Comments: Women bishops and the February General Synod

If The Archbishops do not want to promote the idea of a 'two-tiered episcopate', why would they insist on special provision for the dissenters that would prohibit a female diocesan bishop from deciding whether or not an alternative (male) bishop could operate in her diocese.

For a diocesan bishop - either male or female - to be by-passed by an alternative episcopal ministry in his/her diocese, is, clearly and logically, to allow a two-tiered espicopate.

The obvious dividing line would be between a bishop who is male - with authority as to who ministers in his own diocese; versus a bishop who is female - who does not have the authority to choose who ministers in her diocese. Surely that is a two-tiered epicopate based purely on gender difference, i.e. discriminatory.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 27 January 2012 at 9:01am GMT

In paragraph 6 of the Church Times article there is the unequivocal statement that two of the 44 Dioceses had voted against the principle of women bishops.

This statement is taken to include the Diocese of Chichester.

The Diocesan Website at clearly states that the Diocese voted in favour of women bishops on 8th October 2011 but voted against the legislation currently proposed.

I point this out because the myth of the Chichester diocese as a ‘no go’ area for women priests is just that, in spite of the noisy protests of those who would have it to be true. It is important that this myth is exposed for what it is since it colours our Church’s views of this diocese and is be particularly misleading in a period when a new bishop is being chosen.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 27 January 2012 at 10:13am GMT

Richard Ashby makes an excellent point. One wonders how they could have completely missed this most salient of facts and then claimed the opposite???

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 27 January 2012 at 2:03pm GMT

I also see in today's Church Times that Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes, is a patron of 'The Third Province Movement', in an advertisement giving a contact address in Mayfield, East Sussex but no other details of who they are or who is organising this. This of course is the same Bishop of Lewes who has endorsed the odious Stephen Green's latest opus on the decline of this country and who has had to withdraw his endorsement after he had actually read the book!

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 27 January 2012 at 3:56pm GMT

Martin. The answer must be lazy checking of facts and the confusion which surround the difference between the principle of women bishops and the legislation to enact this principle. It is quite clear that in some minds, at least, the issues have become conflated whereas it is important to keep the issues separate. What the synod next month is about is the legislation necessary, not the principle, although those who are in the minority on this are still protesting about the acceptance of the principle.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 27 January 2012 at 4:06pm GMT

Give me chastity, but not yet?!

Posted by american piskie at Friday, 27 January 2012 at 5:52pm GMT

Perhaps it's a losing fight. I'll still fight it. I think Andrew Brown's comments are wilfully prejudicial and uncharitable.

Posted by john at Friday, 27 January 2012 at 8:08pm GMT

[With apologies to Orwell]

The House has committed itself to three principles: (1) "We've always been at war with Eastasia"

Posted by JCF at Friday, 27 January 2012 at 8:09pm GMT

Let's imagine a parallel statement about rights and justice:

While this house has debated and agreed that African Americans are fully equal, we will maintain a structure that allows people who maintain the old bigotry a succession to maintain their views about the principles of slavery.

Abominable, pusillanimous, hypocrisy.

Posted by DrS at Saturday, 28 January 2012 at 12:37pm GMT

You know, if we had the proposed Anglican Covenant, the suggestion that there be two tiers of bishops might have some relational consequences.

Posted by Jeremy at Saturday, 28 January 2012 at 2:09pm GMT

Sentamu endorsed the royal cohabitation before the wedding and compared it to feeling the udder before milking the cow!

Healthy heterosexual fornication!

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Monday, 30 January 2012 at 11:04pm GMT

I don't find R.I.W.'s attempts at simulacrum at all helpful (or even funny);

I do find DrS's suggestion, here, that the Church of England's treatment of racial discrimination and clerical gender discrimination ought to be considered in parallel methodology.

If the Church were to declare racism out of bounds, and still perpetuated it in praxis - like, for instance, refusing to ordain someone Bishop because he/she was black - this would be thought abominable.

Why then is gender discrimination - when considering the status of Women in Ministry - not similarly regarded - as abominable?

Women in the Church are regarded as 'equal to men' according to classical theology - and yet may not be treated as such in the practical realm of the authority of a Woman Bishop in her own diocese, where a 'Flying Bishop' might be thought to be usurping her traditional diocesan role ?

This seems illogical and all at odds to me.

The perpetuation of gender discrimination, by allowing 2 different attidudes to Women Clergy to prevail - one For, and one Against - must surely be exposed for what it is - outright bigotry. Is that a good look for the Church: to practise institutionalised gender discrimination?

Posted by Father ron Smith at Thursday, 2 February 2012 at 3:07am GMT
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