Friday, 13 September 2013

Church in Wales - Statement by Forward in Faith

THE CHURCH IN WALESDECISION ON WOMEN BISHOPS: STATEMENT BY FORWARD IN FAITH

Forward in Faith regrets the decision of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales to authorize the ordination of women as bishops without first agreeing arrangements for those who, for theological reasons, will not be able to receive episcopal ministry from them.

We cannot see how a female bishop could be what a diocesan bishop should be – a Father in God and a focus of unity for all within his diocese. This vote therefore makes the question of the provision of episcopal ministry for those who continue to uphold catholic faith and order in the Church in Wales even more pressing.

Experience in Wales and elsewhere does not give us confidence that the promised ‘code of practice’ could offer the level of assurance that would encourage growth and flourishing – so sorely needed in Wales – or the degree of certainty that would remove the possibility of damaging and distracting disputes.

Our brothers and sisters in Credo Cymru will seek to enter into dialogue with the Welsh bishops. We can only hope that their representations will be met with the generosity of spirit that ought to be the hallmark of Christian episcopacy. Meanwhile, we continue to pray for and with our Welsh sisters and brothers, encouraging them to follow St David in being joyful and keeping the faith.

+JONATHAN FULHAM
The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham
Chairman
13 September 2013

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Comments

This statement from someone who clams to be a bishop is one of the most mean spirited, grace-less, sexist, self righteous diatribes I have read. There is nothing 'forward' or 'faithful' about it and it makes me fear for the future of Anglo-Catholicism. If a great movement is now in the hands of such as these, it shows just what a lack of Christian spirit can do.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Friday, 13 September 2013 at 7:02pm BST

That a Bishop in the Church of England can put his name to such a statement says it all, really. The Church in Wales should have made this decision at least five years ago, so let us not get too congratulatory. As the Synod voting in the C of E this November is essentially the same as the last one, and the English bishops seem unwilling to back a single-clause measure as a body, I have no great hopes for a similar positive outcome. Look at the Welsh attendance figures. Look at the English. People are leaving in droves!

Posted by: stephen Morgan on Friday, 13 September 2013 at 9:47pm BST

Asking for a generosity of spirit which they seem to be very reluctant to give. This 'focus of unity', apparently is only possible with non women ordaining bishops. Where is the generosity to those of us who believe strongly that women should and must be ordained priest and be made bishop on exactly equal terms to men?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Friday, 13 September 2013 at 10:17pm BST

I'm not a member of FinF or in agreement with them. But Andrew, if this is really one of the meanest graceless things you've read, you've not read much. The alleged lack of Christian spirit has been just as much evident among the supporters of women's ordination as its opponents - not least on this site.

Posted by: Peter Waddell on Friday, 13 September 2013 at 10:26pm BST

"if this is really one of the meanest graceless things you've read"

Discrimination is by definition graceless and mean. It is using power to crush people's spirits. I like to refer to MLK's Letter from the Birmingham (Alabama) jail. He said that moderates who would not have the oppressed work for their human rights and dignity are a bigger problem than the opposition. Those moderates claiming that speaking out against the oppression is, well, things like "graceless and mean."

That FIF bishop is trying to use his last vestige of power to oppress. His statements need to be called out for what they are. Stunning.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 14 September 2013 at 12:08am BST

Peter Waddell, I've no doubt that supporters of women's consecration to the episcopate may have, on occasion, shown a lack of charity. But this is a statement from a bishop, purporting to ask for charity from the majority, while expressly denying that "a female bishop could be what a diocesan bishop should be, a Father in God and a focus of unity to all within his diocese."

A bishop's official statement on behalf of a faction of the Church is not equivalent to an over-heated blog comment. I must say, were I in the C of E and the Bishop of Fulham my diocesan, I do not see how I could accept him as a focus of unity. And I'm not even of the gender he believes relegated to an inferior--oh, sorry, "complementary", place.

Posted by: John Wirenius on Saturday, 14 September 2013 at 12:23am BST

Since FiF UK is self-admittedly "England and Scotland," one wonders whether anyone suggested to Baker that he might kindly mind his own business?

Posted by: Dan BD on Saturday, 14 September 2013 at 12:25am BST

Peter Waddell: yes, I've certainly read many mean spirited and graceless things. But for a C of E bishop to be questioning the faith and order of his fellow Christians in a public statement is a step further. As John Wirenius says, he is now a very public face of disunity, and also disloyalty.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Saturday, 14 September 2013 at 7:59am BST

How many " traditionalist clergy" left the Church in Wales after it abandoned the provincial bishop.

Not one.

Says it all really, and don't hold your breath for a massive exodus to the Ordinariate.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Saturday, 14 September 2013 at 8:44am BST

And this Bishop is one of the five members of the Pilling Review Group! My hopes for anything positive coming out of it reduce daily.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Saturday, 14 September 2013 at 10:13am BST

'Look at the Welsh attendance figures. Look at the English. People are leaving in droves!'

Stephen, please don't assume that ordaining women to the episcopate will change that. Take it from someone in North America where we've been doing it for years. Our attendance figures are in a nose dive just as much as yours.

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Saturday, 14 September 2013 at 10:25am BST

Tim, I 'm making no such assumption! I I'm a great advocate of women's ministry, but sadly I do not think it will make the slightest difference to the historical and ongoing decline of Christianity in the west. Whenever I read contributions such as the Bishop of Fulham's I think: why would anyone on the outside looking in, (and in their right mind!) ever want to join such an organisation?

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Saturday, 14 September 2013 at 4:36pm BST

I didn't necessarily agree with them, but at least the former leaders of FiF were clear about what they needed and acted with integrity in joining the Ordinariate. Under the present leadership they have distanced themselves from Rome and expect the CofE to pander to their demands(even though they will stay in anycase). Baker is a Mason, so maybe he just has a penchant for men only clubs.

Posted by: Rose on Saturday, 14 September 2013 at 4:39pm BST

> We cannot see how a female bishop could be what a diocesan bishop should be – a Father in God and a focus of unity for all within his diocese.

Sadly, this is a matter of simple fact. As things stand at present, everyone - female and male - can accept a male bishop as validly consecrated, but some - female and male - can't accept a female bishop as validly consecrated.

Why are there only two choices - either forcing traditionalists to accept women bishops against their will, or forcing non-traditionalists to do without women bishops, also against their will?

Why not have women bishops in the mainstream Church in Wales, and an extra-diocesan male bishop as an episcopal visitor for traditionalists? It may not be perfect, but it would give both sides 99% of what they can realistically hope for and would surely be better than forcing everyone to submit either to the tyranny of the majority or to the tyranny of the minority!

Posted by: Veuster on Saturday, 14 September 2013 at 4:53pm BST

"A bishop's official statement on behalf of a faction of the Church is not equivalent to an over-heated blog comment."

YES!!!! There's an enormous difference between wielding power and wielding words.

At least we are all now crystalline clear on FIF's misogyny, and the double standard that an FIF bishop can be the focus of disunity but a WB can't.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 14 September 2013 at 5:05pm BST

"Our attendance figures are in a nose dive just as much as yours [in North America].

Not quite as much. There is definitely an overall trend of secularization that is more recent to the US (I can't speak for Canada) than the UK. However, 30 percent of TEC dioceses grew in the last few years, including mine, Colorado. While I don't think that this is a long term trend, I do think it is a "bounce" we're experiencing with the end of the Culture Wars. Young families don't want to raise their children in bigoted environments, and many TEC parishes meet that calling.

However the numbers point, there really is something to walking with integrity. A position that oppresses others is unlikely to be in sync with the Gospel of Jesus and the Baptismal Covenant. This integrity has power, it is the Good News to the poor and oppressed. "Women can't be priests." And "LGBT persons can't be treated equally" are not inspirational messages. "All are welcome at the Table, ALL." That is inspirational. When ALL are welcome, it implies so much, much more than equality for women and LGBT in our well heeled culture. ALL, including those being downtrodden by our consumption and blind eye to corporate power in remote places (to us, remote), etc.

This isn't only about "winning" for women and gays (as important as that is), it is about learning from the experience of the liberation journey to spread compassion beyond ourselves, our women, and our gay friends.

Please pray for the flood victims in Colorado. I am on high ground by an accident of fate, but many friends, acquaintances, and certainly the students of CU Boulder are displaced and suffering.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 14 September 2013 at 5:22pm BST

"Why not have women bishops in the mainstream Church in Wales, and an extra-diocesan male bishop as an episcopal visitor for traditionalists? It may not be perfect, but it would give both sides 99% of what they can realistically hope for and would surely be better than forcing everyone to submit either to the tyranny of the majority or to the tyranny of the minority!"

Posted by: Veuster on Saturday,

This sounds possible - and may even be contemplated - but surely to the detriment of collegial episcopacy. And what about the oddity of a small section of the Church being so disaffected by the thought of a Woman Bishop that they demand their own provision - by someone who doesn't believe in the possibility of women's ministry either. What a deplorable state of being for the Church's 'Unity in Christ'.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 1:54am BST

What on earth the Bishop of Fulham has to do with Wales I can't think. He should mind his own business. Veuster, Barry Morgan got rid of PEVs some years ago. They are unlikely to return:we can't afford any more bishops.

Posted by: Helen on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 9:04am BST

"We cannot see how a female bishop could be what a diocesan bishop should be – a Father in God and a focus of unity for all within his diocese."

ROFL! No, seriously, I burst out laughing in utter disbelief at the (willful?) obtuseness of the above.

TBTG for the Church in Wales!

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 9:12am BST

Veuster, I think you are mistaken. There are many who do not accept certain male bishops as validly consecrated, because they disagree with some other aspect of their person (such as, for example, their sexuality). Liberals have never been able to opt out from the episcopal oversight of "traditionalist" bishops. Why on earth should special provision be made the other way, once Synod has determined that the consecration of women bishops is to proceed?

Posted by: AndrewT on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 12:42pm BST

I don't think Jonathan Baker's comment is as well-turned as usual, but of course I agree with Veuster on what should happen.

Posted by: John on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 2:30pm BST

Rose said: " . . . at least the former leaders of FiF were clear about what they needed and acted with integrity in joining the Ordinariate . . . the present leadership. . . expect the CofE to pander to their demands . . . "

What an odd thing to say. Integrity or exasperation? If FIF had been offered an Ordinarariate within the C of E they would have had no need to seek generous terms from another Church. Where was the generosity in the C of E?

I rather fear the traditionalists in the C of E (high and low) are about to be dealt "victors' justice."

Posted by: Labarum on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 2:57pm BST

In fact the Governing Body has voted for women bishops and a code of practice. Anything else is just wishful thinking. Dear me, how independent those wretched Welsh are!

Posted by: Helen on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 5:16pm BST

"at least the former leaders of FiF were clear about what they needed and acted with integrity in joining the Ordinariate"

Not quite the case... they waited until thay had secured their pensions..a heck of a lot of them that is.

Posted by: Robert Ian williams on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 6:36pm BST

JCF on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 9:12am BST,

Bravo/a with your ROFL comment.
I, for one, don't see how a male bishop can be a Mother in God.
So, maybe it's time to get beyond "Father" and similar analogies for bishops. "Shepherd" works. "Leader". Depending on one's theological underpinnings, maybe even "Christ's representative". Shepherds, leaders, or representatives can be either male or female.
I'd say that, if there truly is no male or female in the Body of Christ, it's high time we acted on it.
And, "Oh, a woman ironing an altar cloth is performing as high a service for the Church as a bishop" doesn't cut it any more.

Posted by: peterpii - Peter Gross on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 7:01pm BST

As to the ironing of Altar cloths, perhaps that ministry ought to be opened more freely to men. Comparing the service done by different people so as to evaluate the worth of the people by the scale and nature of their service is reserved in scripture - we are enjoined not to judge. When Jesus washed the feet of his disciples it was a shocking act, not a pious one - and we might recall that Jesus himself had his own feet washed by a woman in an act which was also shocking to those who witnessed it.

I think we will come back to the language of "Father in God" because the Church of England will have to wrestle with it, like it or not. Our formularies contain the Ordinal. "The form and manner of making of Deacons" begins "Reverend Father in God", "The form and manner of Ordering of Priests" begins the same way and "The form of ordaining or consecrating of an Archbishop or Bishop" has at the presentation "Most reverend Father in God" (addressed to the Archbishop). The same language is retained in the Common Worship forms, except we no longer have "Most reverend".

Canon C18 says "1. Every bishop is the chief pastor of all that are within his diocese, as well laity as clergy, and their father in God; it appertains to his office to teach and to uphold sound and wholesome doctrine, and to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange opinions; and, himself an example of righteous and godly living, it is his duty to set forward and maintain quietness, love, and peace among all men."

So the language is there, and we cannot avoid or ignore it.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 9:06pm BST

Robert, that is rubbish. Most of those who joined the ordinariate are still active and are not pensioners. BUT, your comment is inaccurate even in regard to those who did retire; because most of them would have been able to take their full pensions earlier by resigning under the 1993 measure. So there can be no grounds at all for suggesting they were hanging on for their pensions. Have you ever considered checking for facts before putting poisoned pen to paper?

Posted by: David Malloch on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 9:41pm BST

'We cannot avoid or ignore it.'

How about changing it? Canon C18 (young people thinking about whether to join the church, pay attention!) was not written in stone. Why should we think or speak of God or 'Father in God' in exclusively male terms? The liturgy I grew up with gave that up long ago! Since when were we a slave to language?


Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 9:53pm BST

Mark Bennet: 'I think we will come back to the language of "Father in God" because the Church of England will have to wrestle with it'

Ah yes, we shall have to wrestle with the Reverend Mother.

Now there's a turn of phrase that we didn't expect to read, even on TA.

Posted by: Simon Kershaw on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 10:56pm BST

@ Reverend Prelate in God, +Jonathan Baker, welcome to the real world.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 11:09pm BST

"We cannot see how a female bishop could be what a diocesan bishop should be – a Father in God and a focus of unity for all within his diocese."

Rubbish! "We cannot see?" I think Bishop Johnathan Baker needs to look beyond England and Wales to other places in the Anglican Communion where women bishops have served as 'Mothers' in God, if you will, and have been very much the focus of unity within their dioceses. It's happened successfully in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Cuba. In Australia, at this time, women also serve as assistant or suffragan bishops.
.

Posted by: Robert Zacher on Monday, 16 September 2013 at 6:54am BST

David on reflection I accept your rebuke..but I do think there has been much calculation in some of these conversions..but that will be for God to judge.I actually know one aspiring convert who is trying to get his first marriage annulled.

Posted by: robert Ian Williams on Monday, 16 September 2013 at 8:36am BST

> There are many who do not accept certain male bishops as validly consecrated, because they disagree with some other aspect of their person (such as, for example, their sexuality).

That's the heresy of Donatism, against which St Augustine had a good deal to say. It's just plain wrong.

> Liberals have never been able to opt out from the episcopal oversight of "traditionalist" bishops.

Why would they want to? They might consider the traditionalist bishops to be stupid, obscurantist, etc, etc, etc, but they wouldn't deny that they were true bishops.

> Why on earth should special provision be made the other way, once Synod has determined that the consecration of women bishops is to proceed?

Because it's the Scriptural thing to do - going the extra mile, avoiding causing one's sisters or brothers to stumble, etc.

> surely to the detriment of collegial episcopacy

Collegial episcopacy isn't the be-all and end-all of Christian life. I'm happy to worship with, and receive Communion from, Methodist, URC, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Reformed and other ministers who are happy to offer Communion to me, even though they are not part of an Anglican collegial episcopate.

Posted by: Veuster on Monday, 16 September 2013 at 6:35pm BST

And to those who say that we shouldn't accept any proposal which doesn't put female bishops on exactly the same footing as male bishops, I would say that while I sympathise with the sentiment I don't think it's the best way to achieve the objective.

Didn't it make sense for women of 30 or over to accept the vote in Britain in 1918, even though it wasn't until 1929 that women were given the vote on the same terms as men?

Didn't it make sense for gays in England and Wales to accept the legalisation of homosexual acts in 1967, even though this didn't extend to other parts of the United Kingdom and it wasn't until 2000 that homosexuals were given the same age of consent as heterosexuals?

If the same gradualist approach had been adopted with female bishops, there would be female diocesans in the Church of England now.

Posted by: Veuster on Monday, 16 September 2013 at 6:43pm BST

'Collegial episcopacy isn't the be-all and end-all of Christian life. I'm happy to worship with, and receive Communion from, Methodist, URC, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Reformed and other ministers who are happy to offer Communion to me, even though they are not part of an Anglican collegial episcopate.'

Indeed. To which one might add RC priests (many of whom, especially in Europe and North America) are entirely happy to return the compliment) and Orthodox priests (many of whom ditto).

Posted by: John on Monday, 16 September 2013 at 7:35pm BST

Actually the objective has now been achieved in Wales- and various other places of course.
And I'm not sure that I agree with your analogies. Women didn't "accept" the vote: legislation was passed enabling them to vote; similarly gays in 1967 weren't in a position to argue for all or nothing- it was a simple matter of legislation based on what the country at large was thought to be prepared to accept, despite the fact that there are probably still those who think that gay sex should be illegal.The Welsh Church as a whole has accepted women bishops as bishops, even though there are those who will refuse to recognise them. Da iawn iddi hi!

Posted by: Helen on Monday, 16 September 2013 at 8:16pm BST

IMO, Veuster, it's the success of gradualist approaches in the past, which is why they should NOT have to be settled for, now.

That's the point: we've LEARNED from gradualism, that you eventually get to your goal. If you're going to get to the goal, why not go for it now? I would think we've actually progressed beyond 1918 or 1967, y'know?

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 at 1:52am BST

> If you're going to get to the goal, why not go for it now?

Because IMO it's good to be magnanimous in victory. It's kinder and more compassionate, not to say more Scriptural - going the extra mile, avoiding causing one's sisters or brothers to stumble, etc.

Posted by: Veuster on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 at 1:01pm BST

"Women didn't "accept" the vote: legislation was passed enabling them to vote; similarly gays in 1967 weren't in a position to argue for all or nothing"

Exactly. Without enough power, women and gays were forced into a 2nd class status. After all the liberation movements of the 20th Century, it is time to simply move on with full equality. It isn't as if CoE hasn't been dawdling for 20 years already on WB. Indulging FiF for 20 years only made them feel even more entitled to perpetual, institutional discrimination.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 at 3:36pm BST

I'm not sure that it would be more scriptural, Veuster. Jesus tended to challenge, not to confirm, preconceptions. And I' by no means sure that going the extra mile really means what you think it does. Have you read Ched Myers? He suggests it's a form of non violent resistance to Roman occupation, not just being nice to people.

Posted by: Helen on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 at 6:16pm BST

"Because IMO it's good to be magnanimous in victory."

It's not victory if we're still suffering discrimination. It isn't victory if the message is that we're not created equally in the image of God. It wasn't victory for black people in the US when they had "separate but equal" status, because separate was most assuredly unequal. It isn't victory for LGBT person's when we have Civil Unions but not Equal Marriage. It is 2nd class status.

I hear you, Veuster, and that you want peace and all, but you want us to continue to accept 2nd class status. That doesn't bring justice and peace.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 at 6:24pm BST

Imagine if St Peter had created a separate integrity for jewish believers. Christianity would have sunk into doctrinal chaos.

If you don't believe that women priests and bishops are scriptural, you should get out of the body that approves them. However as I point out there is accomodation ( no rates paid on vicarages) perks, stipends and Community status etc

Posted by: Robert i9an Williams on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 at 7:25pm BST

I notice that my "magnaminity in victory" tends to be IMPOSED by those whose who've long looked down on me from the judges box (the ones who never had to compete for their rights in the first place).

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 at 9:40pm BST

'I notice that my "magnaminity in victory" tends to be IMPOSED by those whose who've long looked down on me from the judges box (the ones who never had to compete for their rights in the first place).'

Well said.

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 at 2:09am BST

My feelings are summed up by Romans 12:15 - I find myself rejoicing with those who rejoice, and weeping with those who weep. I'm happy and relaxed with the direction in which the liberal wing of Anglicanism is moving, but as an ex-traditionalist who still has traditionalist friends I can't help being sad for those who see themselves as unwanted within the church they were brought up in yet find it impossible to become Roman Catholics and, in so doing, affirm that the sacraments they received as Anglicans weren't really sacraments at all.

But I suppose there isn't an answer to this that won't hurt some group of people.

Posted by: Veuster on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 at 10:33am BST

re Veuster's comment about magnanimity on the part of the 'winners'. There appears to be no possibility of 'magnanimity' by dissenters towards women in ministry. Perhaps this is why 'special provision' has been (wisely) refused in Wales

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 at 10:35am BST

Veuster,
what kind of magnanimity are you advocating?
It should be clear that no-one would dance around pointing fingers and shouting "losers, losers!".

But I often find that every genuine expression of pure joy is interpreted as triumphalism and heavily criticised, the impression given being that it's ok to be be happy and to celebrate provided you do it out of sight and in public only show your overwhelming sympathy for those of us who are now in mourning.

Or does magnanimity refer to something tangible to do with the actual legislative changes? As in "you've won but can you now give some of it back"?

I'm sorry to be so dense. I do struggle to understand the precise meaning words that have a primarily emotional content when they are used in this conversation.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 at 11:51am BST

Everyone has forgotten 2008, when it failed by two votes. The women in all this have borne themselves with dignity and have had to fight all the way since 1981 when they were deaconed. They never once acted ilegally or threatened schism.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 at 4:19pm BST

> Veuster, what kind of magnanimity are you advocating?

Erika, nothing tangible, but simply a recognition from those who affirm and work for the full acceptance of women's ministry that not all of those who oppose it are enemies, or troublemakers, or deliberate obscurantists or misogynists or reactionaries (yes, some of them are, but not all of them), but are Christians too, who love Our Lord and try (however inadequately) to follow Him.

Posted by: Veuster on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 at 4:45pm BST

> There appears to be no possibility of 'magnanimity' by dissenters towards women in ministry.

Fr Ron, what form would such magnanimity take? Dissenters, in my experience, ask for very little. They ask only to be allowed to co-exist with women in ministry, keeping their heads well down and, if necessary, confining themselves to an obscure corner.

Or am I misunderstanding you?

Posted by: Veuster on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 at 4:55pm BST

Don't personally have the slightest difficulty in interpreting Veuster's plea for 'magnanimity' - with which I whole-heartedly agree. People have lives - and deaths. The Church in Wales, like the C of E only more so, is in parlous straits. Within these beleaguered institutions people should do deals and move on. It is a liberal illusion - or delusion - that outsiders aren't joining these churches - or any churches - because they are insufficiently liberal. It is equally delusional to think that the great cause of total equality for women the world over (with which I totally agree) is in any material way damaged by minority provision for those who in good conscience ... etc. It's essential to keep things in proportion, to weigh up goods, to be kind and compassionate to the minority within our ranks who in good conscience, etc.

Posted by: John on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 at 8:18pm BST

Magnanimity works in both ways. There is magnanimity in defeat, as well.

"Asking for very little" is a point of view. For many of us, that little pocket of so-called co-existence is rather like a tapeworm's co-existing with its host, or a malarial infection co-existing with its host. It weakens - sometimes fatally - that host, depletes it of effectiveness in its operation, and provides a point of contact for still greater infection and dysfunction.

Here, the comparison is to the tolerance of the position advocated, not to the traditionalist individuals themselves.

I don't think that Veuster or John really comprehend how *deeply* wounded and how *deeply* betrayed those on the progressive side have felt in this. They cannot. They are not on that side, but rather in a sort of middle limbo that gives no direct, subjective experience of that wound or that betrayal. The same may be said of me as I am not a member of the Church of Wales, nor am I a woman, and I have - long ago - had deep reservations about women in the priesthood.

Further, I might add that my own (former) opinion was changed and my own theology deepened by personal experience of women in the ordained ministry, which would *not* have happened had I been given an opt-out. I would ask if it isn't a disservice to traditionalists to provide a sort of illusory Never-Never Land in which they are shielded from the reality of the body to which they belong? Is not forcing the choice to stay and try to adapt or leave not the kindness of waking someone from a fantast, rather than the cruelty of rejection?

The basic, the only important questions are:

1) Why do they wish to stay?
2) Why do you wish them to stay?
3) Why do you wish them to leave?

Before those questions are honestly and TRUTHFULLY answered, the rest of this duelling monologue (it can hardly be called a dialogue) is absolutely pointless. In my experience, when one understands one's own subjective purposes, the argument disappears. Perhaps, though, we fear the disappearance of the everlasting argument.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 4:53am BST

"I would ask if it isn't a disservice to traditionalists to provide a sort of illusory Never-Never Land in which they are shielded from the reality of the body to which they belong?"
My husband was ordained within this tradition and now regards it as a form of abuse, in that young men are persuaded to believe in the illusion to which Mark refers and to think of women as somehow deficient (though not of course inferior!- a real feat of doublethink).
The deal has been offered, John: it's a code of practice. Credo Cymru wanted their own separate bishop of course, but apart from anything else, the CW can't afford any more bishops (and indeed may reduce the number it has already).

Posted by: Helen on Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 1:51pm BST

I would ask Andrew Godsall and his supporters on this thread to reread what are rather vitriolic comments at the beginning. They are disgraceful, especially coming from a priest who should know better. Yes, by all means, disagree with others, but does it have to be in such an offensive manner?

Posted by: Benedict on Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 5:22pm BST

Sorry it was 1980 that women were first ordained deacon in the Church in Wales.

Read the traditionalist blogs and there is not much magnanimity and the tone is appalling.

Yes, it is true we don't recognise Anglican priestly ministry as sacramental, but we teach that sincere people and not culpable of their ignorance) can receive real graces from God.

Posted by: Robert ian Wiliams on Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 9:44pm BST

Benedict,

Has it not occurred to you that the offense is a reflection of the offense *given*? You honestly believe that you and those of your view have given none, yet, I assure you, you have.

If you are prepared to claim that what you have said and done are not offensive to others, you must accept that the opposite number feels they have been no more offensive.

From my own perspective, I can tell you that many of the things you have expressed here have been deeply, deeply offensive - even violent - to my perception. They have been, to me, an attack on my personhood, my experience of God, and my experience of God's Creation. I have felt, throughout the conversation from you and fellow traditionalists, a contemptuous dismissal of both my self and my faith. Whether you have meant to do so or not is not at issue, in this case, but the experience of those whom you address. This is why I do not go to traditionalist forums - they and I can do nothing but hurt and anger one another, and I would be responsible for parsing every word. This site has a liberal bent, so, for better or worse, you are the one expressing the minority opinion and responsible for parsing your own words, here.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 20 September 2013 at 4:36am BST

'They are disgraceful, especially coming from a priest who should know better.'
'We cannot see how a female bishop could be what a diocesan bishop should be.'
Hmm, Benedict - you choose your 'offences' quite carefully, don't you?
I too have wondered about your frequent comments on this site. It's not as if I would go trawling around on Anglican Mainstream or Forward In Faith or be surprised or shocked by any comment I read there!
You always seem to be able to draw a fine distinction between offence taken and offence given!

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Friday, 20 September 2013 at 9:15am BST

The discrimination is offensive. The language surrounding insisting on continuing the discrimination is offensive.

To tell someone that their very being makes them less in the eyes of God is pretty horrible. When, for example, girls learn that women can't be priests or bishops, that's the message they get. And they get it loudly and clearly. There's something wrong with me, the boys get all the good privileges... It goes to the core of personhood.

Society has gotten the message too. And women are treated lesser there, with some rather awful consequences.

But if the oppressed and their friends have the bad manners to speak up about the injustice, that's offensive? So very interesting.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 20 September 2013 at 4:29pm BST

I hesitate to add to the comments - too much said already - but there is just one painful note I need to make. I always thought that the great gift of the English Church was its hard fought ability to live together in charity and love - especially with people who disagree with each other. This was NOT based on a requirement that we are not allowed to say what we believe, but that even when we do believe different things, we can agree to disagree but stay together in love. I do wish my liberal brethren could stop suggesting that traditionalists are only allowed if they keep quiet!

Posted by: Frank on Friday, 20 September 2013 at 7:39pm BST

Frank,

But not all liberal brethren behave like that, as is eloquently attested frequently on this site.

Posted by: John on Saturday, 21 September 2013 at 3:50am BST

Which 'English Church' would that be, Frank? I do not think anyone has suggested that traditionalists keep quiet, just a genuine puzzlement as to why they are drawn to a site where they know they are going to disagree with and possibly be offended by - what they read? This thread began with comments on an English bishop (who presumably has the care and cure of women clergy,) announcing publicly that because of their gender, a woman could not be what a bishop should be? Some contributors have found that offensive, and some 'traditionalists' have found the taking of offence, offensive! My point was that 'traditionalists' often express themselves and their views in breathtakingly offensive language but then get all hurt and angry when 'liberals' defend themselves! Oh, and we're not all liberal 'brethren!'

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Saturday, 21 September 2013 at 4:57am BST

"Yes, it is true we don't recognise Anglican priestly ministry as sacramental, but we teach that sincere people and not culpable of their ignorance) can receive real graces from God.

Posted by: Robert ian Wiliams on Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 9:44pm BST"

Now, Robert! Is this royal 'WE', meant to represent the might of the roman Catholic Church, of which 'WE' are a member? If it is, then I don't suppose too many readers of T.A. are too worried about your non-recognition of Anglican Orders.

However, from today's report on Pope Francis' latest revelations about the Roman Catholic Church, you are going to have to get your head around some pretty revolutionary activity in the Vatican Curia - on many issues - perhaps even including the recognition of past mistakes made by former papal dogmatic decrees.

Pope Francis may yet make some neophyte R.C. converts wish they had never left the C. of E.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 21 September 2013 at 11:26am BST

"Oh, and we're not all liberal 'brethren!'"

Thank you. Just thank you.

The discrimination causes real suffering. Calling that out is the only way to end the discrimination. Suppose it was black people calling for racial equality? That is how the discrimination against women and LGBT people looks to a lot of us.

If this were about race, the real offense would be clear to almost all.

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 21 September 2013 at 11:10pm BST

I just hope Francis does nt die suddenly like his predecessor but two.

I really do.

Posted by: Rev'd Laurence Roberts on Sunday, 22 September 2013 at 2:33pm BST

Cynthia: To tell someone that their very being makes them less in the eyes of God is pretty horrible. When, for example, girls learn that women can't be priests or bishops, that's the message they get. And they get it loudly and clearly.

Because I can't bear children does that mean I'm 'less in the eyes of God'? Is that the message boys get 'loudly and clearly'?


Posted by: Steven on Sunday, 22 September 2013 at 11:11pm BST

Steven,
it's no good telling people that they "ought" not to feel that they are being treated as second class citizens.
There's a clear difference between a biological impossibility and a man-made constraint.

It's no wonder women feel second class when it's strangely always men who can discern God's will for them and when that will strangely always turns out to be somehow lesser than his will for men.

It doesn't matter what theology you wrap around it, no woman with a genuine calling to the priesthood will ever see it as anything but patriarchal power play.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 23 September 2013 at 9:23am BST

"Because I can't bear children does that mean I'm 'less in the eyes of God'? Is that the message boys get 'loudly and clearly'?"

Whoa. I am not seeing any rational way to jump to that conclusion from what I wrote. Discrimination is a horrible human failing. The abilities to have children or rather to pee more conveniently when camping are biological issues that should not impede the relationship of any child to their Creator.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 23 September 2013 at 6:18pm BST

Cynthia and Erika and all, I must apologise for the offense I caused by my last post.

I do not post very often, but am trying to be understanding of the views of others, that's why I so frequently look at this site. The truth is I was snapping because I'm tired of the talk of discrimation when it comes to bishops and gay marriage.

Perhaps one day I shall embrace both but at present I cannot. Please forgive me for any hurt that causes to you. God bless you.

Posted by: Steven on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 12:31am BST

Frank, I think that you may be taking umbrage at a perception, rather than a reality.

No one is making you unwelcome because you speak. However, speech, as with all actions, has its repercussions and consequences. It is entirely reasonable that you express your belief, if you so wish. It is entirely unreasonable to expect that others will not be offended if your views reflect negatively on some aspect of themselves. It is not reasonable to expect that that offense will not create consequences. As I've noted, I choose to stay away from traditionalist/conservative forums because I am aware of the consequences, to myself and others, of expressing my views there - at least on those issues in which there is such disagreement.

I applaud you, however, for being open and vulnerable that your feelings are hurt and that you feel unwelcome. It is important to note, however, that this is more than doctrinal or even belief issue, but an issue of being for those who are on the liberal side of such things as female ministry and homosexuality. Where there is offense, it is also important to perceive that there may have been offense given.

For myself, I am sorry that you feel unwelcome.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 5:53am BST

Steven,
no need to apologise! And I can understand that you are tired of talk of discrimination. It is wearying when you believe your position to be purely theological and not discriminatory.

What we are saying, though, is that it IS discriminatory for us because we do not accept the theology it is based on (and that goes for gay marriage and bishops too).

You can continue to hold your views but I think you will then have to acknowledge that the majority of people believes them to be discriminatory and that those affected by them feel personally and hurtfully discriminates against. You will have to hold on to your views accepting for yourself that you have to discriminate in order to remain true to your theology.

It's not a comfortable position to be in but I think it would be an honest one.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 9:47am BST

Erika expresses it very well. There's a tremendous dissonance between the traditional position and the actual experience of women, LGBT persons, all our friends and supporters - which is now the majority. There's no way around the fact that the traditional position is typically men telling us how we should accept our 2nd class position, even if we feel powerfully called by God to go in a different direction.

It is sobering to find that one's position is hurtful to others, and I understand that that can go both ways. But institutional discrimination actually institutionalizes the hurt.

I wish you well on your journey, Steve.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 4:33pm BST

Cynthia: I wish you well on your journey, Steve.

As I do you, too, Cynthia.

Posted by: Steven on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 11:39pm BST

I will take no lectures from Stephen Morgan, if, as I believe is true, he is the one who initiated an attempt to unseat the elected Chairman of the House of laity. If that is Christian charity, and not offensive, what is?

Posted by: Benedict on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 7:49am BST

Benedict, you must be mixing me up with some other fellow! I resigned from the priesthood four years ago and the only Synod I was ever on was that of the local Deanery! I do not agree with Dr. Giddings on any point, but am entirely uninvolved in any attempt to remove him. I would never presume to lecture anybody, but perhaps you should check your facts before launching into accusations of 'offensiveness?'

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 at 10:30am BST

Benedict, it may be just me, but I think it quite offensive to accuse someone online of doing something of which they are entirely innocent, and then let a whole month go by without a word of retraction or even apology?

Posted by: stephen Morgan on Friday, 25 October 2013 at 3:07pm BST
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