Comments: "Yes" to Women Bishops, but not at any price

Well Good for these women! Much as it grieves me to think about even more shameful delay in the C of E enjoying the episcopal ministry of women, I am glad they are taking this stand. To treat women bishops as entities that some people have to be protected against is demeaning and, moreover, silly.

Reminds me of the kind of twaddle one heard here before women were ordained -"What is a lady priestess is, you know, having her, erm, "monthlies" when she's presiding?" Like - the wine will turn sour, right?

You GO ladies!

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 2:01pm BST

I think many of us at westcott are also praying for the same thing. I think it would be a profound moment in the C of E if it did vote for the simple option, it would be a bold gesture that would at last confirm women as full members of the body of Christ in Anglican terms rather than the half-hearted measure we have now.

Posted by gareth powell at Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 2:20pm BST

Bravo, speaking clearly up for womens gifts and calls and innate competencies can only aid us in understanding what the real church life issues are.

Bravo to all the signing women who may to some extent have risked even further meanness from those who say they are not really called by God and by traditionalistic definitions cannot be called by God.

I strongly agree that the notion that traditionalistic Anglican believers have to be protected from the best and the brightest women who manage to persevere against all institutional odds is offensive. More, the notion is sheer meanness, dressed up in fancy double-talk as if God is consummately male and not at all male, all at the same time.

In USA, I work under the supervision of two division authorities, one a man who is a person of color, and the other a woman with a professional license and many years of rich experience and training. According to traditionalistic views, neither person is capable of being qualified, as the man is disqualified by his color/ethnicity, and the woman is disqualified by her sex/gender.

We are still heatedly arguing about these things in this day and age? Alas. Lord have mercy.

Posted by drdanfee at Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 3:12pm BST

Very good to hear this.

Please speak out again soon. We need to hear you.

We do.

Posted by L Roberts at Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 4:33pm BST

Dioceses allowing the whole Church to look two ways at once would be a bolt hole for all sorts of discontented authoritarians, the dioceses soon becoming a province given the tainted status of the Archbishops reaching out to all. The simple option means a decision is taken.

Posted by Pluralist at Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 4:35pm BST

Good on the women, and now they should block any attempt to set up a third province , safe diocese or legalised discrimination which would extend to male clergy ordained by women.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 5:26pm BST

In a word, brilliant. The creation of the Flying Bishop scheme in the C of E was an ecclesiological innovation which has been extended into demands for Alternative Episcopal Oversight for dissidents in other Provinces. The signators to this statement clearly do not want to extend this dangerous and anti-Catholic innovation and will even delay their aibility to respond to the call to ministry in order to preserve the catholicity of the Church. That is a serious attitude of self-sacrifice which, unfortunately, also means that the Church will not (because of its own inability to move forward) benefit from their leadership in episcopal orders. The House of Bishops is impoverished as long as these fine women are denied a rightful seat in it.

May there be no further delay in implementing full and unequivocal ordination of women to the episcopate. And perhaps at the same time we could see the temination of the disatrous Flying Bishop scheme.

God protect us from those who feel they need protection from women bishops!

Posted by Nom de Plume at Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 5:42pm BST

It's that these women priests have written/ signed this letter. It is so good to be reminded that not all Anglicans are so docile as to supinely accept injustice.

The reason the anti-women priests/bishops lobby is still vociferous is that we have allowed some clergy to go on in the C of E as if women clergy did not exist all these years. I think that was a big mistake: there should never have been no-go areas for ordained women in the first place. We certainly shouldn't sanction further types of no-go areas - it would just create an enduring ecclesiastical apartheid.

Posted by Fr Mark at Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 6:26pm BST

"it would be a bold gesture that would at last confirm women as full members of the body of Christ in Anglican"

I am not opposed to women's ordination/consecration, but what does not being able to be a bishop have to do with one's status as a Christian? Are bishops the only "full members of the Body of Christ"? I am not a bishop. I could never be a bishop. I do not have a vocation to ordained ministry, and, though it IS conceivably possible, I doubt there would ever be a spontaneous move to elect me a bishop. Does this mean I am not a full member of the Body of Christ?

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 6:57pm BST

And what if the decision is taken, and it is NO to women bishops in the church of england. Would you accept that? If not, why deny others that right?

Posted by William at Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 7:50pm BST

A few nights ago, I heard (on the Popoid cable channel, EWTN) the conversion story of a former CofE priest, a "Father Geldard."

What was striking, was his TOTAL disregard of women who heard the Call from God to ordained ministry (and beyond that, disregard of all who, in their hearts, BELIEVED in the God calling these women). They were simply non-persons, to Father Geldard.

May all who believe as he does, similarly take their *dehumanizing* attitudes OUT of the CofE (and the Anglican Communion)---or, better yet, REPENT. Lord have mercy!

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 7:52pm BST

Cardinal Kasper has recently asked members of the Church of England to come to a decision about whether that Church is Catholic or Protestant. Despite their invocation of 'the Church as a whole' (Rome and Constantinople can effectively be ignored), the petitioning women clergy have answered very clearly: they are Protestants. Catholic members of the Church of England, however, are obedient to the practices of the Universal Church and, make no mistake, will leave rather than be bullied into a one size fits all arrangement.

Posted by britannicus at Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 10:23pm BST

Ford:

If, by one's very gender, one is forbidden to answer a call from God to serve, then one is not a full member of the body of Christ.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 11:30pm BST

It was Vatican II Roman Catholic theologians of the stature of Karl Rahner, SJ, who then advocated WO, saying in effect that, if women couldn't be ordained, they shouldn't be baptized either. Yet, the Church Catholic from its inception has baptized females, not only males.

Of course, there will always be misogynists like certain ungodly bishops headed for the Southern Cone, who will never accept menstruants as Presbyters and Bishops, stealing on the way out TEC's silver. After all, accepting women as equals is a greater sin than outright theft--at least in the perverted minds of those ungodly bishops.

Posted by John Henry at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 12:04am BST

"Catholic members of the Church of England, however, are obedient to the practices of the Universal Church and, make no mistake, will leave rather than be bullied into a one size fits all arrangement."

Britannicus, does this mean that "Catholic" members of the C of E are reasonably content as Anglicans as long as women are ordained as Anglican bishops in other dioceses (or provinces), just not their own? And does this mean that these same "Catholic" members of the C of E - if they are, say, clergy - are celibate, that is, truly "obedient to the practices of the Universal Church," at least the largest one? (And when I say celibate, I mean really celibate - not just "on the record.") Or which practices exactly - mandated clerical celibacy in the RC Church or married priests amongst the Eastern Orthodox - actually reflects "the practices of the Universal Church"?

Or is this perhaps much more about which "practices of the Universal Church" happen to fit one's particular notion of the proper place of women in Christ's church - or anywhere for that matter?

Posted by christopher+ at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 1:32am BST

BRAVA!!

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 2:03am BST

Delighted to hear of Rahner's remarks.

Misogyny is a poison of the clerical mindset that we in the RCC have not even begun to address.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 3:18am BST

The Anglican Church was founded in 1559 as a "one size fits all arrangement", "Britannicus". It has been both "Catholic" and "Protestant" since that date. For Cardinal Radner to demand that the Church of England come down off the fence on this issue shows a seriously blinkered understanding of the Church's history, as, incidentally, does your post. I consider Radner's comment impertinent, coming, as it does, from one who holds the entire Anglican priesthood, from Rowan Williams downwards, to be invalid. As to who the bully is in this matter? - perception varies, Britannicus.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 4:05am BST

Just a quick comment addressed to John Henry:

Southern Cone ( Canada) has women prebyters, fully licensed!

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 6:17am BST

If I could only understand where all this Misogny comes from. The 6 Misogynous verses in the NT? All 2nd century, mostly Alexandrian.

Hellenism. Gnosticist, Philosphy. Hierarchic models of Society.

Proclaiming that "what is" (Patriarchal sub-ordination) is Right (Indian principle of Rita).

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 7:54am BST

Britannicus: no, Catholic is not by definition "anti-women priests", and you misuse the term "Catholic" when you try to make the two synonymous. The majority of Roman Catholics across Europe come out in favour of women priests whenever polled. It may be that the elderly male-dominated RC hierarchy has a different view, but I wouldn't put any money on that staying as it is for much longer.

Posted by Fr Mark at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 8:26am BST

With some trepidation can I record my (slightly different reactions) on reading this story?

Headline: 'Yes to women bishops, but not at any price.'
For a few seconds my heart burst with joy: I read this as those personally committed to full inclusion saying the price in hurt to those who disagree might mean delay.

Then I read the article. I appreciate their position; I understand the integrity and feeling behind it; I hear the theological reasons; I know it's expressed far more graciously than by many who oppose them.

But just for a second I thought real grace and bearing with each other had broken out. To this reader it felt like sadness to realise it was 'business as usual' across our divides.

Sorry if that sounds like crypto-criticism. It's not meant to be. I can applaud courageous outspokenness and recognise clear fighting for what you believe in. But if only either side could find radical grace, and I'm back to thinking we're stuck.

Posted by Charlie at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 12:23pm BST

Fr Mark,
can you link me to these polls that you are refering to? And, hrm, not just one from a liberal parish in the Netherlands.

Posted by Roman at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 12:48pm BST

I meant "Kasper", not "Radner" when I posted above, didn't I? Moral - don't post immediately after waking from a mid-evening nap! Apologies to any who may feel subconsciously libeled.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 1:30pm BST

As someone who lived for ten years in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington I would like gently to suggest that not all women bishops have "acted wisely and behaved with dignity" when dealing with Anglo Catholic parishes under their jurisdiction. The Bishop of Rhode Island is an honorable exception in this regard, but I don't think you can regard her as typical.

Consequently, while people may regard the anti-woman bishop position, as foolish, uninformed or worse, the writers of this letter are making assumptions that are not always borne out by the facts on the ground.

Posted by Jeremy Bonner at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 1:52pm BST

Rome will have women clergy, including women bishops.

Just not in this century, and maybe not in the next one.

Posted by counterlight at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 2:20pm BST

The real question, Britannicus, is: when will the Church of Rome return to its properly Catholic roots? The Protestant Reformation may have produced one batch of heretics, but the Catholic Reformation produced a worse one. We of the one holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church will be here waiting for you when you decide to join us, women priests and all.

Posted by MRG at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 2:55pm BST

Hmm in this as in many other current hot button controversies, we modern Anglicans are working within the three customary and usual intellectual tensions among Protestant, Catholic, and Empirical-Democratic-Modern approaches to topics which get heated quickly, and appear anything but simple to understand from more than a single angle.

Typically, Anglicans always need time, time, and more time to sort out how life and discernment in the mix of such fundamental tensions will go in any given generational era or historical-cultural context. Only to take a different direction, say, ten to fifteen to twenty to thirty years later - as hot button tensions and controversies often continue to shift.

Part of the seriously heightened contradiction for those of us who take a diversified space for granted as basic to Anglicanisms of many sorts is that a new type of conservative or traditionalistic believer has now loudly arisen. He or she now defines holiness as being able to resist and refuse change, not just personally or in immediate family settings, but also institutionally.

Imagine if we took this approach to voting in democracy across these or similar divides about the competence of women. Certain conservative votes would simply say they could not in good conscience attend a polling place staffed by women - against God's clearly revealed will? Could not touch a ballot previously touched by a woman against God's revealed will? Could not in good conscience rub shoulders or be significantly related to any other persons who did?

Indeed, did we not already pass, pretty much exactly, through such wastes and narrows as women were admitted in the last century - to medical or law schools, to the skilled trades occupations, to any number of settings or types of work from which our traditions formerly barred them, no holds excepted?

Posted by drdanfee at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 3:13pm BST

I strongly urge the bishops to avoid succumbing to the troglodytes by maintaining "alternate arrangements." It is time to quit excusing those prejudiced against female clergy, even if it means that some will leave the church. The Episcopal Church made a serious mistake by continuing to honor prejudices.

Posted by Wolfstan (Edward Spivey) at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 3:53pm BST

God protect us from those who feel they need protection from women bishops!

Posted by: Nom de Plume on Wednesday, 14 May 2008 at 5:42pm BST


YES, then let's arrange some emotional and spiritual help (Camp Allen/Diocese of Texas is quite often available for out-patient therapy activities) for such, excluders, at The Body of Christ...rent a Vigin Atlantic jumbojet.

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 4:58pm BST

If the Church fails to make adequate provision for traditionalists then we are effectively saying, “We don’t want you in this Church”.
If this is what we are saying, we are neither open nor inclusive and if this is the CofE of the future, then many faithful Anglicans will have no option but to leave.
We cannot claim to be open and inclusive and then exclude faithful Anglicans because their witness to 2000 year unbroken tradition is no longer popular.

Posted by Mark Wharton at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 6:02pm BST

Charlie
"But just for a second I thought real grace and bearing with each other had broken out. To this reader it felt like sadness to realise it was 'business as usual' across our divides."

If they had agreed to delay it would not have been a "bearing with each other", but a case of one side doing all the bearing.

Can you come up with a response that is Christian, graceful and yet does not enshrine the status quo in stone?
Because I have no doubt that "a delay" would be no such thing. Unless women and their supporters continue to push this, those opposing them will never change their minds.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 6:11pm BST

Rather a remarkable leap of logic, Jeremy. A female bishop in Washington did not, in your view, act wisely or behave with dignity towards an Anglo-Catholic parish. Ergo, most women bishops do not act wisely or behave with dignity towards Anglo-Catholic parishes - and if one does, she is the exception.

Quite apart from the specifics, you have made a bald assertion with no evidence to support it. Even assuming your charge against the particular bishop in question is sustained, that does not prove that women bishops in general have done anything at all. It would prove only that one particular woman bishop acted wrongly against (possibly only) one Anglo-Catholic parish.

Of course, even in the Washington case (no specifics provided, how very convenient for you) there are a number of possible explanations, including but not limited to:

1. The bishop failed to act wisely and behave with dignity pretty much across the board.

2. The bishop failed to act wisely and behave with dignity by pursuing a scorched earth policy against Anglo-Catholic parishes generally.

3. The bishop made a serious error in judgement in dealing with a particular Anglo-Catholic parish.

4. The bishop was inept.

5. The bishop was an a$$.

6. The bishop was positively saintly in her dealings with a particular Anglo-Catholic parish, but was constantly provoked until she did something rash.

7. The bishop was positively saintly in her dealings with a particular Anglo-Catholic parish, but every time she agreed to some demand, seven more demands would emerge hydra-like, and the source of their complaint really is that she refused to stop being a woman bishop.

Any of these is possible. Given Gene Robinson's story about the parish that demanded Albany as alternative epsicopal oversight - until they were offered Albany and he wasn't good enough - I'm moved to suspect that number 7 is closer to the truth of it.

But even if the bishop in question was a complete and utter a$$, that would not prove anything about woman bishops. I've met the odd male bishop who was an a$$. It doesn't mean that decent bishops are the exceptions.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 6:49pm BST

For Roman:
I am a priest in the C-of-E, ordained and now working in Rome. The Roman Catholics I meet with and often pray with are enthusiastic about my ministry - a small sampling, but a significant one. From my experience I would agree that Roman Catholic lay people don't have a problem about women priests, nor do many RC clergy.

Posted by Sara MacVane at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 6:55pm BST

Mark Wharton:

Who's excluding them? They're welcome--they're just not welcome to treat properly ordained or consecrated women as anathema.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 8:41pm BST

Mark Wharton: Nobody is telling you to leave. What they are telling you is to get over your outdated prejudices and recognize that women are equal to men in the church as well as in secular society. It's no good to try to soften the word "misogynists" by the euphemisms "faithful Anglicans" and "traditionalists." I find it very odd that Brits can shout "God save the Queen" while denying other women advancement in the church.

Posted by Wolfstan at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 9:20pm BST

Sara: then you must find that your local RC clergy are more enthusiastic about your ministry as a woman priest than your C of E docesan bishop is!

Posted by Fr Mark at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 9:51pm BST

Of course as a Roman Catholic we don't go on majority democratic decisions. The majority after all shouted for Barrabas.We believe the Holy Spirit guards the Church through the successor of Peter...who in 1994 issued a definitive magisterial statement on the ordination of womenin his capacity " as confirmer of the brethren."

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 10:09pm BST

Sara - the average Roman Catholic is an Anonymous Anglican (with a nod to Karl Rahner, SJ). S/he desires catholic liturgy, catholic sacraments and catholic church order, s/he believes the clergy should be allowed to marry, s/he is okay with the ordination of women and s/he doesn't want to listen to the Pope.

Wolfstan - careful old bean or the crypto-calvinists will start quoting John Knox on the "monstrous regiment of women."

Posted by Malcolm+ at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 10:10pm BST

"If, by one's very gender, one is forbidden to answer a call from God to serve, then one is not a full member of the body of Christ."

Well, the question is whether or not God IS calling women to ordained ministry. I believe He is, and has been for a very long time. I can't explain why He isn't calling the Orthodox and Romans to the same, but who am I to question the Almighty? So, in that sense, yes I agree, I guess. But, let's say for the sake of argument that there IS something important about the gender of the ordinand, that, as our conservative brethren say, only a man can represent Christ in the Mass. That not ordaining women for 1900 years was not about sexism, but was about the inherent nature of priesthood. If that is the case, then women are no more oppressed by not being allowed to be what they by nature cannot be than I am since, by nature, I am unable to be a mother. I read a piece a few years ago in the Anglican Journal, decrying the "glass ceiling" that prevented women in Canada from being bishops. The only time the Episcopate was considered anything but a job to which people get "appointed" like in the business world, was at the end when they actually quoted female priests. THEY knew they had a vocation, but the writers of Canada's national Anglican newspaper couldn't seem to see it as anything other than just another job. I find it unsettling that the only people I have ever spoken to who can articulate a sensible theological argument for the ordination of women, that doesn't rely on "rights" and how modern the world is, comes from lay people. I am not opposing women's ordination, merely what seems like a very worldly thought process by those who make these sorts of decisions. I can't get away from the idea that we in Canada years ago made the right decision for the wrong reasons. Hearing Bp. Victoria Matthews speak DID help settle me, all the same.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 11:58pm BST

Comment:
"Catholic members of the Church of England are obedient to the Universal church."

Is that why FIF and the flying bishops all agree to women deacons?

As for Lapinbizarre the Church settlement in 1559 was PROTESTANT, and a faithful remanant of Catholics saw it for what it was and refused to join it. Recusancy cost them their social position and for others their lives. Even to this day Roman catholics in England are viewed with suspicion and denied full civil equality.

It a total lie that Elizabeth's church was inclusive.

A person could even be prosecuted for possesing a Catholic religious object like a rosary.

The Church altars were smashed up, the Blessed Sacrament removed, staues smashed, murals painted over, rood screens smashed up and burnt. Chasubles were cut up for dress material and there were no Masses for the dead or even prayers for them. Invocation of Saints was forbidden.

As Archbishop Heath ( Last Catholic bishop of York) stated in the House of lords debate prior to the passing of the Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy, W We risk shipwreck of Faith , if we deaert the barque of St Peter. "

He spent the remainder of his life in prison.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 6:24am BST

To Mark:
He did license me though!

Posted by Sara MacVane at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 8:03am BST

Ford
"I can't explain why He isn't calling the Orthodox and Romans to the same, but who am I to question the Almighty?"

You're assuming that all the churches have perfect discernment and that each is hearing a particular message God wants them to hear correctly.

I find it highly suspect that God should be calling different churches into different truths and far more likely that some are better at discernment than others.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 8:59am BST

If you are seeking to change the nature of Holy Orders in the Church it is imperative that you ask those who wish to maintain the universal teaching of the Church, how you can accommodate them. This had systematically failed to happen and i think we need to have the integrity to give faithful Anglicans a structural solution where they can continue to be part of the Church of England and adhere to the universal faith of the Church. Cardinal Casper has asked the Church of England to decide once and for all whether she is catholic or protestant. Its time to decide!
I am sick and tired of being called Sexist, Misogynist, woman hater and a variety of other things; I have an incredible relationship with the Mother of God and she has led my through some pretty hard times; the universal Church places her far above all other Human Beings, above all men!
I think we all need to take into account the way that the Church treats Our Lady before we hand out names to people. These Labels are unhelpful and I think we should refrain from using them

Posted by Mark Wharton at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 10:05am BST

I would just like to point out that what the letter asks for is actually not an unreserved acceptance of the Manchester Report's 'single clause' Option 1. On the contrary, it offers guarantees of inclusion for those opposed to women bishops, up to an including the availability of male bishops. To quote from my own blog:

"What at first blush, then, seems to be a demand for the whole cake and for a recognition of only one valid theological position is actually a much more modest proposal: that opponents of women’s ordination should continue to find a place in the Church of England, with provision based on a clear code of practice, provided this is not to be the subject of legislation by the Church."

The assumption by many here that this is a "No Surrender" policy on Women Bishops is not, I think, supported by the letter the 700 women have signed.

Posted by John Richardson at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 10:54am BST

just 2 things.

it was not, of course, 'the monstrous regiment of women' but ' the monstrous regimen (i.e. rule) of women'

and:

interesting to see john richardson here. he claims that he neither reads nor contributes to blogs other than his own. his cage must be really rattled.

Posted by poppy tupper at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 11:59am BST

Sara: well, that's something to be grateful for! As it is, though, I noticed from the ad recently in the Church Times, that the post of Dean of the cathedral in Gibraltar is restricted to men only - how a cathedral can have passed the anti-women Resolutions and still expect to be a place available to the whole diocese is beyond my understanding.

Posted by Fr Mark at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 1:24pm BST

Mark Wharton: You said "I am sick and tired of being called Sexist, Misogynist, woman hater and a variety of other things."

I concur; you are both sick and tired. Fortunately, healing awaits all who ask for it.

Posted by Wolfstan at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 2:27pm BST

I agree that many opponents of women in the priesthood have been badly misunderstood as being sexist or discriminatory. Surely there has to be some way of accommodating their views in good conscience.

On the other hand, I strenuously object to the notion that women in the priesthood or episcopacy is somehow "uncatholic". It is news to me, for example, that the Nicene Creed or any other apostolic formulary forbids women's ordination.

The Pope can say he's against it until he's blue in the mouth, but that doesn't mean that it's the catholic position to take. (Remember I don't buy papal infallibility or supremacy as being apostolic for a heartbeat. In terms of defining doctrine, the Pope's just another bishop.) Now, if a general council got together and said the same thing, then I'd be rather more willing to entertain the idea...

Posted by Walsingham at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 2:59pm BST

"I find it highly suspect that God should be calling different churches into different truths and far more likely that some are better at discernment than others."

Definitely, Erika, but what says that Canturbury is better at discerning the will of God than Rome or Constantinople?

And Mark Wharton:
"If you are seeking to change the nature of Holy Orders in the Church it is imperative that you ask those who wish to maintain the universal teaching of the Church, how you can accommodate them."

No, actually, you must answer their theological arguments faithfully. I remember the debate in this country. One could make what theological and liturgical arguments one wanted, the only answers were a derisive snort that someone could be so old fashioned and an exhortation to get with the times. I needed to be away from the Church for some years before I ever heard clergy who support OOW actually address the issue from a religious rather than a political viewpoint. That I now fully support the ordination of women did not come about because the leaders of the Anglican Church made acceptable theological arguments, I had to go elsewhere, including my own limited reading as a layman, and that certainly made me, at the age of 21, believe that the leadership of the ACC really just didn't get it. Indeed, the only ordained people I have ever heard discuss OOW as something one is called to as opposed to just another career choice are women. Even the men who support them don't seem capable of thinking outside the world's box.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 3:06pm BST

Where can one find the list of signatories to this letter?

Posted by rose gaudete at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 5:34pm BST

I thought the coverage of the letter was poor in the Anglican press.

This grouping need a name and a supplementary petition from male clergy , (maybe a separtae list of overseas clergy) and laity....showing how they can block any moves in Synod to give FIF/REform their bantustan.

No doubt some other women priests ( as with some blacks in Aoparthied South Africa ) will also be pro the FIF proposal.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 6:02pm BST

All of the passages of the Epistles traditionally ascribed to St. Paul which relegate women to subordinate roles in the Church are actually second- and third-century additions by unknown authors. Even the present Pope is now referring to Mary Magdalene as "the Apostle to the Apostles." I know of no theological justification for denying women complete equality in the clergy. It is way past time to insist that the self-styled traditionalists "get over it."

Posted by Wolfstan at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 6:34pm BST

"If that is the case, then women are no more oppressed by not being allowed to be what they by nature cannot be than I am since, by nature, I am unable to be a mother."

What do you mean by this, Ford?

If you desire to be a *parent*, then likely you can: either biologically (impregnating), or through adoption. AND/OR if you believe yourself to be, in your self, FEMALE, then you can transition to female presentation (and, quite possibly, body morphology. This doesn't include internal reproductive organs as yet, but transsexual medicine does keep advancing, Praise Christ!)

...completely UNLIKE a woman being told by a man (in a dress ;-/) "No, you DON'T really have a call from God to the priesthood---you are deceived. By MY command, you will NEVER be ordained."

Lord have mercy!

["I am sick and tired of being called Sexist, Misogynist, woman hater." There's an oh-so-simple solution, MarkW: quit PRACTICING Sexism, Misogyny, and Women-Hating. Voila'!]

Posted by JCF at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 7:40pm BST

Mark Wharton-"If you are seeking to change the nature of Holy Orders in the Church it is imperative that you ask those who wish to maintain the universal teaching of the Church, how you can accommodate them."

So what is FIF? The Diocese of Ft. Worth? And whose "universal truth"? You have a big answer book next to that computer Mark?

"This had systematically failed to happen and i think we need to have the integrity to give faithful Anglicans a structural solution where they can continue to be part of the Church of England and adhere to the universal faith of the Church."

I.E. you want your cake and eat it too.

"Cardinal Casper has asked the Church of England to decide once and for all whether she is catholic or protestant. Its time to decide!"

That's a revelation, I didn't know that the Anglican Communion had cardinals, except for the ones that perch on the spires, sing and fluff around in their red feathers. Oh, that's my choir on Ascension day.

"I am sick and tired of being called Sexist, Misogynist, woman hater and a variety of other things; I have an incredible relationship with the Mother of God and she has led my through some pretty hard times; the universal Church places her far above all other Human Beings, above all men!"

Then stop engaging in making blanket statements about clerical candidates based on their sex. That'd be a start. Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

"I think we all need to take into account the way that the Church treats Our Lady before we hand out names to people. These Labels are unhelpful and I think we should refrain from using them."

Yes, I agree, we need to treat all the ladies a little better, and stop using labels to discriminate against them.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 8:09pm BST

I see several people are commenting that women must be ordained to become "full members of the body of Christ"
Surely we become full members of the body of Christ at our Baptism? Am I to assume that only those called to the ordained ministry are full members? It is such misguided theology that is even more alarming (especially from an ordinand!)than the diversion from Scripture and Tradition that is the innovation of Women priests and Bishops

Posted by Ian at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 11:37pm BST

"Even the men who support them don't seem capable of thinking outside the world's box."

And that, I think, is what's driving this and other storms throughout the Anglican world. Good point, Ford. I honestly wonder whether there is a better argument being bandied about than "raiding the Egyptian storehouses of sociology." (Rowan Williams, back when he was a priest.)

Posted by Ren Aguila at Friday, 16 May 2008 at 11:50pm BST

Good Work Where can I get the full list of signatories

Posted by Iona at Saturday, 17 May 2008 at 12:09am BST

Ian:

"I see several people are commenting that women must be ordained to become "full members of the body of Christ"
Surely we become full members of the body of Christ at our Baptism? Am I to assume that only those called to the ordained ministry are full members? It is such misguided theology that is even more alarming (especially from an ordinand!)than the diversion from Scripture and Tradition that is the innovation of Women priests and Bishops"

No--you misunderstand the point entirely. It is not that ordination or consecration makes one a full member; rather, it is that to be told that one's gender makes one ineligible for ordination or consecration tells one that they are not a full member.

It's not the ordination or consecration that is at issue; it's the eligibility.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 17 May 2008 at 3:47am BST

Revelation 3:9 applies to the feminine "I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you."

Jesus, the Jew, who promised to gentleness to the feminine (aka Daughter of Zion) Matthew 21:5 & John 12:15

Jesus who knew that the "first" priests (Aaron and Moses) had caused a fundamental mistrust by the feminine when they struck the earth after Miriam's death (Numbers 20).

So "Jesus"' priests now try to deny Jesus' promise of gentleness to the feminine? They refuse to bring peace within humanity, let alone across all of Creation?

May their prayers be answered, may they be given a heaven that contains only those that are approved by their Jesus, cut off from the rest of creation in their "new heaven and earth". The rest of us will breathe a sigh of relief that we don't have to listen to their false prophesies of peace when there is no peace.

God is God of ALL creation - masculine and feminine, Jew and Gentile, seen and unseen.

If they want a heaven that only contains them and "their" Jesus, then their prayers are answered. Creation will continue to exist, just not within their "reality".

Posted by Cheryl Va. at Saturday, 17 May 2008 at 5:59am BST

Fr Mark, I am still waiting for your "evidence" regarding WO opinions in the the Roman Catholic Church and find your silence most telling. In my opinion the trend is towards more orthodox teaching and life in the Church and this is most evident among fellow catholics who are forty and younger (escpecially the young priests). The trendy-liberal minority is getting smaller and smaller, and then I am not even considering the great growth in Africa and Asia!

Posted by Roman at Monday, 19 May 2008 at 8:50am BST

Roman-"In my opinion the trend is towards more orthodox teaching and life in the Church and this is most evident among fellow catholics who are forty and younger (escpecially the young priests). The trendy-liberal minority is getting smaller and smaller, and then I am not even considering the great growth in Africa and Asia!"

Yes, and attendance in continental Europe shrinks and the U.S. stays stagnant despite continued (civil) population growth. Then there is those pesky problems such as lawsuits stemming ultimately from an imposed unnatural lifestyle. Those figures you can't dispute.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Monday, 19 May 2008 at 11:41am BST

Roman: I am in my 30s, actually, and do not at all accept your ridiculous statement that clergy of my generation are becoming more hard-line anti-women/ anti-gay. Quite the opposite. And there is a significant movement of liberal Catholics from the RC Church to the C of E: for instance, I trained for ordination with several ex-RC women. The traffic goes both ways across the Tiber, but triumphalist (or just insecure?) RCs only point to those who move in the one direction.

I think there is a swing among the younger RC clergy towards wanting something more like Anglo-Catholic liturgy, i.e. some decent music/ vestments/ ornaments of the church, etc. This would hardly be a surprising reaction, given the relentless uglification of RC churches over the last 40 years. But this is not at all accompanied by a moral conservatism: largely because perhaps such a high proportion of the RC clergy are gay. Did you not read about Mgr Tommaso Stenico at the Vatican recently?

Posted by Fr Mark at Monday, 19 May 2008 at 9:41pm BST

Celibacy no more causes paedophilia than marriage. In fact most paedophilia occurs within marriages.

Celibacy is not imposed ..it is a free choice.

Only this week the Church Times has two cases of married vicars with images of kids on their computers.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 6:14am BST

Fr Mark, I am still waiting for your statistics on WO opinions in my Church. What I am getting from you is a few personal experiences (of lapsed RC women) and one sad case in Rome. Perhaps there is an "Anglo-Saxon" gay sub-culture in the Church in UK and the US (an Anglo-Catholic influence perhaps?). At least the latter country's paedophilia scandals have suggested that, since a wast majority of cases where abuse of boys. I also doubt that young priests from central and eastern Europe are looking towards some smells and bells churches in England for inspiration, and I can assure you that there is a truly orthodox revival in many seminars on the continent inspired by the teachings of Benedict XVI. There is also a moral revival among young lay people and one example of that is the sharp rise in young Italian doctors who refuse to assist at abortions.
I guess that significant movement of lapsed Catholics to Anglican protestantism is why the established state church in England is doing so well....or?

Posted by Roman at Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 9:40am BST

RIW: Celibacy is an option in the Roman Church in the UK? Sure isn't in the U.S.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 11:22am BST

“Celibacy is not imposed … it is a free choice.”

It is not a “free choice” as long as made Mandatory by Lateran II in 1139.

Un-surprisingly, in reality it never made it in distant lands. The Swedish and Islandic church Provinces never had it. Cardinal-Archbishop William of Sabina tried to introduce it for Sweden in Skänninge meting in 1248, but failed and the Archbishop of Upsala got a dispensation from Alexander III in 1258 for Upsala, and the following year for the whole of Sweden and Finland. The provincial Law of Östergötland (1320ies) regulates the inheritance of Bishops as a matter of course, and in the 15th century both married and remarried Bishops are known (as well as some adulterous ones).

The last Roman Bishop of Island fell in battle accompanied by his 4 sons.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 11:33am BST

Nowadays there are some married priests in the Roman Diocese of Stockholm. Themselves sons of priests (which was the first thing Cardinal of Sabina tried to forbid) in the Church of Sweden and (as such) married before conversion.

About a dozen of them are also Fathers before conversion…

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 11:39am BST

Roman: you're on a different planet from me then, I'm afraid. I don't live in the UK, in fact, but on the continent, in a "Catholic" country, where the RC Church is collapsing rapidly.

Eastern Europe will become less religious as its prosperity levels rise inexorably to meet those of Western Europe, you can be sure. The RC Church in Italy has been a malign influence politically: as Berlusconi's cabinet shows, if you're a women, the only way to get to the top in politics is to turn platinum blonde and get a boob job. Italy is about to become the only Western European country with no recognition of gay partnerships, largely because of Vatican pressure. Yet, if you step into the seamy areas of Rome on any given night, I am reliably informed that you will find them heaving with gay clergy on the pull - it was ever thus. Meanwhile, Catholic Spain has gone ahead and legalised gay marriage, and now has a 50% female cabinet, while churchmen grumble like old miseries in the corner. Europe is changing fast, and its churches will have to do better or die out.

Posted by Fr Mark at Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 12:23pm BST

Fr Mark, it would be at least somewhat honest of you to give more statistical backgrounds to your "facts" instead of rants, gossips, out of the blue assumptions and caricatures! But I am not surprised about your tactics since I have seen this behaviour from other liberal Protestants before. For the third time, where are your figures regarding WO opinions among Roman Catholics.

Nothing new that Spain is now ruled by atheist socialists, and that they are passing laws that are based on anything but a Catholic anthropology and social teaching.

Regarding your (these days pretty outdated) theory on secularisation and the economy I just ask you to take a look at Slovenia, Slovakia and Poland before posturing as a "prophet".

We are for sure living in challenging times in the West but there are hardly any evidence at all that it is the established liberal Protestant state churches that are drawing the masses towards our Lord or have the inner dynamics that are needed to prosper in the age of globalisation.

Posted by Roman at Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 3:19pm BST

JCF,
First and foremost, I am a supporter of OOW and am very clear as to my reasons. But, the argument is made that maleness is a necessary criterion for priesthood, as femaleness is a necessary criterion for motherhood. We do not oppose this argument by pooh-poohing it as sexist or old fashioned, which has largely been the way the issue has been dealt with. We oppose it with good theological argyuments as to why it is wrong. If we cannot theologically show that maleness is NOT a criterion for priesthood, then we can say what words we like over a woman's head, she will not be a priest and her sacraments cannot be said to be valid. If maleness is a necessary factor in priesthood like femaleness is a necessary factor in motherhood, then it is no more oppressive not to ordain women than it is to not allow me to be a mother. That is what I mean. Now, for the record, I think the maleness criterion for priesthood is spurious. I am not making the argument, merely saying that it must be answered appropriately. Dismissal as old fashioned or sexist is not appropriate.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 5:38pm BST

Roman

Perhaps you could supply your own statistics to justify your own position, since you are so sharply critical of others.

For what it is worth, our ecumenical partnership here joins Anglican/Methodist and Roman Catholic. We have a good experience - very positive about each others ministries (including those of ordained women). That is not a barrier to us working together.

I wouldn't generalise from a single example - but I would say that it shows that we have things to learn from and about each other, which we learn best as we grow closer together - and we would regard ourselves as pointing the way to what is possible between Christians.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 6:31pm BST

Roman: well, I'm afraid I'm not such a statistico-nerd as to collect references merely to satisfy people such as yourself (and why, by the way, are there so many people calling themselves Roman Catholics on the Thinking Anglicans site anyway - is there no Thinking Roman Catholics alternative...?). But you might look through your own back copies of Le Monde des Religions at their most recent survey of opinion amongst French mass-going RCs: if I remember accurately, they came out about 80% in favour of women's ordination. That figure would, I'm sure be similar in Germany or the Low Countries, too. In the "Catholic" country in which I live, you'll be hard pressed to find a RC priest against women's ordination, unless he wants to become a bishop; amongst English RCs, it seems to be only the converts who are, while the rest of the faithful generally find the converts embarrassing hard-liners.

Whenever I find reports in the press in the various West European countries, I read them in their various languages, and they all say much the same things: RC lay people simply do not accept the top-down line from the Vatican on women's ordination/sex and gender issues generally. At the end of the day, I'm not at all fussed whether you believe me or not: there's no convincing religious hard-liners, I learnt that long ago. All I can see, plainly, is that the institution of the Church is currently on course to die out in my lifetime in most European countries. Much as I love la Messe de Toujours, there's no sign that Lefebvrism is winning its way with the wider society, and so I don't see RC traditionalism has a future as a mass movement.

Oh, and I'm not a Liberal Protestant, by the way: perhaps it's wiser to let people choose their own labels for themselves.

Posted by Fr Mark at Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 7:52pm BST

"why, by the way, are there so many people calling themselves Roman Catholics on the Thinking Anglicans site anyway - is there no Thinking Roman Catholics alternative...?"

Probably not. Speaking as a former Roman Catholic, the laity are not particularly urged to think for themselves in terms of religious doctrine. If there were an RC version of this site...where posters identifying themselves as clergy were arguing about doctrine (and frequently disagreeing with it), I think the Vatican would shut it down in a heartbeat...or at least go in search of these "radical priests" and discipline them.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 10:27pm BST
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