Comments: Women in the Episcopate: Forward in Faith comments further

Pretty hopeful responses here, in terms of the process. At our diocesan pre-Synod meeting last week, three members who voted against last November all indicated they were able to vote in favour or abstain on the proposals. I don't share FiF's objections to women bishops, but I welcome their constructive engagement with what are, on paper, much simpler provisions.

Posted by Simon Butler at Monday, 11 November 2013 at 1:47pm GMT

Well, hopeful if you can call a loose promise to abstain grounds for hope!

Posted by Alastair Newman at Monday, 11 November 2013 at 3:24pm GMT

These are very constructive comments from FiF. I hope and pray that this spirit of recognising a common home for all of us who share different views on the ministry of women within the CofE can be sustained through the preparations for and debate within the next General Synod and beyond.

Posted by paul richardson at Monday, 11 November 2013 at 4:29pm GMT

I presume that people in the CofE, of whatever view on ordination of women, realise that the realpolitik of the situation is that if the next synod rejects OoW, the consequences will be devastating? Cameron's already made it clear that the government cannot work with an institutionally sexist organisation, and they are already at the last chance saloon. So FiF are waving around a rather rusty blunderbuss, because even they surely must realise that if they got what they wanted, they would win the battle but rather dramatically lose the war.

Posted by Interested Observer at Monday, 11 November 2013 at 5:15pm GMT

"We also welcome the inclusion in the draft House of Bishops’ Declaration of the five ‘guiding principles’ in paragraph 5. These recognize our position as one of theological conviction which continues to be within the spectrum of Anglican teaching and tradition and make a commitment to provision, both pastoral and sacramental, without limit of time." - F.i.F. Response -

Does this mean that 'Alternative Episcopal Oversight' will continue until the Parousia? Will there be no prospect of an unconditional acceptance of Women Clergy and Bishops in the Church of England? If so, that does seem a step too far - compromising the future Unity of the Church in England.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 11 November 2013 at 8:36pm GMT

Are we really "Getting to Yes" here? If so, TBTG!

Posted by JCF at Monday, 11 November 2013 at 9:15pm GMT

> Will there be no prospect of an unconditional acceptance of Women Clergy and Bishops in the Church of England? If so, that does seem a step too far - compromising the future Unity of the Church in England.

You could have unity in the Church of England tomorrow if you made it impossible for those who disagree to remain in it. But is that really what you want?

Posted by Veuster at Tuesday, 12 November 2013 at 12:17pm GMT

"You could have unity in the Church of England tomorrow if you made it impossible for those who disagree to remain in it. But is that really what you want?"

No, that's not what I'd like to see. But the provision of reserving a spot in the college of bishops for one bishop who believes in male headship is highly problematic and doesn't make a lot of sense. Provision at the diocesan and parish level I understand. It's pastoral. The discriminating bishop enshrines a bit of discrimination, apparently for ever, at the top. And male headship is not received theology, nor is it even shared by all traditionalists. It seems quite odd. And are any female clergy going to be required to serve under this male headship bishop? Wouldn't that be a problem?

There's a reason that no other province that ordains women has provisions at the top. It is highly, highly, problematic. From a distance, it also looks like CoE is playing with fire. Parliament doesn't want discrimination, and yet the proposal is to have one discriminator in leadership.

The final thing I don't get, is that I thought that Evangelicals were less interested in the episcopacy, at least theologically. So I find this whole bit confusing, and it seems like this bishop is to be selected much more on political grounds than theological. Maybe that's how it always is?

I hope things work out for CoE, but I find the solution problematic on many levels.

Posted by Cynthia at Tuesday, 12 November 2013 at 3:03pm GMT

Constructive comments, but they say they will still vote against at the final stage.

Posted by Peter at Friday, 15 November 2013 at 8:44pm GMT

Peter wrote:
"Constructive comments, but they say they will still vote against at the final stage."

But the statement says:

"As a matter of conscience, those who, with Forward in Faith, are opposed on theological grounds to ordaining women to the episcopate will not be able to vote at the final approval stage in favour of legislation whose purpose is to permit this. What attitude is taken to the possibility of principled abstention will depend on whether the proposals survive intact. Any weakening of the proposals would require them to be opposed vigorously."

I take this to mean that they will abstain, rather than "vote against" unless the proposals are weakened.

Not quite the same as saying they will "vote against"
Kind regards,
John

Posted by John U.K. at Saturday, 16 November 2013 at 1:24pm GMT

I wonder if we need a provision for congregations/PCCs who have publically proclaimed that they welcome priests who happen to be women and find that they have appointed a man who is implacably opposed as their Vicar? This may be important when the crucial information was not available to them and no one thought it appropriate to bring it to their attention during the selection process.
C.B.

Posted by C. Ramage at Monday, 18 November 2013 at 3:27pm GMT
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