Comments: General Synod - press roundup

If “[h]undreds of traditionalist clergy” leave the CoE, mostly, I presume, for the Roman Catholic Church, what, exactly, will they be doing? Does the Roman Catholic Church have hundreds of open positions for clergy, along with corresponding sources for salaries?

The threat to leave is either an idle threat or an indication that those doing the threatening are so far out of the mainstream that we should be grateful for their departure.

Posted by Lionel Deimel at Monday, 12 July 2010 at 6:41pm BST

I am delighted, heartened, happy and full of joy!
It was about time!
To all supporters of women bishops: I am with you celebrating this historic moment!
And, after the party is over, it'll be again time to work so that as soon as possible women can become bishops in the Church of England!

Posted by Gianni at Monday, 12 July 2010 at 6:44pm BST

So far so good, thank goodness, thank God ... yet 2012 is plenty of chance to obfuscate, delay, deny, and make very high mischief about womens' dirt and cooties. I still cannot quite fathom why big tent believers would put all of their eggs in an antiwomen basket in our own era? And why they would carry on with such persistent hostility in favor of their own exclusive self-righteousness that the previous agreement is clearly tested as a failure of the big tent, not a success? And why should the Anglican church being left behind be required to be any more gracious with money and buildings than the Roman Catholic church will likely be as the best, safest, purest, loveliest destination?

Ditto, all the antiqueer folks stuff. Plus the numb-headed No Go Moratoria advanced by big leaders?

Our categorical Anglican flat earth stuff likes its own claims of spotless purity and closed authority, yet nearly always heads right off to hunt for scapegoats and targets in life? (Shades of that former NO Women Diocese in TEC, aka Ft Worth under Iker? The wider church gave him plenty of room, and all he did with it was push himself and everybody else into meaner corners.)

Who can possibly pretend to believe that the moratoriums of Windsor prop up a big tent, let alone the strictures of this lovely new Anglican Covenant - lean heavy on Part 4? - except for RW himself, locked airlessly into his own sealed off keen mind. Lord have mercy.

Posted by drdanfee at Monday, 12 July 2010 at 6:54pm BST

What none of the press reports seem to acknowledge is that there is significant accommodation of those opposed to the ordination of women as priests and bishops. They have a statutory right to ask for male only ministry, which they will then get. For many of us that is a pretty big concession.

What has happened is that the legislation commended by the Synod has framed concessions for objectors in this way (the ability to decline ministry) rather than by setting up alternative structures or introducing the ability to claim that women priests are lawful but invalid. This is consistent with the approach of the 1992 measure (i.e. resolutions A and B).

If press journalists are reading this - please stop saying that there is no accommodation for those opposed in the legislation.

And if the ABC is reading this - please say something positive about the wonderful contribution of women priests over the last 16 years and deacons over the last 23. This sort of morale-boosting affirmation would be very well received by a group of priests who have to spend a great deal of time being told that they're a problem.

Posted by Wilf at Monday, 12 July 2010 at 9:40pm BST

Why are the so-called "traditionalists" so convinced that Rome is just dying to get its hands on hundreds of clergy who have spent decades disobeying and disrespecting their bishops?

Posted by JPM at Monday, 12 July 2010 at 10:57pm BST

"Does the Roman Catholic Church have hundreds of open positions for clergy, along with corresponding sources for salaries?"

Dunno about in England or the Continent, but here in the states there is in fact a priest shortage for the RCs. Not a lot of new vocations.

Don't know about the money, but the suspician here is that the recent Vatican poking around about the obedience and orthodoxy of women's orders was also a sniffing about for money in case they should find 'irregularities.'
Just sayin'

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 12:45am BST

It really irritates me. With the Daily Telegraph FIF do not need a press officer.

Again they are passing on misinformation and distortion... there are going to be very few who leave.

Will people please realise the Ordinariate is a flop and will be very tiny.

In America the Anglican Use is tiny and very few are cradle Anglicans.Less than 0.01 per cent of Episcopalians opted for it

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 5:45am BST

Is John Sentamu a prisoner of hope about people staying or is his prison aided by their pensions, pay and houses?

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 7:46am BST

Cynthia -

Last year in the whole of England and Wales there were only 7 men (seven!) ordained priest in the Roman Catholic church according to one blogger (Augustine of Canterbury). Can anyone else confirm?

This will not remotely replace those retiring. An influx of 200 or so would help them I guess - though if they are in their own Ordinariate churches (wherever they are going to get those from I don't know - it won't be Anglican parish churches they will be taking over) presumably they won't be available to prop up other catholic parishes.

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 9:39am BST

I've really not been impressed with the sensationalist way the Telegraph have reported both this story and last week's Southwark story. "Hundreds of traditionalist clergy are set to leave the Church of England"? That's not how I read last night's FiF press release - "Now is not the time for precipitate action. There will be ample opportunity for priests to take counsel and for Forward in Faith to take stock". Yesterday's commitment to to make arrangements for a working male bishop to provide some sort of oversight for conscientious objectors was a significant concession which will not undermine the authority of women bishops.

Posted by Graham Ward at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 10:43am BST

FiF priests seeking to take advantage of the Pope's offer will still encounter strong opposition at the local level. What are they afraid of? Highly competant women with power and authority? Many ordinary laity attend Anglo Catholic churches because of the liturgy and choral tradition and are as much in favour of women's ministry as those in liberal parishes, but generally keep quiet about it. There would also be an outcry from the general public if prominent parishes at the centre of their communities seek to align with Rome. Somehow it's just not quintessentially C of E is it?

Then there is Parliament and the unfinished equalities agenda, of which gender is one aspect. MPs will want to see the women bishop measure enacted swiftly in this Parliament and not tolerate amendments which would render women second class.

The Coalition are also keen to implement gay marriage - The PM is eager to show his pro-gay credentials with strong backing from the LibDems. So women bishops will have a key role in working towards this aim. Lambeth Palace's centralising tendencies and grandiose international schemes belong to the Blair/Brown era. The current government have a mandate to reclaim the sovreignty of our own Church.

Posted by Hugh of Lincoln at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 11:45am BST

I can confirm that in the RC Diocese of East Anglia there were two ordinations this year - the first ordinations for nine years though.

Posted by Wilf at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 1:07pm BST

"In America the Anglican Use is tiny..."

True, but Rome's market share in US Anglo Catholicism was lower than in the UK; American Anglo Catholicism does not tend towards the Anglo Papalist variety. Most of those who left over women's ordination here opted for various "Continuing Anglican" bodies because Rome was just not as popular. I'd be careful about predicting the success of the Ordinariate in the UK based on the experience of the Anglican Use parishes in the US.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 1:10pm BST

'..please say something positive about the wonderful contribution of women priests over the last 16 years and deacons over the last 23. This sort of morale-boosting affirmation would be very well received by a group of priests who have to spend a great deal of time being told that they're a problem.

Posted by: Wilf on Monday, 12 July 2010 at 9:40pm BS

Please don't forget deaconesses and parish workers too

Posted by Pantycelyn at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 1:43pm BST

I thought it was seven RCs ordained in Ireland. It makes little difference - it cannot fill vacancies. (Ha ha - even good Unitarian pulpits cannot fill vacancies). Forward in Faith say 200 will leave - that in sheer quantitative calculating is low, and the reality will be lower.

The Church of England is tackling the problem it faces by ordaining more and more clergy that are simply unpaid. But they are getting older and older, and that soon the conveyor belt having to go to the younger end will not produce enough.

The significant moves will be made by Conservative Evangelicals. The question is whether they will do themselves what they keep threatening - set up their own parallel systems that lead eventually to a different Anglican Church. I notice (put on my blog too) that a once commenter here, NP, has very recently changed his tune at Fulcrum, now to forming parallel or external assumed-biblicist structures, new buildings, gatherings, showing the apparent power of numbers and money.

The C of E can probably adjust, via replacements of clergy - to have more unpaid, with no pensions, no housing - to get a sort of early retirement and retirement approach to clerical provision given the exclusive rights it puts on the exclusive rite.

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 2:30pm BST

I second Lionel Diemel. The C of E should keep in mind that most of these threats are hollow. We have "lost" about one percent of dioceses and parishes in the Episcopal Church over the issues of women and homosexuals. The threats of 1300 priests and 10% of parishes leaving the C of E are an exaggeration. Look for it to be closer to 1%. And in the end, the C of E will gain its soul, be allowed to fully use the gifts of all God's children and attract new generations of people who would otherwise flee from the hateful rhetoric of the right.

Posted by Scott Stockburger at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 2:50pm BST

Do we know who the 15 bishops were that voted against the Abps amendment? Usually the House of Bishops try and hang in together.Did the two Abps signal their proposed course of action at the last meeting of the House of Bishops and discuss it?

Posted by Perry Butler at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 3:09pm BST

"Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand" - Matthew 12:25

Prophetic words indeed for the Church of England. You just had to listen to and watch the debates over the weekend to observe truth working itself out. The revisionist agenda has a lot to answer for.

Posted by Benedict at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 3:53pm BST

If one thinks that submission to the Bishop of Rome is a morally viable option, then one has absolutely no excuse for not swimming the Tiber more or less immediately. "I believe in the doctrinal infallibility and universal ordinary jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, but I'm not going, or at least not yet" is a dishonest, hypocritical, and immoral position. And if does not accept the D.I. and U.O.J. of the Bishop of Rome, then one has absolutely no business even dipping one's toes into the Tiber. As a lifelong Anglican/Episcopalian, I don't want any of these folks to leave. But I do want them to stop whining.

Posted by William Moorhead at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 4:06pm BST

"What none of the press reports seem to acknowledge is that there is significant accommodation of those opposed to the ordination of women as priests and bishops. They have a statutory right to ask for male only ministry, which they will then get. For many of us that is a pretty big concession."

When you say statutory, exactly what does that mean? Does it in fact mean that this "right" must be respected or is it up to the diocesan to decide if he or she will allow it?

Posted by Dvis d'Ambly at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 4:38pm BST

Typically, I find Simon Bs remarks at Ekklesia on sex and gender hot buttons to be clear and helpful:

See:http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/12598

Posted by drdanfee at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 4:47pm BST

I worked for the RCC for years. The diocese of Pittsburgh has closed down numerous churches. All of the ethnic parishes founded at the turn of the century are just about gone. I worked at a parish which at one time consisted of 7 independent parishes. They went from 7 buildings to 4 and then from 4 to two in ten years. The next neighborhood over when from 4 to one. They just aren't getting vocations and the ones they're getting aren't necessarily quality (as one priest friend has said). The idea of deacons really has never panned out. It seems the old buddies don't like power sharing with the laity.

Posted by bobinswpa at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 5:00pm BST

For all our differences, RIW, I sincerely appreciate your reality-checking the Tell-a-Lie and (if there's a difference) FiF...

This is just blanket assessment (by Ignorant Yank)of ALL sides of the CofE: if aliens from Alpha Centauri conquered Blightey and took over the State Church (worshipping, oh, the Flying Spaghetti Monster in Morning Prayer/elevating a plate of Spaghetti at Mass!), most English church-goers would comfortably stay in their parish churches. It's just holy inertia! ;-/

In short, FEW will *leave* for Rome (and @Ed T: you're NOT going to get take your parish church w/ you. You do know that, right?)

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 6:28pm BST

Dvis d'Ambly asks 'When you say statutory, exactly what does that mean? Does it in fact mean that this "right" must be respected or is it up to the diocesan to decide if he or she will allow it?'

S 2 of the draft measure places a duty on a bishop to produce a scheme for the care of those of the opposite persuasion to them. That is, the care of those opposed to the ordination of women if the bishop is in favour (or a woman) and, in the case of a bishop who will not ordain women, the ordination and support of women in the diocese. There is a statutory duty placed on all bishops to do this and to have regard to letters of request made by PCCs who are opposed on theological grounds to the ministry of women priests and bishops.

As with many things in law a right on the part of one person is inferred from the duty imposed on another. So in this case the duty of the bishop to provide for those of either integrity gives those of the other integrity to the bishop the right to be cared for. How this works out in practice will be governed by the Code of Practice, which must be approved before the measure can come into force. S6 of the draft measure compels all people, including bishops, exercising their functions, to have regard to the Code of Practice.

Go on, ask me another...

Posted by Wilf at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 7:26pm BST

Bobinspa, tell the full facts.... orthodox Catholic bishops and dioceses are chock full with vocations. For instance Lincobn, Nebraska , with 50,000 Catholics has more vocations than the Archdiocese of Chicago with 3 million Catholics.Similarly all the liberal religious orders are dying out, and the traditional orders are thriving.

The liberals are dying out....

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 8:52pm BST

Some of the Anglo-Catholics are no doubt holding out hope that they will still get their pensions, paychecks and housing even if they leave for Rome. If limiting the authority of women Bishops would have been an insult to the women, can one imagine how much of an insult it would be to "pay" the dissenters who leave in protest? I hope they stay, but they'll no doubt be on their own if they walk out the door.

Posted by Doug at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 8:58pm BST

When I was in France (admittedly a long time ago) each of the families I knew had their Oncle l'Abbé. They are dead now and I hear that in France confirmations and baptisms and even funerals are often done by lay people. And on much of the continent Priests are often Poles. So, in France there is vacant positions if they can work out the practicalities.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 9:01pm BST

Jeremy..the few vocations we are getting are of very high quality and we are also getting good priests from India and Poland to help us out. So we are not expecting FIF to arrive like the Cavalry. I will be very surprised if 20 FIF clergy convert..and not all of those will qualify for ordination.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 9:04pm BST

According to the Media Officer of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, 16 priests were ordained for the dioceses of England and Wales last year.

Posted by John Marshall at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 10:27pm BST

Re Jeremy's question: Having read the documents of the Ordinariate when it was published, I am convinced that if they wanted to Roman (Latin Rite) bishops would be entirely free to take advantage of any formerly Anglican clergy that they might choose to receive (and I use the phrase "take advantage of" advisedly). Indeed, although the Ordinariate might temporarily allow for bishops who were formerly Anglican (but only if celibate), any Ordinariate bishop is required to work with and accommodate the Latin Rite bishop in the same diocese. If there are assisting positions in Latin parishes, Ordinariate priests might fill them; but they can't be parish pastors (rectors).

I also note that the Ordinariate is intended to be temporary in that there is no provision for Ordinariate seminaries; and any seminarians who rise from Ordinariate congregations will be trained in the Latin Rite (including the requirement of celibacy). It is interesting that those who would join the Ordinariate would not expect from Rome what they would require from the Anglican churches: the opportunity to continue their own position in perpetuity. They want to "flourish" in the CofE or the Episcopal Church, which means replicating themselves and their congregations. The Ordinariate documents make clear that Rome has no interest in such a practice.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 10:31pm BST

To respond to Perry Butler, who asked "Do we know who the 15 bishops were that voted against the Abps amendment? Usually the House of Bishops try and hang in together.Did the two Abps signal their proposed course of action at the last meeting of the House of Bishops and discuss it?"

1. The voting figures will be published, so you will know.

2. We weren't whipped. Nor did Rowan or Sentamu make it into a big deal. They were moving an amendment to fix a problem which we still haven't resolved completely. It was neither a line nor a loyalty test. We all decided independently how we'd vote.

3. Yes, we've discussed interminably the big issue of how jurisdiction should pass to an alternative bishop. Delegation, transfer, co-ordinate, vesting are all words we've used. None of them have yet solved the convoluted issue of not undermining the episcopacy of women and yet allowing those who don't recognise them to remain in the Church.

4. We now have legislation that will allow women to be bishops (hooray!) But it still unchurches a lot of people whom I'm not prepared to kick out of the CofE. That's where we are.

Posted by Pete Broadbent at Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 11:57pm BST

The Christian religion is divided against itself, therefore is a kingdom that cannot stand, and that is because no kingdom can be the Body of Christ. No Communion can be decided by mere humans. No gift of Grace can be taken to the returns window by a pampered old man in purple. All this fuss over something that will be completely changed in another few generations - the religion is not eternal, only the Body of Christ.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 5:08am BST

I am bemused at the thought that the RC clergy of England and Wales in years to come may consist mostly of married ex-Anglican priests! Surely the result will be to prepare the union of the Roman and Anglican churches in Britain...

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 6:50am BST

Dvis, a very good question that no one knows the answer to because they haven't written the Code of Practice yet.
Wilf, Considering the promises made before, whatever code they create, like the "flying bishop" scheme, it will come to an end eventually, and those opposed will have no choice. The question conservatives are wondering now is how long until they are echoing this conservative Church of Sweden priest after the church made acceptance of women priests, etc. mandatory:

"... the bishop of my diocese, Dr. Ragnar Persenius of Uppsala, was able to write to me in a letter last year: “The Diocese does not refuse [to recognize] you as a priest or a rector, no matter how the new regulations about ordination and promotion in the Church order are applicable in your case.”
Rejected and ineligible in principle, if not yet in practice, that is my position. For awhile I had hanging on my study wall both the letter testifying that I was an ordained priest in the Church of Sweden and a copy of the regulation stating that persons like me would not be ordained or promoted. It was a reminder that the church has changed and that the new Church of Sweden does not want priests like me. I am of another kind... But it still hurts." From Touchstone Magazine, Nov. 2004, "A Grief Observed".

Some will decide the principle is enough and leave now, others will say, "This is still my church" until it becomes official with no accomodation.

Posted by Chris H. at Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 6:51am BST

Personally, I am encouraged by the letter (above) of Bishop Pete Broadbent, by the pastoral letter of the Bishop of London, by the statement of the Catholic Group, by the statement of FiF, and by Rowan Williams' gloss on the amendment. There seems to be a deep, deep resolve across a wide range of opinion to get a settlement that will nourish all.

Posted by john at Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 1:56pm BST

Will TA be publishing the voting record of members of Synod during this debate? This could be helpful in deciding who to back in the forthcoming elections for GS.

Posted by Brian at Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 6:40pm BST

There is a quota laid down by Rome..as I state not all Anglican clergy will be accepted for ordination training. I know several who were turned down by Rome and not by the local bishop. By the way the Church accepts other Protestant ministers, like Lutherans and Methodists in the USA.

By the way in 2008 , Wales ended its flying bishop post and there has not been one resignation from the clergy and defection to Rome. prior to this there were threats and huffing and puffing of course.The Church in Wales bishops called their bluff.

By the way it was Rowan who set up the flying bishop. If he had been still in Monmouth he would have insisted on keeping on the bishop, and said this will prevent an exodus!


Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 8:41pm BST

Thank you Bishop Pete. Much will depend on the Code of Practice but one wonders whether the circle can be squared.A lot of time has been spent already in the attempt. The problem is surely that different people will have different sticking points as the +Ebbsfleet letter shows. I suspect that from the moment the Ordinariate was announced some saw that as Plan A whatever happened at Synod, and we do seem to have a more sectarian sort of conservative evangelical now who seem itching to bring in episcopal hands from overseas and set up parallel structures.The difference I notice looking back from my perch in retirement is that in the past we seemed to want to stay together dispite our differences, now we are much keener to "unchurch" each other and act as if "our" group is the only legitimate one. The centrifugal forces seem to be making the running and the cenripetal are correspondingly weak.

Posted by Perry Butler at Thursday, 15 July 2010 at 11:59am BST

"...it will come to an end eventually, and those opposed will have no choice. "

Yes, but the same could be said about any number of English clergy and laity who opposed changes in their time, couldn't it? Some in the English Church opposed Mass in the vernacular, married clergy, and the Glorious Revolution, to name a few issues from centuries past. Yes, sooner or later the projected change happens, and those opposed have no choice. The alternative would seem to be a static Church.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Thursday, 15 July 2010 at 4:26pm BST

Perry B: "The difference I notice looking back from my perch in retirement is that in the past we seemed to want to stay together dispite our differences, now we are much keener to "unchurch" each other and act as if "our" group is the only legitimate one. The centrifugal forces seem to be making the running and the cenripetal are correspondingly weak."

Yes, this is a very interesting observation. I wonder whether one reason for it might be the decline in the prestige of the C of E as an institution (it certainly wasn't shared doctrine that kept the extremes within the C of E). There was in the past a certain air of grandeur about the whole organisation which conjured up stability, calm reasonable discourse and convivial gentlemen with impeccable manners, all of which appear to be fading away fast.

I wonder whether it is this identity crisis which causes the aggro: what on earth is a deferential national and imperial model of church for, in a post-national Europe and an undeferential post-imperial world?

Posted by Fr Mark at Thursday, 15 July 2010 at 11:04pm BST

Dear Fr Mark, Im sure you are right.Remember the 50's saw something of an "Anglican revival" numbers wise and morale was high in the early 60's.Yes there were doctrinal tensions and differences of churchmanship, but the evangelicals used 1662 pretty neat/mattins and evensong and wore robes.Anglo-caths mostly used the interim rite but from the congregations point of view this had a lot of prayerbook in it ( and a lot of priestly muttering!).We all sang a lot of common hymns, pretty well all went to chapter ( and yes the clergy were all very much the same sort of chaps socially and culturally).Above all there was a strong sense of being the Church of ENGLAND, based on the parish with a lot of parochial trajectories into the community from uniformed organisations/ choirs/ Mothers Union/even Gilbert and Sullivan and parish pantos. Lots of unchurched children went to afternoon Sunday school. And what is very interesting..all churchmanships seemed to pursue a similar Pastoral strategy based around the Occasional Offices with little fencing of the font or getting too worked up about addresses for banns etc and lots of funerals! Then by the late 70's this had largely collapsed and we had become a sect! And as is the case with sects, inner discipline and inner division became increasingly an artform.By 2000 many C of E clergy discovered they didnt have much in common with each other..let alone a sense of pursuing a common agenda. I exaggerate perhaps but there is a gr8 PHd waiting to be done on how the C of E stimulated its own decline. Icabod!!

Posted by Perry Butler at Friday, 16 July 2010 at 12:42pm BST

Bill is correct that clergy have frequently overcome their own entrenched opposition in order to adapt to the changing field. The current uncatholic "flying bishops" scheme preempted the need to do what had always been done - viz. to adapt.

In previous ages, clergy of the Chuch of England were far more adaptable.

The illustrious House of Hanover
and Protestant succession:
To these I lustily will swear
(while they retain possession),
for in my faith and loyalty
I never once would falter,
and George my laweful King shall be
(unless the times do alter).

Posted by Malcolm+ at Friday, 16 July 2010 at 5:56pm BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.