Monday, 17 February 2014

Forward in Faith: Reference to the Dioceses

Women in the Episcopate: Reference to the Dioceses

The diocesan synods will shortly be voting on the Women in the Episcopate legislation – a draft Measure and a draft Canon.

This legislation forms part of a package which also includes a House of Bishops’ Declaration (containing provisions that will replace Resolutions A and B and the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod) and a Resolution of Disputes Procedure, both of which we warmly welcome.

Only the Measure and the Canon will be the subject of formal voting in the diocesan synods. When legislation is referred to the dioceses because it touches the sacraments of the Church, Forward in Faith believes that synod members should give their votes according to principle and conscience. For members of Forward in Faith that is likely to involve voting against the Measure and the Canon because, for reasons of theological conviction, we cannot endorse the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate. This will be the only opportunity for members of diocesan synods to vote on the principle in accordance with their theological convictions.

We wish to underline that in making this recommendation we are not seeking to hinder progress towards a final resolution of this issue. It is important that this is made clear in diocesan synod debates. We are conscious that at this stage in the process only simple majorities are required.

We were encouraged that, when members of the General Synod voted against the relevant parts of the legislation at the February group of sessions, the fact that they felt obliged to do so as a matter of integrity was widely accepted. We trust that similar understanding will be shown in the diocesan synods.

On behalf of the Council:

The Rt Revd Jonathan Baker Dr Lindsay Newcombe The Revd Ross Northing
Chairman Lay Vice-Chairman Clerical Vice-Chairman

17 February 2014

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 17 February 2014 at 5:09pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

These guys are subtle. I agree very largely with the comment (on some recent thread) of the Revd M Noote (who he?) that the emerging leaders of 'traditionalist' Anglo-Catholicism are a whole different breed from their generally unlamented predecessors. The exception to that judgement was/is Martyn Jarrett, who was honourable.

Posted by: John on Monday, 17 February 2014 at 7:24pm GMT

I hope also that those who said last time round that they wanted women to be bishops, but that the package wasn't good enough, will vote for the current proposals, which have gained wide support. Even amongst those who are opposed to women becoming bishops (or being priests) these proposals are significantly better regarded, even if they will still vote "no" on principle. Some of my friends and colleagues are concerned about the level of compromise entailed in "provision" - I'll be supporting this in my diocese not because it is perfect, but because it is significantly better that what I called a "three-quarters adequate" solution last time round, and I voted for that.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Monday, 17 February 2014 at 7:48pm GMT

"For members of Forward in Faith that is likely to involve voting against the Measure and the Canon because, for reasons of theological conviction, we cannot endorse the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate. "

That is the ultimate in voting in bad faith: they are voting no as a protest vote to salve their own consciences, hoping that others will vote yes in order to protect them from the consequences of the CofE voting again to reject women bishops (which would result in the UK government probably severing links).

One is reminded of the US Presidential election of 2000, in which a load of self-indulgent old hippies voted for Nader to "send a message" to President Gore and got President Bush for their pains, or the Labour Party of the early 1980s which pushed for unachievable ideological purity even at the cost of enabling seventeen years of Tory mis-rule.

It's not hard to make small changes to Neil Kinnock's speech to conference in 1985 and end up with an injunction to Anglicans to behave sensibly.

"I'll tell you what happens with impossible promises. You start with far fetched resolutions. They are then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, and you go through the years sticking to that, out-dated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs, and you end in the grotesque chaos of a Labour council—a Labour council—hiring taxis to scuttle round a city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers. I'm telling you - and you'll listen - you can't play politics with people's jobs and with people's services. The people will not abide posturing."

Posted by: Interested Observer on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 at 5:11pm GMT

I do find it sad that principled abstention is, by implication, being regarded as an unprincipled action. I realise that the desperate campaign to encourage this in the lead up to the 2012 vote may have confused thinking on this, but the possibility of recording an abstention enables those, like FiF members, who cannot bring themselves to vote for a woman as bishop (or indeed, as a priest) to record this without putting at risk the current legislative package. In the end, each individual is responsible for his or her actions and conscience, but it is sad that FiF cannot bring themselves to consider abstention as an act of principle and a reasonable choice. I really hope that if any FiF (or Reform) supporter does take this line in July, they will not be ostracised by their colleagues as a result.

Posted by: Rosalind R on Wednesday, 19 February 2014 at 10:22am GMT
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