Comments: Prime Minister's Questions - women bishops

Seems to me that both the Prime Minister and Mr. Tony Baldry are both in favour of Positive Discrimination as far as getting women bishops into the House of Lords is concerned. It is good to see that the Government is willing to work with the Church in order to acheive this dubious goal. Looks like a spirit of co-operation has broken out not only within the Established Church but between the Government and the Church of England. How well I remember the good old days of Runcie V Thatcher when the CofE was more effective in opposing the Tory Government than the Official Opposition.

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 21 November 2013 at 12:19pm GMT

But, Father David; it is surely important to consider the grounds of co-operation when making observations about the propriety of Church/State relationship. In this instance, Tony Baldry and your Prime Minister are both seeking justice for women.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 21 November 2013 at 11:53pm GMT

Presumably the simplest way to achieve what Baldry and Cameron want would be to appoint a woman as bishop of London, Winchester or Durham at the first such vacancy after passing of the necessary legislation

Posted by Edward Prebble at Friday, 22 November 2013 at 3:24am GMT

Its discrimination against all other religious groupings that male or female Anglican bishops sit in the house of Lords anyway. Considering that less than 2 per cent of the population ever go to a Church of England on a regular basis, and that the denomination baptizes less than a sixth of English babies.

Posted by robert ian Williams at Friday, 22 November 2013 at 6:52am GMT

Robert, it does well to remember that the British Parliament does not harness power structures that operate from outside the country. Hierarchical Churches that are ruled from overseas have no jurisdiction in England. If you want a say in the House of Lords through your local bishop, you would have to rejoin the Church of England.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 22 November 2013 at 8:33am GMT

Appoint a woman as Bp London, Durham, Winchester to fast-track a woman bishop in the Lords? Yes, but the next vacancy at York and Canterbury are just as possible!

Posted by peter kettle at Friday, 22 November 2013 at 8:48am GMT

But Father Ron,it all depends upon whether or not the first woman bishop happens to be a diocesan or a suffragan (I can imagine many present diocesans queuing up to be the first to appoint the first woman suffragan. If the first is, in fact, a suffragan, then she won't under the current rules be considered eligible to be ennobled. The old justice argument appears once again. That was how Roy Williamson persuaded the General Synod two decades and more ago to vote in favour of the priesting of women by employing the justice card. But just as there is nothing so illiberal as a liberal - so too, at times, there is nothing so unjust as justice!
Edward, you forgot Cantuar and Ebor - which would also ensure a seat in the Lords. If the former - then the first woman Archbishop of Canterbury would be assured of the only seat in the Lords with arm rests! But of the next three in the Anglican hierarchy - Durham and Winchester are both fairly new appointments and are unlikely to be vacant for some years to come, That leaves London - I can see that going down a storm within the diocese if the first woman bishop in the CofE were to occupy the cathedra in St. Paul's! If that unlikely scenario were to come to fruition then how fortunate for the diocese that the London Plan has not been revoked and we have a youthful Bishop of Fulham in place. Your suggestion just goes to shew that we shall continue to need a significant number of Traditionalist bishops once the innovation comes to pass.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 22 November 2013 at 10:26am GMT

Fr Ron
I think you are quite wrong on that. CofE bishops are forever telling us that they are there to speak for everybody within their dioceses, not merely those who go to CofE churches. And they make this point particularly vociferously when defending their continued presence in the House of Lords.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 22 November 2013 at 12:34pm GMT

Friend follows these matters closely and asks an extremely important question. I strongly support women bishops and hope the Church of England takes this key step to ensure its place as a modern Church in touch with our society.

Posted by william hamel at Friday, 22 November 2013 at 5:11pm GMT

Thank you, Simon. This situation - of C. of E. Bishops being responsible to all people in their geographical diocese - might assist the cause for separation of Church and State in England and Wales. Then Robert (who obviously does not relish the thought of an Anglican bishop presuming to represent him, a Roman Catholic, in the House of Lords) might get his way.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 22 November 2013 at 10:46pm GMT

Peter and Fr David
I certainly did not forget Cantuar and Ebor - I thought that might be a bridge too far. And who knows when vacancies might come up at the other dioceses? After all, the last chap at Durham didn't last very long!
Perhaps Fr David is right - London is the best one to go for. I imagine that the person so appointed would probably change the current Bishop's policy of not ordaining women!

Posted by Edward Prebble at Saturday, 23 November 2013 at 1:08am GMT

Robert Ian doesn't miss a chance to try to give a depressing statistic about the CofE, although he never cites a source.

Posted by Richard Grand at Saturday, 23 November 2013 at 8:18am GMT
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