Comments: Women bishops and the laity vote

"The Church must be concerned for, and provide for, all its members."

Correct, as to "concern." But as to "provision," incorrect.

The Church must not legislate misogyny or bigotry.

And if the signatories think that they now have the leverage to achieve _more_ provision, Parliament should disabuse them of that notion.

Posted by Jeremy at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 11:08am GMT

The problem with suggestion about incorporating Act of Synod into new #femalebishops measure is that objecting parishes would have to petition diocesan bishop & so acknowledge HER as ordinary, which is what they refuse to do. http://www.ebbsfleet.org.uk/actofsynod93.htm

Posted by Anne Peat at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 11:38am GMT

"Only" 20 years ago?

Posted by Tony B at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 11:42am GMT

This is the point I have been making on other threads. Rather than berating the laity it is the bishops who need to take some responsibility for this mess. Shepherds and flocks comes to mind!

Posted by Jonathan Edwards II at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 11:55am GMT

So the plan is to maintain a two-tier English clergy forever. Isn’t it ironic that the titular head of the church is the Queen?

Will the misogynists be happy under this scheme when the Archbishop of Canterbury is a woman, which is inevitable, assuming the Church of England lasts so long?

Posted by Lionel Deimel at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 12:33pm GMT

Ah if they get their church within a church they will be happy. No no no.

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 12:58pm GMT

There is indeed a simpler way forward. Its called a Single Clause Measure.

Posted by Lindsay Southern at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:15pm GMT

These Synod members are incredibly ill informed.

The Act of Synod provides extended oversight not alternative oversight. To move to alternative oversight is a massive ecclesiological change. They should understand the difference and why extended is the term we have got.

Their voting record indicates they probably do want alternative oversight to be provided, but that would divide the church formally and we are trying to avoid that.

Posted by Charles Read at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:24pm GMT

I wonder how many, if any, voted against the legislation because it gave the traditionalist position any breathing room at all. On this issue there seem to be about seven distinct positions, and building a coalition to carry the vote is a delicate enterprise. (A "decision tree" flow-chart is a helpful way to chart the options...)

Posted by Tobias Haller at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:20pm GMT

All 8 signatories of the letter are laypersons. That means their votes were pivotal in the failure of the measure.

I agree with their position: Women bishops should not be second class bishops. But I don't understand how proponents of women bishops can say that by failing to pass the measure the CoE inflicted a severe wound on itself and blame that entirely on those who voted against the measure.

The WATCH press release seems to imply the measure failed only because of those who are opposed to women bishops. This letter says that's not true.

Or did I misunderstand the WATCH press release?

Posted by John B. Chilton at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:20pm GMT

'The Church must not legislate misogyny or bigotry' - Jeremy

Jeremy you do a disservice to our faithful brothers and sisters who are only holding to the faith of the wider church universal.

This sort of intolerance of others is not helping matters, it is un-Christian and brings our Church into disrepute.

Posted by Jonathan Edwards II at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:24pm GMT

Nevermind. I should have read the letter snippets first. They aren't supporters of 1st class women bishops. They are merely supporters of the previous measure, not the recent measure.

We shouldn't let them be players in shaping the measure to be put forward in 2013.

Posted by John B. Chilton at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:30pm GMT

Perhaps a single clause Measure should be presented and voted on if only to demonstrate to those who keep calling for it that it does not command the requisite support.

Posted by Original Observer at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:40pm GMT

Let's not forget that some people against the ordination of women bishops clearly did feel that this measure provided "proper provision". Fr Alan Moses, vicar of one of the best known (if not THE best known) anglocatholic parishes in the country (FiF A/B parish) voted FOR this measure.

Has anyone asked him why he voted in this way, and in particular why he felt the measure contained "proper provision"? Is it simply being in the Diocese of London which somehow gives an extra shield for the traditionalists? If that were the case why did other traditionalists in London and Chichester not follow suit?

What does Fr Moses know that Tom Sutcliffe, for instance, doesn't?

Posted by Alastair Newman at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:43pm GMT

Charles Read has made an important point....the problem is,in practice Extended episcopal care slid into Alternative Episcopal Oversight, with FIF Area deans, separate Chrism Masses," X our bishop " in the liturgy.....and of course it ended up with the "Diocese" of Ebbsfllet which its bishop hoped would follow him en masse into the Ordinariate...though actually of course,most didnt...

Posted by Perry Butler at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:52pm GMT

I think Jeremy Edwards does make a good point about the Synod legislating misogyny by inserting that infamous clause. The clause must be removed. The universal church or INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH has been and continues to be wrong and misguided on the issue of women's ordination to the priesthood and office of bishop. It is because they have been so wrong on this topic for centuries in the way they have treated women that it makes it mandatory that the single clause measure not only be removed but buried forever. There is no theological argument for excluding women from any position in the Church.

Posted by Chris Smith at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 5:21pm GMT

"This sort of intolerance of others is not helping matters, it is un-Christian and brings our Church into disrepute."

Sorry, JE2, but the opponents of women bishops have been hiding for too long behind this sort of insistence on a faux politeness. Faux politeness also masks hypocrisy.

To use your own terms, it is intolerance of women in the episcopate that is unhelpful, and that has brought the Church of England into disrepute.

That intolerance looks mightily like misogyny and bigotry. (By their works we shall know them.) Certainly that is how the wider society perceives it. See the recent headlines and lead articles. There may be patience within some rarefied Church of England confines for the complementarity and "no women teachers" arguments, but the wider world has none.

Again using your own terms, misogyny and bigotry do a great disservice to our _sisters_ in the church. UnChristian? Christ said love your enemies and pray for them. But he himself had enemies and he told them exactly what he thought of them.

As for the "wider church universal," that is a platonic ideal, not an earthly thing. If you're worrying about the Roman church, you have about 500 years of history to undo. Besides, Rome will ordain women eventually, and the world will wonder why it took so long.

In the Anglican Communion, other churches have ordained women as bishops. The most recent example is the Church of Southern Africa, in Swaziland.

Posted by Jeremy at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 8:09pm GMT

'Two Integrities', 'Two Tier', call it what you like it doesn't sound like a coherent Body of Christ.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 8:14pm GMT

Well, JEII - anyone who deliberately and consciously tells women that they cannot fill certain roles which they have the actual ability to fill, on grounds of their gender alone, and despite the conviction that they have that God is calling them to the role, and the equally firmly held and informed view of those who know them that God is indeed calling them,anybody who consciously tells such women that simply because they are female they cannot act in the role, is holding misogynistic and bigoted views. They may not be misogynists or bigots, but their views are very wrong.

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 8:19pm GMT

John Chilton 'The WATCH press release seems to imply the measure failed only because of those who are opposed to women bishops. This letter says that's not true.'

I think you might misunderstand the subtlety of the letter writers (or others who say similar things). Some people were elected to the General Synod stating that they would support women bishops legislation so long as there was appropriate provision for those opposed.

The problem with such a statement is that it is somewhat ambiguous: the voter's idea of what is appropriate might be radically different from the candidate's (and of course this can be true in either direction with such vague statements); yet the elected candidate can use the words as a mandate for voting against -- which is perhaps what they were going to do all along because virtually nothing would actually be acceptable to them.

Electors, next time round (if the matter is not solved then) need to be much more persistent in determining the views (and track record) of each candidate, and in ensuring that this information is widely known, at least among electors. That's good for the democratic process whether it results in a Synod more or less likely to pass a Measure.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 8:56pm GMT

Sutcliffe: Not in my name.

Posted by serena at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 9:27pm GMT

The good news was the call for a Doctrine Commission by Sarah Coakley--all this patching of ecclesiology around clergy some don't deem to be clergy simply doesn't work, and isn't working. Much of the "church universal" are not Anglican on other matters such as married bishops or ironically, lay participation in these sorts of decisions.

Posted by Rebecca at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 10:06pm GMT

I appreciate the fact that the authors have tried to pay attention to the situation of those supportive of women's ordination in dioceses where the bishop does not ordain women, as well as of opponents of women's ordination. However the proposal would appear potentially to lead to fragmentation of dioceses.

Posted by Savi Hensman at Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 10:16pm GMT

Alastair Newman Fr Alan Moses favours the ordination of women...he just happens to be Vicar of an AB parish...such things are not unknown.

Posted by Perry Butler at Friday, 30 November 2012 at 8:33am GMT

Well said, Perry Butler. In your post yesterday, you listed many of the ways in which traditionalist catholics have been operating a 'church with a church' since 1994, going far beyond what the creators of the Act of Synod can ever have envisaged or intended to allow. As a member for 27 years of a traditionalist catholic parish (until I recently gave up the struggle of trying to stand up for reason over tradition and moved elsewhere) I can confirm that all the practices you list occur, and to that shameful list I would add the practice of only praying for other parishes in the 'virtual' diocese of Fulham, and not for other 'unsound' parishes in their real diocese.
The current Bishop of Rochester has wisely rowed back a bit from that position by insisting that he personally carries out all institutions at Res C parishes (and there have been a lot, mainly because of defections to the Ordinariate). He brings along +Edmonton as well, to provide the zealots with sacramental assurance and freedom from 'taint' but, despite this concession, his insistence on 'showing who the Ordinary is' is seen as unwarranted interference by at least some zealots.
So those who say that we must not legislate for a church within a church are right, but it should also be recognised that we have had just that in all but name for years, and any measure which emerges from the present debacle must also try to clear up this residue from the past.
I'm convinced that there are many well-meaning people in the wider church who have no idea of the extent of the illegality and separatist nonsense that goes on in these enclaves (don't get me going on use of the Roman rite!) and, if they did, they might be less inclined to vote for further provision for these people. Amongst them may well be some who voted against the measure at GS last week.

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Friday, 30 November 2012 at 1:36pm GMT

Malcolm Dixon - +London issued an ad clerum letter a year ago in which he strongly advised against parishes adopting the new translation of the Roman rite. He has been widely ignored.

I do not object to Res C at all, but you are right in what you say about individual parishes acting as if they hardly belonged to the wider CofE at all. The solution to this is in the hands of the diocesan bishops who should ensure that the letter and spirit of the Act of Synod are complied with.

Posted by Original Observer at Friday, 30 November 2012 at 7:32pm GMT

John Chilton 'The WATCH press release seems to imply the measure failed only because of those who are opposed to women bishops. This letter says that's not true.'

The claim of these people that they support women bishops is incredibly disingenuous. It would be wise not to buy into their language. They rejected the legislation because it didn't do enough to keep women bishops out of their face. That is hardly support.

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Said America's best theologian, MLK. When the CoE has the courage to liberate all persons, starting with women, you will find many gifts.

Don't let anyone tell you how "poorly" TEC is doing. We've posted 2 years of growth in 33 of our 100 dioceses and are moving forward strongly in mission. We did not want the schisms, but there was no way to appease bigotry. With liberation has come a wonderful energy for compassion and ministry and sharing the love of Christ in the world. So much better than arguing about how to withhold the love of Christ from the world. Which is essentially the theological definition of bigotry.

And yes, the intolerance is coming from the anti-women side. Centuries of it. Have a look at that arc of the moral universe.

Posted by Cynthia at Friday, 30 November 2012 at 10:07pm GMT

Malcolm Dixon thanx for your comment suporting mine. You probably know more what is going on on the ground than I do now I am in retirement. How well supported are these FIF parishes? How many have an ER over 70 say? How far do they pay there way? Someone told me of a C parish in the Southwark diocese that was now over £100,000 behind in paying the Common Fund?

Posted by Perry Butler at Saturday, 1 December 2012 at 9:23am GMT

Perry Butler - despite having worshipped in an FiF parish until recently, I'm not best placed to answer your questions since, as an 'open' catholic, I had nothing to do with FiF, or with other FiF parishes. I preferred to try to keep in touch with the deanery and diocese, e.g. by attending the Rochester Chrism mass each year so that at least someone from the parish was there. When I left there were just over 100 on the ER and they were paying share in full.
Of the other Res C parishes (10 or 11 out of about 220) 3 had lost their incumbents and some of their people to the Ordinariate, and could therefore be expected to be struggling for numbers and to pay share. All had been provided with new priests, in some cases on a PinC basis, with the assumption of a limited time to make them viable again. Of the rest, all bar one seemed to be managing to pay their share (as of 2010).
The main problem with parish share comes from ConEvo parishes, where it's a case of won't pay not can't pay. The most egregious case is a Bromley parish which had arrears of almost £200k at the end of 2010, but the most notorious case is a well-known Sevenoaks parish which, despite providing 3 of the 9 elected GS reps for the diocese (all of whom voted against last week of course) had arrears of £113k at the same time. Not surprisingly, this causes much resentment in the diocese.
I don't know about London or Southwark.

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Saturday, 1 December 2012 at 11:01pm GMT
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