow is eluding me in a senior moment) who died before the priesting of women in these islands..


Posted by: Laurence on Friday, 19 July 2013 at 4:02pm BST

Yea, Peter. My thoughts too. We need women and men in our elder minitries, lay and clerical, so badly in a world where joint witness to partnership is so much needed. The Churches should be at the forefront of this witness and in all endeavours to relieve oppresion by dominion and subjugation of groups who are maltreated in any way. Our witness is impaired by all this delay. Synod saddnened me, but I continue to hope and pray. All I can do now.

Posted by: Una Kroll on Friday, 19 July 2013 at 6:47pm BST

The record of appointment of women as bishops in Anglican churches is intriguing. 36 women have been consecrated as bishops in the 24 years since 1989. 2 have died, 8 others have retired, while 4 have held more than one episcopal appointment. The record for longest service in the same post goes to Cate Waynick, Bishop of Indianapolis since 1997. Perhaps most significantly, of the 26 women in current episcopal appointments, 1 is a primate, 10 are diocesan bishops, and the remaining 15 are assistant bishops. Notably, while Australia has four women who are bishops, none of them are diocesans.

On a different issue, the notion that there are 3,700,000 Anglicans in Australia is grossly misleading!

Posted by: Peter Sherlock on Friday, 19 July 2013 at 6:57pm BST

There is a larger copy of the map here:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/easel.ly/all_easels/115126/Womenbishops/image.jpg

Posted by: Peter Owen on Friday, 19 July 2013 at 7:52pm BST

Mrs Willetts was named Phoebe - very appropriate. Her husband was Alfred - both worthy campaigners and faithful servants. .

Posted by: Jean Mayland on Friday, 19 July 2013 at 7:53pm BST

THanks for the larger map, Peter.

Yes, Jean, that's right Phoebe and Alfred. There were so very good.

Posted by: Laurence on Saturday, 20 July 2013 at 12:53am BST

Apparently the province of the West Indies is on the cusp of voting for women bishops.

In Australia only 180,000 Anglicans actually attend church on a regular basis and fifty per cent of those are in Sydney Diocese.

It would be interesting to know the number of men ordained by women bishops....it must be several hundred by now.

I have a friend ordained in New Zealand who can not serve in the Church of England because he was ordained by a woman bishop.

Why has no one taken up my brilliant idea of recognising the ordinations and confirmations of overseas women bishops? Would that need a two thirds majority?


Posted by: robert ian williams on Saturday, 20 July 2013 at 7:44am BST

I have been told (by someone who trained two of them) that Tanzania has ordained women, one of whom has been invited to speak at the Partnership for World Mission Conference in November. "There are only a handful but they are there and there is no provincial bar."

Posted by: Peter Owen on Saturday, 20 July 2013 at 12:08pm BST

"In none of these provinces is there any statutory provision for those who oppose women bishops."

I hope that the Bishops, or whomever, can work out a pastoral scheme that works. Statutory provision doesn't work. It's saying simultaneously that women are created equally in the eyes of God and women aren't created equally in the eyes of God.

The truth is that acceptance is a human weakness and therefore pastoral responses are kind. Statutory provisions would be, and are, a gross unkindness.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 20 July 2013 at 6:18pm BST

> Yea, Peter. My thoughts too. We need women and men in our elder ministries, lay and clerical, so badly in a world where joint witness to partnership is so much needed. The Churches should be at the forefront of this witness and in all endeavours to relieve oppresion by dominion and subjugation of groups who are maltreated in any way. Our witness is impaired by all this delay. Synod saddnened me, but I continue to hope and pray. All I can do now.

Is the Una Kroll who wrote this the same one who in 2008 renounced her Orders as a priest and became a Roman Catholic, which is tantamount to her saying publicly that she was never a priest at all?

(This is a genuine question. And if it *is* the same Una Kroll, I've never been able to understand her action.)

Posted by: Veuster on Monday, 22 July 2013 at 4:18pm BST

Veuster: When you become a Roman Catholic you acknowledge the divine commission of the CHurch and the petrine ministry of the Bishop of Rome. Exercising his role to confirm the brethern
(luke ch 23), Blessed John Paul the second stated that there can be no women's ordination in the Catholic Church.The matter is closed, and any Catholic convert who is genuine has to accept this.

Posted by: robert Ian Williams on Monday, 22 July 2013 at 5:34pm BST

> When you become a Roman Catholic you acknowledge the divine commission of the CHurch and the petrine ministry of the Bishop of Rome. Exercising his role to confirm the brethern
(luke ch 23), Blessed John Paul the second stated that there can be no women's ordination in the Catholic Church.The matter is closed, and any Catholic convert who is genuine has to accept this.

Robert Ian Williams, that's exactly what I thought. It makes it all the more puzzling to me that Una Kroll (if it is the same person) seems - judging by the tenor of her words - still to support the ordination of women.

Posted by: Veuster on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 at 1:58pm BST

Following on from my comment about Una Kroll, I can understand someone being in favour of the admission of women to Holy Orders. I can understand someone becoming a Roman Catholic and thereby accepting the RC teaching that the Catholic Church has no authority to ordain women and the matter is closed. But I can't understand someone who once believed in and campaigned for the admission of women to Holy Orders and who accepted priest's orders herself, denying all of this by joining the RC Church and then continuing to write sympathetically about the admission of women to Holy Orders.

It makes no sense - to me, anyway.

Posted by: Veuster on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 at 2:07pm BST

"I can understand someone becoming a Roman Catholic and thereby accepting the RC teaching that the Catholic Church has no authority to ordain women and the matter is closed."

Considering that a large number of Catholics does not believe this, we have to at least acknowledge that it is not an integral part of Catholic faith and that some people may convert without believing it.

You may consider them to be not true Catholics, or misguided Catholics or whatever.
But don't assume that every Catholic person shares that perspective.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 at 10:18pm BST

> Considering that a large number of Catholics does not believe this, we have to at least acknowledge that it is not an integral part of Catholic faith and that some people may convert without believing it.

I know that many RCs don't believe this. However, RC theologians I have consulted tell me that it *is* an integral part of the (Roman) Catholic Faith. They quote the Apostolic Letter 'Ordinatio Sacerdotalis' of May 22 1994:

"Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church's judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.

"Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

They go on to quote the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith's 'Responsum' to a 'Dubium' in October 1995:

"Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith.

"Responsum: Affirmative.

"This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32), has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith."

Of course, I know that many, or perhaps even most, RCs don't believe in a considerable number of the propositions declared as part of the Universal Ordinary Magisterium, for instance those to do with contraception, abortion, homosexuality, etc. My point was that I don't see how a convert, who is required to swallow everything in a single gulp by publicly affirming in the most solemn way possible, "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God", could convert but still continue to believe in something which the RC Church said was forbidden and not open to debate.

Posted by: Veuster on Thursday, 25 July 2013 at 3:38pm BST

Veuster,
you seem to expect converts to be more Catholic than Catholics.
Reality is - they aren't. Yes, the traditionalist from the CoE who convert because the CoE isn't Catholic enough probably are. I suspect some of them are more Catholic than the Pope.

But people are people. They are drawn to this bit of Catholicism or to that bit.
How many convert knowing they'll never use contraception? Seriously?

I have a wonderful Catholic friend who says that she will follow what the Pope requires but that that does not stop her from praying for a change of discernment in the Magisterium and the Pope.

People may be "required" to swallow things in one gulp. That does not mean they do.

And, please, I'm only second-guessing Una who being the amazing woman she is probably has yet another, completely different view of it all.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 25 July 2013 at 10:13pm BST
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