Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times that religions tell us who we are and what we need to be.
Symon Hill writes at Ekklesia about Free speech and homophobia.
Savi Hensman writes there about Setting all God’s people free.
Riazat Butt has written for the Guardian about Stanbrook Abbey, the new eco-friendly nunnery.
At Cif belief Alan Wilson wrote about Social networking for the dead.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Exposing the flaws of choice.
Last week, Mark Vernon wrote there about A religion of the head as well as the heart.
WATCH PRESS STATEMENT
Friday, 30th October 2009 – for immediate release
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: STOP THIS CHARADE!
WATCH has a message for the Revision Committee as it meets on Tuesday to continue its task of preparing draft legislation to bring to General Synod in February: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
WATCH has received an unprecedented number of emails from normally quiet and patient members of the Church of England. They have expressed their disbelief at the Revision Committee’s announcement earlier this month that it has decided to prepare legislation for an option the General Synod has already rejected!
Instead of doing what General Synod asked of them, namely drafting simple legislation for women to be allowed to be bishops, with arrangements for those who remain opposed to women’s ordinations to be contained in a statutory Code of Practice, the Revision Committee decided to “provide for certain functions to be vested in Bishops by statute rather than by delegation from the diocesan bishop under a statutory code of practice”.
This would result in a two-tier Episcopate, with every female bishop, and potentially all male bishops who ordain or consecrate women, having their authority diverted on request to another male bishop acceptable to those opposed to women bishops. A senior clergywoman and General Synod member has written of her dismay at the proposals, making the point that for those who want to stay in the Church of England, in spite of their difficulty with women’s ordination, it is precisely this Church they love, not the damaged and divided one that would result from the proposed arrangements. She says, “We can and will make it possible for them to stay…not through rules but through Christian care.”
The Revision Committee’s decision has produced widespread shock among Church members, not to mention disbelief and derision from wider society. People are confused about the role of the Established Church, which exists to serve all in the land and which is supposed to give Christian leadership on matters of ethics and justice. For the Church to be equivocating on the ability or desirability of women to hold positions of leadership is to send out a damaging message about all women, and one which is at odds with the Church’s understanding of humanity.
A clergy woman writes: “How am I supposed to try to explain this sort of mess to my parishioners? It’s acutely embarrassing. I want to grow the Church, not bring it into disrepute.”
A lay member writes: “I am really shocked at the inhumanity of this latest backward step.”
Another writes: “I am appalled at this dreadful idea which is unspeakable in its implications of the second-class nature of women in general. “
Other messages include comments like “unacceptable” “idiocy” “highly insulting” “tragic” with one clergywoman describing the revision process as a “charade.”
WATCH is asking the Revision Committee to think again and bring the legislation it was asked to bring to the next Synod.
Christina Rees, WATCH Chair said the outcry was unprecedented. “I have never before witnessed such outrage and anger. Most people in our Church do not want to distinguish in law between male and female bishops. People are interested in bishops, whether male or female, who have a heart for the priests and people in their dioceses. They do not want to see the historic Episcopate of the Church of England destroyed in order to appease less than 2% of clergy who do not believe women should be ordained. In the light of the overwhelming will of the Church, tested repeatedly, the Revision Committee needs to think again and prepare the legislation that General Synod has asked for – without any further delay.”
Christina Rees Tel: 01763-848-822 Email: Christina@MediaMaxima.com
Revd Dr Miranda Thelfall-Holmes Tel: 07981–459-479
Sally Barnes Tel: 020–8731–9860 or 07759–343-335
Timeline on women’s ordination in the Church of England
1975 General Synod (GS) agrees there are ‘no fundamental objections’ to ordaining women to the priesthood
1978 GS debates ordaining women as deacons, priests and bishops and wins overall majority but vote is taken by Houses and it falls in House of Clergy
1986 GS votes for women to be allowed to be deacons – the first of the three historic orders
1987 First female deacons ordained
1992 GS votes for women to be allowed to be priests
1994 1,500 female deacons ordained as priests
2000 GS asks House of Bishops to “initiate further theological study on the episcopate, focussing on the issues that need to be addressed in preparation for the debate on women in the episcopate in the Church of England” (Rochester Commission – House of Bishops’ Working Party on Women in the Episcopate established.)
2004 Publication of Rochester Commission Report
2005 GS (Feb) debates Rochester Commission Report
2005 GS (July) votes to start process of removing legal obstacles to having women as bishops (The Bishops of Guildford and Gloucester are asked to start the process)
2006 (Jan) Guildford and Gloucester Report published
2006 GS (July) agrees that having women as bishops is ‘consonant with the faith of the Church’. Legislative drafting group set up to prepare the draft measure and amending canon necessary to remove the legal obstacles to the consecration of women as bishops
2007 (no consideration in GS)
2008 GS (July) Report of Legislative Group debated and sent back to be completed. GS votes to “affirm its view that special arrangements be available, within the existing structures of the Church of England, for those who as a matter of theological conviction will not be able to receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests” and “affirm that these should be contained in a national code of practice to which all concerned would be required to have regard.” GS asks the Revision Committee to prepare the draft measure and code of practice.
2009 GS (Feb) Legislative Drafting Group final report considered and the legal provisions sent for revision in committee
2009 Revision Committee (8th October) decides to reject arrangements in a Code of Practice and to prepare legislation with statutory provision.
Colin Coward reports: Anglican (and other) responses (and none) to Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.
You would have expected the Anglican Church in Uganda, those responsible for implementing Anglican Communion policy and those with supportive links to Uganda to have issued strong statements condemning the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Lesbian and gay Ugandans now face the very real danger of being subjected to draconian legislation and more intense public vilification. Changing Attitude is in contact with a number of lesbian and gay Ugandan Anglicans who are terrified by the prospect.
On behalf of Inclusive Church and Changing Attitude, Giles Goddard joined me in writing to the Archbishops of Canterbury, York and Uganda and the bishops of Bristol, Sodor and Man and Winchester, the three English dioceses linked to Uganda. The letters have just been posted so no replies have yet been received.
We reminded them that Lambeth 1988 passed resolution 33:3b) urging the church to speak out against capital punishment and Lambeth 1998 1:10 committed the Communion to “listen pastorally to the experience of homosexual persons and … to assure them that they are loved by God…” and to “minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn the irrational fear of homosexuals…”.
We urged the Primate of Uganda to speak out against the proposed legislation, to argue for the protection of lesbian and gay people in Uganda and respond faithfully to the commitments made by the Lambeth Conference.
Archbishops and Bishops have been devastatingly silent so far. Last Friday we emailed the leadership teams of Fulcrum, Reform, Anglican Mainstream and the Church Society. asking them if they would join Changing Attitude and Inclusive Church in signing an open letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury, York and Uganda and the Bishops of Guildford, Winchester and Sodor and Man about the proposed anti-homosexual legislation. We hoped that despite our differences we are all committed to oppose anything which further criminalizes LGBT people or puts them at risk of violence rather than legislating for their protection. We did not receive a single reply from the 40 people emailed…
The Fulcrum discussion on this topic can be found here.
Background information is available at various sites:
Box Turtle Bulletin The Text of Uganda’s Proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Amnesty International USA Uganda’s Proposed ‘Anti-Homosexuality’ Law Threatens Human Rights, Say International Organizations or another copy at Human Rights Watch Uganda: ‘Anti-Homosexuality’ Bill Threatens Liberties and Human Rights Defenders
And the latest news report, from the Uganda Daily Monitor: Uganda’s toothless battle on gays.
The Church Times carries a report on this, written by me, and headlined Same-sex marriage approved.
THE Kyrkomötet (General Synod) of the Church of Sweden approved a recommendation that the Swedish Church should conduct weddings in church for both heterosexual and same-sex couples last week. The marriage liturgy will be amended slightly to reflect this.
The changes will take effect from Sunday 1 November. No individual cleric will be obliged to perform such a service, but every parish will be required to make provision for the liturgy, and to use visiting priests if necessary. The voting was 176 in favour with 62 against, and 11 abstentions…
The Church of Sweden has published a PDF file in English, containing several documents explaining the background leading up to this decision. You can find it here: Information on a possible decision regarding same-sex marriages.
The Church Times Question of the Week is related to this topic.
Earlier reports are here.
Updated again Friday evening
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Anglicans appeal ruling on property division.
A group of 55 congregations that split last year from the Episcopal Church announced today that they will appeal a court ruling that awarded all centrally held diocesan assets to the 27 congregations that remained in the Episcopal Church.
“We believe we have to make this stand,” said the Rev. Jonathan Millard, rector of Church of the Ascension in Oakland and chair of the Alliance for an Anglican Future.
The group also announced that it was changing its name to The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. It was formally known as the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (Anglican). The group they split from is known as the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States…
The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh published a press release ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH RESPONDS TO COURT RULING at a new website, http://pittsburghanglican.org although the group’s website at http://www.pitanglican.org remains.
Today, we are pleased to introduce ourselves as The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. Previously known as The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, our diocese is comprised of fifty-five congregations; 51 local congregations with a very long record of service to Pittsburgh area communities (in eleven southwestern Pennsylvania counties), and 4 congregations beyond the immediate region. We were the majority (67%) on the vote to withdraw from the Episcopal Church and are the majority now: 55 Anglican Church congregations as compared to 27 Episcopal Church congregations.
Our purpose in asking you here today is to announce our intention to appeal the recent ruling of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. The court ruled that a minority of our former parishes, which now claim to be a diocese affiliated with the Episcopal Church, shall hold and administer all diocesan assets. The appeal will be filed once the court issues a final directing the transfer of all diocesan property to this minority group…
The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued a press release, Statement Concerning Announced Intent to Appeal Ruling in Diocesan Assets Case.
We are disappointed that the former leaders of this diocese, who now call themselves the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, have decided to appeal Judge Joseph James’ October 6, 2009, ruling that a 2005 settlement agreement prevents those former leaders from continuing to hold and administer the diocesan assets.
Judge James found that the 2005 Stipulation and Order – that both sides agreed to before those former leaders left the Episcopal Church – clearly and unambiguously requires that the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States be the rightful trustee of those assets.
We stand ready to defend our position and the Court’s ruling on appeal. At the same time, we will continue to cooperate in the orderly transition of diocesan property, and when the time is right, to engage in a dialogue on other issues between us that still need to be resolved.
ENS has a lengthy report, reviewing the background, see PITTSBURGH: Group plans to appeal diocesan property ruling by Mary Frances Schjonberg.
The Living Church has a report by Doug LeBlanc Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh to Leave Longtime Office.
ENI via Episcopal Life reported earlier on Bishop supports jail for homosexuals, opposes death.
An Anglican church leader in Uganda has rejected proposals that homosexuals should face the death penalty for sexual assault in some cases, but says that prison terms should remain as a deterrent.
“We want to state categorically that homosexuality is unacceptable,” Anglican Bishop Stanley Ntagali of Masindi-Kitara diocese told Ecumenical News International in an interview…
And here is an earlier report from last August, Anglican leaders support president’s speech on homosexuality.
Today Bishop Pierre Whalon asks What would Bishop Hannington say?
Thousands of Ugandan Christians have died as witnesses (martyrs, in Greek) to the Good News of Jesus Christ, Lord of all and Savior of humanity. Today we remember dozens of Anglican martyrs, beginning with a missionary Bishop, James Hannington…
Today, that country is considering a law that would make homosexuality a serious crime, even in some cases a capital crime. What would the Martyrs of Uganda say? It is unimaginable that they who paid the ultimate price for their faith would demand that gay people be executed. Quite the contrary!
The Anglican Church of Uganda should strenuously oppose this bill, in conformity with the clear, repeated teachings of the Lambeth Conferences (1978, 1988, 1998 — see also the 1998 report — hard to find, scroll down — and 2008, see section H) that homosexuals are beloved of God and should be allowed to be members of the Church. At least one Ugandan bishop has spoken out against the proposed imposition of the death penalty so far…
Foreign Policy has published Uganda’s Outrageous New Sex Law by Michael Wilkerson.
…Why homosexuality has become such an explosive issue in Uganda has to do, in part, with the complex set of social issues wrapped up in it. These include the erosion of the nuclear family, the influx of global culture, and an epidemic of a HIV/AIDS, whose treatment forces individuals and families to break every social taboo. Most importantly, Ugandans are extremely religious, with more than 94 percent saying religion was important in their lives in a 2008 survey by Afrobarometer. And from the country’s varied branches of Christianity to its sizable Muslim community, no one preaches tolerance of gay rights…
PRA has a press release, Political Research Associates Calls on Rick Warren to Denounce Proposed Antigay Law in Uganda.
U.S. Rightwing Evangelicals Stoke Antigay Hatred in Africa
In March 2008, U.S. evangelical leader Rick Warren told Ugandans that homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right. One year later, U.S. conservative evangelical and Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively (a resident of Massachusetts) addressed the Family Life Network and Ugandan members of Parliament in March 2009, saying legalizing homosexuality is akin to legalizing “the molestation of children or having sex with animals.”
That March meeting launched a campaign that has led directly to today, when the Ugandan legislature is debating an anti-gay bill that would lead to life imprisonment for gay sex, and death for those having same sex relations if they are HIV positive or having sex with someone under 18. Heterosexuals would have no such restrictions. This law, which would also criminalize any human rights organizing for LGBT rights, could be passed any day.
Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia who just completed a report for Political Research Associates on the influence of U.S. evangelicals on African gay politics calls on Rick Warren to denounce the antigay legislation proposed in Uganda and challenge his friends like Archbishop Henry Orombi and Pastor Martin Sempa who are leading the charge…
Savi Hensman has written at Cif belief about A new homophobic law in Uganda. Some extracts below. Read the whole article for links to source documents.
Every day millions of Christians pray to be spared from being put to the test. For some in Uganda, where an anti-homosexuality bill (pdf) is being put to parliament, this prayer may be especially deeply felt. This extremely unpleasant proposed law targets not only lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people but also human rights and Aids prevention activists and people in positions of trust. While some in the church are backing the bill, other Christians face a challenge to the principles at the heart of their faith…
The bill is a particular challenge for Christians because clergy have helped to whip up fear and hatred and undermine respect for human rights. Nicodemus Okille, Dean of the Province of Uganda, in his Christmas sermon in 2007 as Bishop of Bukedi, reportedly condemned advocates of gay rights as having no place in the kingdom of God. “The team of homosexuals is very rich,” claimed Archbishop Henry Orombi in 2008. “They have money and will do whatever it takes to make sure that this vice penetrates Africa. We have to stand out and say no to them.” However Anglican Bishop Stanley Ntagali of Masindi-Kitara diocese has recently spoken out against the death penalty for homosexuality, while supporting imprisonment….
…Anglican leaders such as the Archbishop of Canterbury have avoided challenging their Ugandan associates’ complicity in anti-LGBT abuses while soundly condemning Anglican provinces moving towards equality for all.
Sixty years ago, the Anglican Communion was at the forefront of the drive for universal human rights. Though commitment to rights for all, including LGBT people, has been repeatedly endorsed at international gatherings, and many churches are passionately committed, it now tends to be referred to in vague terms by top leaders. But they will have to decide how to respond to this legislation, especially since their own Ugandan-born clergy and parishioners will be affected. What they do, or fail to do, will affect their ability to witness to a God who does not abandon the abused and exploited. These are testing times.
Cif belief has published The Vatican thirst for power divides Christianity and damages Catholicism by Hans Küng
The astonishing efforts to lure away Anglican priests show that Pope Benedict is set on restoring the Roman imperium…
In the Sunday Times David Starkey weighed in with The Pope wants his church back.
In the Sunday Independent Peter Stanford asked After 500 years, has the Pope outfoxed the Archbishop?
In the New York Times A.N.Wilson wrote Rock of Ages, Cleft by the Pope.
In the Telegraph George Pitcher says Sex is a stumbling block for Anglicans on the road to Rome.
Global South Anglican has published A Pastoral Exhortation to the Faithful in the Anglican Communion.
This is signed by:
Global South Primates Steering Committee:
Chairman: The Most Revd Peter J. Akinola, Nigeria
Vice-Chairman: The Most Revd Emmanuel Kolini, Rwanda
General Secretary: The Most Revd John Chew, Southeast Asia
Treasurer: The Most Revd Mouneer Anis, Jerusalem and the Middle East.
The Most Revd Stephen Than Myint Oo, Myanmar
Bishop Albert Chama, Dean of Central Africa
The text is reproduced in full below the fold.
1. We, under-shepherds of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of Jesus Christ, bring greetings to the faithful in the Anglican Communion. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. For in his great love for us, we are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit (Ephesians 2: 19-22).
2. The Vatican announcement on Apostolic Constitution (Note of The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church) gives us an occasion in making the following pastoral exhortation.
3. We welcome Pope Benedict XVI’s stance on the common biblical teaching on human sexuality, and the commitment to continuing ecumenical dialogue.
4. At the same time we believe that the proposed Anglican Covenant sets the necessary parameters in safeguarding the catholic and apostolic faith and order of the Communion. It gives Anglican churches worldwide a clear and principled way forward in pursuing God’s divine purposes together in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of Jesus Christ. We urge churches in the Communion to actively work together towards a speedy adoption of the Covenant.
5. In God’s gracious purposes the Anglican Communion has moved beyond the historical beginnings and expressions of English Christianity into a worldwide Communion, of which the Church of England is a constitutive part. In view of the global nature of the Communion, matters of faith and order would inevitably have serious ramifications for the continuing well-being and coherence of the Communion as a whole, and not only for Provinces of the British Isles and The Episcopal Church in the USA. We urge the Archbishop of Canterbury to work in close collegial consultation with fellow Primates in the Communion, act decisively on already agreed measures in the Primates’ Meetings, and exercise effective leadership in nourishing the flock under our charge, so that none would be left wandering and bereft of spiritual oversight.
6. As Primates of the Communion and guardians of the catholic and apostolic faith and order, we stand in communion with our fellow bishops, clergy and laity who are steadfast in the biblical teaching against the ordination of openly homosexual clergy, the consecration of such to the episcopate, and the blessing of homosexual partnerships. We also urge them, as fellow Anglicans, to continue to stand firm with us in cherishing the Anglican heritage, in pursuing a common vocation, in expressing our unity and common life, and in maintaining our covenanted life together.
7. In the closing words of the Anglican Covenant: With joy and with firm resolve, we offer ourselves for fruitful service and binding ourselves more closely in the truth and love of Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be glory for ever. Amen.
“Now may the God of Peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13.20, 21)
The Observer has published a full-page article by Diarmaid MacCulloch which has been headlined Pope Benedict opens new front in battle for the soul of two churches.
…There has been a great deal of excited talk about this move: one hysterical front-page headline in the Times proclaimed that 400,000 Anglicans were poised to head for the Tiber. This turns out to be the self-estimated membership of a faction calling itself the Traditional Anglican Communion.
Equally extravagant claims that this could be the end of the Protestant Reformation need to be taken with several fontfuls of salt. It is in the interests of various discontented groups on the margins of Anglicanism to talk up the significance of the latest piece of papal theatre, while ignoring its wider context.
This much broader struggle within Christianity at first sight appears to be about sex. Throughout the world, the most easily heard tone in religion (not just Christianity) is of a generally angry conservatism. Why? I hazard that the anger centres on a profound shift in gender roles traditionally given a religious significance and validated by religious traditions.
The conservative backlash embodies the hurt of heterosexual men (or those who would like to pass for being heterosexual men) at cultural shifts which have generally threatened to marginalise them and deprive them of dignity, hegemony or even much usefulness. What they notice amid their hurt is that the sacred texts generally back them in their assumptions, and they therefore assert the authority of sacred scripture…
By coincidence, the same issue has a review by Christina Odone of A History of Christianity by Diarmaid MacCulloch.
Updated Sunday evening
Forward in Faith UK has been holding its annual assembly this weekend, Friday and Saturday, 23 and 24 October. There are podcasts of a number of the addresses at the assembly on FiF’s website here.
Reporting on the assembly Jonathan Wynne-Jones in the Telegraph writes that Senior Anglican bishop reveals he is ready to convert to Roman Catholicism.
The Rt Rev John Hind, the Bishop of Chichester, has announced he is considering becoming a Roman Catholic in a move that could spark an exodus of clergy.
The BBC reports this as Anglican group mulls Rome switch.
Here are some blog posts on the assembly.
Reflections on the Forward in Faith National Assembly, Day One
Early Anglican Responses
Back from FiF National Assembly
The Best Speeches of the FiF Assembly
The Bishop of Chichester has issued this statement:
Statement from the Bishop of Chichester, the Right Revd. John Hind
October 25, 2009
An article has been published today in the Sunday Telegraph asserting that I have announced that I am about to become a Roman Catholic.
This is not the case.
The report appears to come from a misunderstanding of an answer I gave to questions from the floor at the recent ‘Forward in Faith’ assembly, at which I spoke.
A questioner had asked about the Papal condemnation of Anglican Orders. I responded by speaking about the subtlety of the position. I referred to the moment when it seemed as if the issue of how the Roman Catholic Church sees Anglican orders might be reopened but how the ordination of women to the priesthood and other developments have now made that impossible.
In the light of that I stated that in the event of union with the Roman Catholic Church I would be willing to receive re-ordination into the Roman Catholic priesthood but that I would not be willing to deny the priesthood I have exercised hitherto.
This is clearly a contentious and complex issue and one where it is easy to misunderstand the nuances of the debate. I think I made my position clear in my address at the Forward in Faith assembly. The text is available below and a podcast may be found on the Forward in Faith website.
+ John Cicestr:
Press release from the Society of Catholic Priests and Affirming Catholicism
Saturday, 24 October 2009
NOT ALL CATHOLICS ARE TRADITIONALISTS
The current debate about the implications of the offer made by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to make provision for Anglicans who wish to join the Roman Catholic Church ignores one important fact. The majority of catholics within the church are in favour of women’s ministry and wish to remain loyal to the Anglican tradition within the Anglican Communion.
The Society of Catholic Priests, which has over 500 members in this country and is about to establish chapters in the American Episcopal Church and in Australia, and Affirming Catholicism which draws together clergy and laity in this country and throughout the Anglican Communion, are committed to the catholic nature and teaching of the Church of England. We are actively working to see women ordained to the episcopate and hold that this is entirely consistent with the teaching of the church and the historic nature of our orders. We are also convinced that the issues of human sexuality should not be ones that divide the church.
To suggest that the departure from the Church of England of those who hold more conservative views will remove the catholic wing and tradition from the church is entirely wrong. Churches and parishes which have a catholic tradition and are served by priests, both male and female, are growing and flourishing and look forward to the future with enthusiasm.
We welcome the offer made by the Pope to those of our brothers and sisters who no longer feel that the Anglican Communion is their spiritual home. We hope that this will not impede swift progress in the Church of England towards the ordination of the first women bishops in this land.
Fr Andrew Nunn
The Society of Catholic Priests
Fr Jonathan Clark
Geoffrey Rowell in a Credo column in the Times How Albania was surprised by joy - “There is much to learn from this country where religion was abolished, about martyrdom and faithful witness.”
Theo Hobson writes a Comment is free article in The Guardian God and despair - “Once you confront the reality of despair, the need for faith becomes evident.”
Andrew Brown also writes a Comment is free article in The Guardian St Peter and the miserable worms - “Perhaps the Anglican communion has been broken for very much longer than anyone will admit.”
Vicki Woods in the Telegraph The Queen will stand up to Pope Benedict - “When the Pontiff visits Britain next year he will meet his match.”
Ruth Gledhill writes in the Times Lord Carey ‘appalled’ by Pope’s treatment of Dr Rowan Williams.
Andrew Alderson writes in the Telegraph Lord Carey: Pope should not woo disaffected Anglicans.
Robert Pigott writes for the BBC Anglicans ponder Rome invitation.
Stephen Bates writes in The Guardian’s Comment is Free Backwards in faith - “Disgruntled members of the Church of England should remember that the road to Rome is rocky.”
Frank Skinner writes in the Times My Church is not a safe haven for bigots - “The road to truth should draw people to Catholicism, not its problematic moral cul-de-sacs.”
Robert Mickens and Elena Curti write in The Tablet New path to Rome - “As many as half a million Anglicans could take advantage of the new canonical structure announced by the Vatican this week allowing them into communion with the Catholic Church. But what form will such a new grouping take?”
Robert Mickens also writes in The Tablet Vatican opens door to groups of conservative Anglicans.
From Uganda, we have ‘Pope’s offer not vital for Africa’ - Orombi.
Religious Intelligence has two reports, Vatican opens the doors to Anglican traditionalists and also Rome converts urged to decide by February 22.
From the first of these:
The Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Rev Christopher Hill, also appeared at the announcement. He said: “I don’t actually anticipate vast numbers of my clergy wishing to take up this option.
“As an Anglican I welcome any pastoral outreach to those who find they can no longer remain within the Churches of the Anglican Communion. I’d much rather they came into Communion with the Roman Catholic Church than set up their own.”
And from the second:
Bishop Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop in Europe, said that the combined statement issued by the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was a historic statement which was highly significant.
“I think this should be seen as a much wider journey into unity,” he said. “We are so much further down the road into unity than people even 40 years ago would have believed. However, at the same time, there are new issues which have come up which were not there in the earlier days.”
He added: “Of course there are doctrinal differences which remain and again I would want to see the apostolic constitution.”
Also, Bishop David Hamid, Suffragan in Europe wrote on his blog, Apostolic Constitution: Ecumenical Reflections.
…as the former Anglican co-secretary of our international bilateral dialogue, ARCIC (the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission) as well as a consultant to the more recent IARCCUM Commission (International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on Mission and Unity) I offer below some initial reflections on the ecumenical implications of the announcement on 20 October from the Vatican.
Lord Carey writes for the Washington Post’s On Belief website, Cause for sadness and celebration.
Four items available today:
Be Anglicans with us, Rome tells traditionalists by Bill Bowder (Scroll to the bottom for a sidebar of Q and A)
Traditionalists “warmly welcome” Vatican move by Pat Ashworth and Bill Bowder
Leader: On the road to Rome
…For Anglicanism to work in the absence of authoritarian sanctions requires tolerance of, and respect for, the many ways in which believers interpret the central tenets of Christianity. Without this tolerance, as history has shown repeatedly, separations are hard to avoid. Given the drift towards interrogation and confrontation within the Communion (the production of the Anglican Covenant is part of this process), the hierarchy has rejected quasi-separations — parallel jurisdictions, alternative oversight, and the like. But suddenly this proposal is on the table, and from a Church that supposedly brooks no interference with its pattern of authority. The ordinariates in question appear to be nothing less than parallel jurisdictions set up to protect the integrity of the majority as well as the minority, but this time over the issue of priestly celibacy rather than women bishops…
And, an analysis by Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford: Look at what it says on the box.
…What does the Apostolic Constitution, about to be finalised, entail? What is a “Personal Ordinariate” for former Anglicans? What is clear is that it won’t be all that such individuals or groups have been looking for. It is not a diocese or Anglican-rite Church in communion with Rome.
A Personal Ordinariate is a pastoral provision in juridical form which will allow some continuing Anglican heritage to be expressed. But it is what it says on the box: it is personal, that is to say, for a network of individuals and groups rather than the norm of a territorial diocese…
This analysis is also available on the Church of England website. See Commentary on ‘Personal Ordinariates’ by the Rt Revd Christopher Hill.
Updated again Monday
From The Local the English language news website in Sweden, comes this report:
The Synod of the Lutheran Church of Sweden has come down in favour of church weddings for homosexuals in a vote held on Thursday morning.
The decision, which is based on a proposal from the church’s governing board, means that the Church of Sweden will conduct wedding ceremonies for both heterosexual and homosexual couples.
The proposal was approved by 176 of 249 voting members…
Our own correspondent reports the vote was 176 Ayes, 62 Noes, 11 Abstentions.
Swedish Radio has a more detailed report at Church Says Yes to Gay Weddings.
Independent Swedish church agrees to conduct gay weddings by Ilze Filks of Reuters
Religious Intelligence George Conger Sweden church allows gay weddings
Bishop David Hamid has written about this on his blog, Church of Sweden Approves Marriage of Same Sex Couples.
Andrew Brown has written at Cif belief Swedish church not so gay-friendly.
ENS has publised a report from ENI by Trevor Grundy and Fredrick Nzwili Lutheran decision on same-sex marriage draws flak from Africa, England.
The Guardian has a leader article today, Church of England: Imperial Rome.
“It is not an act of aggression,” the Archbishop of Canterbury insisted as the Vatican’s metaphorical tanks drew up outside Lambeth Palace on Tuesday. Not even his admirers quite believed him…
The Telegraph has a news report by Damian Thompson The Vatican opens its arms to Anglicans – and tightens its grip.
The Pope’s dramatic invitation to disaffected Anglicans will have a huge impact…
And also, Archbishop Vincent Nichols welcomes Anglican convert plan as an ‘opportunity’ by Stephen Adams.
The Times has 400,000 former Anglicans worldwide seek immediate unity with Rome by Ruth Gledhill and others and also Priests in London and Yorkshire say they are tempted to join Rome and Converts may choke on raw meat of Catholicism by Libby Purves.
(Purves) The welcoming of Anglican clergy into the Catholic Church highlights the differences, and difficulties, of approach. Attack is the best form of defence. On the eve of another damning report on clerical abuse and cover-up in Ireland, that seems to be Pope Benedict’s tactic…
The Times also has A catholic approach to weirdos is fine with me by Matthew Parris.
The Independent has The Big Question: Why is the Catholic church offering a home to congregations of Anglicans? by Paul Vallely.
Alan Wilson wrote Small Earthquake in Rome?
Bosco Peters wrote End of Anglican Communion?
Kendall Harmon wrote Comments on the Latest Move from Rome.
More to follow, probably.
Updated again Thursday morning
The Anglican Church in North America has posted this press release from Archbishop Robert Duncan.
CANA has this response from Bishop Martyn Minns Vatican Move Recognizes Reality of Anglican Divide.
Bishop Jack Iker in Fort Worth has Response to Vatican announcement of “personal ordinariates” for Anglicans available here.
Reform in the UK has Reform Initial Response To ‘Apostolic Constitution’ Announcement.
Affirming Catholicism has issued this:
Affirming Catholicism shares the desire of all Christians, and especially Catholic Christians, for the full and visible unity of the Church of Jesus Christ. We also value our Anglican tradition as one which has its own distinctive contribution to make to the life of the whole Church, a gift of the Spirit which is an important part of the richness of God’s work in the world.
We recognise that Pope Benedict’s announcement may be of great comfort to some who combine deep attachment to Anglican patterns of worship with acceptance of the claims of the Roman Catholic Church as regards doctrine and church order. We affirm, though, that there is an authentically Catholic tradition within Anglicanism which seeks unity through a process of mutual learning. In such a process, each church will have something to give and to receive at every level of its life.
It is for that unity that we continue to pray.
The Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough have this statement.
The Society of the Holy Cross has issued a statement, see here, or in the comments below.
The Traditional Anglican Communion, which is probably the main beneficiary of this development, has issued this statement.
Updated again Wednesday evening
In the Guardian Riazat Butt and John Hooper have Pope opens gates to Anglicans disaffected over women clergy.
In The Times Ruth Gledhill has Pope’s gambit could see 1,000 quit Church of England. And also Desperate bishops invited Rome to park its tanks on Archbishop’s lawn.
Tim Bradshaw writes Pope’s move will harm dialogue and weaken Church of England.
Edwin Barnes writes that The Catholic Church offers us a warm welcome.
And yesterday there was also Vatican plan to allow Anglican groups to convert dates back a decade.
In the Telegraph there is a leader comment, Half way to Rome.
The Times also has Q&A: what happens to the Catholic Church and Church of England after Rome decision? by Ruth Gledhill.
And Ruth has a further blog entry, headed Will Michael Nazir-Ali go to Rome? which includes his statement in response to the Vatican.
Washington Post Vatican fishing for disgruntled Anglicans
The Times Ruth Gledhill Hundreds of Anglican clergy to meet after Vatican offer.
And in tomorrow’s paper, 400,000 former Anglicans worldwide seek immediate unity with Rome.
Updated Tuesday lunchtime, afternoon and evening
In a joint statement issued today the Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury have said
Today’s announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church.
Pope Benedict XVI has approved, within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.
There is also a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury to “the Bishops of the Church of England, and the members of the Primates Meeting of the Anglican Communion”.
Read the full statement and the letter below the fold.
Damian Thompson in the Telegraph reports this as Pope announces plans for Anglicans to convert en masse.
Also in the Telegraph George Pitcher has Pope throws a lifeline to the Church of England for women bishops.
Yet again in the Telegraph Martin Beckford and Nick Squires have Pope Benedict XVI paves way for thousands of disaffected Anglicans to cross over to Rome.
Reuters has Pope approves document on Anglicans joining church.
Austen Ivereigh in America has Rome offers new home to Anglican trads.
Ruth Gledhill in her Times blog has Pope unity move ‘not act of proselytism or aggression’ says Rowan Williams. This includes the text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter, and also a letter from the Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough (two of the “flying bishops”).
Update - Ruth Gledhill has updated her blog with video and audio from this morning’s press conference.
Ruth Gledhill and Richard Owen have the Times news article on this story: Vatican moves to poach traditional Anglicans.
Forward in Faith UK has issued a brief statement FiF reacts to Statement from Rome.
At The Guardian Andrew Brown writes in his blog about The end of the Anglican Communion.
Jim Naughton at Espicopal Café writes Vatican offers home to traditional Anglicans
Catholic blogger Rocco Palmo at Whispers in the Loggia writes For Canterbury Exiles, Rome Builds a Bridge.
Episcopal Life Online has Pope announces special provisions to accept former Anglicans in Roman Catholic Church.
The US Episcopal church has issued this statement From The Episcopal Church on the recent statement from the Vatican.
The Catholic Church in England and Wales also has the statement on its website along with a Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) press release: Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church.
There is a longer version of the CDF press release here.
Joint Statement by The Archbishop of Westminster and The Archbishop of Canterbury
Tuesday 20 October 2009
Today’s announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church.
Pope Benedict XVI has approved, within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.
The announcement of this Apostolic Constitution brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution.
The Apostolic Constitution is further recognition of the substantial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality between the Catholic Church and the Anglican tradition. Without the dialogues of the past forty years, this recognition would not have been possible, nor would hopes for full visible unity have been nurtured. In this sense, this Apostolic Constitution is one consequence of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.
The on-going official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion provides the basis for our continuing cooperation. The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) agreements make clear the path we will follow together.
With God’s grace and prayer we are determined that our on-going mutual commitment and consultation on these and other matters should continue to be strengthened. Locally, in the spirit of IARCCUM, we look forward to building on the pattern of shared meetings between the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Church of England’s House of Bishops with a focus on our common mission. Joint days of reflection and prayer were begun in Leeds in 2006 and continued in Lambeth in 2008, and further meetings are in preparation. This close cooperation will continue as we grow together in unity and mission, in witness to the Gospel in our country, and in the Church at large.
+ Vincent + Rowan
To the Bishops of the Church of England, and
the members of the Primates Meeting of the Anglican Communion
20 October 2009
The Vatican has announced today that Pope Benedict XVI has approved an ‘Apostolic Constitution’ (a formal papal decree) which will make some provision for groups of Anglicans (whether strictly members of continuing Anglican bodies or currently members of the Communion) who wish to be received into communion with the See of Rome in such a way that they can retain aspects of Anglican liturgical and spiritual tradition.
I am sorry that there has been no opportunity to alert you earlier to this; I was informed of the planned announcement at a very late stage, and we await the text of the Apostolic Constitution itself and its code of practice in the coming weeks. But I thought I should let you know the main points of the response I am making in our local English context – in full consultation with Roman Catholic bishops in England and Wales – in the hope of avoiding any confusion or misrepresentation. I attach a copy of the Joint Statement that I agreed to make alongside the Archbishop of Westminster, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. It can also be found on my website.
It remains to be seen what use will be made of this provision, since it is now up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution; but, in the light of recent discussions with senior officials in the Vatican, I can say that this new possibility is in no sense at all intended to undermine existing relations between our two communions or to be an act of proselytism or aggression. It is described as simply a response to specific enquiries from certain Anglican groups and individuals wishing to find their future within the Roman Catholic Church.
The common heritage of the achievement of the ARCIC agreed statements, and the IARCCUM principles for shared work and witness (in Growing Together in Unity and Mission, 2007), remain the solid ground both for our future co-operation as global communions, and our regional and local growth in common faith and witness. For those who wish to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church in the near future, this announcement will clarify possible options, and we wish them God’s strength and guidance in their discernment. Meanwhile our ecumenical relationships continue on their current cordial basis, regionally and internationally.
+ Rowan Cantuar:
Fulcrum has published this article:
Changing Sexual Orientation and Identity? The APA Report by Andrew Goddard and Glynn Harrison.
This is a discussion of this report:
Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation.
There has been some public debate recently about the BBC Radio 4 morning slot Though for the Day. The BBC Trust will soon respond to various charges made against it by supporters of secularism and humanism.
Nick Baines reported on an event he took part in, at Free thinking, a couple of weeks ago.
Naftali Brawer writes in The Times that There are no easy answers in interfaith dialogue.
Ruth Gledhill writes on Articles of Faith about Gays and flat-earthers: Jack Spong attacks Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury et al.
Gary Wilton wrote in last week’s Church Times that [the Lisbon] Treaty will make the EU more accountable.
John Hall the Dean of Westminster wrote The Abbey has its neighbours round.
Timothy Seidel wrote at Ekklesia Looking at what truly makes for a just peace.
Anna Hartnell wrote at Cif belief about The rise of the religious left.
Pat Ashworth reports for the Church Times on the revision committee’s decision: Synod’s women-bishops committee draws back from code of practice.
SUPPORTERS of women bishops have expressed shock at a decision by the revision committee for the draft legislation not to go further down the route of a statutory code of practice. Traditionalists say that the change of direction proposed does not go far enough…
Scroll down that page for responses from David Stancliffe Bishop of Salisbury and from David Houlding Pro-Prolocutor of the Convocation of Canterbury.
THE news that the revision committee has chosen not to explore the option of the single clause with a statutory code of practice any further, and has gone for “certain functions to be invested in bishops by statute” will strike despair into the hearts of many. What the committee is proposing takes a step back from the position Synod thought it had reached in July 2008.
My concerns are on several levels. First, these proposals appear to institutionalise mistrust in legislation: the opponents of women’s ordination do not trust the bishops to make proper provision. Is that really what we have come to?
Second, it destroys the ecclesiology of the Church of England, making it legitimate to “choose your own bishop”. Are there to be any limits as to the grounds on which you might petition to do this?
Third, it seems wildly impracticable: something very similar, Transferred Episcopal Authority, has already been found wanting, and it must remain doubtful whether such discriminatory legislation would pass parliamentary scrutiny or stand up to challenge by judicial review…
…The Act of Synod, despite its imperfections, has given space to many to flourish and grow. Embracing the principle of “reception”, it provides for extended episcopal care, under the Ordinary. Once a woman is ordained a bishop, there is correspondingly a much higher degree of impairment of communion. We have never had to face this situation before. This is why, I suggest, it is proving so hard for us to get our minds around the new solution required.
The decision last week of the revision committee to provide by means of law for the transfer of episcopal authority is, therefore, a real turning point in helping us reach the decision that will need to be made. Anything by way of code of practice or delegation can only lead to a diminution of a woman’s ministry. To provide for both positions to co-exist alongside one another by statute rules out the possibility of any further wrangling. By creating proper space and the necessary boundaries, the Church is including everyone.
Women in the episcopate remain a contested development in the wider Church, and therefore the principle behind the nature of provision must be inclusion for all. The Archbishop of Canterbury has enunciated this more than once in speeches to the Synod: “the others (whoever they may be) are not going away.” Our task is to hold the Church together for the sake of its mission and to ensure that we live together in the highest degree of communion possible
Giles Fraser writes about it in his column, Let Synod’s ‘yes’ be ‘yes’.
I admit that I have never been a huge fan of the General Synod, even when I was a member. But to see a representative body treated with such contempt ought to make everyone who gives up their time and money to support synodical government wonder why they bother.
In July 2008, the General Synod voted clearly that it wanted women bishops with no small print that made them into half-bishops, and no further institutionalisation of the sexism that keeps them out of the episcopate.
Some did not like this clarity, and sought to protect the consciences of those who are against women bishops by securing legal no-go areas where women in purple would not be welcome. After a comprehensive debate, where all shades of opinion were represented, the Synod said no…
The Church Times leader column is titled Revision committee deserves a hearing.
…Until the committee reveals its deliberations in a final announcement, probably in January, it would be wrong, therefore, to condemn it. It might be wise, though, not to be over-enthusiastic, either. There are several examples where a small group runs ahead of the people who commissioned it, finding agreement where none exists outside. A case in point was the Final Report of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), which was ignored and then rejected by the Vatican. A General Synod that is, in the main, sceptical about any agreement over women bishops can overturn any of the committee’s recommendations. The committee knows this perfectly well, and yet believes, clearly, that its preferred solution is worth fielding. It deserves an opportunity to make its case.
Two letters to the editor on this topic are now available without subscription, see St Thérèse of Lisieux and women bishops.
The annual report of these costs has been published as a 24-page PDF.
Read the press release.
The 2008 office and working costs of bishops in the Church of England are published today. Figures for individual bishops were first published, for the year 2000, in December 2001. Bishops’ office and working costs were previously published as a total figure.
Read the full report.
For reports on previous years, go here.
The Fawcett Society promotes 30 October as Equal Pay Day.
Ekklesia has published an article Women’s dignity and the church’s tainted love by Fran Porter which discusses the relationship between this and the Church of England, including, but not limited to, the issue of women as bishops.
…For those who argue that opposing women bishops is not about the secular discourse of equality but about the theological discourse of faith, the two issues of the gender pay gap and women’s potential inclusion to the episcopate do not speak to each other. Indeed, it may be possible to support the former while opposing the latter.
The Church of England has excluded its own governance and practice from equality legislation by claiming the Section 19 exemption for organised religions in the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act, which already means women clergy (deacons and priests) are not covered by the legal employment protections of that Act.
In particular, a Parochial Parish Council (PCC) can advertise for male clergy only to apply for vacancies of incumbent, curate or non-stipendiary minister and may also ban a woman priest from celebrating the Eucharist within parish boundaries. 
More generally, the language of equality is not a first language for theology or more specifically theological anthropology; Christian understanding of human beings and how they relate to one another is expressed in language of human personhood created in the image of God more than it is through modern sensibilities of equality. Equality is not irrelevant, but it has a derivative value.
Hence, for Christians, the equality that human beings have with each other comes from their commonality in being creatures of the one Creator. The dignity of each human person comes from our being made in the image of God. Similarly, the inalienable rights that human beings possess without distinction, for Christians, are rooted in the understanding of God as Creator who bestows innate worth on humanity.
Yet this framework of personhood that enables those opposed to women bishops (and women priests) to argue that their position is one of theology and faith (Jesus ordained and gave authority only to men) and not one of secular equality or justice , is the same framework in which those who support women’s ordination live and breath…
There have been several reactions to the lecture by Bishop Peter Selby that is reported here.
Mark Harris wrote Bishop Selby tells it like it is: Resist the Anglican Covenant.
Tobias Haller wrote Peter Feeds His Sheep.
Fr Jake wrote The Emergence of the Hidden Wisdom of God’s People.
James Richardson wrote Anglican update: Rowan Williams asked to stand against homophobia.
And Colin Coward has begun a series of posts, starting with these:
Archbishop accused of abrogation of responsibility in gay debate
No truth in the House of Bishops
Rejecting the Covenant
Listening, conversation and dialogue
Reuters has published an article by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes Proposed legislation on women bishops falls short.
Daily Episcopalian has published I am not a nobody by Lauren R. Stanley.
Maggi Dawn has written Women Bishops Are Tainted? And Tainting The Church?
Inclusive Church Press Release
12 October 2009
The Decision of the Revision Committee
Inclusive Church is deeply disturbed by the recent announcement of the Church of England’s Revision Committee. It has moved away from the expressed will of General Synod in July 2008 - that there should be legislation to consecrate women as bishops on the same terms as men with an additional code of practice containing arrangements for those who do not accept the authority of bishops who are women.
Their decision reflects a further undermining of the Anglican understanding of the role of the Bishop as the pastor of, and focus of unity in the Diocese. If implemented it will inevitably create a two-tier institution with little prospect of long-term unity.
The impact of this on those within and outside the church will be immense. The bias shown against women in this proposal will mean that the church continues to be seen as institutionally discriminatory towards them. The impression given is of an organisation which perpetuates injustice, undermining its ability to witness to Christ in the world. It ignores the considerable gifts ordained women have to offer within the Episcopate. Men and women should be present on the same terms.
We urge the Revision Committee to reconsider its decision and prepare legislation, as it was requested, to open the Episcopate to women with a national code of practice to be drafted separately.
Revd Canon Giles Goddard
The parish of St John with St Andrew Waterloo
Chair, Inclusive Church
London SE1 8UF
07762 373 674
WATCH is publishing a series of papers on Preparing for Women as Bishops. All are PDF files.
First, there is Introduction to the papers: Preparing for Women as Bishops by Christina Rees. Her paper is titled Preparing for Women as Bishops –Legislating in Fear or in Faith?
The Church of England is in the process of drafting the legislation that will make it lawful for women to be bishops. After debating the issue of women’s ordination for over 40 years, WATCH is delighted that the General Synod has agreed that having women as bishops is ‘consonant with the faith of the Church’. We are concerned, however, that certain proposals have been put forward which would result in a two-tier episcopacy and a fracturing of the historical Anglican understanding of orders. Further, we are alarmed that the flawed theology of the Episcopal Act of Synod 1993 may be absorbed in the legislation permitting women to be bishops.
Several members of WATCH have written about their hopes and fears for the women bishops legislation and we offer this series of papers as a contribution to the on-going discussions about the way in which the Church will legislate for the Episcopal ministry of women…
The first paper is available here, and is by Dr Judith Maltby.
The prefatory material says:
Introduction to the Revd Dr Judith Maltby’s essay in Act of Synod –Act of Folly? edited by Monica Furlong, SCM Canterbury Press 1998.
One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, but Two Integrities?
On 11th November 1992, after many years of debate and discussion at all levels in the Church, the General Synod voted to make it lawful for women to be ordained as priests. Almost exactly one year later, with only two debates a day apart, the General Synod passed the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod, creating provision for three separate ‘flying bishops’ to minister to those opposed to women’s ordained ministries.
Five years after the Act of Synod was passed, the late Monica Furlong edited a collection of essays entitled Act of Synod –Act of Folly? Canon Dr Judith Maltby, Fellow of Christ Church College, Oxford, has given WATCH her permission to use her contribution to Monica’s book. We are grateful to Judith for her essay, which traces the theological and ecclesiological flaws inherent in the Act and the damaging precedent it has set, not only for the Church of England but for the entire Anglican Communion. 16 years on, the Act is still in place, although only 2% of parishes in the Church of England have signed Resolution C, the resolution calling for the extended Episcopal oversight created by the Act.
As the Church prepares to open the Episcopate to women, WATCH continues to work for the rescinding of the Act of Synod and for the simplest and most straightforward legislation for women bishops.
The second paper is now also available: Walls of Suspicion, Hatred and Taint by Jean Mayland.
To put the recent press release from the revision committee into context, it may help to review what actually happened on 7 July 2008.
The order paper is here, listing the full text of all the amendments. The pertinent amendment is number 72 in the name of the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds.
Peter Owen’s report of the voting is here.
Here is the rollcall of the bishops votes.
And the rollcall of the clergy votes.
And subsequently, I wrote an analysis, Bishops give a clear lead. I wrote about amendment 72:
Finally, ten of them [i.e. conservative bishops listed earlier] voted for the Bishop of Ripon & Leeds’s amendment to keep open the possibility of “statutory transfer of specified responsibilities”. Altogether 21 bishops supported this, but amazingly both Chichester and Birmingham opposed it, leading to a 21-21 tie in that House. (The chair of the drafting group, the Bishop of Manchester, abstained on many though not all votes.)
The amendment did obtain a 53% majority in the House of Laity, but failed in the House of Clergy where it obtained only 47% support. Had the vote not been by houses, the amendment would have passed by the slim margin of 203-200, with 3 abstentions.
It has been several months since we reported on South Carolina bishop makes proposals.
The five proposed resolutions to be voted on at the Special Convention, October 24, are now online here (PDF).
There has been extensive coverage in the local press namely the Charleston Post & Courier recently:
It’s hard to imagine an English diocesan synod meeting getting this kind of space in the local paper!
Roderick Strange writes in The Times about Christ’s startling challenge to the rich young man.
The Archbishop of Canterbury delivered this sermon at a service in St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday 9 October to mark the end of military operations in Iraq.
Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Capitalism: accidental generosity?
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph on William Gladstone: A prime minister who read books and Never more the sound of bells.
Bishop Peter Selby spoke at the Inclusive Church residential conference this week.
There is a press release from Inclusive Church reproduced below the fold.
The full text of his lecture is available here: When the Word on the Street is Resist.
The Church Times has a news report (on the website only) see Covenant would not be Anglican, says Selby.
Bishop Peter Selby - We need the Archbishop’s gifts in the sexuality debate
Speaking to the Inclusive Church residential conference “Word on the Street - reading the Bible inclusively”, Bishop Peter Selby this week called on members of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion to continue in conversation about the divisive issue of homosexuality. He warned against creating a ‘two-track communion” where those who disagree with the official position on this one issue are excluded from decision-making and from ecumenical dialogue.
The conference also heard lectures from biblical scholars Dr Richard Burridge, Dr Andrew Mein and Dr Paula Gooder who each spoke on aspects of inclusion in the Bible.
Bishop Selby said: “Our main concern has to be that what is being proposed is no way to discern the truth about the matters in dispute, and we must be sure to make that point clear at every opportunity.”
Speaking about the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury, he said: “The Archbishop has removed himself from his natural area of thought in the matter of sexuality, that is his remarkable capacity to bring a godly wisdom to bear on secular developments, a gift we need more than any other in attempting to work out how to assess current developments in human attitudes and behaviour in matters sexual. Instead the issues that surround sexuality are now treated by him only as ecclesiastical problems, to be resolved as such.”
In a detailed analysis of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent Reflections on the US General Convention, Communion, Covenant, and our Anglican Future, he showed how the Anglican Covenant as currently proposed would send unintended messages of exclusion.
Updated Friday evening and Saturday morning
Bill Bowder has a report on the Church Times website, Women bishops: hope for traditionalists.
THE COMMITTEE responsible for the progress of the women-bishops legislation through Synod is seeking to reverse the decision made in July 2008 to proceed by code of conduct only. Those who cannot accept the authority of women bishops have argued that their position should be protected by statute.
A statement issued on Thursday by the revision committee, chaired by the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, suggests that it agrees…
Reuters has a report, Anglicans, in row, may cut women bishops’ powers. A later copy has the headline changed to Church of England moves to heal row over women bishops.
Andrew Brown has written an explanation of what it means at Cif belief The church loses its nerve, again. He writes (emphasis added by TA):
Women can’t be part of that chain. So a woman not only can’t be a priest herself: she can’t, if promoted, make other priests, as a bishop must. So for Anglo-Catholics to go on believing that they are priests, they must be able to exclude women from their lineage. They must also shun male bishops who ordain women priests, because such men don’t share their understanding of the priesthood. So what happens when such a priest finds that his bishop – to whom he swore obedience in all things lawful when he took his post – does ordain women?
Favourable reactions have come from Reform (see earlier news reports) and from Forward in Faith. See Statement by FiF in response to news from the Revision Committee.
There is now also a response from WATCH [Please note that this is the final version (added by us on Saturday); we accidentally published a draft on Friday.]:
WATCH EXPRESSES DISAPPOINTMENT AT REVISION COMMITTEE’S VOTE & CONTINUES TO PRESS FOR WOMEN BISHOPS ON EQUAL TERMS
WATCH (Women and the Church) issues the following response to the press release of 8th October by the Committee established by General Synod to consider the draft legislation enabling women to become bishops.
In that press release we were informed that the Revision Committee has voted to amend the draft legislation so as ‘to provide for certain functions to be vested in male bishops by statute rather than by delegation from the diocesan bishop under a statutory code of practice’.
WATCH is very disappointed that the Revision Committee has come to this decision. In the Church of England, as in society as a whole, people want to see women able to serve as bishops on the same basis as men. WATCH has long been campaigning for the adoption of the simplest possible legislation to this effect.
What is being proposed by the Revision Committee needs further clarification but we do not believe that statutory transfer can avoid creating a two tier episcopate. This would be demeaning to women and would fundamentally damage the office of bishop in our church.
Moreover, were such proposals to pass through our church synods, the Church of England would be in the extraordinary position of asking Parliament to ratify legislation that institutionally discriminates against women.
There will be opportunity for detailed scrutiny of the Revision Committee’s proposals, including the tabling of amendments, when the draft legislation returns to Synod in February. WATCH is confident that Synod will, on further consideration, adopt legislation which reflects the mainstream theology of our church: that men and women are equally made in the image of God and equally graced to hold the offices of priest and bishop.
The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council said October 8 that the majority of the General Convention deputations and individual deputies that expressed an opinion do not support the disciplinary process outlined in the latest draft of a proposed Anglican covenant.
The comment came in the council’s official response to the Ridley Cambridge Draft, which the members said addresses “some of the most difficult matters and substance relating to such a covenant.”
The Anglican Communion’s provinces were asked for specific comments on the draft’s Section Four, which contains a dispute-resolution process…
The Executive Council said that the comments it received on Section Four were “so interwoven” with comments on the covenant as a whole that “separating the two is difficult.”
“The majority of deputations and individual deputies that responded are not convinced that the covenant in its current form will bring about deeper communion,” the council said. “Several stated that the overall idea of a covenant is ‘un-Anglican.’ One went as far as to say that the ‘document incorporates anxiety.’”
On the other hand, the council noted, another deputy called the covenant “a presentation of the Christian community as a dynamic spiritual body in which God-given freedom is inextricably bound up with God-given accountability.”
…The council also said that it was “grateful” for the opportunity given to provinces to consider the Ridley Cambridge Draft “in the hopes of realizing a fully matured Anglican covenant.” It also pledged that its ongoing participation in the covenant development process would be entrusted “to the leading of the Holy Spirit” and that it “look[s] forward to the next three years as we grow more deeply into our common life in the Anglican Communion.”
The actual text of the response, linked in the above report as a Word file, can be read in html here.
The press release is reported in the previous item.
This morning’s newspapers report this story in various ways.
Telegraph Martin Beckford Women bishops may not be equal to men under controversial new Church of England proposals
The Times Ruth Gledhill Plan for women bishops put on ice to avoid defections from Church of England
Guardian Riazat Butt Church removes power from women bishops
Daily Mail Steve Doughty Parish power could block women bishops as church promises law to appease traditionalists
The Church of England issued the press release below this evening. The essential part is this extract from the fourth paragraph.
The Committee has … voted to amend the draft Measure to provide for certain functions to be vested in bishops by statute rather than by delegation from the diocesan bishop under a statutory code of practice.
Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate
8 October 2009
The Revision Committee established by the General Synod to consider the draft legislation on enabling women to become bishops in the Church of England today completed the first phase of its work. The Committee has further meetings planned between now and December and is aiming to complete its task by Christmas so that its report can be debated in full Synod in February and the draft legislation begin its Revision Stage in full Synod.
The Committee received nearly 300 submissions, including more than 100 from members of General Synod. Many of these offered alternatives to the proposal in the draft legislation to make provision by way of statutory code of practice for those unable on grounds of theological conviction to receive the episcopal and/or priestly ministry of women.
In the seven meetings that it has held so far, the Committee has considered each of these alternatives: additional dioceses; the vesting by statute of certain functions in bishops with a special responsibility for those with conscientious difficulties; the creation of a recognised society for those with conscientious difficulties; and the adoption of the simplest possible legislation without a statutory code of practice.
Of these, the Committee has, after receiving oral evidence and having lengthy discussions, voted to amend the draft Measure to provide for certain functions to be vested in bishops by statute rather than by delegation from the diocesan bishop under a statutory code of practice. The Committee will now be working through the consequential details flowing from this decision.
The work of the Revision Committee, whose task is to scrutinise the draft legislation line by line and consider submissions for amendment, is one stage in a process that still has a number of years to run. It will be open to the full Synod to revisit matters considered by the Revision Committee and to amend the draft legislation as it sees fit.
Thereafter it will have to be considered by all diocesan synods and a majority of them will need to vote for the legislation before it can come to the Synod for final approval. At that stage a two-thirds majority would be required in each of the three houses of Synod (bishops, clergy and laity) before the legislation could go to Parliament and eventually for Royal Assent. On any basis it is unlikely that the first female bishop will be consecrated before 2014.
The membership of the Revision Committee was announced in March 2009.
The quote below from Episcopal Life sums it up.
Episcopal Life Online U.S. Supreme Court declines to review California property decision
The U.S. Supreme Court October 5 refused to grant a petition of review from St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach, which broke away from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Times U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Episcopal property case
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to intercede in a long-running property dispute pitting the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the national Episcopal Church against a breakaway local congregation, St. James Anglican Church of Newport Beach.
Associated Press Court refuses to get involved in church dispute
Long Beach Press-Telegram Supreme Court won’t yet get involved in Episcopalian church dispute
Updated again Monday morning
There has been a court decision in favour of the US Episcopal Church in its property dispute with Bishop Bob Duncan in Pittsburgh.
The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh - of The Episcopal Church in the United States of America reports Judge Awards Control of Assets to Diocese.
A judge has agreed with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh that it should have control of assets still held by former diocesan leaders.
In a decision issued October 6, Judge Joseph James of the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County ruled that an existing court-approved agreement is “clear and unambiguous” in requiring that diocesan property must remain with a diocese that is part of the Episcopal Church of the United States.
The judge further ruled the former diocesan leaders are “in violation [of that agreement] and cannot continue to be the trustee” of the property.
“The property is to be held or administered by the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Episcopal Church of the United States,” Judge James wrote.
Episcopal Café has Pro-TEC ruling in Pittsburgh case.
There is a copy of the court ruling here. The court’s decision is, of course, subject to appeal.
There is a response to this decision, see Archbishop Duncan Issues Pastoral Letter.
Another copy of the decision, which is a searchable PDF, is available here.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh has issued a Statement Concerning the Court Ruling of October 6, 2009 explaining what this means for parish property.
Stephen Venner writes in The Times that Servicemen have a right to expect our steadfastness.
Ruth Gledhill interviewed Dr Martin Stephen, High Master of St Paul’s School, who criticised faith schools. The fullest report of this interview is reproduced on her blog, see Towards a Pauline education that is free.
Alastair McIntosh writes in the Guardian that Economic growth and climate change are like a runaway train.
Alan Wilson also wrote about the new film, in Creation ex (almost) Nihilo.
Andrew Brown wrote about Faith without god.
Giles Fraser wrote in the Church Times that Jews, too, are saved by faith.
Lionel Deimel, who is an American in Pittsburgh, has written two articles (so far) with this title.
I want to begin by considering how the notion of an Anglican covenant has been promoted and the actual nature of the covenant drafts that have been proposed. Everyone else seems to capitalize “covenant” in the phrase “Anglican Covenant,” by the way. I will do so when it makes sense to talk about the Anglican Covenant. We are not there yet…
There is much to be said about what is in the Ridley Cambridge Draft proposed as an Anglican covenant. Too little attention has been paid to what is not in the draft, however. In this essay, I want to discuss an important provision that is missing…
The Revd Dr Bruce Kaye is an Australian scholar, and editor of The Journal of Anglican Studies.
He has written an article titled Why The Covenant is a Bad Idea for Anglicans. (H/T Mark Harris)
There are four reasons why this covenant is not a good idea for Anglicans.
- It is against the grain of Anglican ecclesiology (what we think the church is)
- It is an inadequate response to the conflict in the Anglican Communion
- In practical terms it will create immense and complicating confusion about institutional relationships and financial obligations.
- It does not address the key fundamental issue in this conflict, how to act in a particular context which is relevant to that context and also faithful to the gospel.
Updated yet again Friday afternoon
Back in October 2007, Rowan Williams answered a question from John Howe, Bishop of Central Florida. See the full text of his letter here.
I would repeat what I’ve said several times before - that any Diocese compliant with Windsor remains clearly in communion with Canterbury and the mainstream of the Communion, whatever may be the longer-term result for others in The Episcopal Church. The organ of union with the wider Church is the Bishop and the Diocese rather than the Provincial structure as such. Those who are rushing into separatist solutions are, I think, weakening that basic conviction of Catholic theology and in a sense treating the provincial structure of The Episcopal Church as if it were the most important thing - which is why I continue to hope and pray for the strengthening of the bonds of mutual support among those Episcopal Church Bishops who want to be clearly loyal to Windsor. Action that fragments their Dioceses will not help the consolidation of that all-important critical mass of ordinary faithful Anglicans in The Episcopal Church for whose nurture I am so much concerned. Breaking this up in favour of taking refuge in foreign jurisdictions complicates and embitters the future for this vision.
Almost two years later, there has been further correspondence between the same two people. We do not yet have the full text, but there is this report for the Living Church by George Conger Archbishop: Covenant Adoption Limited to Provinces.
Update This report has now been revised and republished at the same URL under the new headline Archbishop Says Central Florida Act a Positive Step. An explanation by Christopher Wells appears as a comment on TitusOneNine.
A further explanation by Dr Wells appears as a comment below the revised article in the Living Church.
As originally published:
In a Sept. 28 letter to the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida, Archbishop Williams called the diocesan bodies’ endorsement a step in the right direction. However, he stated, “as a matter of constitutional fact, the [Anglican Consultative Council] can only offer the covenant for ‘adoption’ to its own constituent bodies (the provinces).”
The archbishop added that “I see no objection to a diocese resolving less formally on an ‘endorsement’ of the covenant.” Such an action would not have an “institutional effect” but “would be a clear declaration of intent to live within the agreed terms of the Communion’s life and so would undoubtedly positively affect a diocese’s pastoral and sacramental relations” with the wider communion, he said.
In a Sept. 28 letter to the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe, Bishop of Central Florida, Archbishop Williams called endorsement from the diocesan bodies a step in the right direction. “As a matter of constitutional fact, the [Anglican Consultative Council] can only offer the covenant for ‘adoption’ to its own constituent bodies (the provinces),” the archbishop noted. But “I see no objection to a diocese resolving less formally on an ‘endorsement’ of the covenant.” Such an action may not have an immediate “institutional effect” but “would be a clear declaration of intent to live within the agreed terms of the Communion’s life and so would undoubtedly positively affect a diocese’s pastoral and sacramental relations” with the wider Communion, he said.
As John B. Chilton noted elsewhere (before the Living Church revision took place) :
In his post General Convention Reflections, Rowan Williams wrote, “But in the current context, the question is becoming more sharply defined of whether, if a province declines such an invitation, any elements within it will be free (granted the explicit provision that the Covenant does not purport to alter the Constitution or internal polity of any province) to adopt the Covenant as a sign of their wish to act in a certain level of mutuality with other parts of the Communion. It is important that there should be a clear answer to this question.”
Has he now provided a clear answer? Or is his latest to Howe merely a statement about the meaning of a diocese signing while a province has neither accepted or declined but instead is in the process of deciding? Or in his reflections did he never mean to be saying that when a diocese endorses the covenant it would have ‘institutional effect.’ What is institutional effect anyway?
Another report on the same subject filed by the same reporter for the Church of England Newspaper has been titled Dioceses ‘can adopt Covenant,’ says Archbishop of Canterbury. Also available on Religious Intelligence.
Note: this is NOT the article which appears today in the paper edition of the CEN.
Dioceses and other ecclesial bodies may endorse the Anglican Covenant, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams said this week, but noted the current process is geared toward adoption of an inter-Anglican agreement by the provinces of the Anglican Communion.
The Anglican Communion Institute has issued its statement of approval, see Dioceses’ Endorsement of the Covenant.