Comments: more on Episcopal Resignations

Whilst it is true that the two PEVs in the southern province have announced their intention to resign, we should not forget -- and GRAS should be more careful -- that the PEV in the northern province, the Bishop of Beverley, has not made any such announcement, and has, I understand, other plans entirely.

The northern bishops have (pace Bp Edwin Barnes) perhaps shown more leadership than the southern bishops -- or at least leadership in a different direction.


Posted by Simon Kershaw at Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 10:56am GMT

I'm sorry, but why should any Episcopal appointment be in keeping with the spirit of the legislation?

This is legislation which has not been passed, and there should be no assumptions about what will or will not happen. The appointment of bishops should not depend on legislation which has not (and may not) come into effect.

Posted by Fr James at Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 12:06pm GMT

I agree with Simon regarding not only the Bishop of Beverley for whom I have a high regard, but also those other Bishops who have quietly got on with being a Father in God to their flock as suffragan Bishops, whilst not being in agreement with women priests. Let us also not forget the quiet but strong ministry of Lord Hope.

It is to these Bishops that +Rowan has turned to in the continuing ministry to those still opposed to women priests.

Fr John Harris-WHITE

Posted by Fr John at Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 12:48pm GMT

I'd like to add a comment about the graciousness of the Bishop of Beverley. He was in Rome visiting the Anglican Centre just before my ordination, when I was about to become Assistant Director, and as he was leaving he asked me when my ordination was to take place. I told him and he said 'I will certainly remember you in my prayers that day because I will be ordaining others.' After the door had closed the Director told me that he was 'flying bishop' (and a close friend of John Flack who was the Director at that time). I felt very moved by his generosity and priestly 'fellowship' towards me, which must have been costly.

Posted by Sara MacVane at Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 1:12pm GMT

Once again, GRAS, in its silliness and lack of coherent argument, has called for the episocpal ministry of the PEV's to be withdrawn. Surely this is preempting the outcome of the General Synod in 2012, which no one, given the recent change in its make up, can confidently predict (though I am very heartened to hear that there may well be a shift in the mood, given the number of Conservative Evangelicals and Catholics). Both GRAS and WATCH, rather than simply seeking equality at every level of the Church, seem to desire absolute domination and are therefore turning into the very same sort of oppressive force they have accused Evangelicals and Catholics of being in the past. No amount of posturing on their part, and especially not the sort for which they are now becoming infamous, is going to make one jot of difference to the potential appointment of new PEV's and rightly so. As Father James so succintly and neatly put it in an earlier thread, how can we make assumptions about legislation that has not even be passed? The response of GRAS to recent developments is entirely predictable, and I am glad to say it will hold no sway with those responsible for the new appointments. These will go ahead as has already been made clear, so wake up GRAS, and smell the coffee!!

Posted by Benedict at Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 4:13pm GMT

Sara MacVane's sharing of her own experience is heartening. At the end of the day, our humanity is all we have. Is what we have despite all ambivalence-- or is that because and through our limitations ?

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 4:45pm GMT

Broadhurst has called the CofE the Titanic and recently referred to it as "fascist". This term is a favourite of people who don't get their way, as well as the "N word". Giles Fraser is right - there is little that is gracious about his departure and it puts his ministry as a PEV into perspective. He can't have saved these remarks until now. I have respect for people who say that any criticism of Broadhurst or other departing bishops should be muted and we should admire their convictions and pray for them on their Christian journey. Silence and platitudes do not evade the damage they have caused and still are trying to do. My heart aches for the faithful women clergy who seem to be used as pawns and props in their show. Piety and posturing don't conceal the true politics of personal power and lack of pastoral sensitivity in their remarks. (Alliteration, anyone?) It is not always a virtue to have one's head in the sand. Hypocrisy, narcissism and exploitation cannot be explained away and must be named. The reason why this site is so valuable is that it isn't a place for obfuscation or one-sided propoganda. When I was a Divinity student at Trinity College, Toronto, an Irish classmate used to say "sometimes you call a spade a spade and sometimes a bloody shovel". I am grateful that there is a place where such directness and honesty are found online, since they are so badly needed and so sadly lacking in much of the discourse out there.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 5:10pm GMT

This 'only 2.8%' figure is a gross misrepresentation. First, it refers only to "C" parishes; yet those who have voted for "A" or "B" have also declared at the very least severe misgivings over women's ordination. Then, the bar is set very high for parishes to pass the resolutions. If they are in teams or groups, individual parishes are denied the right to vote. When they announce they are to vote, they will be descended on by the big guns, Archdeacons, Suffragan Bishops, even the Diocesan himself, to persuade them of the folly of their ways. Every trick in the book (and many not in any book) will be used to dissuade them; and if the parish falls vacant they will again be leant on, illegally but very heavily, to rescind their decision – a decision which needs a 2/3 majority of the Church Council.
In one diocese I used to have only sixteen parishes in my pastoral care as Bishop of Richborough (there are more now – the constituency has been growing.) Yet with only sixteen "C" parishes, there would be around 70 priests at the Chrism Mass which I celebrated in the cathedral each year. Where did the rest come from? They were priests in parishes which were more or less evenly divided; priests in churches where another in the Group would not allow them to vote; priests in Chaplaincies (schools, hospitals prisons) which the Act of Synod simply ignored. The laity packed the Cathedral. That figure of 2.8% is the tip of a very large iceberg, with anything up to 1 in 4 of the priests and parishes of the Church of England unpersuaded of the rightness of ordaning women – and even less of consecrating them. Yet Synod is hell-bent on going ahead, with no proper mandate from the people and priests of the Church of England, driven not by the Gospel, nor Tradition, but only perceived 'rights'.

And it is only GRAS and its supporters which has ever asserted a doctrine of 'taint'.

Posted by Edwin Barnes at Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 9:25pm GMT

Sara MacVane's lovely story about the graciousness of the Bishop of Beverley highlights one of the real problems of the present situation in the Church of England. However, the same could not happen in the Church of Rome - where there is little leeway given to clergy and laity in the denomination who feel the theological pull of the Gospel towards the ordination of both women and gays. There are no 'special arrangements' made for such dissenters in Roman Catholicism. They have to - like the Bishop of Beverley - do what they can to further their cause from within the Church, not threatening to leave if they don't get their own way.

Bravo to the Bishop of Beverley. He must have very mixed feelings about his commitment to the anti-women cause, and yet was gracious enough to offer prayers for the impending ordination of a female priest!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 10:41pm GMT

Bishop Edwin writes: "And it is only GRAS and its supporters which has ever asserted a doctrine of 'taint'".

It might be the case that FiF and its members and supporters do not *assert* a doctrine of taint (I'll leave that for others to decide). But actions speak louder than words.

What are onlookers to infer when you, Bishop, and your successor at Richborough visit a parish and preside at the Sunday morning celebration of the Eucharist -- but on the less frequent occasions when the diocesan bishop or his suffragan are invited, it is never to preside, but only to preach; no, not even to be allowed to assist in the distribution? What are we to infer when other clergy are only invited to preside (or co-preside) when they are opponents of the ordination of women, and other visiting and vested clergy sit to one side?

Perhaps this behaviour is not common; but it has been the practice in the parish in which I worship since circa 1991.

I do not say that the hurt has all been caused one way; I worship in a parish where most of us, of diverse views, are keen to continue to worship together, so I have seen hurt on both sides. But it is hard not to see 'taint' at work, even if not expressed.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 11:02pm GMT

Stop digging Edwin.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 11:21pm GMT

Benedict, I do not think that GRAS or WATCH are calling even for equality. As I understand it the proposed legislation allows ongoing discrimination against women of a kind that would be unlawful in most walks of life. However, there would be recognition that women bishops are real bishops, while allowing parish churches to be ministered to solely by men if they wish.

In continuing to make provision for those opposed to women's ordained ministry who wish to remain Anglican, I think there would be risks in perpetuating structures that can result in confusion and be seen as negating the tradition of having a single diocesan bishop in each diocese.

Posted by Savi H at Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 11:45pm GMT

"Sara MacVane's lovely story about the graciousness of the Bishop of Beverly highlights one of the ral problems of the present situation in the Church of England. However, the same could not happen in the Church of Rome" Father Ron Smith

Oh yes it could and did. In 1980 I was Director of Pastoral Services in a large downtown hospital. My pager went off one morning about 7.a.m. A Roman Catholic patient had asked for the R.C. chaplain before emergency surgery. The chaplain had been detained on the highway. I went to the hospital and rather hesitatingly knocked on the patient;s door. I intended to just explain the situation. A rather attractive middle aged man opened the door and smiled, welcoming me by addressing me by my first name. I was very taken aback. He explained that he was Director of Vocations in the ArchDiocese and added, 'I was at your ordination in 1976 and I have followed your ministry carefully.' I prayed with him and we chatted for a few minutes, then when I got up to leave he quietly said, again calling me by name, 'Will you give me your blessing?' That was a true affirmation of my vocation and ministry.

Posted by The Rev. Canon. Dr. Lettie James at Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 12:31am GMT

I am gratified by the incisive and specific testimony of Simon Kershaw, in response to the spin and distortions of Bishop Edwin Barnes.

The volume and intensity of similar distortions from the self-proclaimed ultra orthodox within the CofE would diminish if they were more frequently, and more courageously, presented with the entire truth in contrast to their casual use of very small parts of it.

Certainly there are legitimate theological differences in the broad Church, and some of us may never be realigned as one body if the standard is conformance to only the most liberal or the most conservative interpretations.

While visiting my daughter and granddaughter on All Saints Day, I heard a sermon which had an intriguing theme, and it was captioned "Red Letter Christians" in the parish bulletin.

Although I don't have one, it seems that in a number of regions the four Gospels are printed in both black and red lettering. Red printing is used only for the words of Jesus.

It was the preacher's theme that until Christians fulfill the recorded message of Jesus, in the red letters, it is meaningless and hurtful (with all of the differing denominations, and the divisions within denominations, etc) to argue among ourselves about what the black letters mean, or don't mean.

I wish those departing to Rome well, and pray they may be as positively affected there as I was by my departure from Rome, but I will not accept their parting distortions.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 3:16am GMT

Can anyone suggest a practical test by which a theology of taint could be distinguished from whatever it is that FiF asserts? By this I mean, some action which would be impossible if you believed in "taint", but which is practised in FiF.

Posted by Andrew Brown at Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 6:50am GMT

I have asked Simon to make this post anonymous because I do not want the parish involved or the parish priest to be named.

This is about taint.

In 1991 I was an honorary assistant priest in a parish. I had no vote in any synod at any level, and I did not even attend any synod meetings at any level. It was known to colleagues, and to any laity who asked that I was in favour of the ordination of women. I had never preached about it or spoken publicly about it. I counted the period of my priesthood in decades, not years. As soon as the vote had been taken which allowed the procedures to be put in place for women to be ordained the curate of the parish demanded that I should no longer be allowed to celebrate the mass in the parish. The parish priest called me in and explained this to me and said I was no longer welcome at the altar. I agreed to this ruling. The congregation were alarmed and upset and a compromise was reached in which I was allowed still to celebrate, but that the curate would neither deacon my mass nor concelebrate. Nor was I allowed to do so for him. Nor would he receive at any mass I participated in.
At this time the actual ordination of the first woman priest was years away and I had not taken any part in process by which it became possible.

Sanity was restored when the curate left, but I retain a sense of hurt at what he did and that the parish priest allowed first his demands and then the ugly compromise.

I think this is an example of taint.

Posted by Anonymous at Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 8:33am GMT

It is true that there is no doctrine of "Theology of Taint"; it would be a denial of Christian teaching. But by denying the vocations and priesthood of women, by publically refusing communion from them, not welcoming them to take part in ordinations, allowing separate male ordinations on the grounds they are women is perceived as Taint. There are many examples of how women priests have been treated in the course of their work which denies who they are as well as the gifts they bring. Not only is this discriminatory it is damaging to the Church and example of Christs life and Teaching. GRAS is asking for a full acceptance of women and men bishops in the Episcopate with no further Act of SYnod and its consequences.

Posted by sally at Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 9:31am GMT

Not to mention refusal to help out or provide cover in places where a woman has at any time presided at the altar.

Posted by John Roch at Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 11:12am GMT

Nor the position of some who assert that they are unable to recognise their Cathedral as their Mother Church because they doubt the validity of its Eucharistic ministers.

Posted by ezlxq at Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 12:23pm GMT

I'm glad people here seem to respect, even to admire, the Bishop of Beverley. Difficult as it is, we have a continuing duty to accommodate FiF people - just as they have a continuing duty to accommodate us. I'd like it if they exhibited just a little more 'give', along the lines of the complaint aired by John Roch above. Some of course already do.

I was glad too both that at last night's public meeting in Durham concerning the next Bishop of Durham several speakers lamented that it could only be a 'he' and that an obviously FiF elderly man, who spoke with great eloquence, recommended for the post both Bishop Lindsay Urwin and Bishop John Hind. Neither my ideal recommendation, of course, but there was absolutely no feeling in the hall that this elderly man was a member of a different church.

Posted by john at Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 12:39pm GMT

So 2.8% is a small enough group to ignore? Impartial studies indicate that the gay population is less than that figure, so why don't we just ignore that constituency as well. GRAS is proving that it's really just a matter of liberal hypocrisy.

Posted by t c rawson at Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 6:30pm GMT

Yes, wherever people are, there will be lovely things, and not the ugly. I am capable of both, as are we all.

I have experienced kindnesses in RC parishes, missions and retreat houses, myself. I will always remember when arriving at church for my young cousin's funeral mass, in north London years ago, the young priest insisting on my joining him and concelebating with him. He would not hear of my protestations. All the family were heartened and it made complete human(e)sense.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 7:17pm GMT

Anonymous, what a sad experience.

tc rawson, I do not understand your rationale. At present opponents of women's ordination are as far as I am aware free to worship anywhere and apply for any kind of ministry, lay or ordained, in the C of E, though for reasons of conscience they may choose not to seek to exercise that ministry in certain settings. Indeed woman face, and will continue to face, discrimination which would be unlawful in other settings in order to accommodate them.

Are you really saying this is the case for gays - e.g. that there are several openly partnered gay bishops, as is the case for bishops opposed to women's ordination, and indeed that in dioceses where the bishop does not favour full inclusion, parishes can request an alternative bishop to conduct confirmations etc?

I believe there has been a willingness to go to considerable lengths to try to maintain space for opponents of women's ordination, to an extent that would be unthinkable in many other churches. This may not seem adequate to some people, but to act as if no effort were being made is unhelpful, and encourages polarisation.

Posted by Savi H at Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 9:08pm GMT

"So 2.8% is a small enough group to ignore? Impartial studies indicate that the gay population is less than that figure, so why don't we just ignore that constituency as well." - Posted by t c rawson

The "gay population", t c, doesn't claim anything ON THE BASIS OF SIZE. Only by being Made (LGBT, and partnered accordingly) in the Image of God!

There are those who claim that homophobia is (also) some kind of "orientation". {*} Perhaps---but their orientation should pertain ONLY to themselves, and not to everyone else!

{*} Personally, I don't believe it is (an orientation). I think that homophobia is simply the SIN of projecting the conditions of one's SELF, onto ALL. Ergo, "same-sex sex makes ME ill, same-sex sex would be wrong for ME---therefore, it must be wrong for EVERYONE."

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 4:30am GMT

Not to mention tc rawson's "impartial" studies aren't - they tend to be founded on conservative cash and staffed by religiously-conservative "scientists."

Serious researchers find between 4% and 5% identify as gay. Most *actual* researchers also acknowledge that the only ones doing well-funded and popularly-disseminated studies are funded by interest (for or against) groups that are the only ones who *care* how many gays there are.

A conservative just misrepresented reality - how (yawn) novel.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 5:20am GMT

With respect to tc Rawson GRAS in not at all saying ignore the 2.8%; neither is WATCH. If you read the proposed Legislation now going to the dioceses for consideration you will see that there are several provisions made for this group including the fact that a parish can write a letter of request asking for a male only priest or bishop (stating their theological grounds). The objection to this from many in this 2.8% group is that any male bishop won't do. It has to be a man who has not ordained a woman or has taken part in the consecration of a woman bishop, e.g. abroad; hence the view of Taint. There are plenty of provisions made which can be found on the Church of England's website. It is those who are looking forward to women bishops are the ones who have gone along with the concessions out of generosity to make it possible for the anti group to stay in the Church - if they wish to do so.

Posted by Sally at Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 9:03am GMT

'wherever people are, there will be lovely things, and not the ugly. I am capable of both, as are we all.' (Laurence Roberts yesterday evening)

sorry about the typo -so rare for me ! It should have read of course, 'lovely things and ugly things...'

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Thursday, 11 November 2010 at 12:04pm GMT
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