Monday, 2 December 2013

More women bishops

The Diocese of New Westminster in the Anglican Church of Canada elected the Reverend Canon Melissa Skelton to be its ninth bishop on Saturday.

Press reports include:

Huffington Post Canada Rev. Melissa Skelton Elected Bishop Of New Westminster
Douglas Todd Vancouver Sun Rev. Melissa Skelton elected bishop of Vancouver-area Anglican diocese
Paul Sullivan Matro [Canada] Anglican bishop brings branding skills

By coincidence the election took place on the same day as the Consecration Of The Revd Pat Storey As Bishop Of Meath & Kildare. Patrick Comerford, a Canon at Christ Church Cathedral, where the service took place, describes the occasion in detail: A Memorable Afternoon at the Consecration of Bishop Pat Storey in Christ Church Cathedral. The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church was there, as was the Archbishop of Wales. The Archbishop of Canterbury was represented by Archdeacon Sheila Watson.

Claire Duffin Telegraph First female Anglican bishop consecrated
BBC Irish Anglicans install Rev Pat Storey as bishop
Belfast Newsletter First woman bishop installed by Anglican Church
Sarah Stack of the Press Association in the Irish Independent Tributes paid to first woman bishop at Christ Church Cathedral
The Irish news CoI consecrates first female bishop
The Irish Times Irish woman becomes first female bishop in UK and Ireland
Ciarán Hanna Inside Ireland Tributes to first woman bishop on these islands consecrated by the Church of Ireland at a service in Dublin

Savitri Hensman writes for Ekklesia about Ireland’s first - or perhaps second - woman bishop

Posted by Peter Owen on Monday, 2 December 2013 at 2:55pm GMT | TrackBack
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This news leaves me both elated and depressed. Elated for the new bishop and her diocese; depressed because the C of E, the so-called mother church, has been busy congratulating itself the past week that we might reach the stage of actually approving women bishops sometime in the next two years? (For older posters only) It's a bit like being permanently in the 'C' stream at school!

Posted by: stephen Morgan on Monday, 2 December 2013 at 3:29pm GMT

Peter Lynas, director of the Evangelical Alliance in Northern Ireland has welcomed the appointment:

“We have greatly benefitted from Pat’s wisdom as she has served on the UK Board of Evangelical Alliance for a number of years and on the local Executive. She will no doubt carry her passion for church unity and a society transformed by the gospel to her new post.”

Evangelicals in Ireland seem quite untroubled by women bishops and vicars - so unlike some vocal Evangelicals in England !

I wonder what is going on ?

Posted by: Laurie Roberts on Monday, 2 December 2013 at 5:28pm GMT

I was shocked to see the Catholic bishop of the namesake diocese attend. In 1989, the Vatican pulled catholic representation from the first Anglican woman bishop.

However its nice to know, Bishop Pat is an Irish evangelical and will not wear a mitre.

Posted by: ROBERT iAN WILLIAMS on Monday, 2 December 2013 at 5:43pm GMT

Laurie Roberts: They also appear to be quite untroubled by ignoring the clear teaching of the Bible (well, Paul of Tarsus, and whoever wrote some of his lines) against women speaking and holding authority in church. Bebbington wept.

Posted by: James Byron on Monday, 2 December 2013 at 10:39pm GMT

re Robert Ian Williams' comment, and to further his concern about a Woman becoming a Bishop in Ireland; I wonder if he's read Savitri Hensman's article in 'Ekklesia', which suggests that the new Woman Bishop of Kildare may, in fact, be following in the illustrious footsteps of St. Bridget of Kildare, who is thought to have been ordained a Bishop in the 6th century, by Bishop Mel, a nephew of St. Patrick?

If Savi's supposition is correct, is only goes to show that Women were, indeed more than just a Godly influence in the Church.

The Church of England has it's own 'Mitred Abbess' in St. Hilda of Whitby, who ruled over a Double Monastery of both women and men. No doubt history will eventually uncover the role of other doubty Women Leaders of The Church that might give little comfort to R.I.W. and his co-religionists.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 2 December 2013 at 11:40pm GMT

Reform Ireland are less supportive..in fact they view this as apostasy. They state....

By ignoring God’s equality agenda and role for man and woman and substituting it with a ‘spirit-of-the-age’ equality agenda, the Church of Ireland has in effect discriminated against those who hold to a biblical position. This decision will not only prevent those who believe in God’s agenda for man and woman being able to serve in Meath diocese, but also impair fellowship throughout the Church of Ireland. The appointment to Meath is therefore a sad day for many in the Church of Ireland because it is one more indication that the Church of Ireland is no longer listening to God’s purposes for his church.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 7:30am GMT

I was shocked to see the Catholic bishop of the namesake diocese attend.

Only shocked, not pleased then?

Posted by: ian on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 8:59am GMT

'ignoring God's equality agenda and role for man and woman,'

'Listening to God's purposes for his church.'

How does Reform Ireland know what 'God's equality agenda' (such a lovely phrase!) might be, and how are they the only ones listening to 'God's purposes for his church?'

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 9:58am GMT

Father Ron Smith's allusion to Saint Hilda of Whitby is becoming really rather tiresome on these threads. It's all he seems to be able to muster in defence of women bishops. He isn't really trying to suggest, is he, that Hilda would somehow have had a different theological conception of her position as abbess from that espoused by the Church? Or maybe he is, thereby rewriting the Christian history of these lands yet again!

Posted by: Benedict on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 10:17am GMT

So, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church was there, the Archbishop of Wales, ...... and the Archdeacon of Canterbury. What does that say about the commitment of the House of Bishops of the Church of England to women's ordained ministry in the Episcopate. My prayers are with the new Bishop, that she and her Diocese will flourish as she proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ in our fractured world.

Posted by: Anne Lee on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 12:24pm GMT

How does Reform Ireland know what 'God's equality agenda' (such a lovely phrase!) might be?

I can't speak for 'Reform Ireland' I am about as far away from them as you can get theologically, but might they not answer that they know by reading the Bible?
Just askin.

Posted by: ian on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 12:54pm GMT

Reform Ireland apparently does not believe that reform can come through the slow and on-going revelation of God's "agenda" in the world.

One can only assume that they would prefer to go back to the days of slavery, women's subjugation, corporal punishment, all brought to naught by other "spirit of the age" movements that their spiritual ancestors fought so bravely against in their struggle to maintain "God's equality agenda."

Posted by: Nathaniel Brown on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 4:48pm GMT

It's interesting that all the comments relate to the consecration in the Church of Ireland, with no mention of the election of Mother Melissa as Bishop of New Westminster. She comes from a very progressive Anglo-Catholic parish in Seattle, and is an eminently suitable choice for New Westminster.

Posted by: Old Father William on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 6:51pm GMT

I am so sick and tired of conservative Christians pretending to be victims when they no longer get to enforce their bigotry and sexism and misogyny on others. Once again, people, not being able to marginalize others and not being able to carry on with the expectation of the enforcement of the bigoted beliefs of a darker past is not the same as being discriminated against. You don't have the right to demean others, so no rights are being taken away when your power to enforce bigotry is taken away. Full stop, end of discussion, and nothing else ever needs to be said about this again. Quit your complaining, because no one cares about how you have been supposedly harmed when you can no longer hurt others. You may convince yourself, in your head, that you are a victim, but it doesn't make it true in reality.

("Reform" Ireland: "By ignoring God’s equality agenda and role for man and woman and substituting it with a ‘spirit-of-the-age’ equality agenda, the Church of Ireland has in effect discriminated against those who hold to a biblical position.")

Posted by: Dennis on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 7:00pm GMT

"the Church of Ireland has in effect discriminated against those who hold to a biblical position"

Those of us who have ever been victims of ACTUAL discrimination (I remember being told by a manager, when applying for a job, "we had {quote} 'one of you' once, so, No.") can only hope to graduate to this "in effect discrimination"! O_o

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 9:03pm GMT

'they know by reading the bible?'

i've read quite a lot of the bible, but I've never presumed to be able to tell other people what God is wanting for them, or any knowledge of his 'equality agenda!' I've never viewed the bible in that way at all and I think those that do usually manage to put other people off Christianity!

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 9:08pm GMT

"Father Ron Smith's allusion to Saint Hilda of Whitby is becoming really rather tiresome on these threads." - Benedict -

No more tiresome, I respectfully suggest, dear brother, than your own persistent denial of the historical evidence of Women's Leadership in the Church.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 9:30pm GMT

What historical evidence? You cling to tiny pieces in times when the church was in flux, you hold up Galatians 3:28 without, it seems, any sense of irony that you quote someone who clearly articulated a totally opposite belief to yours. The Bible, the Church Fathers, the vast majority of Christendom all expressly oppose this novelty. Men represent Christ, women represent the Church. Why can't each sex complement one another in the way our faith teaches? Why all this clamouring for the masculine? It is false equality, false because poor Mrs Storey is neither priest nor bishop in actual fact, false because women's liberation is to ape men rather than champion true God-given femininity. It's very sad.

Posted by: Barrie on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 at 11:33pm GMT

Thank you to Fr William for drawing our attention to the _other_ story here. Although I was rooting for Richard Leggett (and was very sorry not to see Br Martin Brokenleg OSBCn nominated!), we certainly need an Anglo-Catholic woman in the House of Bishops now that NZ has gone and snatched up +Victoria!

Posted by: Geoff on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 1:35am GMT

"the historical evidence of Women's Leadership in the Church."

Who has ever denied this evidence as regards the Marcionite Church, the Montanist Church, or the Valentinian Church?

Posted by: William Tighe on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 2:36am GMT

If I remember correctly, Benedict is not an evangelical. It is evangelicals who do not like to see women in leadership roles in the church.
Anglo-Catholics, on the other hand, are concerned with sacramental assurance which means they do not believe that women can be priests.
Are we saying that there is historical evidence that St Hilda was a priest?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 7:55am GMT

'usually manage to put other people off Christianity.'

Exhibit A: Barrie

It's hard to know where to start with your post, but just a couple of points:

'The Bible was written by men, the Church Fathers (by definition) were all men, and the 'vast majority' of Christendom is controlled by a few old men. See any 'irony' in that?

What is 'true God-given femininity' and how can someone who thinks as you do claim to know anything about women's liberation?

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 9:41am GMT

"Who has ever denied this evidence as regards the Marcionite Church, the Montanist Church, or the Valentinian Church?"

Quite. All three were condemned as heretical by the early Church.

Posted by: Barrie on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 9:48am GMT

stephen
i've read quite a lot of the bible, but I've never presumed to be able to tell other people what God is wanting for them.

I've listned to many a sermon over the years, from people of all traditions in the church, and presuming to tell other people what God is wanting for the them has been pretty high up on the agenda of most of them.

Posted by: ian on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 10:59am GMT

Stephen Morgan - I don't often tell other people what God is wanting for them. But for sure, we need some of us (at least) with the guts to tell other people what God is wanting for them - eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.

Posted by: Jamie Wood on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 11:05am GMT

Ian - I've preached many a sermon over the years, but I never felt I had been given the authority to tell other people what God was wanting for them! How would I know?

Jamie - it has nothing to do with guts and everything to do with humility. My instant response to anyone telling me what God wants for me is - how do you know?

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 11:58am GMT

Erika
'Anglo-Catholics, on the other hand, are concerned with sacramental assurance which means they do not believe that women can be priests'

I'm not saying you're wrong, but remember one of the Anglo Catholic arguments was that we did not have the authority to act unilaterally.That was certainly my argument at the time.

Posted by: ian on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 11:59am GMT

'The Bible was written by men, the Church Fathers (by definition) were all men, and the 'vast majority' of Christendom is controlled by a few old men. See any 'irony' in that?

No, I don't see any irony in it at all. What I do see, however, is that you have absolutely no firm grounding in anything that informs our faith. The Bible was written by men, so chuck that out; the Church Father were men, so ignore them; and the RCC and Orthodox church is run by men, so obviously they don't know what they're talking about, especially as they're "old". What are we left with? Our own opinions, no theology beyond what we fancy, a ship without an anchor. No wonder the Church is declining when all we have to offer society is a pale reflection of itself.

Posted by: Barrie on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 12:14pm GMT

Barrie, does it not strike you that the very existence of 'times of flux' for which we have occasional fragmentary evidence that women may once have had priestly roles, calls into the question the God-givenness of the long 'stable' centuries when they were excluded from them? If the traditional order of the church arises out of early flux, then it is not exactly sitting directly on the rock solid authority of God, is it?

But you are right that the warrant for including women in the priesthood, these last few decades, does not really come from church history. It is, yes, a new thing we are doing. But the church has always done new things, thank God, when the Spirit leads us (usually painfully) to see that our sense of justice, and of humanity as the imago dei, is not big enough. The test of these novelties is not whether they disturb the good existing order of the church - they always do - but whether, in practice, they act to confirm and continue the precious integrity of what has been passed down to us.

And this, the ordination of women as priests, and as bishops, does do. A woman who has been priested is not pretending to be a man: she is embodying, in the Eucharist, the humanity of Christ. I assure you, Barrie, that although the first time you kneel at the communion rail and the celebrant is a woman, you may think, 'Good heavens, how very notable, I am receiving the sacrament from a *woman*!' - the second time, all you think to yourself is, here comes the priest, here comes the Host; Lord, I am worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof, but say the word only and my soul shall be healed. Nothing is lost.

Posted by: Francis on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 12:17pm GMT

Jamie
"But for sure, we need some of us (at least) with the guts to tell other people what God is wanting for them"
There's telling and there's dictating.
When people disagree with our judgement of what God might want for them we have to let them live out their own faith.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 12:29pm GMT

Barrie: while you presume to tell women what "god given femininity " is, without the faintest notion that you're actually giving voice to your own male fantasies and projections, your points are likely to meet nothing but ridicule. I don't recall Jesus ever suggesting that "men represent Christ , women represent the Church". All one can say to that bit of nonsense is that some men should pay rather more attention to the Christ of the gospels.

Posted by: Helen on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 4:34pm GMT

"the Church of Ireland has in effect discriminated against those who hold to a biblical position"

Orwellian convolution: refusing to discriminate morphs into discrimination; and Manichaean: my biblical position is right, yours is wrong and invalid. And monolithic: only one biblical position (mine) is possible. The three swamps into which right-wing conservatism so often seems to stumble, the intellectually impoverished notion that there is only one understanding of Truth.

And yet… less pride might suggest that there are many paths to God, each colored by our individual, legitimate experiences, and that to place a stone wall in front of your path is to deny you the ability to grow in God’s grace as it reveals itself in your life and circumstances. Where is the Grace in that?

Posted by: Nathaniel Brown on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 5:52pm GMT

Some of these comments just really are so 1950's. I.e. a time before long held beliefs held by a very narrow power group were rightfully challenged.

Mary Magdalene was the first witness to the Resurrection. Jesus broke taboos to treat women with respect and to heal and teach us. God created us all in God's image.

The women being ordained and consecrated, and all their supporters and beneficiaries are not deluded. We are not uneducated, unspiritual dolts who have lost the True Path of the Great White Male Leader. I'm sure it was a very nice ride for them, but it's over. Recognizing and honoring the image of God in all people, including those God has called to serve, is a much more beautiful, and Godly path.

It just sounds like Looney Tunes to hear folks who absolutely "know" what is right for others. How very strange. Quaint actually, unless those views get to prevail, then it's oppression.

Those of us who have faced actual discrimination, know that it doesn't come from God.

Posted by: Cynthia on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 6:01pm GMT

Ultimately, I think none of this matters in the long run. The world is moving on. Women's equality is a fact in the developed world and a growing force in the developing world. Women's expectations are rising around the world, and no holy man of any kind can stop it. I've always believed that feminism is a major force shaping modern history, and never more so than now.
The churches have the choice of catching up, or building a higher wall around a self-created ghetto. Either Christianity is willing to meet people where they are, or it has nothing to say that anyone will understand or believe.

Posted by: FD Blanchard on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 10:07pm GMT

"poor Mrs Storey is neither priest nor bishop in actual fact, false because women's liberation is to ape men rather than champion true God-given femininity. It's very sad." - Barrie, on Tuesday -

This sounds very much like those TEC dissidents in the U.S. who disrespectfully speak of their Presiding Bishop as 'Mrs Schori'

It is precisely such misogyny that the Church is having to stand against - in the interests of the Gospel of Christ

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 10:12pm GMT

Ian,
yes, that we are not allowed to act unilaterally is another argument. It is still rooted in the idea that the underlying objection is that women cannot onthologically be priests.

I don't agree with any of it, I find all of those arguments wanting and I am actually on the side of those who criticise them.
But I do find it exasperating when individual groups within the church are accused of views they do not hold.

Liberals will never change anything while we misrepresent those who think differently. This debate has gone on for decades - we owe those we talk to to at least answer the points they are actually making.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 10:13pm GMT

I have been able find more diverse press coverage about the election of Melissa Skelton in New Westminster on "Thinking Anglicans" than I can in the press here in Canada. Thank you. Bishop elect Skelton looks like an excellent choice, her education and her background in ECUSA will be helpful to the Canadian Church. Her addition to the Canadian House of bishops may prove interesting. Two members of the Canadian House just returned from GAFCON. I gather high tea in the Canadian House was a little heated as a result. Perhaps over time we will have opportunity to get the apparently diverse range of opinion in the Canadian House out into the open. You know, GAFCON on the one hand, and a female bishop who has experience including people who have been wounded by the church on the other.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 4 December 2013 at 11:30pm GMT

"This sounds very much like those TEC dissidents in the U.S. who disrespectfully speak of their Presiding Bishop as 'Mrs Schori.'" Not to mention (because of her academic background in oceanagraphy, particuarly squids), "Squid Lady," "Squid Woman," and "Her Squidness."

Posted by: dr.primrose on Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 12:06am GMT

Francis, I have taken the bread and wine from a woman on several occasions, and in fact I once made myself rather unpopular in a pub full of Anglo-Catholics by defending women's ordination. I'm afraid I then started reading the Bible, the Fathers, and gaining a theological understanding of the issues when I took my degree in theology. I became fully convinced that I had been wrong.

As to Helen's question regarding my statement "Men represent Christ, women represent the Church", this is theology based on Ephesians 5 -

"Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Saviour. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands."

Thus, Christ, the Head, and the Church, his Body, are like husband and wife. Men alone are chosen to be priests because man, as head and source of the human race through Adam, is a symbol of Christ who is the Head and source of all creation. Woman (the Virgin Mary) is chosen to be God-bearer because womanhood, as bearer of all the living, is the natural symbol of Mary, Mother of the Church, and of the Church which begets all people in Christ. The public vocation of men in the Church is to represent Christ (as priest); the public vocation of women in the Church is to represent the Church itself as Bride of Christ.

Posted by: Barrie on Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 9:27am GMT

""Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Saviour. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.""

Barrie, it has been suggested that the above quote was for one particular church. Paul also said that in God there is neither male nor female. And then there's Jesus treating women like people, which was quite radical in his day.

It's worth considering if some have cherry picked the Bible to support their view, while ignoring the bits that don't.

Might there also be a problem with taking Biblical metaphors literally? Is it possible that revelation continues to this day? Or are we supposed to live as in Biblical times? Then should we stone adulterers? Should we be condemning people who wear fabrics made of mixed materials? What about divorce?

The black and white, literalist view is quite problematic. Ultimately, it is usually dishonest in some way. So much in the Bible is relevant to particular situations. It is the story of our salvation and relationship with God. But it's possible that not every pen stroke is a global "truth" for all time. Heaping judgement on others over cherry picked elements somehow doesn't seem right…

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 5:13pm GMT

'Let us pursue all that makes for peace.'

Within the C of E, a deal has been done - or effectively done. Within other parts of the Anglican Communion, similar deals have either already been done or are about to be done. Most people can live with them. All this spleen and point-scoring are profoundly unpeaceful. Father Ron in particular, I do wish you would learn to put a sock in it. There is no point - it is in fact wrong - to rile 'traditionalists'. They in turn should not 'rise' to your provocations - but you should not provoke them in the first place. The stupidity of all this is deeply depressing.

Posted by: John on Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 8:19pm GMT

"I'm afraid I then started reading the Bible, the Fathers, and gaining a theological understanding of the issues when I took my degree in theology." *

You don't seriously imagine, Barrie, that no advocates for Ordination Equality (inc ordained women themselves) can't make exactly the same/greater claims? [For many decades longer than yourself apparently?]

Oh, ego... [Yeah, I'm guilty of it, too. Kyrie eleison.]

* I'm wondering whether your choice of school for your degree didn't have a major influence on your "theological understanding"? Do share your alma mater, please.

[Off-topic: Holy Nelson Mandela, rest in peace/rise in glory. Pray for us!]

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 9:55pm GMT

Barrie:

In your use of Ephesians 5 to support your view of "Men represent Christ, women represent the Church", you commit a logical fallacy, by taking a metaphor and reversing its direction.

Paul is using the metaphor to liken marriage to the Church...while you attempt to do the opposite, liken the Church to marriage. A metaphor is not subject to the mathematical premise of transitive equality (if A=B then B=A). A metaphor is a literary device, not a mathematical one.

If I say that "your lips are like cherries" (technically a simile, of course), it does not logically follow that "cherries are like your lips."

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 10:36pm GMT

"Erika
'Anglo-Catholics, on the other hand, are concerned with sacramental assurance which means they do not believe that women can be priests'

I've only just noticed this statement by Erika. You may be surprised to find, Erika, that most Anglo-Catholics - certainly the ones I know in the Church of england and elsewhere, are not bigotted against women's ordination. They welcome it.

You really must adjust your understanding of what the words Anglo-Catholic mean for most of us. It is incarnational in meaning that women share with men the identity of Christ - with no barrier to representing Christ at the altar!

Alternatively, what we have at the Anglican Shrine of Our Blessed Lady at Walsingham, is a breed of A.C.s who would be quite surprised if they had a vision of the BVM in priestly garments. I, for one, would accept it as providential.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 11:15pm GMT

"I've only just noticed this statement by Erika. You may be surprised to find, Erika, that most Anglo-Catholics - certainly the ones I know in the Church of england and elsewhere, are not bigotted against women's ordination. They welcome it."

Ditto a lot of Anglo-Catholics here in TEC. I'm one of them.

Women's ordination is a problem with SOME A/C's, but not all.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 5:32am GMT

Ron,
maybe I should have said "traditionalist Anglo-Catholics who oppose women priests" are concerned with sacramental assurance... but there is a 400 word limit on comments and I thought, having debated this topic here for years, that this premise was by now a given.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 6:12am GMT

John, it must be hard for you to breathe the same air as the rest of us. Those of us with memories recall that you occasionally winch down from your ivory tower to trash those whose use of grammar you take issue with? Leave Father Ron be, his posts are tough-minded, witty and pertinent.
As to 'provoking traditionalists' this is a liberal anglican website. Are we supposed to read, say Barrie's biblical revelations and then say, gosh, 'we mustn't rile him!' If he posts such comments here he should expect some trenchant criticism, as I am sure he is well aware!

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 6:13am GMT

Father Ron's comment: BVM was OFTEN shown in priestly vestments (and can still be seen in them in some churches in Rome and I would imagine elsewhere as well) until there was a specific (papal?) ban on the same. Someone who knows the history of iconography better than I do might comment on this.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 6:47am GMT

Please let's calm down about terminology, such as the use of the term "anglo-catholic". The fact is that people who formerly could be so described are divided on the issue of women's ordination. Neither "side" can claim exclusive use of that label any more.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 7:50am GMT

Thank you, Simon, for your well-timed admonition.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 8:27am GMT

Stephen,
but is it really sensible to keep criticising opponents of women bishops for things they have not said and do not believe? Is it really helpful to call them bigoted? And this is not aimed at just one of the contributors here, there are several on both sides who seem to have conversations by trading insults and by misrepresenting the other side. Does that add anything to a respectful conversation, to mutual understanding and to an amicable solution?

And I take John's point. Yes, we still disagree and yes, a discussion about our different understanding is important. But at the same time we must recognise that the CoE is in the process of finding an agreement that is welcomed by all sides in this debate.
What is gained by continuing to criticise those who disagree with us sharply, when their church has just come up with a very amicable and inclusive solution?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 8:39am GMT

Erika, I think you will have to show me where I have ever called anyone 'bigoted' on this or any other site; or criticised opponents of WB's for 'things they have not said and do not believe?" I am not interested in 'trading insults,' but in engaging with what other people have commented.
I'm not sure that some of the opponents of WB who post on here would agree with you that 'a very amicable and inclusive solution' is in the offing!

Posted by: Stephen Morgan on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 9:31am GMT

'"Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Saviour. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands."
Thus, Christ, the Head, and the Church, his Body, are like husband and wife. Men alone are chosen to be priests because man, as head and source of the human race through Adam, is a symbol of Christ who is the Head and source of all creation. Woman (the Virgin Mary) is chosen to be God-bearer because womanhood, as bearer of all the living, is the natural symbol of Mary, Mother of the Church, and of the Church which begets all people in Christ. The public vocation of men in the Church is to represent Christ (as priest); the public vocation of women in the Church is to represent the Church itself as Bride of Christ.'

My mother, who worked for nearly 50 years as a physical therapist, and for many of those years was badly underpaid, would have found the above sentiment laughably archaic and oblivious to reality back in 1962.
If my 85 year old mom now blind with macular degeneration could read that, she'd still howl with laughter. If my dad were alive, he'd join her.

If we're going to bless the old Victorian domestic ideal with a Biblical proof text, then let's sell off all the cathedrals, the churches, the vestments, and the communion ware to finance all those "angels of the household" who will be leaving the workforce and reducing the earning power of most families by half. Landlords certainly won't be lowering rents and employers will not be raising any salaries to make up for the difference.

Posted by: FD Blanchard on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 11:53am GMT

Stephen,
I did not mean to suggest that you made those comments. You criticised John for criticising Fr Ron's posts here. But if you look at this thread, Fr Ron posted a criticism of RIW's and Benedict's supposed view that does not reflect the concerns of Anglo-catholic conservatives with traditional views about women bishops but engages with the male headship concern of evangelical conservatives. Benedict and RIW have been a contributors here for a long time and it is generally known that one is a conservative, traditionalist Anglo-Catholic, the other a Roman Catholic.

In his later criticism of my use of the term Anglo-Catholic Fr Ron then stated that the Anglo-Catholics he knows are not bigoted against women's ordination, implying, I believe, that those who do oppose it are bigoted.

It is that kind of engagement that John was criticising, as well as the less then well tempered replies those comments elicited. And I assumed that when you criticised John and defended Fr Ron, you agreed with the general tenor of this thread so far.
Apologies if I misunderstood that.

I find it interesting that you say that not all of the opponents of WB who post here would agree with me that a very amicable and inclusive solution is in the offing.

That may well be true, although Benedict and Clive have both expressed a level of approval in earlier threads, as has primroseleague and (if memory serves me right), Veuster.

Not every individual will agree, of course! But it doesn't matter.
What matters is what the various lobby groups believe because they and those who ultimately vote on the proposals have more influence than we who just comment here do.
So far, the reception of the proposals has been encouraging, would you not say?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 12:03pm GMT

FD Blanchard, I don't think anything I said for a moment implied women shouldn't have careers. The passage refers to the symbiotic relationship between husband and wife and Christ and Church, and how therefore priesthood pertains particularly to men.

Posted by: Barrie on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 3:31pm GMT

Re your misapplication of Ephesians 5 I can only add, Barrie, that if the public vocation of men in the Church is to represent Christ as priest, clearly men do not belong in the pews at all.

Posted by: Helen on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 5:16pm GMT

I take Erika's point that, generally-speaking, those A.C.s who object to Women's Ordination are worried on grounds of ontology; whereas Con/Evos object on grounds of headship. To my mind, their objections are both militating against the fact that the Church of England has, officially, long considered women fit to be ordained. That is the basis of my arguments: the inconsistency of entertaining both juxtaposed doctrinal positions in the same Church.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 6 December 2013 at 11:32pm GMT

"symbiotic relationship between husband and wife and Christ and Church, and how therefore priesthood pertains particularly to men"

You're making a circular argument, Barrie. If there's not a "symbiotic relationship between husband and wife and Christ and Church", then your male-only priesthood argument doesn't follow. But then you ascribe defects in "femininity" for problems in the Church.

It's all a closed system of "Do as I, Barrie, say" . . . ***projected into*** the Bible. Thanks, but no thanks. I'm sticking w/ the leadership of the Holy Spirit (as I prayerfully discern via Scripture, Tradition and Reason, of course!)

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 8 December 2013 at 7:42am GMT

Father Ron, the C of E has always claimed itself to be a broad church occupying the via media which inevitably means that, yes, the juxtaposition of opposing views on doctrine IS possible. It would appear from your offerings that the Anglican Church in New Zealand is not the same. Pity!

Posted by: Benedict on Sunday, 8 December 2013 at 4:24pm GMT

I do not know of anyone in our ACANZP community in New Zealand, Benedict, who has actually refused the sacramental ministry of an ordained woman. Does that answer your question. I cannot imagine being part of an Anglican Church that would entertain such a possibility.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 at 12:51am GMT

Fr Ron, you are part of an Anglican Communion which allows for that possibility. It is not just in the C of E that there are no female bishops, but in other provinces as well.

Posted by: Benedict on Tuesday, 10 December 2013 at 2:13pm GMT

And here, Benedict, is the real point of difference between us. In your last statement you have said that I am part of the world-wide Anglican Communion and that is a fact. Nevertheless, my priestly Vows have been made to ACANZP, which is a separate province of the anglican Communion, with its own polity and constitution. Therefore, my original statement stands: I worship in a Church that is not bigoted about women clergy.

As far as my membership in the Anglican Communion is concerned, I would, for instance, have a real problem sharing with the anti-gay theology of the GAFCON Churches. I am an Anglican, of the Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. I own fealty to my own bishop and archbishops.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 12 December 2013 at 10:44am GMT

"I worship in a Church that is not bigoted about women clergy." and there's that word again... can't help yourself, can you? It must be nice to sit in judgement on others so comfortably.

Posted by: Clive on Thursday, 12 December 2013 at 4:03pm GMT
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