Comments: Women Bishops and the Church of Sweden

Very interesting address by Bishop Odenburg -- clearly, the "conscience clause" approach is always a disaster when there is a lack of good will & when there is good will it is not necessary.

What we have seen in TEC is that the bishops most adamantly opposed to the ordination of women have attracted like minded clergy which has led to like minded persons being elected as bishops & the sees involved becoming increasingly estranged from the larger church.

The hot button issues of the Reformation seem less so for many people today -- one thinks that the Old Catholics, the Church of Sweden (Lutheran) & The Episcopal Church (Anglican) could interconnect quite easily, in spite of their different heritages. OTOH, although the Diocese of Peoria and the Reformed Episcopal Church share "Anglican" roots & have met together (with others) at Pittsburgh, the only belief that they seem to share is abhorrence at gays coming out of the closet.

People are curious beasts.

Posted by Prior Aelred at Saturday, 20 October 2007 at 9:54pm BST

This comes at such a good time.

Because of an early strategic decision they managed to bypass a few decades of stalling tactics from the anti-female lobby. That has put them a couple of decades ahead of where the Anglican Communion will be once it evolves to the next stage. Their church was thinking longterm and proactively when the Church of Sweden Church Assembly took the decision in 1958 that, as from 1959, the priesthood should be open to women, that decision also implied that it was only a matter of time before the church would also have women bishops.

I also like the ways they’ve been handling the blockers’ strategies e.g. “Nowadays it is also the case that no priest who is unable to collaborate with another priest, regardless of gender, can hold a management position within the church. That means that those priests who oppose the ordination of women to the priesthood can no longer become vicars of parishes or bishops.”

“when I have visited my 430 parishes and met with all employees and elected representatives, I have not tolerated that a priest would not be present for the conversations and negotiations that took place on these occasions, On the other hand, I have never forced them to participate in the mass, which I have celebrated and in which the priests have been expected to participate. This way of handling the problem has meant that we have not had any conflicts and I have even noted that several of those who previously were opponents now receive communion when I celebrate, and some have also without major gestures began to serve at the altar together with women colleagues.”

Defrocking ferally consecrated priests hasn’t hurt their church, and as Odenberg comments it might become easier to enter into conversations at a later date.

This statement could become the epitomy of Anglican pragmatism “The fact is that no new problems arose for the church with the advent of a woman bishop. But those who do not like women priests do not of course like women bishops either, although they loyally consider us as diocesan mangers.”

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Saturday, 20 October 2007 at 9:57pm BST

Here from that talk is the plan for dealing with Reform and Anglican mainstream in the near future:

"Then there is also a group of opponents, the so-called Missions Synod, who asked Bishop Obare from the Lutheran Church in Kenya to come to Sweden and to consecrate one of our retired priests as bishop. This priest was defrocked after that consecration, and this has become a break-off group from our church. The Missions Synod has since consecrated another two bishops, who have therefore also had to leave the priesthood of our church."

Posted by Pluralist at Saturday, 20 October 2007 at 10:05pm BST

Let me tell you that there was relief and joy at Lund and around Skåne when it was clear that the next bishop would be a lady. At last!

And a very experienced lady at that; Synod, Politics (Ms Odenberg’s younger brother just stepped down as Minister of Defence).

I was a student at the time and sang in the cathedral chorus for Vespers on the Saturday her predecessor Dr KG Hammar laid down his staff to take up the archbishopric of Uppsala, and also for Ms Odenberg's installation the following Sunday. Great days!

The church was full as the saying goes. That is fuller than average ;=)

The Mission synod people are mostly the 19th century Pietists, found in and around Gothenburg, in northern Skåne and in the far North. I won’t go into the politics of that.

They have friends in Finland (the Finnish Pietists) and the Baltic churches (the present Archbishop of Riga doesn't ordain women).

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 21 October 2007 at 7:21am BST

As a Roman catholic i don't believe in the ordination of women, but I can't help being impressed by women prelates like this one and Bishop Schori.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Sunday, 21 October 2007 at 8:33pm BST

“Nowadays it is also the case that no priest who is unable to collaborate with another priest, regardless of gender, can hold a management position within the church. That means that those priests who oppose the ordination of women to the priesthood can no longer become vicars of parishes or bishops.”

Very "liberal"....

Posted by NP at Monday, 22 October 2007 at 9:22am BST

NP,
Are you trying to say:
The Swedish Lutherans are not tolerant of differences of opinion, so TEC liberals are closed minded and intolerant? By that rather interesting logic, I could argue that because some fundamentalists in the US test God by handling poisonous snakes, British Evos are sacreligious.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 23 October 2007 at 1:33pm BST

NP and Ford,

We sign a statement of our willingness to collaborate with all priests irrespective of gender.

Seems to me you didn't quite understand (and didn't bother :-(

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 23 October 2007 at 6:54pm BST

Goran,
Sorry, I wasn't trying to say the Swedes are intolerant. I have no idea. You're the only Swede I know, and you don't seem so bad:-) I was just pointing out the trouble with NP's logic. He thinks the Swedes are intolerant, so he gets to make a sneering jibe at liberals? Why throw something about the Swedish Church into a discussion of Anglicanism? And why make it a backhanded slur at liberals?

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 23 October 2007 at 11:36pm BST

Ford - quite a simple point..... too often those who argue for tolerance are very intolerant of opposing views.


I bet you would not agree with the Swedish policy of effectively not allowing "conservatives" to be rectors or bishops, would you?

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 10:04am BST

"quite a simple point..... too often those who argue for tolerance are very intolerant of opposing views."

It is a common misunderstanding that liberals tolerate, or should tolerate absolutely everything.

You can hold any view you like, but you cannot impose it on others. That's really what tolerance means.

And there are obvious limits. No organisation can tolerate that which would destroy it. When I grew up in Germany there was a law (it may still be there but I don't know), that no civil servant could be a communist. The rationale was that communists do not accept the principle of a democratic government, so they would set about undermining the state that employs them in order to destroy that state.

Where did this idea of limitless tolerance come from?

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 12:00pm BST

"I bet you would not agree with the Swedish policy of effectively not allowing "conservatives" to be rectors or bishops, would you?"

I'd have to know a lot more about that before I would presume to comment. Since you disapprove, I assume you know a lot more than me, so perhaps you could enlighten me.

"Where did this idea of limitless tolerance come from?"

From Conservatives who need to look down their noses at liberals, and who need to justify their own hypocrisy by identifying it in their opponents. The same people who define "listening" as "agreeing" then accuse those they identify as their opponents of doing it. "We've" never said that, "they" have, so "they" could have a weapon against "us". This is linked to the debate we have been having about methods of dealing with issues and crusading, I believe.


Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 2:05pm BST

Ford
"This is linked to the debate we have been having about methods of dealing with issues and crusading, I believe."

Indeed. So how would you respond?

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 3:39pm BST

I don't know. Do you have any ideas? I've been trying to find a response in my posts on TA. I usually fail dismally, I admit. I get all wrathful with NP and "the Evos", I easily fall into the "them and us" mentality. And you can't even discuss this without in some way referencing "them" and "us", so it gets tricky. But I refuse, for instance, to buy into the persecution myth that the obvious funding of the Right by some very nasty American conservatives, constitutes some conspiracy against us and is persecution of us. Recognize the facts but refuse to consider them evidence of oppression or conspiracy, and those of whom the fact speak as our "enemies"? Hard to do, but necessary, I think. When "they" produce the idea of liberal hypocrisy at not being limitlessly tolerant, patiently explain, as you did, why this idea is nonsense. Point out that it is of their own invention. Rebuke me when I come back with some snotty comment about thier hypocrisy, like I did. Maybe change the way we talk about inclusion and tolerance to make it more clear. Now, there's limits to patience, but I'd like to suggest that running out of patience is a sin we should guard against and repent of. But we all will fall into it, repeatedly.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 4:33pm BST

"liberal"=
-broad: showing or characterized by broad-mindedness;
-"a broad political stance";
-"generous and broad sympathies";
-"tolerant ..."
-"not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition"

I think it is fair to say genuinely liberal people are quite unlikely to make rules which do not allow people with whom they disagree to get certain jobs in a church....

Posted by NP at Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 4:50pm BST

"I think it is fair to say genuinely liberal people are quite unlikely to make rules which do not allow people with whom they disagree to get certain jobs in a church...."

That rather depends on whether those people agree to be bound by the general rules of the church, or whether they will spend their time campaigning against the very existence of a liberal church.
You cannot allow anyone to want to eradicate you, that's not liberal, that's just stupid.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 6:30pm BST

"certain jobs in a church...."

I don't know what's funnier about this, the idea that there is some kind of liberal conspiracy, for which I have yet to see any evidence, to silence conservatives, or if it's that the Church is some kind of employer with which one has a "job". Sorry, they don't call us "High CHurchmen" for nothing, NP. Your continual statements about the Church being some kind of "organization" with which one gets the "job" of 'overseer' or 'minister' just shows how far you have given in to the world.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 6:39pm BST

NP,

"Oppressive tolerance" is phrase you're looking for. The issue w/ liberal's use of "oppressive tolerance" is that it's often coupled with the idea that we have a right not to be offended.

Thus, if I claim I am offended I can claim another is "forcing their view" on me and I create the stick needed to oppress that offensive viewpoint. Another approach is to understand rhetoric is just rhetoric and the "forcing of views" is something else altogether - i.e. implementation of policy by the government, church or leadership of an organization.

Liberals are "forcing their views" on TEC but only after taking the political actions required by TEC polity to get the "right" people teaching in seminaries, voting as delegates at GC and sitting on standing committees. As people who exercise these positions of authority in the church they are very much "forcing their views" on those who disagree. Our choices are accept the forced view, challange the view using the same form of polity or leave.

Posted by Chris at Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 6:54pm BST

"Why throw something about the Swedish Church into a discussion of Anglicanism?"

Because you are being so incredibly insular?

To show you other ways of being Church and Catholic?

To make you less sure you understand the things you don’t?

Example: We don’t have Roman "Canon" Law; our Parishes own the church building, the real estate, the funds. Everything.

Yet we do not have a single Parish which has even tried to run away with the money.

;=)

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 7:10pm BST

Where did NP get the idea that we are being "librul"?

The late modern anti modern american political propaganda she is spouting.

Clue: we are Traditional, pre Gregorian, in fact pre anything Rome post Triento can come up with.

And most certainly pre anything Scholastic Calvinism can come up with.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 7:18pm BST

Sweden is one of the few countries where women never lost their rights of inheritance.

And the Church was instrumental in this (not that some - Scholastics and Calvinists - didn't try).

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 24 October 2007 at 7:21pm BST

Goran,
I'm siding with you! My question was why NP would throw in something about the Swedish Church, not you. You didn't bring it up IIRC.

"Thus, if I claim I am offended I can claim another is "forcing their view" on me and I create the stick needed to oppress that offensive viewpoint."

Chris, the point of what I have been saying is that both sides do this, it is a sign of why the current tactics are, in my view, wrong. Come on, how many times have consevos here talked about TEC "forcing" their views on everybody else, and then using that as a stick with which to beat TEC? Exactly how a Church that does not insist anybody else do what they are doing could be said to be "forcing" their views is beyond me. Sorry to break your smugness there, but the Right is at least as guilty of this as the Left.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 25 October 2007 at 1:03am BST

Sorry, Goran, I read through the above and realized that I had been confused. My comment would obviously have seemed aimed at you. I got careless in the heat of the moment and attributed the reference and the sneer to the same person. Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 25 October 2007 at 12:35pm BST

Ford,

How is the left forcing views? Well...

... by packing seminaries with profs who hold theologies that don't find traction in mainstream academic thougt...

...by an uneven application of canon law on bishop elections...

...by monetary support of organizations that support abortion...

...by systematically blocking conservative seminarians from attending schools such as Trinity...

...by suing instead of negotiating in good faith with parishes that wish to leave...

...by watering down the BCP and rejecting central themes to the Gospel message as understood by the divines.

Posted by Chris at Friday, 26 October 2007 at 5:10pm BST

No offence, Ford - but you all are a bit insular at times, you know.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 26 October 2007 at 7:34pm BST

Chris,
#1, 2, and 4: Prove it.

#3 As opposed to army recruiting drives IN CHURCHES! As opposed to supporting groups that actively propagandize and slander people? As ooposed to campaigning for a liar who led the US into war based on his lies?

#5 You mean by trying to prevent people from stealing from God? I'm sorry, but if people are upset because the Anglican Church is not congregationalist, that's too bad. Either they didn't study/don't know enough about what it is to be Anglican, much less a catholic Christian, or they were poorly catechized. Either way, not some forcing of views by anybody.

#6 As opposed to rejecting central themes of the faith that come down to us from antiquity in favour of 500 year old innovations and scorning any who don't agree with this? See my point. What is to be gained from this mutual accusation fest? We each feel we have genuine grievances against the other, so maybe we should stop this. It is easy to fall into this. We ought not to. And abortion? Well, there's a lot of theology, going back centuries. We didn't always think they way we do now.

And, Goran, of course we're insular! We're Anglican, the Church of the people for whom it is not unreasonable to have a newspaper headline "Storm in Channel, Europe Isolated". Have you ever read Stevenson's 'Foreign Children'? Do you know the full words of 'From Greenland's Icy Mountains'? Great chuckles, those!

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 29 October 2007 at 1:11pm GMT
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