Comments: women bishops: press leaks

Would any self-respecting future woman bishop WANT to go, or feel called to go, to a traditionalist enclave?

I know very little of church politics, but I think the archbishops are wrong to try and intervene.

East Yorkshire, where the majority of our stipendiary clergy are female

Posted by Sheila Wright at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 6:01pm BST

If true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis, if true. Why is no such accommodation made for the "minority" represented by TEC and ACoC (and others) in the wider communion? I*t seems that only traditionalists get to hold the trump card....

Posted by Tobias Haller at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 7:26pm BST

Oh how I hope this is not the case! We in TEC tried the “separate but (un)equal” route and it did not end prettily.

This approach simply allows the splitting in two of the CoE while maintaining a facade of (false) unity.

There can be no second class members of God’s kingdom.

Posted by Priscilla Cardinale at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 7:32pm BST

And, if it is suitable to reject a bishop's authority based on gender, why not on color? Or national origin? Or on whether they were at one time a convert from some other denomination or religion (only "cradle Anglicans" need apply)? I am amazed that in the same week when the Sunday lessons include Paul's letter to the Galatians ("in Christ, there is no male and female....") that the archbishops can try to make this stick.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 7:49pm BST

At the turn of the last century, TEC debated whether or not to establish a separate Episcopate and non-geographical diocese for "colored" Episcopalians, so that white segragtionist racists would not have to deal with Episcopalians of color, lay or ordained.

Luckily, this scheme, as you Brits would call it, was quashed, and however uneasily, TEC did not segregate. Yes, there was much de facto segregation, as there was in civil society, but at least we did not enshrine 'separate but [un]equal' in canon law.

Don't you do this to women.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 7:59pm BST

But neither Archbishop is a lawyer. Good luck I say...

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 8:03pm BST

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are risking far more than a blood bath. By supporting their ill-advised two tier second class system for women bishops by accommodating the far right and reactionary elements in The Church of England, they are risking their AUTHORITY as bishops now and quite possibly, forever. They will lose the respect of millions of Anglicans if they press for these interventions. In losing their authority they may also be ending their careers in The Church of England. All Anglicans must accept the authority of a woman bishop as equal to that of a male bishop. Otherwise, they need to move to another branch of Christianity or form their own, which many have already done. A two tier system is hypocritical, disingenuous and immoral. Unity at the price of integrity will not work. The Archbishops of York and Canterbury are looking weak and cowardly in their attempt to create a two tier system for bishops in The Church of England. It's a truly dysfunctional way of trying to preserve unity. They are looking foolish.

Posted by Chris Smith at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 8:09pm BST

Some might say a bloodbath is better than a firing squad...

Posted by tommiaquinas at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 8:38pm BST

Just another way to say I and my sisters are not made of "fit matter" but men are. Rowan and John - and yes I include John - have no idea what it's like, almost 30 years after I began thinking I was called to be a priest, just a priest, not a bishop, to have this treatment against women, these words and actions against women, still going on. Of the two, Rowan and John, John should know better. God knows he should know better. I pray for my sisters in the CofE. I pray Rowan and John do not get their way. I pray.

Posted by Lois Keen at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 10:02pm BST

Very sad that once again traditionalists seem to be the only ones who deserve consideration--as if the ministry of women was a minor piece of Christian business, and not a huge and reconciling recovery of a suppressed part of the gospel as proclaiming all--slave and free, men and women, colonial or not--as image of God. Hosting the Pope at Lambeth this autumn to speak to "all bishops" Roman and Anglican says it all to me about the current ecclesiology--was the Reformation then a mistake in attempting to limit hierarchical clericalism and protect the vocations of all people?

Posted by Rebecca at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 10:15pm BST

I know this point has been made before but I was amongst some Quakers today, looking at their literature on sexuality - principled, direct, to the point, open, precise, exact, welcoming, without fear or favour.

Apparently there are only 25,000 Quakers in the UK.

Perhaps we should just rather be helping to swell their number?

Posted by Achilles at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 10:42pm BST

"was the Reformation then a mistake?". Yes it was indeed a mistake.....

Posted by Mark Wharton at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 10:42pm BST

I'm in favour of it. Most FiF priests in the UK have shown pretty clearly that they don't want to 'pope', that Rome isn't actually where their heart is. So if they get this (and it remains a big 'if'), there won't on their side be this endless sort-of hankering for reunion with 'the Holy See', nor will there any longer be reason (as hitherto there has been) to suspect them of 'disloyalty' (however one puts it). This could be a historic settlement.

But if a deal is done, there needs to be as much coming together as possible (consistent with maintenance of separate integrities), as hitherto there has not been.

I don't think it is right automatically to map this conflict on to international struggles between conservatives and liberals: it's all a lot messier - because a lot smaller and closer - in Britain.

If this comes off, estimable priests like Father T E Jones and Simon Killwick (and perhaps even our own friend Father Ed Tomlinson!!!!) and estimable bishops like Martyn Jarrett will be enabled to remain happily in the church they love. I think almost anything is worth that. But this would not in fact be a one-sided deal: sensible FiF people are in fact pluralists, though naturally they find it difficult to trumpet the fact. But they have moved on their side. I say all this, even though I believe them to be wrong about women priests and women bishops. But these people - the best of them - are not bigots or misogynists (nor - come to that - homophobes).

Posted by john at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 10:53pm BST

"The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are to make a dramatic intervention in the long-running row over women bishops this week by demanding that opponents of female clergy are not driven out of the Church."

- Jonathan Petre, Mail on Sunday -

If this is true!! Then this must be the first hint of an upcoming 'double entendre' of the papal-style magisterium being imposed upon the Mother Church of England. Presumably, though, it cannot flow on to other Provinces of the Church - without the authority of the Instruments of Communion.

One can only hope that the democratic processes of the General Synod have the inbuilt capacity to challenge this fiat on the part of the regional Archbishops. OR: is this a hint of the creation of a new 4th House in General Synod - that of Archbishops - in addition to those three Houses already present - Laity, clergy & bishops?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 11:51pm BST

The reformation did not go nearly far enough. The Second Vatican Council tried to reform and renew many of the problems that made the Church a "museum" rather than a Body of Christ. and the Council Fathers succeeded on many levels, but John Paul II and Joe Ratzinger have gutted the reforms and tried to "restore" the Church as it was prior to Vatican II. So, we pray that a Vatican III will come sooner than expected and will succeed and finally bring the Catholic Church into the 21st Century. I believe it will have to happen because the anger and resentment within the ranks of progressive theologians, bishops and even a few cardinals of the Church are surfacing in many ways and on many fronts. Add to this, The People of God (as in the lay people) and the mix for radical reform and renewal are so great that it can only be described as "profound."
The reactionaries may have sabotaged the aims and spirit of Vatican II but they can't win in the long run because the Holy Spirit will set the Church on the right track. Triumphalism is Joe Ratzinger's big agenda and it is backfiring and creating a storm that is about to rock the decaying foundations of the Latin Rite Churches. Traditionalists, be they Anglican or Roman in origin are not going to succeed in their power grabs. They have gone too far. Rowan Williams is living in a fantasy world of denial and when he wakes up it may be too late for him to find peace in The Church of England. Perhaps he already may know this.

Posted by Chris Smith at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 11:52pm BST

No, Mr Wharton. While the manner in which the Reformation was implemented was in many instances more of a crime than a mistake, the Church did indeed need to be reformed.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 11:56pm BST

I don't see why this proposal is any worse than the previous Flying Bishops scheme. If the CofE could put up with that, surely they can put up with this.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Monday, 21 June 2010 at 12:15am BST

The poster "John" is seeing Forward In Faith priests as having a legitimate argument in asking for their own male bishops to serve various functions while denying female bishops those same functions. Many FIF people do not recognize the value and validity of female priests as well. This is unacceptable. This will never work and the more attempts to continue these dangerous and discriminatory maneuvers and face the real issues which are: misogyny, homophobia and marginalization of women and glbt people, the healthier The Church of England and the rest of the Anglican communion will be. Yes, we need to find ways to love one another but NOT at the cost of human decency and human dignity for those who have been disenfranchised for the better part of twenty centuries. Perhaps many of those who are unable to value women priests and bishops as equal in value to male priests and bishops, this is a time to leave. Ultimately the Roman Catholics and Orthodox will be fighting this same battle when it comes to women in the priesthood and episcopate, so isn't it better to make peace with your own conscience? The real "deal" to use a word from the poster in this thread, "John," is to give women the same value as men, in all ordained leadership roles, be it priest or bishop. I see no other way for this injustice to be corrected.

Posted by Chris Smith at Monday, 21 June 2010 at 2:50am BST

"But neither Archbishop is a lawyer

Actually, one of them is!

Posted by TB at Monday, 21 June 2010 at 3:57am BST

Am I the only one gobsmacked re the difference between the *headline* "...letting opponents of reform remain in the clergy"---with which few would argue---and the actual *news story* ("a legal formula that will give traditionalist clergy and parishes the right to reject the authority of a woman bishop").

Oh, wait a minute, I get it: it will let "opponents of reform remain in the clergy", even when they are blatantly insubordinate to/rudely dismiss their bishop-who-happens-to-be-a-woman, and treat her like sh*te (in such a way that would get them fired in ANY other hierarchical institution!).

Between this, the RC pedophiles, and the anti-gay/anti-Muslim ConEvs, does NO ONE in the UK care that the Name of Jesus is being DISGRACED???

Posted by JCF at Monday, 21 June 2010 at 7:06am BST

Quite apart from whether I think this is a good idea nor not, can anyone explain to me whether the Archbishops have the legal authority to overturn decisions arrived at in accordance with the principles the church is governed?

The leak seems to talk of a mere "demanding that the opponents... are not driven out of the church". Is that anything other than a passionate plea that Synod could reject if it chose to?

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 21 June 2010 at 7:42am BST

TB on Monday:""But neither Archbishop is a lawyer""

Actually, one of them is!"

Oh...then it will be ever more fascinating to behold.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Monday, 21 June 2010 at 3:14pm BST

"Is that anything other than a passionate plea that Synod could reject if it chose to ?"

- Erika Baker, on Monday -

Well, Erika, as far as I am aware, the Archbishops of the Church of England have no official power of veto over the determination of General Synod. I imagine that both Ebor and Cantuar have 1 vote the same as any other bishop. Can our Web-masters give us any information about this, please?

After all, Cantuar was over-ruled earlier by the General Synod on a similar quest for delay.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 22 June 2010 at 3:40am BST
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