Comments: women as bishops: fourteen bishops write

There is still so much to play for on both sides. The ultimate test will be whether both women and those who support them are appointed as bishops AND whether opponents of women's ordination will be appointable as bishops too. If there is not enough space for the opponents still to be made bishops then clearly there would be no place for them in the new Church of England. And yet it would still be possible to remain within the CofE as an opponent - for if a mistake has been made then it might be regarded as a temporary aberration which the Holy Spirit of God could correct in the future.

Posted by Neil at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 12:51pm BST

I believe that only three of the signatories are Diocesan Bishops.

Posted by J. Michael Povey at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 1:32pm BST

Whine, whine, whine.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 1:42pm BST

The movement here going on (against which these are reacting) is interesting for how it impacts on the rest of Anglican affairs - that a greater clarity in the make up of bishops and clearer identity of the Church of England (that is the increasing marginalisation of traditionalist Catholicism) means a closer relationship with TEC, Canada, Scotland, Wales, Ireland... and so more of a rejection of restriction that is under attempt internationally. The Church of England is moving towards pulling its boundaries in a bit, but not in a way this Covenant would envisage.

Posted by Pluralist at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 2:00pm BST

That should clear out the stables.

Posted by poppy tupper at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 3:48pm BST

It is good to have the catholic bishops speaking as one on this issue. I do not see a way forward at present that is substantially different from a separate province. We need the bishops to work closely with Forward in Faith and the other catholic organizations to secure what we have been promised and to provide the means of unity that we have committed ourselves to in the ARCIC vision.

Posted by Gregory of Langres at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 3:52pm BST

FIF types come in a fair range.

There are those who are for ever hankering after Rome and hardly accord the C of E any legitimacy (or loyalty).

There are those who do love the C of E and are in anguish.

Some opponents of WO are bigots. Some are not. Some oppose WO for biblical reasons (Jesus chose/missioned only male disciples), others for Catholic reasons (the C of E can't decide this without the agreement of the RC and Orthodox churches), others for both.

The signatories of this letter also exhibit a fair range. I believe Martyn Jarrett, for example, to be a good person, who is certainly in anguish.

The argument that 'women-free' zones is discriminatory against women doesn't seem to me to wash: equally, it could be said that 'women-accepting' zones are discriminatory against those who believe in/practise male-only ministry; and even a 'code of practice' (which pretty well everybody accepts) would on this argument be 'discriminatory'.

The last thing the C of E needs is a further loss in numbers.

Liberals, arguing, in certain contexts, for 'liberal' freedom of conscience, should not deny it to others.

So, although I myself believe WO to be right and necessary (and a restitution for past wrongs, etc.), I think these people should be given the space they think they need. The quid pro quo on their side should be greater loyalty to the C of E. Actually, I think many of them have willy-nilly been converted to the notion of pluralism/live-and-let-live, in a way that would have seemed inconceivable a decade ago.

Posted by john at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 3:54pm BST

From the perspective of one who is wholeheartedly in favour of women as bishops (and who voted against all the substantive amendments at the recent Synod) I think this is probably as good as it gets.

The "don't panic, don't feel you have to jump ship, but we'll not criticise those who do", tone reflects that there is still a long way to go. For my part I still hope we can convince opponents that a Code of Practice (broadly similar to what we have now) can and will work.

I still take great issue with the notion that separate dioceses or transferred powers are somehow less discriminatory against women, and the assertion (with little reasoning) that they are more ecclesially sound. I think, and said at Synod, that it would be nonsense.

But, we're some distance from the finishing line on this one. At present there are not two thirds majorities in all three Houses and there are already suggestions of packing of deanery synods (as vacancies arise) with members who will vote for candidates who take a particular line when the next GS elections take place in 2010 (Deanery Synods are the Electoral College). The Code may not have 67% in favour and I (along with some others) would prefer to vote against a messy compromise rather than be stuck with any of the type of solutions we voted against at Synod.

Posted by David Walker at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 5:53pm BST

By way of curiosity, I note that the final signatory is the Bishop of Edmonton (CofE), a suffragan to the Bishop of London.

Edmonton is one of a very few (three, I believe) bishopric names which are repeated in the Communion. There are similarly two bishops of Rochester (CofE and TEC) and two bishops of Newcastle (CofE and ACofA). The other Bishop of Edmonton is a diocesan in Canada.

The irony, of course, is that both the present and previous Bishop of Edmonton (ACofC) are . . . women.

God smiles an amused little smile.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 6:44pm BST

While I completely support WO and their participation in the historic episcopate, I don't see this letter as "whine, whine, whine." I sincerely wish these very same bishops would see, in their own anguish, the very same anguish of LGBT faithful throughout the communion who simply desire security of place within the communion.

In fact, with little editorial effort, this very same letter might have been penned by the LGBT faithful and signed by the Bishop of New Hampshire.

How can these bishops not see such stark similarities with regard to place in the communion? How sad...

Posted by Bruce Barber at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 7:57pm BST

God does not smile an amused smile. He only appointed one Bishop of Edmonton and it ain't the one in Canada, Malcolm+.

Posted by Gregory of Langres at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 8:17pm BST

"Some oppose WO for biblical reasons (Jesus chose/missioned only male disciples)"

But of course He called women. There is St. Photini, an adulteress so hated by the women of her town she couldn't go to the well when they were there. Yet He chose her to bring the Good News to the Samaritans. There is Magdalene, not over pure, who brought the news of the Resurrection to the Apostles. I get your point, even if we assume there were women disciples in the early days who were airbrushed out by men later, there is still the issue of why God allowed that to continue. And there is St. Bridget. But, it is wrong on its face to say that women had no role in the early Church, the gospels tell us otherwise. And, in Christ there is neither male nor female, just human beings.


"the C of E can't decide this without the agreement of the RC and Orthodox churches"

But no-one wants to reverse all the things we have already done without their agreement. Should our priests not marry? Should we worship in Latin? Should we insist that Evangelcial parishes all perform liturgical acts they find abhorrent? Should we insist on devotion to Our Lady? Should our divorced remarrieds all leave their current spouses and return to their first, or second, ones? Why is it that Rome's opinion on OOW or gay inclusion counts, but what She says about married priests doesn't? We have never been reticent to act without Rome's approval, much less Constantinople's, so why is it anathema now?

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 8:18pm BST

David Walker - please be in touch and I will happily go through all of the reasons why a code of practice is not sufficient.

Posted by James Bradley at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 8:18pm BST

The persistent opponents of women bishops, or women priests, or woman just about any real or symbolic power in church life? - still have not yet satisfactorily answered the nagging questions: Why? Why not? Why not now?

The sound bite theology that tags, Jesus called all male apostles, neglects the ambiguities of the scriptural witness - Mary as resurrection morning apostle to the apostles if you like sound bite theologies? - and also sidesteps the specificity issue - if necessarily male, then also necessarily Jewish, then also necessarily at minimum working class or even specifically necessarily fishermen or other particular ancient near eastern working class occupations.

The search for gospel authenticity of witness via ancient near eastern real world specificities curls in upon itself, and ultimately encourages us to mistake the witness pointer and gospel vehicle as synonymous idols to replace God, the good news, and the Risen Jesus of Nazareth.

All that, and not yet have we even barely approached the grand empirical shifts in our modern biospychosocial understandings of sex and gender and cultural or historical contexts. Do good conservative catholic believers live in sealed bubbles, apart? Unrelated? Unaffected? Uncontaminated?

In a tag, one still hears silence in answer to the sound bite theology question: What then is so awful about women with power? knowledge? calling beyond reproductive motherhoods? Can it be, cooties?

Posted by drdanfee at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 9:08pm BST

"It is good to have the catholic bishops speaking as one on this issue. ... Forward in Faith and the other catholic organizations" - Posted by: Gregory of Langres

GofL: do you understand that your equation of "catholic" with "anti-WO" is offensive? Producing the same sort of feelings of shock and pain, as you claim to feel yourselves?

In the course of my lifetime as an Episcopalian, I have been formed IN my Anglo-Catholicism (or Catholic Anglicanism, as I've learned you prefer to call it) largely in and through the ministries of priests-who-happen-to-be-women. The first time I heard the Exsultet sung (at the Great Vigil of Easter), it was by a woman priest. The first time I participated in Stripping the Altar on Maundy Thursday, it was at the direction of a woman priest. Several of my Lenten confessions have been heard---my sins shriven---by female confessors. If you've never heard the Mass sung in glorious soprano, you haven't lived, Gregory my brother!

Last but not least, in my humble opinion, the most gifted Primate in the Anglican Communion at present, is none other than my Presiding Bishop, the Most.Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori [in my lifetime, I don't think I've ever seen ANY Christian---Catholic---minister, who so aptly embodied Our Lord's exhortation to be "wise as serpents, innocent as doves"! ;-)]

If Catholicism is preserved in the Anglican Communion---and I hope and pray it will be---it will be only through the faithful ministry of those, made female, that GOD HAS CALLED to be deacons, priests and bishops. Alleluia! :-D

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 9:31pm BST

...it will be ONLY through the faithful ministry of those, made female...

Thank you for making me laugh JCF - Salvation only through females. Why am I not suprised?!
There is a fine tradition though of priestesses in other religions as you probably know.

Posted by Neil at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 9:48pm BST

Yes, Michael Povey, only the first three of these fourteen are diocesan bishops. Also one diocesan bishop, Richard Chartres (London), whom one might have thought of as a potential signatory of this letter, is not listed.
The others are all suffragan bishops, or equivalent. Three of them are the current Provincial Episcopal Visitors.
Due to the way the CofE House of Bishops in General Synod is constituted, most of these suffragans have no seat or vote in General Synod.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 10:17pm BST

Ford,

I wasn't assenting to their arguments - merely paraphrasing them. Although I reject their arguments, I don't think they are always made in bad faith.

Posted by john at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 10:41pm BST

JCF - I am sorry if you feel that way but even you must admit that the ordination of women is a deviation from traditional catholic order. I would be willing to call your integrity 'liberal catholic' but it is not catholic in the understanding and eyes of the rest of the church (universal - i.e. catholic).

drdanfee - We are not into soundbite theology. "Consecrated Women?" is hardly 'soundbite', is it? Most of those who oppose women's ordination do so on ecumenical grounds - because it will deeply damage our relationship with major ecumenical partners.

And to all (well, most) of you - you are suffering from Synoditis... that is, you think this is about women's ordination: it hasn't been for a long time. This is about provision for those who maintain a male-only threefold order.

Finally... thank you to those who are in favour of women's ordination but recognize the genuine need for serious, structural provision.

Posted by Gregory of Langres at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 10:41pm BST

Well, I love to make people laugh, Neil (even if twisting my words is required!). Laughter is of the Holy Spirit...

...except when it's not. When it's the snarling, cutting laughter of the self-righteous. Whether your laughter was of the former or the latter type, is between you and God (and your confessor---perhaps there's a priest-who-happens-to-be-female available?)

God bless!

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 10:42pm BST

"Salvation only through females."

I somehow don't think that preserving the catholicity of the Anglican communion is equivalent to salvation. (Read what JCF wrote)

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 14 August 2008 at 10:47pm BST

Too many of these complainers think that the importance of any action is how it might affect (God forbid) reunion with Rome. This is nonsense. Anglican churches within the larger Anglican communion should order their polity in a way that works for their mission and culture. Not in a way that makes the bishop of Rome happy.

Rome (or her fans) may sell itself as the continuation of some earlier unified Christendom, but this makes as much sense as calling one partner in a divorce the continuing marriage. Rome is but one of many denominations (despite all of the claims of being THE one church) and her opinions should be held up to the same standards as are pronouncements by the Presbyterians, the Methodists, and etc.: happily received as worthwhile advice from another denomination, but not given the weight of law and tradition in this denomination.

For those who worry over what Rome will think or how a decision will affect some desired submission to Rome there is any easy answer. Convert. I don't mean to be flippant by this, but insisting that an Anglican Church be governed by the rules of another independent denomination is silly. If one wants to be a Roman Catholic then just do it. If they want to be an Anglican then stay.

But if they stay it is time to quit claiming that Anglican orders are somehow harmed when the appropriate Anglican church body makes a decision about said orders.

And if they go then Godspeed and I pray that they find what they are looking for. By trying to be one thing while actually living and working in another situation makes no sense.

Posted by Dennis at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 12:11am BST

"Although I reject their arguments, I don't think they are always made in bad faith."

I had a lot of trouble with OOW, and I agree, the arguments aren't always made in bad faith. They are, however, inconsistent, and that needs to be mentioned frequently. An argument to catholicity doesn't carry much weight when OOW is the only thing where a person is concerned about catholicity. And, to save you the trouble of looking back over what I have written recently, I have spoken in support of those who feel alienated by OOW and women bishops, though I don't agree with them, nor with the idea of "another province", nor with the uncatholic idea of flying bishops.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 12:13am BST

Catholic Anglicanism, I've learned, is just Protestantism with smells and bells. Beneath the surface is nothing. It is self-defined, as in each "Anglo-Catholic" decides for themselves how to define their catholicism, which is... a Protestant notion, if there ever was one. KJS is as far from Catholic as I am from Islam.

Posted by trooper at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 2:37am BST

I realise this is only a matter for the Church of England, and really nothing to do with us in the Provinces of the Anglican Communion. But what a great pity that some of the male Bishops are unable to recognise the episcopal charism in a woman. Perhaps most of the opponents are retired?

I guess most of the opposition are in the camp of the Ango-Catholics, who might today be loyally celebrating the Motherhood of Mary in the Universal Church; what a pity, then that they cannot see their way clear to affirming the place of women in the Church - to the degree that they might affirm Our Lady as Mother of the Church.

Perhaps they forget that women have had a good record within the Church in England - especially those like St. Julian of Norwich and St. Hilda of Whitby, who presided over a joint monastery of men and women, and helped to bring about the agreement with the Papacy on the date of Easter.
A mitred Abbess was once a person to be reckoned with in the Church - even by popes and monarchs.

When will we be free from the curse of patriarchy?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 4:06am BST

God was smiling an amused little smile. It probably expanded to a smirk at your post, Gregory.

Naturally, one could argue that a particular minority wiothin the Church - and only they - know the mind of God.

Some of us happen to believe that God can operate - even in the civil Province of Alberta. (Though Ford and I may both find the prospect troubling.)

Posted by Malcolm+ at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 4:44am BST

"JCF - I am sorry if you feel that way but even you must admit that the ordination of women is a deviation from traditional catholic order. I would be willing to call your integrity 'liberal catholic' but it is not catholic in the understanding and eyes of the rest of the church (universal - i.e. catholic)."

Tautology, Gregory.

You say that the "universal church" believes one thing, and I don't, therefore I must be outside it.

Occam's Razor (simple logic) would tend to indicate that your anti-WO caucus isn't quite as universal as you claim?

I am an *Anglican*, Gregory. While not uncaring re the other branches of the church, to be DEFINED by those other branches is to CEASE to be Anglican! (I say that unjudgmentally. No, really. Plenty of others are formed in/called to other "integrities"---your term---and I see them as no less Christian, or even "catholic", than I am.)

The Nicene Creed isn't the secret handshake of gnostics. Ergo, ALL those professing it are---in some genuine way---members of "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" (even if not practicing "The Quad" as we Anglicans have defined ecclesial parameters)

In conclusion, I reject your de-finition of me, as a "liberal catholic". I'm just a Catholic, in the Anglican tradition, full-stop. As far as your further judgment, "not catholic in the understanding and eyes of the rest of the church", you can keep "the rest": all the rest, ultimately. I'm looking to the (merciful?) judgment SOLELY from the Church's Head! :-)

Addendum: the above is just *my* head talkin'. In my heart (gut?) level, I'm confused---if not distressed---by your ignoring *my story* (up thread). What does all the priestly ministry provided me, for close to 30 years, by priests-who-are-women, mean, if not sacramentally? I suppose (Apostolicae Curae-quoting) RCs could say the same to you, Gregory . . . but assuming you haven't yet been persuaded of their argument, can't you (remembering all the Anglican sacraments you've been blessed by) put yourself in my place?

Lord have mercy!

Posted by JCF at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 5:46am BST

“Thank you for making me laugh JCF – Salvation only through females. Why am I not suprised?!”

Sorry, but JCF did not say “Salvation” but “Catholicism preserved”.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 7:23am BST

John wrote: ”Some oppose WO for biblical reasons (Jesus chose/missioned only male disciples…”

Sorry, but that is not a “reason” in my book, merely “circumstantial”. No “reasons” given (in the Good book), so not “Biblical”, hence not “Biblical reasons”.

John wrote: “The argument that 'women-free' zones is discriminatory against women doesn't seem to me to wash: equally, it could be said that 'women-accepting' zones are discriminatory against those who believe in/practise male-only ministry; and even a 'code of practice' (which pretty well everybody accepts) would on this argument be 'discriminatory'.”

Non-sense. This has nothing to do with “discriminatory”, it’s claiming a free VETO.

John wrote: “Liberals, arguing, in certain contexts, for 'liberal' freedom of conscience, should not deny it to others.”

Oh, the anti Modern canard! As any legal council could tell, “acting out” is not “freedom of conscience” but Anarchy.

John wrote "… the C of E can't decide this without the agreement of the RC and Orthodox churches"

Sorry, but w h o says this? Rome? Constantinople?

John wrote “The quid pro quo on their side should be greater loyalty to the C of E.”

Shouldn’t the “quid pro quo” be just that? similar, symmetric. Respecting other people’s boundaries?

Gregory of Langres wrote: “God does not smile an amused smile. He only appointed one Bishop of Edmonton and it ain't the one in Canada, Malcolm+.”

Well… that says it all, doesn’t it?

John further wrote: “I don't think they are always made in bad faith.”

How about “sometimes”? I have several times on TA asked for reasons, but I have got nought.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 7:32am BST

This proves my point they want to stay (and will stay) in the Church of England. Roman exodus threats are greatly exaggerated.


By the way some Evangelicals must be raising their eye brows at the report that Bishop Iker in the CT is giving his " unequivocal spport " to those wishing to join Rome.

After all he just signed the GAFCON declaration which affirms the articles which condemn the Church of Rome, in no uncertain terms.

However we still have no GAFCON list of signatories and Chris Sugden is on holiday.

Posted by Robert Ian williams at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 8:23am BST

Sorry, but JCF did not say “Salvation” but “Catholicism preserved”.


I KNOW! How ridiculous is that?!
And I assume she did not mean what she said. That is why I laughed.

Posted by Neil at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 8:26am BST

Maria assumpta est !

Enjoy !

Salvation through the Feminine, I believe

On our knees --put away yer paper clips for 5 minutes .....

Posted by Treebeard at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 9:25am BST

Ford/Goran,

Can I reiterate for the 'nth' time, I was paraphrasing, not accepting? Can I also point out that when I say they are 'not always' made in bad faith I am of course implying that they are 'sometimes' made in bad faith? But when one is assessing positions, one is supposed to assess them at their best, is one not?

As for 'discrimination', lots of people deploy the argument Jesus only chose male disciples/commissioned males and do so in good faith. I do not myself accept the argument. The trouble is that in order to argue against it one has to jump through a whole series of hoops, each one of which is open to argument. This of course happens all the time in theological disputes. It will be a long time, if ever, before everyone in good faith can accept such arguments as ours. 'In the long run we are all dead.' We continue the debate, of course, and try to persuade, but given that some of those whom we try to persuade will in good faith not be persuaded, I think we should cut a deal. I also think that if we do that, 'they' (who are not one 'they' and who are also 'we') will be more likely to cut deals with us. Some of them want to. Some of them love the C of E.

Bruce: I absolutely agree with you. Funnily enough, in my experience, quite a few FiF people aren't in the least bothered by the gay issue. That can cut against them or in their favour - depends on the individual and the precise motivation.

Posted by john at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 10:31am BST

Neil,

No matter what you "thought" or din't think was meant or not, you still gave a false statment as quote.

And you l a u g h e d, you say...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 11:29am BST

I think I know who is being ridiculous.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 11:31am BST

"How ridiculous is that"

Yes, I know, Galatians 3:28, how foolish is that? More interesting though is that your initial error is what is called a Freudian slip. Now, what does it say about your psyche that you a) subconsciously(?) equate catholicity with salvation and b) subconsciously(?) believe that a female priest would deprive you of that salvation? Interesting points, those.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 12:46pm BST

"Can I reiterate for the 'nth' time, I was paraphrasing, not accepting?"

John, sorry. I thought that in my response to you I was clear that I understood that and that I actually connected with the arguments of the "men only" side. I read it over and realized I was a bit obscure in making that point. In previous posts, I have taken the side that those who dismiss "the other side" out of hand are not being fair to them, and showing a remarkable lack of understanding of the hurt they are feeling. I know, because I once felt the same hurt. If you had talked to me in my twenties, you'd have thought I sounded an awful lot like robroy, who posts here, actually, same tone, same anger, same sarcastic dismissal of the other side, well, I haven't really changed all that much, come to think of it. Sorry to have been a source of frustration.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 1:09pm BST

"...even you must admit that the ordination of women is a deviation from traditional catholic order."

Let's go back to the debates between Paul, Peter and the early Christians of Jewish ancestry and paraphrase "...even you must admit that the admission of Gentiles is a deviation from traditional synagogue order."

The debates about circumcision are usefuel e.g. Galations 2:1-10, Colossians 2:9-23, Romans 2:17-29, Acts 15.

If males did not have to be circumsized to be within the grace of God and a member of Christ's body, then women do not have to have penises.

God is not restricted to either Jew or Christian, or even male. Further, if the earth can be fully measured, then God is free to pick a non-Israelite, non-Christian and non-male (see Jeremiah 31:37).

Posted by Cheryl Va. at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 1:11pm BST

Ford,

Thanks. Apologies on my side. You may have noticed that I can be a bit peppery too. Nothing, however, to my eruptions on Jeff Steel's blog. He really is a guy (though I know him and like him in some ways) who has no feeling for the C of E.

I can't dissociate these debates from personal relationships or practicalities. There is a FiF guy who goes to our church, which was FiF at one time, now no longer. He and his wife, who accepts WO, are excellent people and stalwarts of the church. Come a woman celebrant and he just decamps - as it happens, to Jeff Steel's church. Next week, he's back. He's one of a small number of people without whom our church simply could not function. He is loyal to the C of E. He loves it. He's terribly distressed about the recent Synod and what he sees as the breaking of the 1993 promises. I don't agree with him on any of this but it would be oh so stupid and sad to lose him and it would break him. I think a certain separateness is a small price to pay to retain people like him. Same on the macro- scale.

Another example: my partner's parents go to a church in Derby which is FiF. In a way its status is accidental - to do with geographical boundaries, an ill-judged partnership with a very small church which is stridently anti-WO, and the anti-WO views of the retiring vicar. In essence, it's not FiF at all, but because of its official status and because the bishop of Derby is strongly anti-FiF, it hasn't got a priest. It's utterly stupid and uncharitable because this - so far - is a successful and thriving church. People have to do civilised deals here - and I don't regard that notion as incompatible with serious theology. I can't abide the purist, winner-takes-all mentality which seems to have infected all sides in contemporary Anglicanism. That doesn't mean endorsing 'post-modernism' (the Bishop of Durham's mindless charge): merely recognising realities. Nor does it mean abandoning gay or 'pro-women' causes, but I think that it doesn't terribly matter if women priests and bishops can't celebrate in a small proportion of churches. I have no doubt that in time opposition to WO will come to seem an absurdity to everybody. How long? Sooner than one might expect.

Of course, I'm not a woman. Nor am I gay (though I was).

Best.

Posted by john at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 4:01pm BST

Nothing Freudian Ford Elms. I knew exactly what I was writing!
And it is a logical extrapolation of the ridiculous comment of JCF. Her comment was both silly and offensive and I am surprised the likes of you and Goran are trying to defend it.
Perhaps you would like to elaborate the point that Catholicism will only be preserved through 'the faithful ministry of those, made female.'
A silly slip I think - and the sooner you forget about it perhaps the better. Or perhaps you would like to enlighten our readers? You might also like to think about the ways in which some commentators here form a loyal 'tribe' which (in the theology of Alison par example) quickly makes victims of those who have other views. More intelligent too in this case I must add.

Posted by Neil at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 4:40pm BST

"Perhaps you would like to elaborate the point ....'"

First of all, it isn't my point. I was reacting to your misrepresentation of what she had said, as she did not refer to salvation, you made that leap. Second, I'm not even sure I agree with it. Third, I believe the passage I cited has bearing on this. If in Christ there is, among other things, no male nor female, just people, then it is relevant to the discussion. If our human gender makes no difference in God's eyes, then why does it make a difference for priesthood? Is it the maleness of the priest or his humanity that enables him to act "in persona Christi"? I'd say the latter, the former implies the Incarnation is only effective for half the population. It is the priest's redeemed humanity that enables him/her to share in Christ's priesthood in the Mass. For me the question was never one of rights or power, it was quite simple: Is God calling women to priesthood or isn't He? Several Churches have discerned that God is doing exactly that. Why has He not done it before? Who knows? Perhaps He has, and we just didn't listen. Perhaps this is an example of the Spirit leading us into all truth when it is most expedient for us to be led there. After all, God didn't give us the Light all at once, and He promised that we would be led into all truth, not that all truth would be written down for all time by the end of the third century.

As to the preservation of Catholicity, well, there's issues with that. If that is to be defined as agreement with Rome, we haven't been catholic for a long time, but it doesn't. If it means "what has always been believed everywhere, by everyone" that's nonsense, since there has never been any such thing. What do you find so funny? That this has alienated Rome and Constantinople? That's hardly new. Besides, if you want to talk about salvation through the female, Rome is getting close to that in its ideas of Mary as CoRedemptrix.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 6:39pm BST

John,
Your friend sounds a lot like me. I didn't go anywhere for 18 years because it seemed the ACofC just didn't get it. Clergy couldn't make a theological argument about anything, certainly not about OOW. It was all rights and empowerment as though these things had anything to do with priesthood. I feel for him, but maybe he needs to think about the possibility that the Spirit is leading the Church and he just can't see it. I don't know him from a hole in the ground, but is this about putting his ideas first? It was with me, and boy was I angry that the Church didn't agree with me. I came back because I got over it. Things are, if anything, worse, but there's something about "be still and know that I am God" that just smacks me in the face. It isn't about me.

"because the bishop of Derby is strongly anti-FiF, it hasn't got a priest."

Awful. He needs taking to task for that.

"Nor am I gay (though I was)."

This fascinates me. I am, and I have a difficult time with those who say they have "changed". I'd be interested in hearing your story, though this is probably not the forum for that.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 6:46pm BST

John:

"I think we should cut a deal. I also think that if we do that, 'they' (who are not one 'they' and who are also 'we') will be more likely to cut deals with us."

Should Wilberforce have "cut a deal"? Should Lincoln or ML King have "cut a deal?" It always amazes how those with very little at stake in such issues are always willing to compromise on the lives of those with a great deal at stake.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 7:28pm BST

"[++]KJS is as far from Catholic as I am from Islam." - Posted by trooper

Heh: perhaps a more revealing statement than you intended, trooper (The difference between a burka and a mantilla---not to mention the increasingly-revived veil w/ whipple---being more of degree, than of kind? ;-/)

***

Vaya con Dios, Neil (but please don't refer to me w/ female pronouns: I'm silly and offensive that way)

[Disambiguation request: I could SWEAR we have more than one "Neil" posting at TA---could we get a second name or initial?]

Posted by JCF at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 7:50pm BST

I apologise JCF - I had assumed you were a woman, and had no intention to upset you regarding what you now say is your masculine gender. However, it remains that to say catholicity will ONLY be preserved by those made female is ridiculous. And a funny thing to say for an intelligent man.

Posted by Neil at Friday, 15 August 2008 at 11:29pm BST

Neil and JCF. Is it not wonderful that Saint Paul assures us that "In Christ, there is neither male nor female..."? (only humankind?)

Wouldn't it be wonderful if, like Saint Julian and a few others in the Early Church, we could allow outselves to think (or even speak) of Mother/Father God? It has been said that Francis of Assisi, when sending out 3 brothers on mission, asked one of them to be 'Mother' to the other two! I wonder whether we men are too afraid of being thought to exhibit what might be called anything of the feminine in our pastoral caring?

I do sometimes wonder whether all our striving to be either macho-male or ultra-fem isn't one of our real problems in the Church. Is this not, do you think, one of the great fears of those who want to retain the supremacy of the patriarchal system, which does not allow our Roman Catholic (even some of our Anglican) friends to consider the prospect of women in the priesthood? Perhaps Saint Brigid (Bridget) might have some wisdom on this question.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 12:26pm BST

"[++]KJS is as far from Catholic as I am from Islam."

Given that the conservative attitude to Scripture is closer to the Islamic atitude towards the Qur'an than it is to anything Christians have traditionally believed, I'd say you aren't too frt off the mark!

Posted by Ford Elms at Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 3:04pm BST

"We share the shock and disappointment you must be feeling following the recent debate and decision of the General Synod on provision for those opposed to the ordination of women to the episcopate in the Church of England.
....

"We identify with your difficult and painful feelings because they are ours too.
....

"At the same time as we are feeling bewilderment and disappointment, others in the Church of England are rejoicing."

Be quick! Get the smelling salts!

(Disclaimer: I have not read all of the comments. My response is to the letter.)

Posted by Grandmère Mimi at Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 5:42pm BST

"it remains that to say catholicity will ONLY be preserved by those made female is ridiculous"


Neil, if you're to keep citing me (to be held up to scorn), is it too much to ask that you QUOTE me?

What I said: "If Catholicism is preserved in the Anglican Communion---and I hope and pray it will be---it will be only through the faithful ministry of those, made female, that GOD HAS CALLED to be deacons, priests and bishops."

NOT "preserved by those made female" but ***PRESERVED THROUGH THE FAITHFUL MINISTRY*** of those made female.

Not that I regard the faithful ministry of "those made male" any less vital.

It's just that you need TWO wings to fly.

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 16 August 2008 at 8:07pm BST
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