Comments: Bishops' amendments to women bishops legislation

This is now the second bishop in a week who I have heard accept that the clause 5 amendment is causing problems and pain.

It would perhaps be a help if the bishops themselves offered to take back the Measure (via a SO debate)and reconsider it.

Posted by Charles Read at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 10:09am BST

The draft legislation was already a compromise and
enshrined further discrimination against
women. The amendment has created great hurt
among many" - The Bishop of Ely -

For the good bishop to know the real situation, and yet to agree to the amendment of the original Draft Measure, does seem rather remiss - especially given his stated understanding of the need for Women to be ordained to the episcopate.

Compromise - on issues of enshrined discrimination against the ordination of women - can only muddy the waters, making it more difficult for women themselves to agree to second-class status in the Church of God.

The sad thing is that those who want this ethos of discrimination institutionalised are themselves compromised - by the fact that their catholic principles are abandoned by their acceptance of a double standard of episcopacy based on gender and not on any Baptismal disqualification of women as full members of the Church. Shame on them!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 11:10am BST

Fr Ron - Do we know that +Ely actually supported the amendment? He could be a dissenting opinion, though obviously within the principles of corporate responsibility, he can't come out and say so!

Posted by Tom McLean at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 1:32pm BST

It really saddens me to see the 'all or nothing' views being expressed by the usual suspects at either end of this debate in varioius media while the large majority (one imagines) just wishes we could get this through and get on with ministry and mission.

Posted by Fr Paul at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 3:08pm BST

Agree with Tom, one of the things I do admire about HofB is their willingness to accept corporate responsibility for the decision which they made together. Whether the legislation passes or fails now and whatever the consequences as a result, the Church of England as a whole, laity, clergy and Bishops will all need to examine what has happened and our part in that. Negligence, Ignorance or our own deliberate fault... This tragedy writ large in the genuine sense of the term.

Posted by Lindsay Southern at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 3:22pm BST

Rachel Hartland: … 'If the measure is not .. passed at General Synod ...it will be a retrograde step, and damage both the future ministry of women and possibly the future chances of seeing women in the episcopate in the Church of England.'

And the evidence for this is what, precisely? There is considerable evidence that precisely the opposite is true.

The compromise of Flying Bishops is the result of pushing ahead too soon with WO. Jean Mayland and other wise, senior campaigners see that the 'retrograde step' would be to push for WBO at any cost.

What is emerging from the H o Bishops demonstrates that the C of E is in danger of proceeding into a total shambles and of enshrining both Donatism and discrimination against women into its ecclesiology.

Posted by abbey mouse at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 4:12pm BST

The bishops suggestion is that the amendments were intended to help get the legislation through, and to win a few votes. The trouble is, there wasn't a clear commentary on the amendments when they were published, just a massive splurge of words and lots of people wondering what on earth they signified.

I hate to say it, but perhaps slightly better media relations would have helped. If people could see what the bishops intentions were, perhaps they'd have been prepared to give them a bit more credit.

Posted by David Keen at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 4:48pm BST

The point is not what the intentions of the bishops were, David (we're all familiar with the paving of the "road to Hell"), it's the question of the likely long-term consequences of their "fine-tuning", not to mention their disregard for the mind of the church, through diocesan conventions and General Synod. Seems they have learned nothing from the Covenant fiasco about the reality chasm that clearly separates them from their clergy.

Posted by Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 5:28pm BST

No amount of media relations would help! Wrong is wrong. You can't discriminate against women in any position held by men in the Church. All are equal. There actually is no middle ground.

Posted by Chris Smith at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 5:33pm BST

Despite what a number of people have said here and elsewhere,it seems to me that these amendments do little for those who oppose Women Bishops whilst being deeply hurtful to those who want the best people to be bishops no matter what their sex. They should therefore be withdrawn.

Posted by Confused Sussex at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 5:42pm BST

The crucial question that WATCH and GRAS are ignoring is that Clause 3 (before any amendments) included this:

"3 (1) A PCC of a parish may pass a resolution in the form of a Letter of Request stating that, on grounds of theological conviction.. the council requests that episcopal ministry and pastoral care should be provided by a male bishop."

So, the concept of theological conviction was already in the measure, and was inserted via an amendment moved by a woman supporter of women bishops.

Now, one has to ask, what might the content of that theological conviction be? Presumably that woman cannot be bishops, on grounds either of so called headship or so called sacramental assurance. Now, would it then be sensible to provide such episcopal care by sending that parish any old bishop (me, for instance?) Hardly, since I fervently support women bishops and believe in neither of those two doctrines (headship or sacramental assurance), neither of which I believe to be supportable from scripture. Any old bishop simply will not do. The House of Bishops knows that the only acceptable sort of male bishop would be one who believed that women cannot be bishops (and so, if they're brutally honest, do WATCH and GRAS). So all this protest really makes no sense. The Measure as currently drafted implicitly recognises a position of discrimination. If you're going to be purist, only a one-clause measure will do (Women will be bishops).

We need to get over the hurt feelings and the "my pain is worse than your pain" stuff that goes on in this debate. Both sides have got less than they hoped for. There's no Third Province. There's no one clause measure. There's no avoiding the delegated authority of a woman diocesan bishop. And there's no avoiding the fact that we need male bishops who share the convictions of parishes that are against women priests and women bishops.

We can either scrap it all, start again, drive out the con evos to the Free Church of England and the Trad Caths to Rome (which would be the worst act of illiberal liberalism we've seen for a long time) or get used to living with each other in a mixed economy church. I find it ironic in the extreme that that people who howled hardest against the Anglican Covenant and pleaded for a tolerant Anglican Communion are also the ones who don't want any kind of accommodation for the deeply held beliefs (wrong though you may think they are) which we have already described as theological convictions in the Measure.

Posted by Pete Broadbent at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 7:12pm BST


Dear Tom and Lindsay,

Is everyone absolutely clear what is within the legal powers of the House of Bishops, and what is within the legal powers of the several Bishops, i.e. of each Bishop acting within his own diocese?

Because it strikes me that if anyone's in even the tiniest doubt about where that dividing line is drawn, then any form of "corporate responsibility" whereby the House of Bishops pretends to be unanimous, when in reality it is acting by a split vote, presents a grave danger of the legal powers of individual Bishops being usurped.

Posted by Feria at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 7:42pm BST

At last! Some 'liberals' (Rachel Hartland and Stephen Conway) with a grasp of 'the greater good' and the courage to say so publicly! Come on, you FiF chaps, show the same courage on your side. I know you want to. This is your chance. There are plenty of 'liberals' who want to support you. (I know some of them, some quite surprising ...)

Posted by John at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 7:44pm BST

Bp Pete outlines the argument why any old male bishop will not do.

I'm sorry but I don't buy this. To the evangelicals who have problems with women bishops, any male bishop will do, since he can exercise headship. To the catholics opposed what matters is that the male bishop was ordained/consecrated by a male bishop, and so on.

These are the *theological* convictions.

Anything else is not theological but something else. And we should not, I suggest, be legislating for that 'something else'.

Why does the male bishop need to share these convictions? I agree that it might be pastorally sensitive if he does. But is that something that should be legislated for? How is that different from any other situation where a parish or a parish priest does not agree with a particular view of the diocesan bishop?

Or am I missing something?

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 9:02pm BST

The plus for women is, that the pure stream will probably have doubts about the male orders in the tainted stream..including presumably the bishops.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 9:23pm BST

@Simon Kershaw
"Why does the male bishop need to share these convictions? I agree that it might be pastorally sensitive if he does. But is that something that should be legislated for? How is that different from any other situation where a parish or a parish priest does not agree with a particular view of the diocesan bishop?

Or am I missing something?"

No, Simon, I don't think you are missing anything. Are we thinking about the future not only for female bishops but for the Church of England, itself? The FCA bishops and clergy are waiting with bated breath for the Church to blunder into a future where the law guarantees a parish a bishop who conforms to its theological convictions. Soon parish councils will be demanding the same treatment for evangelical Anglicans who will refuse to recognize the authority of both female and most male bishops.

The catholicity of the Church of England will be replaced by a patchwork quilt created by congregational polity. Kindly consider the experience of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada before laying the groundwork for institutionalized division in the Church of England.

And you are still left with bishops with pedigree (i.e. have not been ordained or consecrated by a female nor have they participated in the ordination or consecration of a female) versus bishops with no pedigree, which includes all females. The amendment to Clause 5 creates a doctrine of taint in law.

I believe that it would be most unwise to approve the Draft with the amendment to Clause 5. This would not be a step forward either for women or for the Church as a whole. I imagine it is far too much to ask for the House of Bishops to retract this amendment. Perhaps there is not even a mechanism for doing so.

Posted by karen macqueen+_ at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 9:59pm BST

In the 1970's our bishops in the USA made a deal with those who would not accept women in holy orders. For their attempt to hold the church together, what did we get? 30 years of conflict and repeated attempts to undermine the ministry of the whole church. Ultimately the malcontents spent the last 10 of those years trying to find ways to steal the parish silver. You are about to repeat our mistake.
The old broad church model only works when both extremes recognize (at least in a minimal sense) the validity of all the others. Unfortunately, this is one area where the Free Church folks and the Trad Cath folks are unwilling to recognize the validity of the orders in the rest of the church. I've been to Eucharists where bishops refused to participate. No woman was even present, but other bishops who did participate had the taint of having ordained women. No amount of compromise is going to make any difference since this is a matter of theology (putting the best face on it)and they won't be inclined to reciprocate. We found institutalizing the arrangement just didn't work.
They may be a small minority, but we've found that trying to appease them nearly wreaked our church. Now it's your turn.

Posted by Tom Downs at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 10:11pm BST

What concerns me most about +Pete's contribution is that he, a bishop , is defining this as being about "sides". If this is how the bishops see it, then how are they ever going to episcopally lead us towards reconciliation and grace?
Yes, I know the synodical process encourages the growth of pressure groups and there will be those we agree with naturally and those we disagree with on most things(but not everything) but I would have hoped that we all try to see how others are feeling and why even if we still disagree fundamentally. And I would have hoped that bishops would try to talk in terms of the whole church and reconciliation not just go on about brokering deals between 2 sides.... the bigger picture we work with does affect how we treat others and how we talk - and how others react.

Posted by Rosalind at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 10:12pm BST

It would just help if people read the draft legislation. Parishes don't get to choose anybody. They get to ask the female diocesan bishop to provide, by way of delegation from themselves, a male bishop (who, with the HoB amendment, has to share the theological views [on women] of the parish). It's the diocesan who gets to decide who is written into the diocesan scheme as the person to provide that oversight. The parish has a choice - the female diocesan, or the delegated male bishop.

And I wouldn't want to minister as bishop to a parish that didn't want me as their bishop because of my views on women. It wouldn't be fair on them or me.

Posted by Pete Broadbent at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 10:16pm BST

And, sorry, forgot to add that it really is patronising to opponents to allow for their theological convictions and then to tell them that they aren't really theological convictions at all, but just "taint". And to provide them with a sexist answer "any male bishop will do" to their theological question. The opponents, if you talk to them, foreswear an imposed sexist solution based on genitalia, and have never used the word taint. Until you stop patronising their opinions, you'll never get what it is that they are asking for. (Blimey, why do I have to do this when I don't agree with any of their preconceptions?)

Posted by Pete Broadbent at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 10:38pm BST

If both sides were completely honest, the amended Measure forebodes the opt outs that will be sought by parishes opposing the appointment of bishops in civil partnerships. The contested amendment echoes what already exists in the exemptions from equality legislation. Churches are allowed to discriminate against gay people if:

"(a) the employment is for purposes of an organised religion;

(b) the employer applies a requirement related to sexual orientation -

(i) so as to comply with the doctrines of the religion, or

(ii) because of the nature of the employment and the context in which it is carried out, so as to avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religion's followers; and

(c) either -

(i) the person to whom that requirement is applied does not meet it, or

(ii) the employer is not satisfied, and in all the circumstances it is reasonable for him not to be satisfied, that that person meets it."

There was wide consultation within the Church on the unamended women bishops legislation, as opposed to the now-defunct Covenant which would have permanently blocked gay bishops and blessings.

"Lo when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said to you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it?" - Ezekiel 13 v.12

Posted by Andrew at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 10:46pm BST

Bp Pete defends the HoB amendments. I still see no reason why the bishop needs to be in agreement with the parish's (or the priest's) position. That is not a theological position at all. After all, a bishop's position on say the inerrancy of scripture, or the wearing of chasubles, or the Marian dogmas etc etc -- these things do not prevent a bishop from ministering to a congregation. I imagine that you, Bishop Pete, do minister to congregations where your own views on a whole range of topics would be out of sympathy.

And by the way, I'm not keen on being described as 'patronising'. As I live and worship and am a PCC member in a parish that for nearly 20 years has been a Resolution ABC parish (and where the PCC unanimously repealed C a few weeks ago) I do think I am well-used to working with and worshipping with and understanding the position of people with different views from mine. And it's the experience of the difficulties that have arisen from actually trying to live in the situation that the Act of Synod has produced that makes me keen to minimize the likelihood of that situation arising again.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 11:10pm BST

Bp Pete,

Thank goodness you are doing this. Its such a valuable witness.

Thank you.

Posted by Matt at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 11:13pm BST

Whilst I admire hugely his tenacity, Bishop Broadbent is simply wasting his breath trying to convince many of those on this site of the integrity of Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals over the issue of women in the episcopate. The more I read the contributions and invective of some so-called liberals in the Church of England, the more I despair for the future not just of Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals but also of the Church of England as a whole. There is simply no reasoning with these people, and whatever arguments are put forward, these will only ever be acceptable when toeing the (il)liberal line. I hope and pray that the membership of General Synod is more reasonable.

Posted by Benedict at Thursday, 31 May 2012 at 11:55pm BST

I realise that Christ's priestly prayer for unity carries huge, huge weight and that we should bend over backwards trying to stay in communion with one another -- whether we like it or not. For there is only one body, one Spirit, in Christ. If we are not united, it is our fault. But let's be honest: we are not in communion with one another if we do not accept one another's orders, one another's eucharists, one another's bishops: we're legislating as if we were one, but we are, in effect, confirming that we are not one. There is no 'we' speaking.

I appreciate that we are in effect trying to maximise the communion we share, suffering the impaired communion as honestly as we can, even bearing Christ's own pain at our impaired communion, agreeing to disagree and all that, but legislating to allow some of us not to recognise the validity of legitimate episcopal actions is fundamentally to legislate to permit some of us not to recognise the actions of the Church to which we belong. And even if that is generous, it's not really very honest -- or at least not very coherent.

None of us wants to be dishonest (there is no particular bad will at play here), but we're trying to talk ourselves into a position that doesn't really hold together.

I admit it's tricky. We ought not to pretend we're more united than we are; and full-marks to the C of E for honestly recognising the lack of unity and trying to salvage some sort of underlying unity. But, at the same time, we ought not to underestimate just how significant our divisions are. Not to accept the validity of the sacraments of the priest-next-door is a massive, massive denial of communion. To paper over that denial with legislation or with a code of practice is to miss what's at stake. Part of us is saying to the other part of us that we don't actually recognise you as church. What do we then gain by saying that, despite that repudiation, we are one church? I don't get it. I'd love to get it (unity is heart-breakingly important), but I don't know how to get it.

I've said this elsewhere, but we are technically in more communion with some of our ecumenical partners, whose orders we recognise, than we are with ourselves....

Joe

Posted by Joe at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 12:05am BST

I still challenge the wisdom of providing for F.i.F. whose theology of 'taint' - regarding their notion of the impossibility of a woman being a bishop - is a deeply flawed understanding of shared episcopacy within the ecclesial polity of the Church of England; with a very shaky model of co-existence, that must surely challenge their own understanding of the episcopate!

A long sentence, I know, but a considered statement about the un-wisdom of a two-tiered episcopacy (Rome - their model - would not approve of such an accommodation, on catholic grounds)

And as for the con/evo protesters; their stand against women as leaders in the Church; they need to do a bit of historical research on the Saints - Hilda of Whitby, Julian of Norwich, for instance.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 2:19am BST

Pete Broadbent - My view is that Theological Conviction may be there already, but the combination of Theological Conviction of the PCC with the practice of ministry by the bishop is not - it is not what the bishop believes or says, but what the bishop does.

Now Article 26 says roughly that the evil acts of a minister do not invalidate the rest of their ministry both in 'hearing the word of God' and in the Sacraments.

And Article A4 says that (though the lawyers say different - which is why we have to be so concerned to get the language of our laws right) that those lawfully consecrated bishop ought to be regarded as bishops.

In pastoral response we can be generous about how we deal with people who disagree and dissent about practice and belief, but I do not see that it is at all wise or credible to create these internal contradictions and tensions with key understandings of ministry in our formularies. And I think that if this passes, Bishops will come to regret exposing the practice of their ministry to lawyers in this way (by putting the phrase in law) or creating grounds for legal challenge of the code of practice (because it does not adequately deal with certain kinds of theological conviction) - and even if there are not legal challenges, the Measure as now drafted creates practical and political leverage which may be used in future by groups far removed from the ones we now imagine.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 7:35am BST

The Bishop of Willesden has kindly provided a new mantra to add to the oft quoted old FiF mantra - "A Code of Practice will not do" - when he writes - "Any old bishop simply will not do". Judging by the fierce reaction to the two amendments from "both sides" it would seem that a third mantra could be added - "Any old amendments will not do!"
We know that those two old amendments were passed by a majority of the "Gang of Six" - it would be interesting to know (although we probably never shall) how many in the House of Bishops originally voted FOR and how many AGAINST these two troublesome and contentious amendments?
I think we should be told before the General Synod possibly votes for an indefinite but prolonged period of strife if, as now seems unlikely, the amended Measure were to be passed.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 7:47am BST

I too admire Pete Broadbent's tenacity and courage.

Posted by John at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 8:11am BST

Pete Broadbent: ‘And I wouldn't want to minister as bishop to a parish that didn't want me as their bishop beacsue of my views on women. It wouldn't be fair on them or me.’

Pete, would you be so kind as to supply us with a full list, in addition to your ‘views on women’, of your other views that you feel would make it unfair for you to minister to a particular parish, or them to you? And is ‘unfairness’ entirely determined by you or by the parish? These are, in fact, very serious questions and go right to the heart of the ecclesiological train-wreck produced last week by the House of Bishops.

Posted by Judith Maltby at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 8:55am BST

"And, sorry, forgot to add that it really is patronising to opponents to allow for their theological convictions and then to tell them that they aren't really theological convictions at all, but just "taint". And to provide them with a sexist answer "any male bishop will do" to their theological question."

I think that is rather to do with the fact that the pronents of this have not explained WHY right thinking is important to them.

Evengelicals tell us that it is important to them that no woman teaches them.
So any male bishop seems to solve that problem.

Anglo-Catholics tell us that ordination doesn't "stick" on women and that it is therefore important to have a male bishop, but not just any male bishop, it has to be one who has been ordained deacon and priest and bishop by a validly ordained male bishop.

Those are the arguments I do not agree with but that I can understand. And yes, we do need provisions here, even "opponents" don't actually oppose this.

What no-one has explained yet, only ever asserted, is why it should matter what those male bishops believe. "Taint" may not be a helpful word to describe the requirement of right thinking, but I have yet to come across a proper theological explanation of what does describe it.

On the surface, it's nothing more than Donatism.

And I would dearly like it if a member of Reform or of FiF, or anyone else who actually understands this, can explain the why of it. Not in terms of "we'd perfer it", but in terms that make theological sense.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 9:10am BST

Erika, I've stayed largely out of this debate, but your post has prompted me to put my toe in if only for a brief answer to your good question.

It seems to me that we need to distinguish between theological principle and pastoral response here. Theologically, there is no justification (at least according to a catholic ecclesiology) for demanding a theological acid test for episcopal visitations (though, perhaps, some precedent for it during the Arian controversy). As you rightly note, theologically this is Donatism.

At the same time, I think it's incumbent upon the majority in power to be extraordinarily sensitive to the sensitivities of a minority, especially when they minority is both very small and feels (rightly or no) beleaguered. In that case, I think the majority ought to go the extra mile to reassure that minority that their wishes will be respected: in this case, enshrining in a code of practice permission to be cared for by someone who shares their beliefs and theological culture even if that offends the majority. That may not be theologically sound, but it is at least a gesture of good will.

People often speak about what message we're sending to the world (which presumes the world is even listening!). I think it would be a marvellous message to say, 'We majority don't share the minority's position here. In fact, some of us find it offensive. But we will use our power to ensure that they may continue to exist on their own terms because we believe such actions are the substance of love itself'.

Posted by Mark Clavier at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 11:07am BST

How sad that this feedback should be engaged during the week of Pentecost. Am I alone in thinking that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on our Bishops at their consecration? So I, for one, am happy to allow the House of Bishops to exercise their pastoral ministry in seeking to find ways to keep God's people together. Of course we do not always agree, but we are called to love one another even in disagreement. We have a General Synod, but we are still, we claim, part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. So the Church is not a simple democracy, but led through the Holy Spirit by those God has called to be Bishops. I will continue to pray that space will be found for us all in God's Church.

Posted by Frank Nichols at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 12:00pm BST

@Judith Sounds as if you and I will be engaging on this on Sunday.

My understanding is that impairment of communion as understood by some catholics makes it impossible for them to receive the sacraments from me. I don't happen to hold their sacramental theology, but it's inherent in all the discussion. Since we have consistently reaffirmed and reiterated the place of Trad Caths and Con Evos in the CofE, and (in the Measure) that their theological position is a legitimate position for grounds for a Letter of Request, we have to follow that through. The alternative is to impose a bishop upon them who qualifies to be their delegated bishop just by being male. And that's plain and simple sexism.

Once we agreed to provide for those opposed, these compromises became part of the deal. Why do you think Rowan and Sentamu kept the PEVs?

Posted by Pete Broadbent at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 12:09pm BST

The Group of Six (four of whom are directly elected by and from clergy and lay members in the General Synod) did not "pass" the amendments in the sense of approving them. The question on which they had to decide (presumably with legal advice) was simply whether or not the amendments substantially altered the Measure and therefore whether or not the amended Measure needed to be referred back to the dioceses for a further vote.

Posted by Philip Hobday at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 12:18pm BST

Father Smith, correct me if I'm wrong please, but I can't recall from historical evidence that either Hilda of Whitby (whom I know rather a lot about, given that I come from the area) or Julian of Norwich were ever Bishops. Yet another example from you of twisting historical accuracy to suit the prevailing argument.

Posted by Benedict at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 1:15pm BST

Does anyone truly believe that salvation depends on believing the exactly correct theology? Over the centuries, theological opinions within the Church have hardly been consistent. Do we believe that most Christians then and now are not going to be saved because they didn’t get everything right? Is God some power-mad Kafkaesque bureaucrat? I certainly hope not, since I know that I don’t have all the right answers.

The CofE needs to say that women can be bishops and be done with it. This is what The Episcopal Church did, though bishops tried to undermine the decision of the General Convention. (Why do bishops always seem to be the problem and not the solution?)

Since the Anglican Communion seems to have become the Wild West, perhaps the solution is the establishment of The Episcopal Church in England. Those Anglicans who want to live in the 21st century will, I suspect, be happy to join. Our church has a woman bishop primate and a lay woman president of the House of Deputies.

Posted by Lionel Deimel at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 1:34pm BST

That must be the ultimate in "cafe Christianity" - not only do you get to choose the restaurant and who owns it but the waiter who serves you, HIS politics - as well as what topping you get!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 1:52pm BST

Re-reading the Comments on this Blog - I think - is it any wonder that Rowan is throwing in the towel many years before he is legally required so to do. I see that one of the last items on the York Synod Agenda is - Farewell to the Archbishop of Canterbury. I can imagine his sheer delight at this being his final Indaba among the warring and wearisome Anglican tribes. We are losing a half-crown of an Archbishop with only the prospect of a sixpenny item to replace him.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 3:21pm BST

Pete: well, that is one of the most creative examples of sexism I’ve ever heard in my entire life. More on Sunday, no doubt.

Posted by Judith Maltby at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 3:34pm BST

If all you want from a bishop is someone to confirm, dedicate a baptismal font, etc., and leave without having preached or taught or even talked with the vestry or those at coffee hour, obviously the persons intentions, beliefs, etc., would not matter -- there ought to be an APP for that.
But, I have been involved in parishes where the bishop who showed up just to confirm used his time to undermine the parish and even the diocesan he was supposedly "helping out."
Also, if you were considering applying for ordination or already ordained and seeking a position, wouldn't you want some one who shared, or at least respected your beliefs?
Although I oppose that amendment, I do hear where it is coming from.
Columba Gilliss

Posted by Columba Gilliss at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 3:39pm BST

I live amidst cowboys and Indians. The comment above about the wild west reflects both bigotry and ignorance.

On the other hand, we have welcomed women bishops and priests (one of the reason I am no longer a Roman Catholic). And some of the women ride horses and rope cattle.

Posted by Gene O'Grady at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 4:00pm BST

I'm not sure what the problems of the Anglican Church of Canada are in the post above. It seems that the appointment of clergy to parishes (a patchwork quilt) is the issue. has it really ever been otherwise? Anglo-Catholic clergy were never appointed to "Low Church" parishes and vice versa. The issue of clergy appointments is probably different in the USA, but in Canada the appointment process does not undermine or subvert the goals of the Diocesan Bishop (although there may have been exceptions). In my diocese, a parish does not interview anyone that has not been pre-approved by the Bishop (and "Cabinet" of Archdeacons). In fact, parishes often find that attracting suitable candidates on their own is difficult and often request an Episcopal appointment.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 4:02pm BST

....is it any wonder that Rowan is throwing in the towel many years before he is legally required ....

What nonsense. He's going when he said he would etc etc.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 5:04pm BST

I do still struggle with the way people here argue from some parts of scripture in a away that doesn't fit with other parts of the same scripture.

If the fact that we are all one in Christ, because of our baptism, means that it is wrong to only appoint men as our Priests and Bishops (and I think everyone agrees that there have always been women in other leadership positions) then why did Jesus and His Apostles only appoint men?

And if it isn't wrong - because that was what He and they did - then why are we damning traditionalists using the argument that they are sexist?

Shome mishtake shurely?

Posted by RevDave at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 5:15pm BST

When will our detractors ever learn that this is not an issue of discrimation or sexism, and could someone explain to me why over 2200 WOMEN wrote to the House of Bishops in defence of the traditionalist position? Furthermore, why many more of them are members of the Society of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda?

Posted by Benedict at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 5:38pm BST

A comment on what Bishop Pete said about how he would feel uncomfortable ministering to those who didn't agree with his position: but in Europe, Chichester, and probably other dioceses women priests are licensed by a bishop who doesn't believe they are indeed priests, so evidently some bishops do not have ... what shall I say .... such a refined sense of the absurd as you do (that's a compliment by the way).

Posted by Sara MacVane at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 5:57pm BST

I wish some of you liberals would make up your mind. On the issue of homosexuality time and time again we are told that we want a broad church where we all live together with different opinions, but on women bishops only the revisionist line will do.

Which is it? It looks for all intents and purposes that just because you are in the ascendancy on the women bishops issue you feel you can ignore any opposition, but because you are in the minority on the sexuality issue the rules suddenly change and on that issue accommodation of different views is the order of the day.

Make your minds up boys and girls.

Posted by Peter Ould at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 7:17pm BST

Reading this thread, I'm OH SO THANKFUL to be on the left side of the Pond. (Approaching 25 years of the gifts of bishops-who-happen-to-be-women, and 6 of a Primate-made-female. And lo, the sky has not fallen.)

God's blessings ya, CofE: ya need 'em! :-)

Posted by JCF at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 8:35pm BST

"My understanding is that impairment of communion as understood by some catholics makes it impossible for them to receive the sacraments from me."

I still struggle with this (and thank you Mark for your comments).
A year or so ago I spent some time on the blog of a prominent member of FiF and I asked him the same question, and he was absolutely scandalised at the thought that Anglo-Catholics should not accept a bishop who is pro-women bishops and who ordains them, because that had nothing to do with the ontological argument FiF were making and would, indeed, be nothing but sexism.
The person has since departed for the Ordinariate, so he's not really a theological softie!

Are we still all talking cross purposes and maybe even making major decisions based on a lack of understanding of each other's positions?

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 8:55pm BST

"is it any wonder that Rowan is throwing in the towel many years before he is legally required so to do?"
Try as I might - I can find nothing nonsensical about the above statement of fact!
Rowan Williams was born on 14th June 1950, That means that he doesn't reach the statutory retirement age of 70 until 14th June 2020 - when he would be "legally required so to do" Randall Davidson was 25 years in post - Rowan a mere decade. Alas, we have no one of his immense spiritual and intellectual stature to take over - which is why it is such a pity for the Church of God that he has served so faithfully and so diligently - that he is going so soon.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 10:52pm BST

Peter,

I beg to differ that we "are in the minority on the sexuality issue". The Covenant voting in the diocesan synods was, to all intents and purposes, the gay vote by proxy. So if you discount the loyalty votes, we were probably in a slight (or even substantial) majority. This tends to suggest that accommodation of those whose theological convictions demand an acceptance of gay people in the Church should be recognized much more than has been the case hitherto.

And I don't think the accusation of "revisionism" stacks up after what will be a transformation of the episcopacy envisioned in the proposed amended Measure on women bishops.

Posted by Andrew at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 11:10pm BST

"On the issue of homosexuality time and time again we are told that we want a broad church where we all live together with different opinions, but on women bishops only the revisionist line will do."

I don't know what the "revisionist" line is. As far as I can see, WATCH were perfectly willing to compromise and not insist on a single Measure, which would indeed have been refusing to accept the opinions of the others.

It's similar to the homosexuality debate in as far as we would ideally like everyone to be treated 100% equal and not to have levels of "equal but different".
But we do accept that parts of the church still respect anti-gay views, and so we are prepared to live with different opinions in a broad church, something we would not be willing to do in other cases of discrimination against selected groups of society.

In the women bishop debate, too, we accept that other people’s theology has to be accommodated, hence the willingness not to insist on a Single Measure.

And I will repeat again that this compromise will cost every single women bishop personally (as well as those male bishops who will not be acceptable for reasons I have not yet understood).

And I still don't see where the other side is actually compromising.
Benedict, unfortunately, did not answer my question to him about what his side is giving that costs them personally and where they do anything other than insist on women free zones so their church lives can continue unchanged.

But really, this insistence that WATCH are the terrible oppressors who would push everyone out of the church if only they could is so far removed from reality that it’s really astonishing to observe.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 11:30pm BST

"But let's be honest: we are not in communion with one another if we do not accept one another's orders, one another's eucharists, one another's bishops: we're legislating as if we were one, but we are, in effect, confirming that we are not one. There is no 'we' speaking."

Joe, what you said makes a lot of sense. The practices may have been followed for some time, but to enshrine the practices in law is a grave mistake. No one responded to you, but, I thank you for pointing out that the emperor has no clothes.

June Butler

Posted by Grandmère Mimi at Friday, 1 June 2012 at 11:44pm BST

"Which is it? It looks for all intents and purposes that just because you are in the ascendancy on the women bishops issue you feel you can ignore any opposition, but because you are in the minority on the sexuality issue the rules suddenly change and on that issue accommodation of different views is the order of the day."

I don't often agree with Peter Ould (to put it mildly), but I do think he has a point here. Is it possible for 'liberals' genuinely to value both the ministry of women bishops AND the sincerely-held convictions of traditionalists?

Coming myself from a province where we've had women diocesan bishops even longer than the Americans have (indeed, I was confirmed by one many years ago), I'm not greatly impressed by the trans-Atlantic dimension. This is not about stuffy old England hamstrung by its meddling bishops. Rather, it's about something that concerns the Episcopalians as much as anyone: the effort to make this threadbare Anglican tent as large and inclusive as possible. "For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands..."

Posted by rjb at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 2:46am BST

To RevDave: The fact that Jesus chose only men to be disciples is not a reason why women cannot be priests. After all, the disciples weren't priests either. One might also argue that they were all Jewish. The Church had to deal with that issue early on. It is essential to have an understanding of history. The position and role of women in Jewish culture and, indeed, in the Graeco-Roman world would make the idea of women haveing any status unthinkable. The idea of women as being destined for child-bearing and serving in a male-dominated society would make any choice of women as leaders a complete upheaval. There actually were women disciples, but the culture of the New Testament world and the life of the early Church were strongly affected by the normal expectations of gender roles of those times. The views of St. Paul about the subordiantion of women make this quite clear. We don't force women to be silent and wear hats any longer. The deep-seated prejudice against women is evident is most cultures and societies even now. Yet the acceptance of women in our Lord's inner circle and their prominence in the New Testament Church before there was a priesthood indicates that something new was happening. It has taken twenty centuries for us to underatnad this, thanks to the Holy Spirit.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 3:22am BST

As a result of the House of Bishops amendments we now appear to have proposed legislation and a situation which is not "owned" by a large part of the Church of England. Politicians tell us (as indeed bishops do)that the knack of good leadership is to always try and take people with us. This is obviously not the case here but might have been achieved if the "tweaking" had been done in a more above board way. I just don't understand why these amendments were not brought to General Synod to be properly debated and agreed if appropriate....but working behind closed doors with no real accountability breeds suspicion...add to that the fact that there was not a female voice to be heard and we finish up with this dog's dinner. So why were these amendments not tabled earlier if they are so important? If there are any Diocesans out there it would be interesting to hear the answer please.

Posted by Robert Ellis at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 6:54am BST

I can understand that when two railtracks merge, there is a necessary glitch as the rails align.

What I do find peculiar is the continuing encouragement to perpetuate signalling with either electric lamps or red flags.

Do not propagate ambivalence.

Posted by Paul Edelin at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 7:23am BST

WATCH has argued that the Church of England should remain one church and not legislate for itself to be two (or more) churches. We have resisted "two church" solutions, and solutions which create two churches pretending to be one. There is a limit to how far a church can legislate to accommodate difference and still regard itself as a single entity. There is no limit, in principle, to pastoral generosity, as this does not depend on legislation.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 9:53am BST

Under this legislation which bishop does a new priest swear the Oath of Allegiance to? I am unclear.

Posted by Perry Butler at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 10:47am BST

Nothing in the draft legislation affects the legal position of the diocesan bishop as diocesan bishop. So the Oath of Canonical Obedience is made to the diocesan bishop.

The Oath of Allegiance, on the other hand is not made to the bishop at all, but to the Queen.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 11:49am BST

Not a complete answer to Robert Ellis' question;
"So why were these amendments not tabled earlier if they are so important?"
Amendments similar to these have been consistently tabled at GS over the whole process - + Pete will no doubt say that these amendments are not at all like the ones which have been discussed but there is clearly disagreement over this analysis. Each time they were tabled they were voted down. It is open to question whether the legal right of the HoB to amend legislation after final drafting, at a point when it cannot be debated further, (and note, this is the HoB so acting as part of the process Synodical governance)is acting in the spirit of the legislation that allows them to do this. it may be legal; it was undoubtedly done with good intentions, but I'm not convinced it was a good use of that power.

re discussion on single clause measure and acceptance of those with differing views - it is wrong and hurtful to assume and assert that those who would have preferred a single clause measure wanted to force those with differing views out of the church: it is rather that a single clause measure would have been clear that women bishops were bishops..and then each bishop and diocese could have been trusted (sic) to make arrangements with parishes and individuals that worked best for each context , whether extended oversight or something else. The only people to suggest otherwise have been those who say "only legislation will do". To talk about those who would have preferred a single clause measure as trying to drive out opposition is simply re-writing history. I recognise that some who still do not accept that a women can be a bishop may have felt (sic) like that like that, but this does not make it a fact.

Posted by Rosalind at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 12:15pm BST

"I wish some of you liberals would make up your mind. On the issue of homosexuality time and time again we are told that we want a broad church where we all live together with different opinions, but on women bishops only the revisionist line will do."

- Peter Ould, on 1st, June -

We liberals are united, in Christ, on all issues of human dignity. We believe that 'en Christo' we are all one body - irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, race or ethic background our Baptism is the common element.

Women's ordination touches on both our common humanity and the need for cohesion in the theology of episcopal leadership. You cannot have two different 'types' of bishop in the one Church. A bishop is either a bishop or s/he is not. And if or when the C.of E. decides that a woman may be ordained bishop, she will be a bishop for the whole Church not just a part of it. There are other Churches that, like F.i.F., do not believe that woman can be ordained - like the Ordinariate!

The issue of according homosexuals their rightful place in the life, witness sand ministry of the Church is one needing clarification - on the basis of openness to the reality of the situation, and not as formerly, by stealth. Homosexuality is part of the human condition, common to a minority of Christians amongst other people. To say that they are not natural bearers of the image and likeness of God - in common with all other human beings - might well be a terrible blasphemy - needing to be repented of by both Church and society.

Both issues (misogyny and homophobia) need to be addressed and, where possible, purged from the Church. The main difference between the two issues may be that Women comprise 50% of the Christian community, and are therefore in greater need of protection; whereas Gays and Lesbians, being in a minority in the Church and in Society, are more used to the fact that they will have to continue to fight to garner the respect of their peers - especially in the Church. Maybe, please God, that will eventually happen.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 12:36pm BST

Thanks Simon....I meant Oath of Canonical Obedience half asleep! I suppose those who are opposed to women bishops will make the oath to their Mother in Law while believing the bishop she sends will be their Father in God???

Posted by Perry Butler at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 12:57pm BST

Though of course, it's perfectly possible to swear canonical obedience to two bishops, as we do in London: "the Lord Bishop of London and the Area Bishop of Willesden..."

All this mono-episcopal hegemonic stuff is so yesterday. One rather hopes that women bishops will break the mould and not buy into it.

Posted by Pete Broadbent at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 1:29pm BST

'All this mono-episcopal hegemonic stuff is so yesterday.'

Why have bishops at all ? They're 'so yesterday'.

Posted by Mary Marriott at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 2:26pm BST

Perhaps an all-male episcopate is not only 'so yesterday' but 'so the day-before-yesterday.' However, age is no determiner for truth or falsehood. What we are witnessing is a clash between two equally "traditional" things -- male ministry and monoepiscopacy. Neither 'side' can argue from the basis of 'Tradition.'

I find the 'theological conviction' need to bring in yet a third issue, the notion of a kind of episcopal receptionism. I am not utterly opposed to 'flying bishops' of 'visitors' or 'delegated episcopal oversite' (as we have it in the States) even though I think it 'falls short of the ideal.' But when it is about more than the 'person' of the bishop and edges over into his opinions, it seems to me an unhelpful element has been introduced. I understand the demand, but think it further cements the bricks in the ghetto wall in ways that are not good for bishop or people.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 2:49pm BST

And let me add that this cuts both ways. Some friends in the Diocese of Albany to the north of me have petitioned their rather conservative bishop for DEPO from a more "liberal" bishop. While I understand their desire for this, I still don't think it is a good idea. Being able to deal only with people with whom one agrees is not to my mind a healthy or mature approach, either by bishops or clergy or laity. Easier, yes. This is one of the great failings of the Anglican Covenant, in that it sought to promote uniformity by diminishing relationships where disagreement became intractable. "You'll all have your own little boxes, lined with cotton..." -- Gyubal Wahazar in Witkiewicz's play of the same name. This is the ultimate fate of sectarianism, a bad model for the church.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 8:26pm BST

Seems to me the problem here is not that liberals "refuse" to make accommodation for so-called traditionalists, it's that whatever accommodation they make is never enough.

Ensuring that St. Swithun's in the Swamp can have a male priest ordained by a male bishop is reasonable accommodation.

However that's not what the "make-up-the-tradition-as-you-go"-ists are demanding. They are insisting that they must have male priests who oppose the ordination of women ordained by male bishops who oppose the ordination of women. Essentially they are arguing that the mere opinion that women might be ordained (not even participating in such an ordination) is sufficient to invalidate a man's orders. Donatist heretics the lot of them.

And, frankly, if the Church of England is foolish enough to go along with this "pick your own bishop off the menu" idiocy, it is as certain as night follows day that the goalposts will be moved yet again. Eventually it will be a demand that they can have a male priest who has never spoken to anyone who has ever participated in the ordination of a woman, ordained by a bishop who isn't entirely sure women have souls.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 8:44pm BST

"Also, if you were considering applying for ordination or already ordained and seeking a position, wouldn't you want some one who shared, or at least respected your beliefs?"

Absolutely.
I'm not sure I'm allowed to answer this question because I was told by my bishop I could not be a Reader in my Diocese because I was openly living with my same sex partner, so I definitely am not someone seeking ordination, but...
if it's important that someone shares or respects my belief, could I and the PCC who support me possibly request a bishop who is: pro lgbt, pro women bishops, pro inclusion of conservatives, against Single Measure and Pro Provisions but Agaist Provisions Enshried In Law... oh, and supporting Occupy too, please?

If not, why not, seeing that pastoral sensitivity would require it?

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 9:05pm BST

"Try as I might - I can find nothing nonsensical about the above statement of fact! "

That doesn't surprise me in the least.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 9:47pm BST

Please let's focus on the issues, and avoid all appearance of personal remarks.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 10:20pm BST

Replace "oppose women's ordination to the episcopate" with "oppose the emancipation of slaves" and the historical parallels emerge.

There were plenty of "theological" arguments for keeping slavery. How good do they look now?

Posted by Dave Paisley at Saturday, 2 June 2012 at 10:45pm BST

+Pete helpfully makes the point that it’s not a case of “any old male bishop”, but then I think goes too far in suggesting that the bishop delegated by the diocesan must share the views of the petitioning parish. As I read the amendment it says that the bishop so delegated must "in the exercise of [his] ministry" act in ways consistent with the theological views on the ordination of women that occasion the petition. The reason why neither Pete nor I would do is not about our beliefs (we both spend plenty of time in parishes which differ from us) but that both of us ordain women.

Some might argue that we’re also outside the pale because we receive the sacrament when a woman presides, but as all receive the sacrament it’s hard to see that as being the exercise of our episcopal (or even priestly) ministry.

Posted by David Walker at Sunday, 3 June 2012 at 9:08am BST

I'm still interested in the Oath of Canonical Obedience.I was in the London diocese and made oaths to both +Londin and his Area Bishop of Edmonton.But I regarded both bishops as "proper" bishops.Is a trad anglo-catholic or Reform Evangelical going to make an Oath to +Fred Manchester ( who ordains women and has participated in a womans consecration) and +Rosemary his Area Bishop ( both of whose orders he regards as "dubious"? Is another Oath taken to the delegated pukka bishop +Mervyn?

+Martyn Jarrett the flying bishop of the north seemed to regard this as a hot issue if I remember rightly.

Posted by Perry Butler at Sunday, 3 June 2012 at 9:41am BST

Erika, I am sorry, but we are being forced into compromises that our conscience will simply not allow us to bear, in exactly the same way, I suggest, as those from WATCH would claim about the recent amendments. They can not in all conscience vote for the amended measure as it compromises them too far. That is the cost to both parties, and it is not one that can be quantified in words, nor can the gap so easily be bridged. The Church may or may not pass the legislation as it stands. The amendments have gone some way towards creating the space necessary for those who in conscience will not be able to accept the ministry of a woman bishop. We can dance around the issues as much as we like, but it seems to me that those of both views have now set out their stall, and the limits to which they are prepared to go. We shall just have to wait and see what July brings now.

Posted by Benedict at Sunday, 3 June 2012 at 1:36pm BST

Benedict - for me the question is not about consciences, but about legal provisions which are coherent in a single church. I will go as far to meet you as I can, so long as the law does not divide the Church in two. That's the limit of the law - nothing to do with my conscience or yours. Read Article XXVI and Canon A4 - is this new clause 5 provision about the practice of ministry consistent with our formularies? I don't see it.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Sunday, 3 June 2012 at 2:39pm BST

I still don't understand why not any male bishop (validly ordained according to Anglo Catholic principles) will do. Until the first woman priest was ordained no-one ever thought that an evangelical bishop was not acceptable to anglo-catholics.
What has changed?


"When will our detractors ever learn that this is not an issue of discrimination or sexism"
It is not discrimination for those who genuinely believe that women cannot be priests.
But the church as a whole has discerned that women can be priests. If you continue to treat people differently against your own discernment, then the result is discrimination. It is done for good reasons and we can all be grateful that the women concerned also accept that. But that does not alter the fact that it is discrimination.

Posted by Erika Baker at Sunday, 3 June 2012 at 3:17pm BST

"When will our detractors ever learn that this is not an issue of discrimination or sexism"

Sorry, but it is. Erika's comment above about "done for good reasons" is generous, but misguided. There are no good reasons - just a warped interpretation of a few pieces of scripture seen through the lens of a patriarchal society.

If it wasn't for the fact the the CofE is an established religion the civil rights issues would be much clearer - only the bishops in the HoL saved the CofE from a much bigger spanking over various and sundry discrimination laws (and if you want to look at scripture through a somewhat biased lens, it doesn't take much of a stretch to believe that Jesus was all about universal human rights).

It's interesting that the UK has been ruled for 123 of the last 175 years by two women, who have arguably been much better for the country than any of their male relatives in between. Or is the monarchy not a good enough yardstick for the preservatives?

Posted by Dave Paisley at Sunday, 3 June 2012 at 7:23pm BST

Pete Broadbent: ‘And I wouldn't want to minister as bishop to a parish that didn't want me as their bishop because of my views on women. It wouldn't be fair on them or me.’

Bishop Pete is entitled to think this way but surely there isn't a parish in the country that thinks with a single mind. If I were a congregant in a parish that refused female episcopal oversight, despite the fact that I personally support women bishops, the next best thing would be to have Bishop Peter's ministry as some consolation. Bishop Pete - please think again on this one.

Posted by Jane N at Sunday, 3 June 2012 at 10:09pm BST

Mark,

I thought Measures took precedence over Canons...?

Posted by Feria at Monday, 4 June 2012 at 12:16am BST

@Jane N - this isn't something new. We've lived with this for the last 17 years. It's the reality of life in the Diocese of London. We get on with it. The Bishop of Fulham and the London Area Bishops co-operate on pastoral care and oversight of the parishes, with him looking after those parishes that are against women priests. We're not going to go for the ECUSA model, which they call DEPO, which has proved toxic for so many clergy and parishes in the USA, many of them good friends, so we hear first hand what it's been like for them.

All that happens here is that we have two bishops looking after one geographical locality, which isn't such a big deal as the mono-episcopal enthusiasts would have you believe. And the Measure now guarantees that women diocesan bishops retain their ordinary jurisdiction.

If the Measure doesn't pass in July, it would be an absolute tragedy. It could easily fall in the House of Laity, and we'd be back to the drawing board. Although WATCH and Forward in Faith are saying that they find it unpalatable, that's the nature of compromise.

Of course we could go back to the drawing board and go for a one clause measure, and declare that in five years time there will be women bishops with no provisions made for opponents/dissenters. But that would force a lot of people to leave, and the Church of England would be the poorer for their exodus. I prefer compromise, even though it proves messy and painful.

Posted by Pete Broadbent at Monday, 4 June 2012 at 11:40am BST

I wholly agree with Erika Baker and Dave Paisley: cut it no matter how you will the arguments against the consecration of women bishops are fundamentally discriminatory and misogynistic. What is being proposed is akin to the concept of 'separate but equal' which characterised racial segregation. Beneath the rhetoric, what is being offered is the creation of second class bishops - who will be women. The arguments are depressingly the same, for example, as the arguments against allowing women access to higher education and degrees or to become doctors. They are much the same and make the same use of proof-texts as the arguments in defence of chattel-slavery made in the mid-nineteenth century. Once women have been ordained, there is no turning back. Have we not listened to the Lord and moved on?

It seems to me that what is being sought is a church within church. Benedict suggests that people on both sides of the divide have now compromised as far as their consciences will allow, if not further. 'A house divided against itself cannot stand.' I really do wonder if a sensible and orderly separation of the ways would not be better than continuing with the current cultural wars which undermine the church.

At bottom, the real question is about power and its preservation: not the enabling power of the Holy Spirit but the supervisory power of the boss. In England this is compounded by the established nature of the CofE and the trappings of power. If the CofE is the 'national church', it has no business to be discriminating against women and gays or anyone else. Perhaps it really is time, despite the Jubilee, to talk of disestablishment. A little reading of Foucault and other thinkers about power is illuminating. We have already seen how some diocesans shamefully misused their power to manipulate the information given their synods about the Covenant.

We cannot continue as we are and talk about being in communion with one another when so clearly we aren't. I cannot readily find Christ and the Holy Ghost in this mess.

Daniel Lamont

Posted by Danie Lamont at Monday, 4 June 2012 at 4:58pm BST

Pete Broadbent: "We're not going to go for the ECUSA model, which they call DEPO, which has proved toxic for so many clergy and parishes in the USA, many of them good friends, so we hear first hand what it's been like for them."

True, DEPO never worked, because the dissidents were never really looking for a solution, they just wanted to delay things so they could bring down TEC. That was really several years ago. Since then, the dissidents' plan became clear- break away, steal the property, and set up shop as a new entity and try like hell to generate some kind of legitimacy via their mostly African friends.

That has failed pretty dismally, but not without inflicting a lot of pain on all concerned. The infighting on the breakaway side has been amusing as they all tried to take charge, but that was mostly just an entertaining sideshow.

The UK is basically where the US was 20 years ago and buying into this peaceful coexistence fantasy will get you nowhere, just as it got us nowhere.

Buy into this and you have twenty years or more of the same.

Posted by Dave Paisley at Tuesday, 5 June 2012 at 1:30am BST

I remain sceptical that many people will leave whatever happens. Most lay people are "Parochial Anglicans"...their loyalties ar very local and rarely that theologically informed. They may worship at anglo-catholic or conservative evangelical churches but clergy delude themselves if they think they are ministering to congregations with the same strong sense of partisan identity the clergy have.As for the clergy, they have usually stayed put from the Reformation onwards..the only significant exception possibly being 1662 but I suspect that those who are really upset have already left or are .perhaps ,planning early retirement. the Ordinariate may well attract some more clerical recruits as a "fast track" way into the RC priesthood but the Ordinariate is exraordinarily clerically top heavy and one wonders if it will be financially viable in the longer term.As for conservative evangelicals..it is not easy ( as in the US) to set up a separate denomination and a lot of cons evangelicalism is so class conscious the lure of hanging in to the Establishment ( and its relatively easy to be semi-detached in the C of E ..look at St Helen's Bishopsgate)will remain strong.

Posted by Perry Butler at Tuesday, 5 June 2012 at 1:13pm BST

As I recall, here in the USA a small group of dissidents cherished ambitions to replace the Episcopal Church as the sole owner of the Anglican franchise in the USA.
See The Chapman Memo, http://archive.episcopalchurch.org/3577_26104_ENG_HTM.htm

An even smaller minority left the Episcopal Church over women clergy (including bishops) among other issues.

The Episcopal Church is still very much alive and well, and taking in a steady stream of refugees from Rome, from evangelical, and from fundamentalist churches. The majority of our members now, including most of our bishops and our Presiding Bishop, are converts. The Episcopal Church has become a mother of exiles.

We've had women bishops for over 2 decades now, and the sky has yet to fall. The apocalyptic exodus of clergy and laity predicted for so long by our ill-wishers never happened. Our membership attrition rates are no worse than those experienced by the Southern Baptist Church, and not nearly as bad as those of the Roman Catholic Church in the USA at present. We are smaller now, but we were always a small church, and we are hardly dying.

I expect that the Church of England will survive its first woman bishop, and might even get a whole new life.

Posted by Counterlight at Tuesday, 5 June 2012 at 4:22pm BST

To Adam Armstrong on Saturday, 2 June

Adam, I agree that Jesus was doing something different that the surrounding society regarding women's roles. But the fact is that He and His Apostles didn't see it as unacceptably sexist to not appoint women to the official roles. Neither did most of the Church for most of the last 2000 years.

SO, it is ridiculous for liberal Christians to be arguing that traditionalist Christians are acting out of pure sexism when they oppose ordination of women to official roles today. And puts you in danger of subjugating Jesus's teachings to the whims and hysterias of this dying world.

Posted by RevDave at Tuesday, 5 June 2012 at 4:39pm BST

"Adam, I agree that Jesus was doing something different that the surrounding society regarding women's roles. But the fact is that He and His Apostles didn't see it as unacceptably sexist to not appoint women to the official roles. Neither did most of the Church for most of the last 2000 years."

Then again, there was Mary Magdalene, the "Apostle to the Apostles," and who had the privilege of being the first to encounter the Risen Christ. Since the Gospels were written many years after the events they describe, it might be likely that Mary Magdalene held a leadership role and was not alone.

Posted by Counterlight at Tuesday, 5 June 2012 at 6:41pm BST

I, and, I believe, a few others, would appreciate Bishop Broadbent's explaining in what way DEPO "proved toxic" to those - his good friends and others - at whom it was aimed. Appears to me that the principal reason it has had limited success is that the majority of those who might, had they intended to remain within the Episcopal Church, have chosen the oversight of a bishop whose theology was in keeping with their own ("toxic"?), in fact intended to abscond from TEC, taking property and assets with them, forming their own denominations, and scheming and hoping to take the Anglican brand name along with them as they went. See Counterlight's link to the Chapman Memo in his 5th June post above for confirmation, and read, also at first hand, what these people were actually about as they lamented to Bishop Broadbent. Bit depressing that one of the his rank and intelligence would fall for this stuff.

Posted by Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer at Tuesday, 5 June 2012 at 7:18pm BST

"The Episcopal Church has become a mother of exiles."

Hear ye, hear ye.

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 5 June 2012 at 7:23pm BST

@RevDave and others: whenever have we decided what was just or right but claiming that 'Jesus didn't do it, therefore we cannot'? There are lots of things Jesus didn't do or talk about at all - he didn't ordain anyone (so far as we know ...) nor prohibit women from 'ministering' to others ('wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her'), sent Mary Magdalene to announce the good news of his resurrection, etc. Though Jesus didn't denounce slavery, do we think slavery is OK? or because the first eucharist was a meal at table, do we find it necessary that it should take place at a 'real' meal? or brcause he didn't say that women should be able to vote, do we question the justice of that? How can the church (men in power) decide that women 'shouldn't be' priests or bishops because Jesus didn't ordain or consecrate women as priests or bishops (or men either, come on guys). An argument from nothing is nothing.

Posted by Sara MacVane at Tuesday, 5 June 2012 at 7:29pm BST

'"The Episcopal Church has become a mother of exiles."

Hear ye, hear ye.'

More likely to find Christ among exiles than among The Membership.

Posted by Counterlight at Tuesday, 5 June 2012 at 10:52pm BST

Sarah & counterlight, I said "official positions" deliberately because there is no proof that Jesus or the Apostles did that. Of course Jesus was revolutionary in how He related to women, and women did have important roles in His and the Early Church's ministry - but that's not the same as appointing them to official positions.

I'm not suggesting that we cannot appoint women to official positions as the context has changed - but I am suggesting that you shouldn't completely damn people who oppose this..

If Jesus didn't find it unacceptable sexist to not appoint women to official positions how can you argue that people who continue his practice are intolerably bad?!! And we are commanded to love everyone - especially other Christians.... and even our enemies

Posted by RevDave at Tuesday, 5 June 2012 at 11:33pm BST

"He and His Apostles didn't see it as unacceptably sexist to not appoint women to the official roles"
- Rev Dave -

How on earth, in the environment of Jewish sexism, could Jesus have effectively appointed women to places of leadership among his disciples? No-one would have given them any credibility - as witness the initial reaction of the male disciples to the message of Mary from the resurrected Jesus.


Even the human Jesus was captive to the prevailing patriarchy of his time. However, he did what he could - within the parameters of the culture - to treat women as equals in the human family - which lesson has not yet been learned in all parts of His Body, the Church

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 6 June 2012 at 6:14am BST

RevDave
who is arguing that people who oppose women priests are "intolerably bad"?

Haven't even those who are personally affected by this position accepted that as much as possible has to be done to accommodate them?

We are not talking about exiling anyone. We are talking about how best to accommodate both views into one church.

We are arguing about the boundaries of accommodation. That's entirely different from arguing about the principle.

It's a sad sign that those who benefit from accommodation don't even seem to see how willing everyone else is to accommodate views they personally detest, because they know it is their Christian duty and because many of them genuinely respect those who believe differently.

That we hope that accommodation may be temporary because eventually, everyone will accept what our church has discerned, and that we can truly become one church again, should be accepted in Christian love just as much by those who now seek to shut themselves away from us ever more while remaining in the same church.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 6 June 2012 at 8:39am BST

Counterlight, what do these portentous statements actually mean?

Posted by cseitz at Wednesday, 6 June 2012 at 12:57pm BST

"Counterlight, what do these portentous statements actually mean?"

What is so mysterious? Our Lord preferred the company of the outcast and unclean, and those cast out from their churches (and in some cases I mean that quite literally) and considered unclean find a new home in the Episcopal Church.

Posted by Counterlight at Thursday, 7 June 2012 at 1:29am BST

Well said, Counterlight. And TEC is the Church that cseitz ought to know something about - as a member!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 7 June 2012 at 11:47am BST

"I really do wonder if a sensible and orderly separation of the ways would not be better than continuing with the current cultural wars which undermine the church." - Daniel Lamont, on Mon. -

Upon reflection; this does not seem too different from some of the arguments of the Reformation. And the situation is very similar: In this instance, the stumbling block is the aetiology of the male-only priesthood; wherein ultra-montane Anglo-Catholics cannot let go of the idea that; because Jesus only 'ordained' male apostles because of the patriarchal situation of his day - even though he 'sent' (apostello) Mary Magdalene to tell the Good News of his Resurrection to the male disciples, who would not believe her because she was a woman - this perceived, male-only, model of ministry was meant to prevail over the modern cultural understanding of women in leadership roles in the Church and the World.

The fact that H.M. The Queen has ruled over the British Commonwealth for the last 60 years seems to have made no difference to this archaic way of thinking for these 'catholic' absolutists.

The fact that Anglican Churches around the world have since ordained Women as both Priests and Bishops means that there is no longer any excuse or room for those who want to persevere in their discrimination against them.

For those Anglicans who want to continue their discrimination against women's ministry; they can now be catered for in the Roman-Catholic-Light ethos of the Ordinariate. There, they can be happy, as quasi Anglican/Roman Catholics, without interfering with the polity of the Church of England, whose polity is different from that of Rome and the Orthodox Churches .

'Two Integrities' is neither catholic nor viable!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 8 June 2012 at 1:52am BST

I would like to see Bishop Pete substantiate this claim that DEPO doesn't work. In every case I'm aware of where DEPO (or it's Canadian equivalent) has "proved toxic" it is because the "conservatives" wanted it to fail. If ever the diocesan bishop conceded virtually everything they asked for, they would simply add new demands.

Certainly in New Westminster we saw the utter absurdity of the "conservatives" rejecting a delegated bishop with unimpeachable conservative credentials purely on the grounds that Bishop Ingham had proposed him. It was clear from the start that the so-called conservatives were not interested in being "accommodated" at all.

DEPO can only work where all sides approach it in good faith, and in every case I'm aware of that DEPO has failed it has failed precisely because of manipulative goal-post shifting by the so-called victims.

So, Bishop Peter, do you care to put up something more substantial than "I heard it from a friend of a friend of mine"?

Because this is what you're setting yourselves up for in England, where anything short of letting every parish priest choose his own bishop will be labeled and betrayal, and where once you are foolish enough to give them that, they'll demand something new so they can play the victim some more.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Friday, 8 June 2012 at 8:46am BST

Malcolm,
we also have our schismatic conservatives, but most people seeking accommodation for their views here are genuine. They are really searching for a way they can remain in the church and I don't doubt their integrity one little bit.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 8 June 2012 at 10:44am BST

Two excellent reasons more people in England are "seeking accommodation", Erika - the status of Anglican church property is firmly defined by law and trying to bolt from the CoE, taking with building and assets with you is illegal, plus there is a powerful group in the House of Bishops seemingly intent on accommodation - though only of AC & Evangelical "conservatives" - at what will almost certainly, should they succeed, be the price of the Church's cohesiveness and unity.

Posted by Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer at Friday, 8 June 2012 at 1:26pm BST

Lapin,
those people may exist.
But, really, if you speak to individuals, their motivation is not calculated, they really struggle with coming to terms with women priests and they genuinely don't understand why the church they love is changing.

I have a lot to say about that!
But I will not dismiss these people and their genuine concerns as power grabbing, purely politically motivated and reckless. Most do not fit this description at all.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 8 June 2012 at 3:34pm BST

Are these predominantly clergy, Erika, or laity in "Father Knows Best" mode?

Posted by Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer at Friday, 8 June 2012 at 5:01pm BST

Erika, I struggle to understand why my church tolerates people who want to marginalise Christians who stand by the teaching and practice of Jesus and His Apostles (even though I think that their hermeneutics are wrong on this one!)

Many liberals seem to be making the argument against traditionalists that "They" should not have equal protection because "We" will loose out a little... hardly a Christ-like attitude! That's what I mean when I accuse many liberals as treating non-liberals' beliefs and practices as intolerably bad.

In my view such extremist liberal views should be condemned by the Bishops. We are the Bride of Christ - and what God has joined together let noone put asunder! I hope the people who are trying to disrupt the Body of Christ will either repent of their divisiveness, or will be defeated and make good with their threats to go.... leaving us in peace to love and serve the Lord!

Posted by RevDave at Friday, 8 June 2012 at 6:18pm BST

"Are these predominantly clergy, Erika, or laity in "Father Knows Best" mode? Hats off to Erika for her sincere attempts at undestanding those with whom she disagrees. Conversely, Lapinbizarre does a great disservice to the laity, and really sounds rather patronising, by the suggestion that we cannot all think for ourselves over this particular issue of women in the episcopate. How does he account for the thousands of lay members of the Society of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda and Forward in Faith? And were the 2200 women who wrote to the House of Bishops appealing for provisions simply having their arms twisted by recalcitrant clergy? I think not. It is a typically dismissive comment and one which fails to recognise that laity and clergy are free thinking. I come from a parish and congregation with many professional men and women in the congregation, leaders in their own particular spheres of business, who are well able to come to their own conclusions about the issue, and that is what they have done, hence our status as a Resolutions Parish.

Posted by Benedict at Friday, 8 June 2012 at 6:34pm BST

Erika--thank you for your reasoned response, as always, and 'good luck.'

Posted by cseitz at Friday, 8 June 2012 at 6:35pm BST

Lapin,
they are both, some are clergy, some are active lay, others are not even very close to the church but are traditionalists who find it hard to understand why the church changes.
Reasons for being against women priests are varied, some more understandable than others.

But I would really like to say here that I have only met intransigent power grabbers and schismatics on the Internet. Of course, they're real people living and worshipping somewhere in real life - they're not made up constructs.

But those I have met personally are likeable, genuine Christians - they just find themselves on the wrong side of history and are struggling with that and really don't know what their place in the church is now.

There are traditionalists here who have not a kind word to say about those of us who support women priests and there are liberals here who have not a kind word to say about traditionalists.

Both are wrong - suspicion and prejudice on both sides just makes it all worse. I really wish we did not lose sight of each other as genuine people - just with different points of view about one issue.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 8 June 2012 at 9:11pm BST

"I come from a parish and congregation with many professional men and women in the congregation, leaders in their own particular spheres of business, who are well able to come to their own conclusions about the issue"

And if they are leaders in business, then I assume they have hired a person or two here and there in their professional capacities.

How do they feel about hiring female engineers, mathematicians, college professors, doctors or soldiers? All professions that were once formally and then informally barred to women.

Every single profession has come on board except the church, so what makes the church so different and special?

As for women against female bishops (and all the previous changes), the reactionary mindset is hardly confined to men.

Posted by dave paisley at Friday, 8 June 2012 at 10:43pm BST

Erika, I have no doubt there are many sincere people seeking to be accommodated. What concerns me is a bishop of the Church of England uncritically repeating the slanders of those who were not similarly sincere - many of whom likely have difficulty spelling "integrity."

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Saturday, 9 June 2012 at 12:01am BST

'God is a Spirit, and those who worship God, must worship God in spirit and in truth" - a modern understanding of the Scriptures, which seeks to identify God as more than merely male or female.

Jesus had to be either male or female - in order to be recognised as 'fully human' as well as divine. That did not mean that Jesus' priesthood did not represent our full humanity - both male and female.

How possibly could Jesus have 'ordained' women in the patriarchal ethos of Jewish religion of his day? However, Jesus did 'send' (apostello) Mary Magadalen - a woman - to give the good News of his resurrection to the male disciples, who did not receive it. Why?. Because she was a woman. They still had a lot to learn. So does the Church.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 9 June 2012 at 1:57am BST

Malcolm,
yes, I take your point.
But my comment was aimed more at your statement:

"Because this is what you're setting yourselves up for in England, where anything short of letting every parish priest choose his own bishop will be labeled and betrayal, and where once you are foolish enough to give them that, they'll demand something new so they can play the victim some more."

Every parish priest and, more to the point, every PCC, will not demand something new so they can play the victim once more.

In fact, they're not even "playing the victim" now - they are expressing a genuine concern.
It's not one I share, and I do think there are good arguments for not having the tight provisions and amendments on the table now.
But it is nevertheless true that most people are not interested in power games and victim status.

In the lgbt debate it infuriates me when conservatives dismiss my struggles as "playing the victim". It turns my legitimate concerns about my life and my faith into something that can be dismissed as irrelevant by those who have the power to misrepresent it to suit their own purposes and to dismiss it.

And I believe Pete Broadbent was wrong here when he dismissed "my pain is bigger than your pain" arguments, because unless we truly hear the pain we cause each other, we will end up only feeling our own pain and dismiss everyone else as cold, power crazy and only out for what they can get.

I will not do this to other people, whether I agree with them or not.

Once we have lost the respect for those we argue with, we have lost everything that's worth holding on to in any community.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 9 June 2012 at 9:47am BST

Yes, it's important to hear everyone's pain.

Unfortunately I've had the experience very recently of someone who claims to be in sympathy with my position essentially telling me to shut up. In fact he tried to argue it out with me via private messages in order, as he said, to take my emotions out of the public arena.

ISTM we have developed a hierarchy of pain, with only some pain being taken into account as a factor in how we decide as an institution to proceed.

I've just come out of hospital after an operation with complications, so I know plenty about pain - including the fact that it's sometimes unavoidable.

I'm sure there are examples of people who are against the ordination of women (which is basically still what this is about) expressing sympathy and even empathy with the pain on the other side of the argument - it's just that I've never seen one.

Posted by Pam Smith at Saturday, 9 June 2012 at 1:38pm BST

Erika,

Your position is admirable in many ways, but the one thing I have yet to hear from anyone is a reason for the exclusion of women from the episcopate that is anything other than some variation on historical precedent - we've never had women bishops, so we shall never have women bishops.

It is obvious now that the decision in the 90s to allow women to be priests but no higher was a phenomenal mistake - the same battle is being fought all over again.

If this legislation has anything at all in it that prevents a woman from being appointed ABC, then the battle will be fought one more time in 10 years or so.

Posted by dave paisley at Sunday, 10 June 2012 at 12:46am BST

Erika, I agre that not "every parish priest" will make those sort of ridiculous, over the top demands. But the demands of the extremists (for that's what they are) will be precisely that.

We've seen it in North America, where arrangements for delegated episcopal authority have been worked out quite effectively. But Bishop Pete isn't talking about them - and apparently has no interest in even admitting such exists. Instead, he is pointing to the small handful of cases where it has failed.

Well, I won't claim to know the circumstances of each attempt that failed, but I can tell you that every one I know of failed because the "conservatives" involved wanted it to fail.

And as surely as night follows day, that will happen in England under these odious proposals.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Sunday, 10 June 2012 at 1:00am BST

Dave,
I think people have given us their answer to that question. I happen not to accept the answer as valid and I do share your opinion.
I still don't want to dismiss people I don't agree with, I have been dismissed by others, it's not a nice place to be in the church and I cannot fight for the inclusion of lgbt people on the one hand asking for tolerance, while treating those who disagree with me on other issues with contempt.

How we engage with each other does not depend on the issues we argue about but goes deeper than that.
And Pam Smith's comment shows, precisely, that we need to listen to each other more, not less.

Having said that, Malcolm is right - there are some people who hijack genuine topics for their own political purposes and we do need to be aware of that too.

Posted by Erika Baker at Sunday, 10 June 2012 at 6:48pm BST

I think it is good not to dismiss anyone as a general principal - we can't build any kind of working relationships unless we understand where each person stands.

However I think the current situation is unrealistic, in that one 'side' (for want of a better word) are meant to swallow their feelings in order to placate the other 'side'.

This has been going on so long now, I think the insititution as a whole is carrying considerable 'baggage' which means any agreement is purely cosmetic.

People are saying that the current proposal should be accepted by those in favour of women being Bishops as a 'Trojan horse' whereby women will sneakily establish a beach head and move things onto a properly equal footing. But surely this is both underhand AND the last thing that those opposed to women being Bishops want to see? So who does it actually benefit?

You can't build a house on sand and I don't think you can build an episcopate on bad faith and sneakily moving the goalposts.

Posted by Pam Smith at Monday, 11 June 2012 at 9:57am BST

I am an ordained woman and minister in a context with many senior ordained men who do not support women's ordination. I respect their deeply felt views and understand where they are coming from. I sincerely want them to continue to have an honoured place within the C of E, which quite frankly needs some of the integrity, hard work and theological guardianship that they bring in the widest spectrum of church life, on issues vital to the mission and ministry of the church. I am within this context and accept that it does slightly dishonour my own priestly ministry, and at certain times I feel it greatly, but I am just a parish priest and on a day to day basis it becomes a second order issue for us all.
I want women bishops and I want women bishops to have an honoured place. I understand how women bishops will compromise the honoured place of opponents, but having women bishops under the terms now suggested by the House of Bishops will compromise the honoured place of women bishops. Someone will have to be partially dishonoured in all of this. Please let no dishonour be on Bishops. Coping with some dishonour is not so bad, and isn't a reason to not have a full and flourishing ministry whatever the context.

Posted by Beth at Monday, 11 June 2012 at 11:25am BST

"Coping with some dishonour is not so bad, and isn't a reason to not have a full and flourishing ministry whatever the context."

Posted by: Beth on Monday

Dear Beth, for women to expect to have to cope with less than the responsibilities normally delegated to a priest or a Bishop in the Church, is surely to court the continuance of a less than honourable place for all women God may sovereignly be calling into priestly or episcopal ministry at this time in the history of the Anglican Church.

Tradition itself is not God. The Holy Spirit's work cannot be domesticated to suit enshrined, endemic patriarchalism - either in the world or in the Church. The world has changed in its view of the role of women. So must the Church - if it is top remain credible in the modern world.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 11 June 2012 at 12:17pm BST

As the vast majority of the universal church (and especially those who hold claim to the apostolic threefold ministry) do not beleive or accept that women can be ordained-add to which the huge disagreement, falling out, impaired/out of communion we witness and feel in the c of e I wonder whether God is telling us something-that He does not want women ordained-or has even God been pushed to one side in this in favour of people's views and 'rights'? It is possible of course that ordaining women is not His will and God isn't being listened to...

Posted by Fr Matt at Friday, 22 June 2012 at 8:35am 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.