Comments: Affirming Catholicism responds to plans for women bishops

It is very clear from these proposals that the tactic employed by supporters of women's ordination emanates from the gutter. The perverse reaction to the November vote is even more uncompromising legislation. How does this build trust? I believe they think they can now have women bishops on any terms they want - get traditionalists off Synod and get it through that way, or failing that, if the legislation fails, get Parliament to pass it over Synod's head. This is not of God, it is of the Devil. We all know what happens to the house built on sand.

Posted by Edward at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 3:54pm BST

"We all know what happens to the house built on sand." Its the arguments of opponents of the ordination of women that are built on sand. As for the state of the house, " a house divided against itself cannot stand" The attempt to deny equal rights to women in the church divides the human family in a way which no amount of medieval hocus pocus or biblical fundamentalism can redeem. Organized religion stands as one of the major forces aligned against women's equality. We are merely quibbling over where on the spectrum of sexist attitudes the C of E is located.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 9:07pm BST

This kind of comment is thoroughly offensive. "Emanates from the gutter" indeed! How insulting do contributors have to be before their comments are refused an airing?

Posted by Helen at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 9:28pm BST

JESUS is Lord (and the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity). If I (along w/ my church, TEC, which ordains women to all holy orders) am of the Devil, Edward, I thought I wasn't supposed to be able to proclaim that?

Log/Splinter, my friend. Peace of Christ to you/Vaya con Dios---

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 4 June 2013 at 9:38pm BST

Arguments of opponents are built on the word of God, the extensive writings of the Patristic fathers, the example of Christ and the Apostles, and the consensus of the Church Universal. How people can not only set themselves against all that, but actively campaign to stop other Christians in their own church attempting to live out their faith on those principles I just do not know. You talk about a house divided, yet you have no concept of the worldwide Church. Do you not see that women's ordination is a novelty, a niche innovation of liberal protestantism that makes the unity Christ demanded near impossible? Or is your liberal conscience more important than that?

Posted by Edward at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 12:34am BST

Wow, Edward! Do I detect a note of panic? Leaving aside the offensive remarks 'gutter, devil' etc - it's a bit rich for a 'traditionalist' to be complaining about building trust over the issue of women bishops. Any attempt over the last twenty years to accommodate traditionalist views have been met with further demands and greater intransigence. There was nothing 'perverse' about the reaction to November's vote. It just became crystal-clear that no amount of 'proper provision' was ever going to be enough for the likes of Edward. A single-clause measure is the only just and fair solution. Whether that is 'of God' is for Him to judge!

Posted by Stephen Morgan at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 6:04am BST

Edward,
you appear to have scant respect for the discernment process of your own church. Through its processes it has come to believe, over many years, that God does indeed call women to all holy orders. If that careful discernment process is really nothing more than "coming from the gutter" for you you have bigger problems with your church than you seem to be aware of.

Is a fundamental respect and acceptance of the polity of ones own church not one of the absolute basics of belonging?

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 8:24am BST

'A niche innovation of liberal Protestantism'?

Possibly so: but given that as Anglicans we believe that we work out our faith in light of Scripture, tradition and reason, I don't see why that would be a necessarily bad thing. The abolition of slavery is another such 'niche innovation'. Clerical celibacy was a 'niche innovation' of the Gregorian reform but I don't notice many opponents of the ordination of women suggesting that we need to hold to that until the rest of the Church catholic changes its mind. Or is it merely that we reject the niche innovations that don't suit our picture of God and the church?

Posted by Hannah at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 8:53am BST

That 'no amount of proper provision was ever going to be enough' is a classic straw man argument and patently untrue. A continuation of the 1993 Act of Synod with the amendment that PEVs' authority comes from the legislation rather than the discretion of the diocesan bishop would be provision we could happily live with. To describe a single clause measure that rides roughshod over about a quarter of the CofE as 'just and fair' is a frightening example of the attitudes we face, so yes, forgive me if you detect a note of panic.

Posted by Edward at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 9:14am BST

Several things to point out here:

"Is a fundamental respect and acceptance of the polity of ones own church not one of the absolute basics of belonging?"

This is true to an extent, although there is only one God and therefore one Church ultimately - to act without regard to the wider church is not how Christians ought to do things. And the defeat in November was met not with acceptance of the polity but demands for changes to be made to the synodical process.

"as Anglicans we believe that we work out our faith in light of Scripture, tradition and reason"

This is a very old Anglican chestnut. Do you seriously think a Roman Catholic or Orthodox wouldn't say exactly the same thing?

Slavery was a social evil that had been condemned by Augustine 1,400 years before abolition, so hardly a niche innovation.

Clerical celibacy is a personal discipline, whereas we and the rest of the Church believe that since women cannot actually be priests or bishops, their supposed ordinations actually serve to cut off those whom they minister to from the sacramental life. Hence it is an issue of far greater order than any of the stuff you're talking about.

Posted by Edward at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 10:11am BST

Yes, the issue is great. That is why it has taken the church decades to come to a discernment.

It was always clear that the vote would not be a final "no, we won't have women bishops". It was never designed to be that - it was only ever a question of whether the provisions were sufficient. There is therefore nothing to be accepted – a new Draft Measure with different arrangements has to be proposed and voted on.
The November vote was never about whether women can be priests. It was one of the great failings of the debate that the Chair allowed a 20 year old debate to be re-enacted that had no bearing on the actual question asked.

I see that it appears that the CoE is not accepting its own polity by discussing a possible change to the system after the November vote.
Although, I am not aware of any formal proposals for a change in the system?

The move, if it did happen, arises from the awareness that 42 out of 44 Dioceses have supported the Measure and that the outcome of the final vote clearly does not reflect the wishes of the church as it has consistently shown them until then.
When a process so obviously delivers a maverick result it is legitimate to consider whether it needs to be changed.

But - correct me if I'm wrong - all that has happened so far is that a new proposal has been made which will be voted on in accordance to the unaltered process. Yes, it is possible that there will be a change in the composition of General Synod after the next elections, but that is part of the established processes of the church.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 11:00am BST

I do not think that many traditionalists (and I speak as a moderate traditionalist myself) have done themselves any favours in the way in which they have used the ResC/PEV system over the past 20 years.

Anyone who observes them will recognise a 'church within a church', a group determined to set maximum distance between itself and the rest of the CofE, some maintaining the silly pretence that they take their directions from Rome instead of their own church. Terms such as 'unsound', directed towards fellow Anglicans, are obviously pejorative.

The use of the Roman rite, an act which is intellectually and theologically risible in an Anglican context (as +London has pointed out), is also blatant canonical disobedience and insubordination.

That we doubt the case for female ordination is understood by many, but the wholesale rejection of properly ordained and consecrated male priests and bishops on the grounds that they support womens' ministry must seem cussed, unreasonable and incomprehensible.

It is small wonder that the rest of the CofE has lost patience with us.

Posted by Original Observer at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 11:26am BST

I agree with some of the points raised above. However, the fact is that on the ground Res C PCCs come under enormous pressure from archdeacons and Area Deans during interregnums to rescind resolutions with the threat of not being given a priest. This has happened recently to two Res C churches in Durham. But the fact is there are increasing numbers of young traditionalist ordinands coming through places like St Stephen's House, Wycliffe and Oak Hill who will not accept a female bishop. In reality, while there may be no resolutions, there will be always be churches where the incumbent doesn't allow a female bishop to minister. It makes sense then that a proper framework is put in place rather than have chaos later.

Posted by Edward at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 12:36pm BST

"A continuation of the 1993 Act of Synod with the amendment that PEVs' authority comes from the legislation rather than the discretion of the diocesan bishop would be provision we could happily live with."

Given your stated concern for Catholic Tradition, you would hardly want to resolve the question of women in orders by throwing another principle of Catholic polity, the integrity of the bishop's diocesan authority, under the bus.(Of course, I thought the Chalcedonian definition was part of Catholic Tradition too, and by its lights if a Mass celebrated by a woman is no Mass then neither was Maundy Thursday!)

Posted by Geoff at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 2:17pm BST

I would point out, that despite the issue in my diocese mentioned above, I, as vicar of a resolution C parish use common worship, attend deanery chapter and synod, went to a course with some of my people at the neighbouring non resolution parish and will be welcoming the Bishop of Jarrow to preach at Epiphany. I was to be a ministerial development peer reviewer in my last diocese, but I moved. We may in the eyes of some be incorrigibly evil, but both friends and critics should be a little more nuanced in their criticisms, even if this is the internet.

Posted by Peter Bostock at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 2:36pm BST

@ Edward "You talk about a house divided, yet you have no concept of the worldwide Church." I think I do, and its not a pretty sight. Its largely a bastion of sexism and patriarchy that provides theological cover for the same. The world wide church is typical of religious traditions in general in their attempt to sanctify discrimination. More important than political hegemony in the "world wide church" is the integrity and unity of the human family. I choose to be a voice within the church in favor of the the human family and offer an relenting critique of the patriarchal church until it is reformed in favor of human rights and a deeper respect for human dignity. I don't accept the church "fathers" as the final word on socially constructed roles. Doing so merely prolongs the cultural lag the church is suffering from with regard to the modern world.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 2:53pm BST

'Since women cannot actually be priests or bishops, their supposed ordinations actually serve to cut off those whom they minister to from the sacramental life.'

I 'actually' find the above much more offensive than talk of gutters and devils. It also proves my point that some traditionalists will not accept women's ministry in any form but still insist on their 'right' to a separate 'church within a church.' I very much doubt whether even 'a quarter of the C of E' hold the same views as traditionalists like Edward. 42 out of 44 Dioceses??

Posted by Stephen Morgan at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 3:03pm BST

42 out of 44 diocese, yes, but since that is done by simple majority it disguises the fact that the total opposition within the dioceses was 26%.

Posted by Edward at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 4:37pm BST

In the USA, even fundamentalist evangelical churches ordain women to the ministry. So far, the sky has not fallen.

Posted by FD Blanchard at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 4:52pm BST

"if a Mass celebrated by a woman is no Mass then neither was Maundy Thursday!"

Could you elaborate on that for us Geoff?

Posted by Edward at Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at 4:59pm BST

All the sacraments of the church are just as potent when administered by a woman priest or bishop. Women are called by God to ordained ministry and the hate and insult displayed by Edward is no match for the love of God our Creator who created us all in her/his image. And called us to love and serve one another.

Everything else is culture. Edward and his people are engrossed in male privilege and use pre-scientific, medieval, and absolutely neanderthal cultural to support maintaining their privileges. They see the church as their private club. It does not imitate the life and teaching of Jesus.

I support pastoral arrangements for awhile. But institutional insult to the dignity of women has to stop.

It's so interesting. I was too young to hear the offensive arguments of the Edward's in the US in the 1970's. I've grown up with equality in the church. So it is interesting to see this dusty museum piece, but I'm sorry that my brothers and sisters in the CoE have to live with that mentality as a part of church policy for a few more years. I hope it doesn't drive everyone out before a refreshing changed is made.

Posted by Cynthia at Thursday, 6 June 2013 at 12:57am BST

"Could you elaborate on that for us Geoff?"

I take Tobias Haller as putting it definitively, but in a nutshell, what was not assumed is not redeemed. If a purported ontological _male_ (as opposed to simply human) nature is held to be intrinsic to the priesthood, then Christ himelf doesn't pass muster.

Deriving his human nature wholly from the Theotokos, he would not have the "Holy Ghost receptors" which the magic-realist gender anthropology consider to be both uniquely male and essential to the sacrament "landing."(-Mark South Carolina's embarrassing grandpa-at-Thanksgiving remarks about trans* folk on the floor of General Convention capture this latter school).

Posted by Geoff McLarney at Thursday, 6 June 2013 at 4:39am BST

"I hope it doesn't drive everyone out before a refreshing change is made."

The 'refreshing change' in TEC is really bringing the people in isn't it?

Posted by Edward at Thursday, 6 June 2013 at 8:59am BST

This is a thread about the Church of England. Comments about TEC are off topic. Please desist.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 6 June 2013 at 9:14am BST

Geoff,

I've not read Tobias Haller, but what you've said looks rather like gibberish - so I think we need a little more elaboration, please.

Is Haller claiming that humanity is ontologically split into two, male and female, and that since Christ's human nature was derived from his undoubtedly female mother, he is, in fact, ontologically female?

The "what is not assumed is not healed/redeemed" line is from Gregory of Nazianzus (read him: he's very, very good). He was in no doubt that humanity is all one ontological nature, whether male or female. In fact he was arguing against the Apollinarian heresy that Christ had no human soul. Apollinarius held the common view of traducianism, which states that the soul comes from one's father. Apollinarius argued that since Jesus has no human father, he could have no human soul. Gregory held that Jesus must be a full human person in order to save us (who are also full human persons).

I don't think (I may be wrong) that any opponent of women's ordination believes that male and female are two ontologically distinct kinds of humanity, or ever has believed this. Distinct in other ways, but not at the level of ontological nature.

Posted by Bernard Randall at Thursday, 6 June 2013 at 12:49pm BST

And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

Posted by Jeremy at Friday, 7 June 2013 at 2:02am BST

I'm afraid that "gibberish" is what any attempt to rationalise the male priesthood is doomed to sound like.

"Is Haller claiming that humanity is ontologically split into two, male and female"

I rather think that is the claim he is pushing back _against_. It is the pro-male priesthood view that requires human nature to be bifurcated. (After all if women simply share in the same redeemed human nature as men do, then asking whether women can be validly ordained makes no more sense than asking if it is possible to ordain anyone).

"I don't think (I may be wrong) that any opponent of women's ordination believes that male and female are two ontologically distinct kinds of humanity, or ever has believed this. Distinct in other ways, but not at the level of ontological nature."

Hunh? The "traditional Catholic" objections to WO are _precisely_ about the supposed difference in ontological nature. Those inclined to such a view have been known to comment that maleness is as necessary to the sacramental "matter" as bread or wine (hence the nasty old line that a women can no more be ordained than a goat baptised). Such a statement clearly only makes sense if men and women are two discrete kinds of "matter." Otherwise, as I've said, the answer to whether women can be priests is necessarily the same as the answer for men.

I don't know whether you or anyone else "believe" in such a bifurcation of human nature, in the sense of cognitively assenting to and articulating a proposition. But by advocating a model of priesthood which assumes that bifurcation as a premise, you wed yourself to it whether you mean to or not.

(I am not sure what the in-house policy is on links, but if you want to go straight to the horse's mouth the relevant post is called "WO is Me" at Tobias's blog In a Godward Direction).

Posted by Geoff at Friday, 7 June 2013 at 2:50am BST

I used to be vehmently anti women Priests for all the reasons mentioned above. However, I now feel that its perfectly possible to remain a "traditionalist" and also understand that the Church evolves- the whole CofE is a case in point! Whilst I'm not certain that its right for women to be Bishops, I'm not certain that its wrong for them to be Priests

Posted by emma Green at Monday, 16 December 2013 at 10:38am GMT
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