Comments: Mark Chapman: Don't blame the laity

A lot of this analysis is exactly correct. Although +Rowan has always been consistent in making the case for women bishops, he never really seemed to back the detailed legislation enthusiastically. Well, maybe finally in the last weeks before the disaster he did, but much damage had been done by then. As a friend of mine commented a couple of days ago, “Rowan just doesn’t do politics.”

For +Rowan, for +Sentamu, and for the House of Bishops generally – with a few honourable exceptions – the WBM was always a ‘work in progress’ which still presented opportunities for fine tuning. And the signals the Bishops sent kept encouraging traditionalists to push for yet more concessions and then left them feeling betrayed when Synod quite rightly felt unable to give them what they wanted.

However, I still do (mostly) blame the traditionalist faction in the House of Laity. Like the citizens of Jerusalem in Luke 19:42 they couldn’t recognise the moment. The package they rejected on 20 November was absolutely the most favourable compromise that was ever going to be offered.

Posted by William Raines at Friday, 7 December 2012 at 1:43am GMT

What does the penultimate sentence actually mean, please?

Posted by Edna at Friday, 7 December 2012 at 1:49am GMT

How does William Raines know that 'The package they rejected on 20 November was absolutely the most favourable compromise that was ever going to be offered'. Does he not believe that negotiations between the majority and minority (possibly chaired or brokered by Bishop Welby) will undoubtedly occur before July 2013 so that the measure can pass against a background note of harmony in the GS?

Posted by Nigel Aston at Friday, 7 December 2012 at 8:26am GMT

Mark Chapman omits to mention that the Archbishops' amendment in 2010 won a numerical majority in the General Synod but failed through losing in the house of CLERGY when such a vote by houses was not strictly required. But that denial of the will of the majority was, of course , in a good cause.

Posted by peter bostock at Friday, 7 December 2012 at 9:01am GMT

Nigel Aston: the place for such negotiations is in the synodical process, not in noises off.

Peter Bostock: as I recall, a call for a vote by Houses was voted on % accepted by GS so it was then 'strictly required'.

Posted by Charles Read at Friday, 7 December 2012 at 9:24am GMT

I agree with Nigel Aston - a great many seem to 'know for certain' that the existing provision will be withdrawn and that a single clause measure is inevitable. Quite how they 'know' this is not clear, especially as they do not have the power to bring it about.

Posted by Original Observer at Friday, 7 December 2012 at 9:40am GMT

There has been a huge amount of negotiation and a lot of compromise from those who were clearly in favour of the single clause measure. If negotiations are to begin again then it should be with a clean slate from a single clause perspective so that all parties involved have room for offering compromises.

Posted by commentator at Friday, 7 December 2012 at 10:36am GMT

When the "archbishops' amendment" was rejected by the house of Clergy nearly every single one of the ordained women voted against it. It was a strange "compromise" as it had been drafted without consulting women clergy (nor tested by a revision committee) . I realise some of those who comment on this board will use this as an argument to say that women were not prepared to compromise - but they did - they did not try to get a single clause measure through. However, since they did not force the debate at this point, others still do not realise how great the compromise was.

Posted by RosalindR at Friday, 7 December 2012 at 11:15am GMT

Does he not believe that negotiations between the majority and minority (possibly chaired or brokered by Bishop Welby) will undoubtedly occur before July 2013 so that the measure can pass against a background note of harmony in the GS?

YES & NO - no doubt negotiations will be proposed and may even happy - will the legislation pass against a background note of harmony. I really can't imagine that happening, no - previous negotiations have clearly not ended thus, The Act of Synod has not exactly improved relations during the past decades - certainly not promoting the unity we'd hoped for. and yes I really do think that in terms of provision for those opposed that was the best compromise.
I do not 'know' if there will be a single clause measure - although I do hope for it and for provision not to be set in law. But I think it is unlikely that any more concessions will be made, and I don't know that I could live with a Church of England willing to go down that route. At that point I think I will be asking someone to stop the bus so I can get off as 'in conscience' I can no longer support this level of discrimination embedded in the structures of the Church I serve.

Posted by Lindsay Southern at Friday, 7 December 2012 at 12:55pm GMT

William Raines may blame traditionalist laity in synod. I also blame liberal congregations which have not bothered to get off their backsides and engage with the process, but instead have sniped at traditionalists.

For example, when this issue was discussed at deanery synod in one deanery close to Manchester city centre representatives from a liberal catholic congregation did not even bother to attend the debate.

If such congregations had successfully put forward laity to talk in synods at different levels the situation might be different to what it is now.

Interestingly the congregation in Manchester was led by a priest called William Raines.

Posted by Jennifer Bray at Friday, 7 December 2012 at 7:31pm GMT

Hmm. I think we're forgetting that time moves on. Things have changed in twenty years. The guys who really couldn't cope with a church that ordains women have largely left or retired. Some haven't, but there are now more new young men who joined the church after it ordained women. And yet they're allowed to form a fifth column which works against women all the time, and the women who are affected by this are totally unprotected. We need to draw a distinction between men who find themselves in this position and those who put themselves in this position. The latter should not have "protection". In five years, there will be still less men who found the church moved and left them, but more and more men who don't believe in ordaining women, or even lay ministers. We need to stop ordaining men who can't cope with women's ministry now. We should have done so twenty years ago.

Posted by English Athena at Friday, 7 December 2012 at 8:50pm GMT

I, Ignorant Yank, give up. The analysis above appears entirely INCOHERENT to me. The Measure failed because it was too conservative (anti-*equal*-WB), or because it was too liberal (pro-*equal*-WB)? "Yes" (Argh!)

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 9 December 2012 at 4:13am GMT
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