Comments: General Synod - Question on episcopal appointments

William Fittall once again worming his way out of another 'difficult' question.

Posted by hitherqueen at Thursday, 9 December 2010 at 5:00pm GMT

"The issue is whether someone in that position could act as a focus for unity in a diocese. That would have to be considered by those responsible for making any episcopal appointment"

Translation: "Not Our Kind, Dear."

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 9 December 2010 at 7:33pm GMT

Funny phrase, "focus of unity," isn't it?

Could it reasonably be held that any of the following bishops with impeccable credentials vis-a-vis their marital status yet completely off the wall when it comes to a certain issue were/are focuses (or even foci) of unity:
Tom Wright;
Michael Nazir-Ali;
Graham Dow;
Wallace Benn;
George Carey?

They seem to me to have been five of the most divisive characters you could possibly find to lead an organisation.

Posted by Fr Mark at Thursday, 9 December 2010 at 7:54pm GMT

Well, they could always be flying bishops where the focus of unity thing is much reduced almost by definition.

In fact, a gay extreme anglo-catholic traditionalist would tick a lot of boxes. But does such a man exist ?

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Thursday, 9 December 2010 at 8:29pm GMT

'to avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religion’s followers'.

Of course this answer essentially means that no priest who holds an opinion on anything, and no woman, could ever be a bishop because there will always be those whose 'strongly held convictions' will be conflicted with.

As a result we will continue to have as bishops, men, and men only, who are administrators but lack the prophetic voice which the church needs. Where is the Bishop Bell, the Michael Ramsey, The Mervyn Stockwood, of our time?

Posted by Richard Ashby at Thursday, 9 December 2010 at 9:06pm GMT

And so a woman bishop would be a focus of unity for a diocese?

Posted by JMH at Thursday, 9 December 2010 at 10:32pm GMT

@ Laurence Roberts. Perhaps you should try visiting Walsingham: it's a place you might find an answer to your question.

Posted by Doug Chaplin at Friday, 10 December 2010 at 12:07am GMT

Really Doug you amaze me - next you'll be telling me that they would nt even have to go through all the business of ordaining a new bishop !

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 10 December 2010 at 11:40am GMT

'Focus of unity' is, je pense, one of those ideas that have crept in from outside the C of E and are now seen as holy writ. I don't think there's a word of it in the BCP (1662). There bishops are seen as Confirming, Ordaining and making known the evangel.

What is 'unity' anyway ? A spiritual bond between Christians and God and so each other. Not organisational, credal or based in the values of 'My Fair Lady'('middle class morality').

Jesus would certainly never have qualified in the eyes of the ecclesiastical bureaucrats of our time -and his.


Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 10 December 2010 at 11:48am GMT

Peter Selby came up with an interesting comment in an article written in the late 1980s/early 1990s, which suggested that if there are different view points within a church/diocese , perhaps a bishop who is a genuine leader/shepherd of the flock etc should think of being a focus of dis-unity. I read this in a constructive sense of recognising differing view points and being prepared to hold these differences, while we await discernment in God's time, rather than try to achieve a spurious uniformity which is called unity.

Posted by Rosalind at Friday, 10 December 2010 at 12:33pm GMT

Where is the link for the quote? I've been trying to find even the notice paper for questions for over a month!

Posted by Geoff at Friday, 10 December 2010 at 5:17pm GMT

It hasn't as far as I know been published yet. This material is my own transcription of the audio recording.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 10 December 2010 at 11:48pm GMT

Focus of unity' is, je pense, one of those ideas that have crept in from outside the C of E

You could argue it's in Ignatius of Antioch (Smyrnaeans VIII)

Posted by david rowett at Saturday, 11 December 2010 at 11:00pm GMT
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