Comments: women bishops: FiF dissects TEA

Dopesn't appear to be very favourable, does it?

Personally, I think its yet another unacceptable compromise - a one clause measure would have sufficed.

And once again, discrimination is excused on the spurious grounds of 'unity', yet still isn't good enough for them. So they may leave anyway! And the result is the continuation of institutionalised discrimination for nothing.

Posted by Merseymike at Thursday, 6 April 2006 at 10:05am BST

Looks to me as though they're going the right way to lose any kind of support at all in HoB and Synod! Either they can't read the runes, or they think that going for broke is the only political approach credible to their constituency.

Wouldn't get my support, I'm afraid, and I've been nice to them so far...

TEA is quite a long way down the line in terms of compromise, but FiF seem to be so obsessed with what they call "sacramental assurance" (which is an RC doctrine, not an Anglican one) that they need even the Synods and the schools to be pure.

Posted by Pete Broadbent at Thursday, 6 April 2006 at 12:40pm BST

I thought it was very interesting that they made an appeal to the new Nigerian relationship to the ABC as a model for the new provice's own relationship. This appeal seems to elevate that relation definition as an important new precedent--what are the potential implications?

Posted by Derek at Thursday, 6 April 2006 at 3:02pm BST

Interestingly everything Pete says would be applicable to Akinola and his evangelical confreres and sisters in the CofE and appropriate to loads of the other postings on this blog!

Posted by Neil at Thursday, 6 April 2006 at 4:36pm BST

My way or else ;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 6 April 2006 at 5:19pm BST

TEA was dead in the water. FiF has not changed its position from day one, and it might have been a good idea to consult with them, or at least read Consecrated Women properly, before wasting time on proposals which were never going to be acceptable.

How very kind of Bishop Broadbent to be nice to them!

Posted by Flossie at Thursday, 6 April 2006 at 6:29pm BST

My local FiF parish made it clear, at a service I was at just after their rally, that they would not leave the Church of England whatever happened. They (that is, my local parish) will take the best deal they can. I suspect they are not alone, because the real hardliners left when women were ordained to the priesthood.

The FiF response doesn't clearly distinguish the wood from the trees. It's a document buried in detail, dictated by its paragraph-by-paragraph approach, which is exactly what I would expect in a detailed negotiation. It is not what I would expect if they were going to get up and walk out - for that, I would expect something much loftier.

I'm not saying I'm calling it right here, but that's my impression.

Posted by badman at Thursday, 6 April 2006 at 7:08pm BST

If TEA is dead in the water, then we are back to the one cause measure - and I hardly think that this is FIF's intention.

The comparison with Akinola et al is valid. In both cases, what we have is the 'reasonable majority' saying "let's stay together and work things out even if it gets a bit messy" and then we have the 'hardliners' saying "not one iota of compromise - it's our way or no way".

In both cases, the almost inevitable outcome is going to be schism. The 'hardliners' paint themselves into a corner whereby even a generous compromise has to be rejected out of hand because any backdown undermines their whole argument. In the end, it doesn't matter how far the 'moderates' will go to try and keep everyone on board. By the sheer definition of the matter, they cannot go far enough to satisfy the 'hardliners' without a complete capitulation.

I do not think that there is any compromise position. In the long run, perhaps the best that we can do is to recognise this and get the split over with as quickly as possible.

Posted by David Chillman at Thursday, 6 April 2006 at 10:35pm BST

In response to the Bishop of Willesden, there was a huge debate in the Restoration Church in the 1660s about whether ministers ordained under the Cromwellian Regime could be allowed to continue in post if they were not re-ordained by an bishop in the apostolic succession (obviously their concept of this succession was slightly different but it doesn't alter the point). Ultimately, it was over fear of validity of sacraments that led the Church of England authorities officially to remove all of those ministers not episcopally ordained. Sacramental Assurance was as C of E then, as it is now so it is incorrect to take the line that the Bishop, much as I respect him does. This is also but one case in point with numerous instances existing throughout the C of E's history. I would humbly ask him to refer his argument to historical scrutiny.

Posted by Edward at Friday, 7 April 2006 at 9:01am BST

David, you could join the Downing Street SPIN office.
Since when has the traditional position on either sexuality or women's ordination been "hardline" or an "unreasonable"?
Again, "I do not think that there is any compromise position."
THAT is hardline. THAT is unreasonable.

Posted by Neil B at Friday, 7 April 2006 at 9:25am BST

Frankly this looks like yet another episode of Anglo-Catholic congregationalism, dressed up as catholic sensitivities. The group basically acknowledges this in noting that their proposal would be unlike the Church in Wales in not being geographically defined, rather the province's "geographical identity would change as parishes entered or left the new province".
This proposal exercises the logic of Prebyterianism. How many people are aware that there was schism in the Presbyterian Church (certainly in Victoria, Australia) over the introduction of organs, choirs, set forms of services and eventually, womens' ordination (which has since been revoked as a way of distancing the denomination from the Uniting Church)? So, like the Primitive Presbyterians, these Primitive Anglo-Catholics demand the right to refuse fellowship and communion based on the gender of the local bishop.

Forward in Faith has had a lot of bad press over time, and I believe that if they were to look to the whole of what they represent, they might find some positive things that they stand to contribute to the Church. First, while the argument they are currenly putting up involves a travesty of catholic theology, someone should prompt them to recall that it was the Anglo-Catholics of a century ago who developed the means by which women could be part of the ministry of the Church of England - things like the various religious communities, the role of the Mothers' Union in promoting sex education (well, at least in Australia), as well as the various embroidery guilds that enabled women to put their skills to use in providing items of great beauty that can still be seen in many parishes. It just happens that with the passing of time those avenues have ceased to either be needed, socially sanctioned or effective. My experience of growing up in a Anglo-Catholic "shrine" church was one of insistent inclusiveness: nobody was to be left out for any reason if they were willing to take part in the life of the parish. Perhaps there is an element of this underlying FiF parishes at a local level, but it is not particularly evident in their public statements. Secondly, the aesthetic inheritance that Anglo-Catholic worship represents, and in many cases continue to develop, is something the Church badly needs as a corrective to the tendency of the last half century, where the Church often seems to have cheerfully stripped away many of the things that made it attractive, such as well-ordered liturgy, decent music based on unamplified groups, and fine art. This too is a means of inclusion and (dare I suggest it?) liturgical hospitality.
Perhaps the bottom line is that women are just as capable of liturgical ineptitude and pastoral insensitivity as their male counterparts. Consecrating them as bishops simply widens an already quite variable field of candidates in these regards: nobody is completely perfect, after all. Perhaps the Church might be stronger for this, and it would be more honest to go with the single-clause measure.

Posted by k1eranc at Friday, 7 April 2006 at 10:54am BST

As an insider, I am certain that most Traditionalists will accept TEA provided that it is strengthened sufficently to give real jurisdiction to the PRB. All that most Traditionalists want is for a legally assured place in the CofE that will allow them to get on with the work of sharing the Catholic Faith with the people of England. But it must be a long term solution so that our children and granchildren can go on to enjoy the fullness of the Catholic Faith within the CofE. Anything which smacks of being temporary or of only offering terminal care will assuredly lead to a major exodus. It's worth recalling that if the total number of Resolution Parishes in the CofE were in one diocese then we would be the 16th largest diocese in England and have over 1,000 priests.

Posted by PJ at Friday, 7 April 2006 at 11:38am BST

I don't think it is possible to set up a permanent two-tier church.

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 7 April 2006 at 5:17pm BST

It wouold be a scandal not only to the world.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 8 April 2006 at 8:13am BST

kleranc said "while the argument they are currently putting up involves a travesty of catholic theology".... I wonder if he has read the views of the Roman Catholic Church in the comments they produced for the Synod debate? For if he is right, they are guilty of the same.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Sunday, 9 April 2006 at 8:15pm BST
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