Comments: Catholic Group in General Synod responds to plans for women bishops

Er... good, on average? Bring on the clear decision and be done with it.

I had to laugh at two of the phrases though:
1) "is set within a broader process of discernment" - great excuse, now what does it mean?
2) "will remain committed to enabling them to flourish within its life and structures" - now there's a vacuous promise if ever there was ;)

Posted by Tim at Monday, 3 June 2013 at 4:48pm BST

Yes, well, I'm saddened that the religious "traditionalists" have not yet realized that their position has caused centuries of undue suffering. It leaves women (and often their children) perpetually in the inferior position, leaving us and our sisters extremely vulnerable to violence, oppression, economic degradation, and myriad other sufferings.

At the UN conference on women, a number of speakers, notably one from Senegal if you want to look her up, specifically noted the contribution of the church to the oppression of women in Africa.

The fruits of misogyny are awful. I support pastoral arrangements, but not policies that makes WB's inferior to MB's.

Of course, for some of the Anglo-Catholics, the "problem" is the sacraments, such as women ordaining new clergy. I am Anglo-Catholic (with a Greek Orthodox background). I can assure them that the sacraments are just as potent when administered by women. It is God our Creator who is present in the sacraments, and she is not conjured up exclusively by men... She works through those she's called, and she has called women. These guys are saying no to God, and creating a lot of suffering in the process.

Posted by Cynthia at Monday, 3 June 2013 at 7:26pm BST

The CofE is lining itself up to fight two unwinnable battles, with no clear idea of what the war is about. On one front, it is going to be in the vanguard in the House of Lords of attacks on same-sex marriage. On the other front, it wants to fight a last-ditch battle against a monstrous regiment of women who dare to seek parity with men.

Both battles are futile. The CofE does not enjoy majority support amongst its own members on either issues, still less amongst its clergy and leadership, still less amongst the population at large. Governments have stopped listening to the CofE, other than out of vague politeness, and will railroad any required changes through whatever the church says. In the case of women bishops it's possible that the church could escape legislative imposition, but at the cost of ending up with the same influence on society and government as your local model railway society has. In the case of same-sex marriage, the outcome is inevitable and the CofE's scorched earth policy will achieve nothing but a generation of internal and external argument.

What isn't at all clear is why the CofE is fighting these battles at all. Outside a small minority of irreconcilables, for whom no compromise will be enough, neither same-sex marriage nor women bishops are major theological, moral or ethical problems for the membership. On women bishops, most of the people likely to depart for the Catholic Church have done so already, and the loss of the remaining few would be no great loss. The Anglican Ordinariate is hardly a major force. On same sex marriage, no one is going to leave a church which won't be celebrating them to join one that also doesn't celebrate them.

All the CofE will achieve by fighting these battles is make itself look elderly bigoted and stupid. On stage last night, Billy Bragg, a man firmly of the atheist left, praised Christian involvement in charity, and remarked that far more people doing real work to alleviate poverty were doing so because of Jesus than because of Marx, and how that had caused him to seriously reconsider his attitude to religion. That's what matters.

Posted by Interested Observer at Monday, 3 June 2013 at 7:54pm BST

The so-called 'Catholic group' underwhelms me big time. I really can't be bothered with all the double-talk with the side order of special pleading; and garnished with silliness.

And I have come from an anglo-papalist background myself :(S.Stephen, Grove St., Liverpool;S.John, Tuebrook; S.Paul, Brighton) -- A sense of humour has proved indispensable ! But how women and lgbt are treated has not been lost on me down the years.

If the 'Catholic group' have lost me, they could lose anyone !

Posted by Laurence at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 7:09am BST

I read the 3 comments available so far with some amusement envisaging a child poking its tongue out from behind its mother's skirts. It would be good to see some constructive comments from people who have properly read the Catholic Group's statement and have taken on board the compromise offered by traditional Catholics in the Church of England, none of whom actually opposes women bishops per se.

Posted by Jill Armstead at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 7:46am BST

'the compromise offered by traditional Catholics in the Church of England, none of whom actually opposes women bishops per se.'

So very generous of them !

And if they do no oppose women as bishops (news to me) what IS this all about ? I just can't respect 'the Catholic' group that much, when I think of most of the recent PEVs tucked up as monsignori in Rome etc.

See my previous comment.

Posted by Laurence at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 8:26am BST

Why is that certain individuals and groups in the Church think that they can hijack words in order to exclude others?

One result is that no one can really any longer describe themselves as 'Christian' because the word now comes with connotations of homophobia, misogyny, patriarchy and general self righteous bigotry.

And secondly the 'Catholic Group' only includes those opposed to the ordination of women and the consecration of them as bishops. And yet as we know, there are large numbers of us who would call ourselves 'catholic' who fully believe that women should play their part as ordained priests and ministers alongside men and refuse to enter the ghetto of opposition.

It's probably too late to stop this now but to those who have appropriated the words 'Christian' and 'Catholic' to themselves I would say 'not in my name'.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 10:55am BST

It seems to me that the 'Catholic Group' is not in a strong position here. They have set out their stall, the problem is there’s nothing on it for anyone else.

If Synod now passes a single clause measure presumably they will feel they have no choice but to seek alternative ecclesial arrangements for themselves with separate bishops. But the deal they want in order to stay would mean precisely the same - alternative ecclesial arrangements with separate bishops. Identical result, just messier, more embarrassing and more inconvenient for the rest of us.

And what would be the point? The 'gift' of the catholic wing to the Church in the past has been to model a catholic ecclesiology but the new arrangements would be so bizzarely uncatholic as to be unrecognisable anywhere else in Christendom. For those like myself who want a ‘broad church’ this would weaken not strengthen the catholic identity and self understanding of the Church of England.

Paradoxically a single clause measure is probably the best way to keep the greatest number of people on board. If we create arrangements of the kind the ‘Catholic Group’ wants presumably most of them will disappear into those arrangements and be lost to us. With a single clause measure some will leave but not nearly so many as it’s obviously a much bigger step. That gives the Church of England a period of grace to put in place appropriate pastoral arrangements for them, and for them to try them out and hopefully find them workable. We could then put this whole idiot business behind us and get on with something resembling mission.

Posted by Jane Charman at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 12:22pm BST

Jane, can I ask what provisions you think are appropriate and possible with the single clause? With the single clause and getting rid of the Resolutions I can see the future vestry of a church that constantly chooses male priests being sued for discrimination or the next time an evangelical bishop is chosen, another public/liberal backlash demanding him out of the post. I don't see any way to make provisions that work.

Posted by Chris H. at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 3:37pm BST
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