Comments: women bishops: further information on TEA

The new anti-women bunker appears to be resorting to canon law. This similar article was recently posted:, which includes the following:
4. ...Jesus appointed only chosen men as his apostles, but both women and men as his disciples. In obeying Christ as Lord, the Church has only male bishops as fathers in God.

5. Thus he is well aware that if one takes as of divine authority the choice of men as the apostles and the Tradition of male bishops then one cannot accept a woman as a bishop, however saintly and gifted she is, for it is a betrayal of faith and an act of disobedience to the Lord of the Church to set aside his known will.

By their arguments, Jesus' personal authority and demonstation of appointing female apostles is the only way the anti-women league will tolerate an end to the theological slavery of women. (Mind you, will they recognise Jesus if he treats women decently?)

Thus I pray for Jesus' return and hope that he recalls God's plans for the raising and reconciliation of the feminine consciousness, which is flagged in many passages in the bible including: Hosea 2:14-19, Isaiah 55:3-5, Micah 4:9-10, Isaiah 61:10-11, Zechariah 2:7-13, Zephaniah 3:14-19, Isaiah 52:1-3, Isaiah 54:5-10, Isaiah 62:1-12, Isaiah 66:7-14

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Monday, 20 February 2006 at 6:13am GMT

This "apostolic" argument has always seemed weak to me, given that The Twelve serve an obvious eschatological, rather than ecclesiastical, function -- they are to judge the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and the patriarchal office is relevant in that case. But clearly it is of little or no relevance beyond this peculiar function -- or at least, a case must be made to show why this should be. Clearly there is no need for the successors to the apostles to be like them in _all_ respects: and the notion that sex is important may more reflect the culture of the time than any divine intent. Moreover, the importance of "The Twelve" for the earthly church appears to have evaporated rather quickly after Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out on "menservants and maidservants" alike.

Posted by Tobias S Haller BSG at Monday, 20 February 2006 at 5:50pm GMT

Heh--- I think this conflict is best summed up (by Prior Aelred, IIRC): Christ's apostles (bishops) should *BE* like Jesus, not *PEE* like Jesus! ;-p

[Why is it that proponents of "gender essentialism", always begin from a position that "it's essential that MALES DECIDE all questions of gender essentialism"? :-/]

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Monday, 20 February 2006 at 7:21pm GMT


I agree. The problem is that they are arguing that those who support the ordination of women or women bishops are speaking from human "whim". That their position is "divine", that canon law is "divine" not made by humans, and therefore can not be overturned by humans.

This will be a fundamental plank that they will be training their college students and flocks on why it is ungodly and sinful to tolerate women as active teachers within the church.

If we recognise this strategy, investigate its veracity, and then dispute based on facts and truth then this plank will also be overturned. They are relying on us not doing our homework so that they have an "inviolate" place from which to argue. The only way it will be "inviolate" is we are complacent and allow them sloppy history and precedent to justify perpetuating their prejudices and power mongering.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Monday, 20 February 2006 at 8:51pm GMT

Come on Cheryl, surely you can do better? Despite being irritated as well by the 'official' view of the majority of Christendom over this issue - it does you no favours to resort to a glib analysis which would brand our opponents as prejudiced power mongerers. I hope for signs of a more grown up attitude...

Posted by Neil at Tuesday, 21 February 2006 at 5:41pm GMT

And, surely, Neil, something more grown up than being simply dismissive?

I read the Urwin and Hunwicke articles, and they are not simply dismissive. At the same time, I can't find them persuasive. Hunwicke in particular seems to want to constrain the Spirit. It is not simply that he wants to constrain the Spirit by not imagining that God might call a woman to priesthood, but in imagining that the ministry of a bishop to him (Fr. Hunwicke) is impaired by ecclesiastically consorting with women ordained as priests. This latter is in contrast to the Church's resolution to the Donatist and Novationist controversies (granted that the latter took a century or so).

I do respect Bishop Urwin's observation that TEA is a temporary solution. He is, I believe correct; just as in our American context Designated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) is explicitly understood as a temporary situation. To determine a "permanent" solution is to determine that there is no possibility, or even desireability, of reconciliation. If we are called always to be seeking reconciliation, surely we cannot quickly (and sometimes thoughtlessly, from the rhetoric) dismiss the effort of reconciliation with those with whom we share faith in Christ, even if not how Christ is calling us now.

Certainly, on this side of the water the rhetoric on this issue of reconciliation is quite one sided. Those who proclaim their traditionalism are unwilling to reconcile. They seem to confuse reconciliation with capitulation. Since they don't want to capitulate, neither are they willing to maintain the conversations that might bring reconciliation. There are a few progressives who also take that stand (for example on this site Merseymike), but by the level of volume it is the separating traditionalists who shout louder and in greater numbers. (I am speaking only of the rhetoric; but I believe it we counted the institutional and organizational actions some have taken the proportions would be about the same.)

But, as I have said before, even if they feel thay need to leave me, I trust they will not leave God's care. They will continue to be siblings in Christ, and I will continue to pray for them, even as they despair of me.

Posted by Marshall at Tuesday, 21 February 2006 at 7:56pm GMT

Your 'Marshall plan' seems more generous spirited in how we approach our opponents...just the right tone thank you.

Posted by Neil at Tuesday, 21 February 2006 at 11:36pm GMT
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