Comments: Report on Women as Bishops

This looks good on first reading. It makes no recommendation and the report makes it clear that the group itself was divided on the way forward (seeing who is on it that is no surprise).

Particularly interesting was the section on Canon A4, which they propose to revise, and the assurance that whatever happens it will not be open to individuals or groups to suggest that ordained women or those ordained by women bishops are not truly bishops, priests or deacons.

The suggestion that separate dioceses might be a way forward is very disturbing but I suspect that Synod would not be ready to take such a route.

The statistical document is worth looking at to see quite how small the number of current anti parishes is. However, I wonder why the number of parishes petitioning for alternative episcopal oversight in the Diocese of Exeter is almost twice the number of those taking resolution A or B?

Posted by Wilf at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 2:36pm BST

Oh for heaven's sake the clergy got married without the law in the mid sixteenth century and just got on with it. This is ridiculous. Setting up new structures?! New diocese?!!! Has the church of England gone mad? 2014 before the first women can become bishops? Honestly, just put the basic minimal statutory alterations before synod, ask them to pass it, and request the house of bishops to make non-statutory covenants about ministering to those who in conscience cannot accept women in the episcopate. And covenant to admitting women into the house of bishops no later than 2010.

Posted by MrsBarlow at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 3:54pm BST

The report asks the vital question -
How far is the Church of England prepared to go in order to accommodate opponents of women bishops?
It is the duty of the Church to defend the right of Catholic Anglicans and provide structural provision; anything less is a step back from the promises made in 1992 and will only force Christians of a traditional integrity to find another spiritual home. To force them to do this is neither fair, inclusive or within the traditional Anglican framework of acceptance and value for all Christians. If we truly value those of a traditional integrity let us be brave enough to give them structural provision and allow them to serve in the Church of the Baptism. The time for anything less is long passed.

Posted by Mark Wharton at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 8:04pm BST

If the women accept this, they will permanently make themselves second class. Time is on their side...worth waiting ten more years, when their numbers will be so great they will be able to pipe the tune. Furthermore a house of Lords which is the only legislative Assembly in the civilised world which excludes women from a particular membeship ....the bishops...will put pressure to get all the bishops out and the minority Cof E disestablished.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 8:44pm BST

Women do not belong in the ministry. They are going against the teachings of the bible .What is wrong with this picture is time that the house of Bishops get there act together or resign.
Loraine J Reed

Posted by loraine J Reed at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 9:10pm BST

"It is the duty of the Church to defend the right of Catholic Anglicans and provide structural provision;.."

I thought it was to spread the Good News.

Silly me.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 10:04pm BST

Mark Wh: Please do not equate "Catholic" with "anti-women bishops"! I'm ludicrously Catholic and very pro-women bishops.

Posted by Fr Mark at Monday, 28 April 2008 at 10:16pm BST

I really cannot understand why Catholics who are against women priests and bishops don't do the utterly logical thing of joining the Roman Catholic Church. Other than not liking the discipline!

This proposal is just institutionalising a church within a church, and you give it to the catholics, its guaranteed that other sub-groups will demand and get the same. Its not really any sort of solution, just an acceptance that there isn't a point of agreement.

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 1:03am BST

Ludicrous would be a correct description then.

Posted by austin at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 1:06am BST

Respectfully, Loraine, may I suggest you work on your basic English a little more FIRST, before you go lecturing the bishops (or anyone else) re "the teachings of the bible"?

[NB to Mark Wh: your "Christians of a traditional integrity" would seem to be NONE of the above!]

What MrsBarlow said: GET ON WITH IT, CofE! At the rate you're going, many other Anglican provinces will have 50%+1 bishops-who-are-women, while you won't have any. Lord have mercy!

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 5:48am BST

Austin: the word "catholic" does not mean "excluding." Whenever opinion polls
ask them, large majorities of RC laypeople across Europe are in favour of women's ordination. Are they therefore not Catholics?

Posted by Fr Mark at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 8:21am BST

FrMark - How can you be ludicrously Catholic and in actively in favour of the ordination of women when it is absolutely clearly against the current will of the Church Catholic? Women Bishops, especially, are only present in a minority of Anglican churches - let alone the rest of the Church of which we claim to be a part.

It would be one thing to hold that theological viewpoint and wish that the Church would affirm it, but quite another to go against the will of the Church Catholic because of a personal preference. That's not a catholic hermeneutic, it's a protestant one.

Posted by Gregory of Langres at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 8:51am BST

Fr. Mark
Catholic from katholikos from katholou -- throughout the whole, i.e., universal.

The Catholic Faith IS NOT SOMETHING that has parts that we can accept or decline depending on how we feel; either one embraces the universal faith of the Church or one does not. If we have a sort of Pick and Mix faith, then it ceases to be catholic.
Women Bishops have not been approved or accepted by the majority of world-wide Anglicans, never mind the universal Church. There are only 4 provences in the Anglican Communion that ordain women to the Episcopapte:
Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia
Canada
United States
Austrailia.
I would be grateful if you could comment on my last question "What about men that women Bishops Ordain, are they priests?"

Posted by Mark Wharton at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 9:32am BST

Three comments:
1. Catholic Anglicans like me have problems with joining the RCs, as we believe that the Anglican Church is the Catholic Church in England. (And should behave like it, not like a small self-absorbed sect).
2. This all illustrates the difficulty way of defining doctrine by majority vote, for example in Synod, with its pressure-group mentality. In any case, the great majority of Christians in the world don't accept women priests.
3. Spreading the Good News includes defending the rights of Catholic Anglicans, and all who keep and hold the faith as it has come down from the Apostles.

Posted by Stephen Barber at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 9:45am BST

On the Catholic question:
The Church of England is part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. Yet the Church of / in England has claimed (and possibly since long before the sixteenth century) to have autocephalous rights and to make decisions on how it goes about things. Ordaining women is not the only thing that we have done that goes against the practice of the majority of Christians. We have married bishops and have done for five hundred years. The RC and Orthodox Churches do not.

The conservative catholic wing of the Church of England has made opposition to the ordination of women pretty much the defining characteristic of what it is to be catholic. I take issue with this and would point instead to theological understandings, sacramental theology, liturgical practice, incarnational pastoral ministry etc as being the things that unite those of a Catholic bent with our forebears in the nineteenth century and earlier.

The fact that the great Catholic societies of the CofE from the nineteenth century have cut adrift all of us who are catholic but pro women will eventually result in the take over of the CofE by Evangelicals - something that they were set up to guard against.

Posted by Wilf at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 11:09am BST

Stephen Barber:
Thank you for the comments; perhaps the question now is: Has the Church of England now abandoned her Catholicity? I think that in 1992 the Church of England became a different sort of Church and ceased to be Catholic.
Catholic means universal and we either accept the universal catholic faith or we do not.
I agree with Gregory of Langres; one cannot be Catholic and totally disregard any part of her teaching. The Faith is complete and does not come in parts.

Posted by Mark Wharton at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 11:55am BST

There are only 4 provinces in the Anglican Communion that ordain women to the Episcopate:

So you're not counting the Scottish Episcopal Church or the Church of Ireland. (There may be others).

(Just because we haven't done it yet doesn't mean that we can't!)

Kennedy

Posted by Kennedy at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 12:50pm BST

I saw a very interesting reflection on the ever-readable www.anglicanwanderings.blogspot.com regarding this document. Personally, I think we will just have to wait until synod meets....

Posted by Peter Jenkins at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 1:07pm BST

Mark Wharton,
In your list of those with women bishops, you omit the extra-provincial diocese of Cuba (which has a female suffragan). And, as Kennedy points out, there are a number of provinces (I saw one list with about 10 or 12) whose canons permit women in all three orders, but which have not yet elected or appointed a woman as bishop.

And Stephen Barber, to say that the great majority of Christians reject the ordination of women is perhaps a stretch. Consider not only the Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Congregationalist, Presbyterian and other churches that ordain women, but also the great number of Roman Catholics who disagree with Rome on this point.

Posted by Jim Pratt at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 1:18pm BST

Kennedy:
The same applies: Just because we can do something does not mean that we will. I was simply commenting on fact that only 4 Provinces’’ have acutely ordained women.

Posted by Mark Wharton at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 1:21pm BST

As Wilf quite correctly points out above, "Ordaining women is not the only thing that we have done that goes against the practice of the majority of Christians. We have married bishops and have done for five hundred years. The RC and Orthodox Churches do not."

This seems a rather important point in light of comments that the ordination of women somehow reflects a new and radical Anglican departure from the catholic faith. There is a significant difference - embodied by Anglican churches for centuries, of course - between adhering to the catholic faith, which we Anglicans do, and adhering to the practices of our brethren in other Christian communions, which we Anglicans very, very often do not. One might say this is, in fact, what makes us Anglicans in the first place.

Posted by christopher+ at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 2:51pm BST

Mark W,

I appreciate much of what you say here.

And there is a clear point to what you say in this instance: "Catholic means universal and we either accept the universal catholic faith or we do not." The challenge is to think through what we mean by "catholicity."

Much as the claim is out there, the RC Church shows itself to be deeply "sectarian" in key respects. Now I affirm the intent to faithfully represent historic Christian teaching, and in many important matters the RCC does that and I am glad for their steadfast witness against the destructive winds of culture. But in going its own way on the filoque clause for example, and so apart from the Orthodox Church, in blindly holding to celibacy for the clergy (recognizing it can be a wonderful gift), defining the position of the papacy as it has (all more traditional developments then original Christianity)etc, it shows its sectarian face.

To think clearly we will need to rethink "catholicity" from the ground up, and that will mean taking seriously the NT (and scripture as a whole) in the context of the early Christian centuries. We certainly can not expect to come with our modern assumptions and take bits and pieces of scripture as it suits us.

Ben W

Posted by Ben W at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 3:01pm BST

"Catholic from katholikos from katholou -- throughout the whole, i.e., universal."

Quite. Definitely NOT the Roman Catholic church alone, and definitely NOT it's magisterium alone.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 3:21pm BST

Some general comments:

1. The majority of the Church Catholic doesn't recognize Anglican orders in general. This, as far as I can tell, doesn't have any genuine ontological repercussions.

2. The Faith is hierarchical in logical structure. Those who support womens's ordination have every right (like those who opposed the Arians or the iconoclasts) to assert that the current teaching of certain Provinces of the Church violates more basic doctrine.

3. As Hooker warns us in the Prologue to the Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Politie (excuse my spelling), the definition of Protestantism lies in its excessive and unjustified rejection of the tradition of the Church, not measured and critical examination of the logic of teaching to maintain the sure ground of our hope.

Posted by Caelius Spinator at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 5:15pm BST

"Catholic means universal and we either accept the universal catholic faith or we do not. "

Indeed...but the universal catholic faith is set forth in the Creeds (Nicene and Apostles), and nowhere in those great declarations of faith is there a word about the gender of the ministry.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 5:30pm BST

"To think clearly we will need to rethink "catholicity" from the ground up, and that will mean taking seriously the NT (and scripture as a whole) in the context of the early Christian centuries. We certainly can not expect to come with our modern assumptions and take bits and pieces of scripture as it suits us." Ben W

Your post is well stated, and very helpful I think.

Posted by Davis d'Ambly at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 6:43pm BST

The positing of Popoids, and their Anglican wannabees, that "Catholic" = "Unanimous" is a LUDICROUS figment-of-the-imagination.

It's one thing to talk about "the Church Catholic"---where ALL are truly of One mind, because "Christ is the Head of the Church"---as a GOAL, or an eschatological hope. Something enjoyed by the saints in Eternal light.

But down here in this "valley of tears", we're ALL "protestant", in our partial, partisan, and above all, SUBJECTIVE views.

[To deny that . . . well, you know what they say about "not just a river in Egypt". ;-/]

It's the *increasing* partisan, subjective view---that women are made FULLY in the Image of God, and thereby discerning that women are FULLY called, to exercise ALL ministries in the Church (including sacerdotal and apostolic ministries).

There is another view---reactive, pushing-back and JUST AS partisan and subjective---that failing-to-have-a-Y-chromosome somehow PROVES God cannot be calling one to these ministries. There's NOTHING truly "catholic" about this position: only patriarchal, and FEAR-DRIVEN.

"Perfect love casts out fear": such fears do not reflect well upon "the Faith once delivered" being claimed.

Lord have mercy!

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 7:42pm BST

Just to say that the Manchester group have done what they were asked to do. They've spelt out all the options. There's nothing new here that wasn't already floating around. The intention of the report is to show what the options are, and to provide examples of what the legislation might look like under each of the options.

The pressure groups will now be backing their horses, and staking out their ground. My skin feeling is that Synod will coalesce around the mandatory transfer option [option 4] (which is not a million miles from TEA). But we will have to debate and vote down the simple statutory options favoured by WATCH, and the alternative structural provisions favoured by FiF.

Posted by Pete Broadbent at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 7:57pm BST

If you believe the ordination of women is heretical, you can't belong to a Church that endorses it. ...that is , if you believe in principle, and not stipend and vicarage.

You certainly cannot broker a deal, saying you will vote for women bishops if you are given your own bantustan.

St Paul says , "Separate yourself , not brker a deal.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 8:21pm BST

Gregoire de Langres: The sensus fidelium is surely important, though: Catholic doctrine does not exist in total isolation from lived experience. If it not received by the faithful, in what sense is it in fact Catholic doctrine?

The RC faithful divorce; contraceive; live together unmarried; enter into same-sex partnerships, etc. just as much as any Protestants do. The majority of them are in favour of women clergy. So, to what extent is the harsh line against all these things from the Vatican actually the doctrine of the Catholic Church? If the RC leadership says things are essential doctrines which almost no-one among their own flock believes, what is the point in holding them up as a model? There is a more simple possible explanation for the RC Church being so dysfunctional: its leadership could just be an unrepresentative group of remote old men. Plausible?

Posted by Fr Mark at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 8:30pm BST

Of course Anglicans believe that their existing Orders are valid, whilst official Roman Catholic teaching is that they are null and void.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 8:35pm BST

Pete Broadbent states: "My skin feeling is that Synod will coalesce around the mandatory transfer option [option 4] (which is not a million miles from TEA). But we will have to debate and vote down the simple statutory options favoured by WATCH, and the alternative structural provisions favoured by FiF."

That may prove to be the case, but could it not be argued that the structural provisions are a more equitable solution than the mandatory transfer option? Mandatory transfer would place restrictions on a female bishop within her jurisdiction - the "new dioceses" option would not.

If synod goes for either of those options - and for the sake of any kind of unity it may well have to - it will need to choose whether it is preferable to retain a catholic notion of jurisdiction OR to retain teritoriality in its present form. It may well be that the compromise re juridiction is such that mandatory tranfer is not acceptable. The new dioceses only challenge an "alley cat" concept of territory and may be the best way forward although it is not the Free Province argued for by some, nor the simple measure requested by others.

Posted by David at Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 11:26pm BST

OK now that I've read the report and not reacted to the press release far too late at night ... wow! Pete Broadbent is right, the committee has done an amazing job of tabulating every possible option, of correcting many misunderstandings about church law and state law, and of pointing out the implications of every action canvassed. Is this a consequence of having a committee that has gender equity and uses the full talents of highly qualified women AND men ;-)

I was particularly impressed that they note the need to remove or at least reconsider the provisions of the 1992 Measure and the 1993 Act of Synod given the different set of circumstances that would emerge from women in the episcopate. And I do take the point that a simple statutory measure would still need to address this.

I think the Australian approach however does offer a model. While it is a crying shame we could not find 2/3ds consensus in General Synod to achieve women in the episcopate here, the protocols are a model: the House of Bishops unanimously agreed on a clear set of principles that should be applied, and has left it up to each diocese and bishop to apply them as best fits each situation. (The disadvantage, of course, is that unlike England there is no provision for supporters of the ordination of women who live in dioceses that do not ordain women.) So I would be happy to see either model 2 option 2 or option 3: but I feel option 4 is a bit too legalistic.

I am also concerned that so much attention is focussed on preserving a male-only episcopal pedigree, whatever model is used. We can't predict the future, but the report does assume that there will always be at least one male bishop in the C of E who has never ordained women, and it almost implies that there will be a line of succession from bishops who were consecrated by bishops who have never ordained women, when given the role of Canterbury and York in consecrating even the flying bishops, that is patently not the case. But perhaps I need to open my eyes to how some people understand the church.

Finally, can I strongly encourage the C of E to avoid the language of 'woman bishop', or to avoid making this a 'woman problem'? The real issue is about how the whole church can live together, and how a college of bishops that includes both men and women can best live up to the church's mission of waiting and witnessing, and manage the challenges together, not separately.

Posted by MrsBarlow at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 2:15am BST

Why is "unity" the ultimate price? There is no unity at present, and women ( and soon men , if you have your way) are excluded from the de facto traditionalist bantustan.

The traditionalists only want the endowments, vicarages and perks. They know to well ( well the Anglo-catholic ones do) that they would have a tiny breakaway denomination meeting in scout huts and unio halls. They will not break away...only a handful.


There is something worse than "false" unity and that is self deception.

In the past women and men of integrity left.

Look at the non-jurors, puritans etc.

However here we have a tiny group of vicar of Brays...whose real theology is putting their livings before therir principles.

The women bishops lobby should stop any attempt to give them second class women bishops, and persona non grat clergy ordained by them..whether they be women or men.

How in the long term can you have a diocese or organized group which does not recognise the orders of the majority of men and women in the wider Church?

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 6:29am BST

I wonder if anyone has asked those against women Bishops, what they would like? It seems to me that it is they who have remained faithful to the universal Church and it is they who will need to work wit in the provision (If any.)
We should give the catholic traditionalists a free province and allow them to flourish or fail as God wishes. A failure to ask them is at the best rude and the worst exclusionary.

Posted by Mark Wharton at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 9:58am BST

O please can we get on with the simple statutory option? That is really where the vast majority of ordinary anglicans are. They are simply bewildered as to why their church is still so antediluvian in its attitude to women in ministry, and operating with what, to them, just look like nastily sexist restrictive practices. NO no no to any structural arrangements that perpetuate any understanding in our church of women as less than fully bishops priests and deacons. If others feel differently then there are places that will welcome them.

Mark Wharton - if the C of E became a different church in 1992 and not properly catholic, then frankly who gives a stuff if it becomes it more fully the heterodox body that you clearly now think it to be? The horse has bolted. And I have to say that on the evidence of the fruits of women ministering, it doesnt appear that God has entirely deserted us yet. And someone once said that by their fruits.... so perhaps that is more important than ideology.

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 10:05am BST

FrMark - I don't see how your last comment really answers my point and, anyway, where is the consensus on this issue? The Church of England hasn't ended her period of reception - otherwise PEV etc would be over. The majority of the Anglican Communion does not accept this and the rest of the Church (the hugely overwhelming majority of it, in fact) is vehemently opposed to the idea. So I ask, again, how can one be catholic and in favour? It is not the will of the church, it is contrary to the tradition of the church and it is by no means the consensus of the faithful.

Whilst you're at it, would you support the 'new diocese' structures?

Posted by Gregory of Langres at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 1:37pm BST

The majority of the CofE thinks there should be change so what Rome or other churches think is irrelevant.

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 1:51pm BST

2 points:
1st - don't start by asking who wants what - WATCH, FiF etc.....ask what will work! The single measure won't work, it will just open up the mess of intercontinental ballistic bishops seen elsewhere. The TEA based options won't work because they will compromise the role of the dioc bishop in her/his diocese. The additional dioceses model will work, provide for those faithful who cant accept the change in sacramental order AND give women bishops full authority throughout their dioceses. It alone works...so go for it.

2nd For goodness sake remember that this is about differences in sacramental theology not about liking women. Of those parishes passing resolutions listed in the report represent thousands of those folk are women - young,old, black white - who will be driven from our church if we don't provide for their needs.

Posted by rose gaudete at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 1:55pm BST

Rose , your so innocent ( to the pure all things are pure)...they will not leave...you are making provision for what will not happen. Only a tiny minority will move...as I point out the majority are vicars of Bray.

If there had been no compensation in 1992..very few would have left.....just as in the Cof W, the SEC and the Cof I.

Will people stop worrying about a schism that will never happen. It is as comical as worrying how you are going to use a potential lottery win!

The longer the opponents hold out, the women s case grows stronger...they will be like Rhodesia ...they will end up with nothing.


Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 6:47pm BST

No, I'm not being naive. Robert, you misread the English situation. The compensation in 1992 was of little significance - a great number of the younger priests who left didn't even qualify. In any case, since when has this been about clergy?? How about the uncounted laity who left. BUT, remember that thousands make use of the provisions of those resolutions and have stayed on the basis that those provisions were made because we wanted them to stay. So now we change our minds? Boot them out?? I know lots of these folk and they will go if forced to because they are people of faith & integrity even if their beliefs are not the majority. I'm saddened by questions about what different factions want in this battle. Let's get on with the consecration of Women BUT NOT at the expense of excluding other faithful christians simply because their beliefs are out of season. I have no wish to exclude the thousands of lay women & men who along with their clergy will be forced to leave. Don't insult their integrity because their views are not your own.

Posted by rose gaudete at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 7:08pm BST

rose,

quit torturing the language (so to speak) w/ your use of the term "force" (as in "traditionalists will be forced to leave").

As if some bishop-who-is-a-woman will bop recalitrants on their heads w/ her breasts? Please.

It is CHRIST who makes the invitation: to some, male&female, to holy orders. To ALL, to the Heavenly Banquet, shared on Earth in the Holy Eucharist.

To absent one's self "from the wedding banquet" is a FREE CHOICE. Certainly not by "force" of the infinitely-generous Host!

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 8:38pm BST

There are surely two feasible, coherent options:

1) Admit women to the episcopate and let those who don't like it lump it or leave.

2) Admit women to the episcopate and value those who have been promised a place in the Church of England, and in the wider Anglican Communion, to the extent that you will provide with that which they need to stay, viz. the 'new dioceses' option. That way, we can all stay in the Church together and get on with preaching the Gospel.

Personally, I'm praying for the latter.

Posted by Richard Doney at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 9:07pm BST

JCF writes:
"It is CHRIST who makes the invitation: to some, male&female, to holy orders. To ALL, to the Heavenly Banquet, shared on Earth in the Holy Eucharist.To absent one's self "from the wedding banquet" is a FREE CHOICE. Certainly not by "force" of the infinitely-generous Host!"

Well that is certainly a powerful statement and you may well beieve it to be true. But who says Christ invites male & female to holy orders? Just because you believe this does not make it true. And who says that it is still "the wedding banquet" when we have changed the terms of the invitation and indeed the menu? To absent oneself is indeed a free choice, but it may be an act of obedience to Christ who calls us to a faithfulness to that revealed in scripture and tradition.

Posted by David at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 9:59pm BST

I disagree, Rose.

I think those with integrity have left, and those who can broker a deal to stay, have no understanding of orthodoxy. They want their stipends and realise that if they leave , the denomination they could find would be an irrevelance and tiny. The Reform people could start up a viable break away though.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 10:06pm BST

Richard Doney: but how can you have stayed in the C of E all this time so far with women priests and deacons? Surely once they were ordained, it was obvious that women bishops would be too. The Church's mistake was not to pass the legislation for all three orders at the same time.

Posted by Fr Mark at Wednesday, 30 April 2008 at 10:20pm BST

So the Reform/ GAFCON people could make a go of setting themselves up, but the traditionalist Anglo-Catholics would mainly be Vicars of Bray and end up in scout huts and the like.

I'm just wondering, though, if the extra non-geographical dioceses were made whether there would be GAFCON types going into them as well, on some concept of an olde worlde Church of England past restored?

I think if you hand out dioceses they would press for them to become a province.

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 1 May 2008 at 2:00am BST

Pluralist has a point on becoming a province. It only takes three dioceses to make a viable province and it would not be long before these dioceses were making demands that (a) women bishops, (b) bishops who were consecrated with the assistance of women bishops (c) bishops who had participated in the consecration of women bishops (d) male bishops who had received the orders of deacon and/or priest from a woman bishop even though they were subsequently made bishop by male bishops etc etc be excluded from the consecration of bishops from their dioceses that it would end up as a de facto province, whether the crown makes the appointment or not.

It might be interesting to ask whether, on the advice of ministers, the crown would be happy to make appointments to what could be thought of as schismatic or discriminatory positions?

Posted by Wilf at Thursday, 1 May 2008 at 9:26am BST

Male clergy ordained by women clergy will be persona non grata.That is beyond dispute.

Will the FIF diocese recognise male bishops who were originally ordained priests by women?

Will they recognise a male bishop who was consecrated with women bishops present?

FIF should give honest answers to thse scenarios.

A traditionalist diocese would be a knife at the heart of the Church of England.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Thursday, 1 May 2008 at 5:46pm BST

Women should not of been ordained in the first place, Although i do agree with the banners that were made
" a woman's place is in the house of Bishops" well, who else is going to do the cleaning?

Posted by paul at Thursday, 1 May 2008 at 7:14pm BST

Wilf, your question"It might be interesting to ask whether, on the advice of ministers, the crown would be happy to make appointments to what could be thought of as schismatic or discriminatory positions?" might be better not raised at this stage because it could open a can of worms.

The crown might well have reservations but it will need to bear in mind that in 1992-1994 the crown (or at least parliament) supported the promises that opponents of Women's ordination should have a permanent place and provision in the established church. This was on the basis that it had to consider the needs of all of her majesty's subjects. The financial compensation & Act of Synod were necessary for parliamentary approval.

It is quite possible that the crown will have changed its mind in this respect but massive legal/constitutional issues might arise.

The Crown would have to justify removing provisions for a group of subjects for whom specific provision had previously been made. It would also need to anticipate various potential appeals to the courts and to European courts if the crown supported the withdrawal of provisions to a group of subjects which it had previously pledged were permanent and that the pledge had been made less than 20 years earlier.

As I say, this can of worms is best left unopened. It will be costly if pursued and will inevitably delay the consecration of women for many more years.

Personally, I think the only way forward is going to be the creation of the 3 dioceses. Opponents will be grieved it is not a new province but will probably be able to live with it. Others will need to look at the wider picture in that it removes all restrictions to female appointments in every other part of the church. The new dioceses can live or die but will have little bearing on the rest. Indeed, it may be a boat in which opponents can be cast off adrift???

Posted by David at Thursday, 1 May 2008 at 7:59pm BST

Some of the comments on this thread are making me ask questions. Why are people more obsessed with getting rid of traditionalists than they are with women as bishops? Is it really important to the gospel to withdraw provision from other christians? If the new dioceses will be small and insignificant, why not just let them die away? Will the majority of synod be swayed by calls to end provision for conservative evangelicals & catholics or will synod be prepared to be generous to achieve the consecration of women and to get a move on in all of this?

Posted by rose gaudete at Thursday, 1 May 2008 at 8:06pm BST

rose gaudete: I don't think some of us want in any way to "get rid of traditionalists". I consider myself to be a traditionalist in terms of liturgy and in the music that often accompanies it, but I have a real problem with the outright veiled bigotry often spewed on this blogsite. Forty years ago, there were few women on the vestries of most U.S. churches, let alone any as clerics. Hiding in one's warped picking and choosing of scripture and "tradition" isn't going to turn back the clock; and the revelation of things we know today that we did not know then is the natural progression of humankind still discovering itself.

There are still dioceses in the U.S. that do not ordain females, let alone any openly admitting LGBT's. Again at the risk of repeating what has been said many times on this site, NOBODY is twisting their arm in enforcing change WITHIN those dioceses. I have yet to see +KJS go down to Ft. Worth and force them to revise the hiring standards there that are so blatantly unjust.

Remember, who is trying to leave? Who is reacting? Who is leaning on ++RW to get somebody excluded? Who has indicated that they want a place at the table too?

If you consider yourself a "traditionalist" as you have put it, there are numerous ways to safeguard what is "dear" to you. Your parish can still hire the person they want (straight white married male probably), you can pick and choose both liturgy and scripture-within the propers I grant you-, and you can snub anybody at the door you don't deem to fit. It's all still legal in the Episcopal Church (USA).

Christian? Hardly.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Friday, 2 May 2008 at 3:21pm BST

Wow, choirboy from hell, I didn't realise that things were so backward in America. Are there really dioceses where women are still not ordained?? It's very different in England. People don't always realise that the Act of Synod enabled women to be ordained in every diocese in England, either by the diocesan bishop or, where he was opposed, by another bishop appointed to do so.

By making provision for opponents, we have enabled both positions to be maintained and respected. It is that situation I am anxious to retain.

Posted by rose gaudete at Saturday, 3 May 2008 at 12:17am BST

rose g,

It would be simpler to move forward on the place of women in the church, but I appreciate the position you are taking in consideration of people with convictions that make this difficult for them. You put it well: "By making provision for opponents, we have enabled both positions to be maintained and respected. It is that situation I am anxious to retain."

Ben W


Posted by Ben W at Saturday, 3 May 2008 at 4:15am BST

"Wow, choirboy from hell, I didn't realise that things were so backward in America. Are there really dioceses where women are still not ordained??"

Yes. While the acts of General Convention three decades ago authorized the ordination of women, they did not (and could not) force any diocesan bishop to ordain any person that bishop thought not proper.

And there are still diocesans who hold that position. Indeed, there are still parish rectors who hold that position. About 15 years ago, my wife was considering entering seminary (she ultimately decided not to). To be considered a candidate for ordination in our diocese, she would need the approval of her parish rector. Our (then) recently called rector of our (then) parish said he could not recommend her, as he was firmly opposed to women's ordination.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 3 May 2008 at 11:51am BST

All of this only stregthens my resolve that some clear provision - like the proposed new dioceses is the way forward. Our current english structures allow for bishops to decline to ordain women, but others are then appointed to do so. Similar there are many priests and parishes who are opposed but they cannot hinder women's ordained ministry outside of those parishes.

I really cannot see how simple one clause legislation will get through here and I want to avoid the kind of litigation and invasion by other primates see in America. We could pass legislation which enables both sides to flourish. Yes there will be anomolies but it will free the majority to live within structures where there are absolutely no barriers to women's ordination. The important thing is that the new dioceses must be non-geographical i.e. they will only exist in so far as individual parishes opt into them; they will not be the dominant force in any specific location - no no-go districts etc....

This is just a personal reflection but I think it may serve better than the transatlantic model? This issue has dominated synodical life for years an amicable settlement might release lots of energy for mission.

Posted by rose gaudete at Saturday, 3 May 2008 at 1:15pm BST

Sounds like a recipe for the issue made permanent.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 4 May 2008 at 11:32am BST

Somehow the slow progression of anti-smoking ordinances (U.S.) come to mind in this subject. First it was "smoking areas" in the workplace, then only on certain floors, to be followed by only outsides the doors (suffocating those entering). Now expanded to most restaurants in the country, plus many bar/lounges/pubs in major cities and some states.

I guess I could see an inverse relationship here of opening doors to female clerics and closing them on smokers (no pun intended for my high-church friends!).

Slowly but surely....

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Monday, 5 May 2008 at 8:27pm BST

"I guess I could see an inverse relationship here of opening doors to female clerics and closing them on smokers (no pun intended for my high-church friends!)."

This High Church friend sees no reason for the doors to be closed to either, at least in the punny meaning of 'smoker'.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 5 May 2008 at 10:50pm BST
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