Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Priests ordained by women bishops abroad

The Questions yesterday evening at General Synod included this question and answer:

Mrs Christina Rees (St Albans) asked the Secretary General:
Q Is there any longer a bar on a man or woman who, having been ordained to the priesthood by a bishop who is a woman in another province of the Anglican Communion or in another Church with which the Church of England is in communion, being given to permission to officiate under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967, so as to make them then to be as a priest in the Church of England, given a Licence or Permission to Officiate?

Mr William Fittall replied:
A The decision taken by the Synod this afternoon means that it is now lawful for women to be consecrated as bishops in England. The rationale for the bar which the Archbishops have operated up to now under the 1967 Measure has therefore disappeared. The gender of the consecrating bishop will be no longer relevant when applications for permission to officiate are considered.

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 at 11:18am GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | Opinion

Hooray for this. But what will happen in reverse? How will an ordained minister of the C of E be treated In other parts of the Anglican Communion if he or she has been ordained here by a woman bishop?

Posted by: Anne on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 at 3:15pm GMT

It seems odd to me that some conservatives do not believe that the Holy Ghost can operate through the democratic process. Would they, for discussion's sake, also reject a woman as bishop if she were chosen by lots? Such long, often bitter holding out seems to mean a denial of both the on-going revelation of God AND the ability of the Holy Ghost to operate at all.

Posted by: Nathaniel Brown on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 at 7:12pm GMT

Regarding Anne's question. There will be no problem in ACANZP with accepting the credentials of priests ordained by a woman bishop in the Church if England. We have long had women bishops ordaining clergy in our Church - in common with other Anglican Churches in the Communion who already have women bishops.

I guess each Province will have to enact their own response.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 at 8:00pm GMT

What about women ordained/consecrated as bishops abroad?

Will they be able to function as bishops (i.e. will the Most Reverend Katherine Jefferts Schori be permitted to wear her mitre) in England?

Anne, certainly the orders of English clergy ordained by female bishops will be recognized in the Episcopal Church.

Posted by: Chip Chillington on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 at 11:05pm GMT

Nathaniel, since they wouldn't put a woman's name or token into the lots, it wouldn't happen. And as for the Holy Spirit moving through democracy, just because something is popular, doesn't make it right. There are a lot of democratically chosen things that turn out to be wrong. When the vote last year was against women bishops, was that the Holy Spirit? So this vote was wrong? Or does the Holy Spirit just make stuff up as it goes and changes it's mind all the time? Several of the world's despots were chosen/elected. Both sides claim that any vote that goes the way they want is the Holy Spirit and any vote they don't like was stupid and/or evil people working against God's will. In a world where everyone does what is right for him/herself in the name of liberty/freedom/human rights, etc. how does one tell?

Posted by: Chris H. on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 at 6:24am GMT

"In a world where everyone does what is right for him/herself in the name of liberty/freedom/human rights, etc. how does one tell?"

By assessing whether it does increase liberty, freedom, justice and human rights.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 at 11:06am GMT

Regarding Chip's question on mitres. There have been female bishops from outside the UK who did wear their mitres on C of E soil. Complete coverage here, including links to photos,


Posted by: John B. Chilton on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 at 4:55pm GMT

Chris - I can't fully answer your question, and the points you make are very telling. But if in a prayerful, Christian environment we cannot rely on Grace to lead us - where are we? Of course, drawing lots has good Biblical precedents... But at some point, and I know I am being "impractical," we need to throw ourselves on our faith and let the Spirit do its work.

I have just been through sitting on the selection committee, and vestry, as we searched for a new rector at my church. We began and ended each session with prayer and meditation, and when things got controversial, our chaplain would call a halt for three minutes of meditation and prayer, and we never found a topic that mutual forbearance and charity, in an atmosphere of prayer, couldn't settle. The Spirit in action, I believe.

Posted by: Nathaniel Brown on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 at 7:46pm GMT

Erika, is that all God wants? Personal freedom to do what we want-- not holiness, purity, love, etc.? Those usually come from self-denial rather than self-fulfillment. Christ called us to give up much that our natural selves want, not to feed the self everything it wants. And what does the Spirit want when your opinion of freedom and mine collide or different cultures choose different freedoms?

Posted by: Chris H on Thursday, 20 November 2014 at 2:09am GMT

Nathaniel, your first question didn't mention prayer or forbearance at all. It was dealing with the political(and secular) reality that the law now states that women bishops and priests ordained by women are allowed thanks to a democratic vote, so why don't conservatives just give up? I doubt they think the Holy Spirit can't act, but you probably are right about their opinion of ongoing revelation, since ongoing revelation in TEC has made anything possible/acceptable, including a bishop who thinks that "... the people in the New Testament stories are as real as the characters in Harry Potter".

Wouldn't mutual forbearance and charity require allowing conservatives to have male bishops, etc.?

Posted by: Chris H. on Thursday, 20 November 2014 at 2:31am GMT

Jesus broke major taboos to heal, teach, and generally hang out with women. Women were the first Witnesses to the Resurrection. One has to prioritize two bits of "Paul" over Jesus to use Scripture as an excuse to exclude women.

Ministering to those who haven't received the Revelation that ALL people are created in the Image of God, and that plenty of women are clearly called to ordained ministry, is fine. Putting unaffirming bishops in positions of responsibility over female clergy is unjust. And CoE should be concerned with the message that seems to their children, boys as well as girls.

How many "conservatives" here have daughters and what do you tell them about discrimination? I was raised in the Greek Orthodox Church, I knew exactly what it meant to be excluded. It didn't make any sense with my experience of God and it was deeply hurtful. So I left as soon as I was able to make those choices. I loved the Greek Church, I loved the people. But sorry, no to exclusion, that is a result of sin, not the inclusive love of God.

Mutual flourishing is a difficult trick, probably impossible. Some girls and female clergy will be unlucky and they won't flourish. And that isn't God's justice.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 21 November 2014 at 7:03pm GMT

"the people in the New Testament stories are as real as the characters in Harry Potter"

Retired Bishop Spong has certainly said some provocative things! Alas, sometimes it does help get to new truths. After all, we're talking about texts and culture that we can barely grasp.

People of the time up through the 19th Century would have taken Scripture metaphorically, it is only more recent times that fundamentalists try to take it literally. Was the Council of Nicea more divinely inspired that CoE's General Synod or TEC's General Convention? I truly doubt it.

Just like the Jewish tradition includes centuries and centuries of discovery and reinterpretation, we Christians also the obligation to discern. And we have much more information now than councils past. I'm also sure that the Holy Spirit, Sophia, Holy Wisdom, has been on the job all this time.

It is disturbing to hear folks imply that Revelation and the movement of the Spirit stopped at exactly the point that justifies their personal inclinations, and will move no further.

There are things we can know. The culture of Jesus time was patriarchal and Jesus broke a number of taboos in treating women like human beings. Biblical injustice seems to refer more to institutional injustice than personal sin. In our individualistic time, people seem content with viewing sin as personal boxes to tick. NEWSFLASH: We Westerners are ALL sinful because we're destroying God's Creation with our over consumption, and our systematic exploitation and oppression of the vulnerable. We personally didn't create the system that produces conflict diamonds and egregious human rights violations in the pursuit of oil, but we live off of its fruits.

WB's and LGBT inclusion is simple justice and CoE should do it. Our Collective Sin is what we need to address. Our Collective Sin is the Theological Imperative of the 21st Century and we MUST stop navel gazing about who's in and who's out…

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 24 November 2014 at 6:25pm GMT

Bravo, Cynthia; well enunciated!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 4 December 2014 at 8:18pm GMT
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.