Comments: Women bishops vote is one week away

The question was never whether this version of the measure would gain votes on the conservative side.

The question is whether it will lose votes on the liberal side.

The key question is this: Does the present measure commit the Church of England, even as it ordains women bishops, to discriminating against them?

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 7 July 2014 at 12:02pm BST

Either these consecrated women are bishops or they are not. I have great difficulty understanding a bench of bishops some of whose members refuse to accept the orders of others, and hence the sacramental acts of their colleagues, Eucharists, ordinations, confirmations. Surely exercising ministry where theirs is not accepted is undermining them, and by implication the ministry of the Church of England.
I can understand it between ecclesial bodies, but not within the same Church.

Posted by gerry reilly at Monday, 7 July 2014 at 2:25pm BST

Quite concerned to see the comments attributed to Fr Houlding in the Church Times in which he is alleged to have said (a) that he wishes the proposal to succeed, but (b) that he is going to vote against on principle.

The fact is that a vote against is a vote that says that you do NOT want the measure to succeed. The logic behind the position that I understand Fr Houlding to hold is that there is a body of people theologically opposed to women bishops who, nevertheless, see that there are adequate protections in the proposed legislation and that this legislation is likely to produce the best result even if that is not what they would in their heart of hearts desire.

In that case the more logical, and better, way is to vote in favour of the motion. The reason for this is that it is the particular package of legislation that is being voted upon, not the principle. For those who cannot in conscience vote in favour but who do not wish to see the package fail then there is the option of recording abstention, which is, if you like, publicly not taking part in the vote.

To vote against is to say that one does not wish this measure to be passed. If too many people in the similar position to Fr Houlding (especially in the House of Laity) take the line attributed to him then, perversely, they will not get what they state that they want: for the legislation will not pass.

Posted by Wilf at Monday, 7 July 2014 at 2:43pm BST

Wilf makes an excellent point.

The conservatives can't have it both ways.

If the people for whom this compromise has been arranged will not hold their noses and vote for it, then why should anyone else?

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 7 July 2014 at 4:37pm BST

It is not the job of the conservatives to get this measure through. If after twenty years of women priests and massive Establishment pressure this vote with all its concessions to traditionalists still seems to be on a knife edge, then the proponents need to think how their advocacy has brought us to this place.

Posted by Robin Ward at Monday, 7 July 2014 at 6:51pm BST

Why do the bad faith votes of the die-hards matter? (Bad faith 'cause this is meant to be about *how* change is implemented: the theological decision's already been made. Anyone incapable of voting on those terms ought to recuse themselves.) Supporters of equal ordination have collected the six votes necessary to pass the measure. Other 2012 opponents will, in all likelihood, also switch their support. The only way it fails now is if a number of 2012 supporters oppose the current measure for not being true equality. If that happens, the issue is now with the supporters' camp.

As illustrated by silence of the eight "participant observers" on the church's institutional homophobia, it's unlikely that episcopal equality will make any meaningful difference to how the church is run. Ambitious women are just as complicit and two-faced as ambitious men, and will be quite happy to inflict the Bible on others, so long as it's not inflicted on them. Equal ordination is good for its own sake, but we shouldn't expect anything more.

Posted by James Byron at Monday, 7 July 2014 at 6:53pm BST

Don't agree at all with these strictures against Fathers Killwick or Houlding. They are 'de facto' pluralists, because they recognise that the C of E is a pluralist instituion, even though their adherence to one strand of this pluralism appeals to a universal Catholicity. Their position is completely consistent. They have come a long way. We too should go a long way to meet them. This thing is solved. Only the Church of England can do this, one of the many reasons why I love her,

John Moles.

Posted by John at Monday, 7 July 2014 at 8:24pm BST

"It is not the job of the conservatives to get this measure through."

I agree with that. If they oppose it, they should vote against it.

But if the conservatives won't vote for it, then the liberals have made a big mistake in by negotiating with themselves.

Let's have a new, reform-minded synod and a better measure--one that won't make women second-class bishops.

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 7 July 2014 at 11:17pm BST

"It is not the job of the conservatives to get this measure through."
Maybe Robin Ward could tell us what the job of conservatives is? But then he might not understand that not all Christians actually recognise him as a conservative; and that not all conservatives think he's a valid conservative; and that still others don't think he's got the ontological capability to ever be a conservative. Even if General Synod decided that he could be a conservative he also needs to be told that some parishes and dioceses are under special arrangements to ensure that they don't actually have to receive the ministry of conservatives because if they did the sacraments that they purport to celebrate would be in doubt.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Tuesday, 8 July 2014 at 7:08am BST

When is a Bishop not a Bishop? When she is a woman! - At least, according to the dissidents. What sort of collegiality will this result in?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 8 July 2014 at 7:29am BST

Lets not forget that over 90% of members of Diocesan Synods have voted in favour, what does this say to the members of the house of laity, and what does their voting say about them?

Posted by Stephen at Tuesday, 8 July 2014 at 9:10am BST

I do find this continuing negative discussion very sad. My understanding is that through some prayerful wisdom the Church has agreed that those who are not able to support Women Bishops or priests are NOT dissidents, but a valued and respectable part of this small corner of the One Holy Catholic Church, and are welcome. I hope to continue my small part of this priestly ministry in the C of E in this context of loving acceptance of difference, knowing that we can truly learn from each other. So I hope and pray that the majority who disagree with me will allow me to continue my priestly ministry in this Church - but if they really cant cope with me, then I hope general Synod will tell me to leave!

Posted by Frank Nichols at Tuesday, 8 July 2014 at 4:06pm BST

And what happened to all of the talk about the bishop being the focus of unity? Seems to me this plan is a way to ensure a divided house -- of bishops. How can it conceivably function as a college when some members deny the reality of some others of the faculty?

It is important to recall that the primary function of a bishop is collegial, not monarchial -- even the Bishop of Rome, per his church's official teaching that the church subsists in that recognition and unity. It is the shared recognition of bishops one for another that constitutes the episcopate, or divides the churches: the episcopate is not a private holding, but a shared ministry and order.

The Church of England is about to create a divided episcopate, in which some of its members will have no more in common with each other than they do with the Bishop of Rome.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Tuesday, 8 July 2014 at 4:16pm BST

Oy vey, spare me the euphemisms!

FrankN, "support"? You just have to acknowledge that your bishop IS your bishop, regardless of said bishop's sex chromosomes (or regardless the sex chromosomes of whomever ordained your bishop). Nothing more, nothing less.

Can you "cope" with that? If you can, great. But if your ideology won't permit your bishop to function as YOUR BISHOP, then all this concern...talk re "prayerful wisdom" and "context of loving acceptance of difference" and the rest of your euphemisms, are ONLY TALK.

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 8 July 2014 at 9:22pm BST

I have been reflecting that we haven't heard much from the ConEvos and TradCaths recently on the question of the 'period of reception'. Maybe it is over for women priests but will re-commence for women bishops. The steps taken since November 2012 have been Herculean and I hope and pray that the debate on Monday will be conducted in a spirit of good charity and grace. I am however glad that I won't be there. There will be ongoing tensions. We will have Flying Bishops for years to come. There will be a ConEvo bishop appointed somewhere (but which diocese would accept such a person as a suffragan?). There should be a new see created. However, for the vast majority of the Church of England we will look forward to a new period. There will not be any new diocesan bishops appointed who are non-ordainers. The settled wisdom will be clear. How long has it taken since it was agreed that 'there is no theological objection to the ordination of women to the episcopate'?

Posted by Anthony Archer at Tuesday, 8 July 2014 at 11:59pm BST

Perhaps the greatest sign of obedience to the will of God in the Church of England would be for Frank Nichols, and all of those who protest against the 'mind of General Synod' to consecrate women as bishops; to bow to revealed authority and accept the decision, and the loyalty it invokes.

Surely, the only recourse for conscientious dissent would be to move to another jurisdiction, whose discipline you can conscientiously comply with?

I the result of the vote is for women bishops, you will have to live with the fact that, the Church in which you serve, and to whose authority you have a moral obligation, employs women as well as men as bishops. It will become part of its DNA.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 9 July 2014 at 12:47am BST

Your understanding is correct, Father Frank. Lots of people here and in the wider church wish you well. It is of course important that this thing goes through. But it will - and everybody can then get on with other things.

Posted by John at Wednesday, 9 July 2014 at 9:14am BST

Fr Frank, It seems as though you and your colleagues always see yourselves as victims. But it is the women who are the victims, whose Orders are not accepted, who are expected to accept interlopers into their parishes and dioceses, who are described in sneering tones as priestesses. And it is our church, the one to which you and I belong, that has accepted that it is the will of God for his Church that they should be ordained. So decide whether you will accept that judgment of the church or not, as I had to do in the RC Church in 1969.

Posted by gerry reilly at Wednesday, 9 July 2014 at 10:50am BST

I thought that the Lambeth Conference has declared that both those Anglicans who accept and those who for theological reasons do not accept the Ordination of Women to the Episcopate are loyal Anglicans and should be accounted as such. How does this possibly square with the, ironically very Roman Catholic view, expressed by one contributor to this thread that 'it is our church, the one to which you and I belong, that has accepted that it is the will of God for his Church that they should be ordained. So decide whether you will accept that judgment of the church or not, as I had to do in the RC Church in 1969.'

Posted by Geo Nokes at Wednesday, 9 July 2014 at 4:47pm BST

I must make a resolution never to comment on Thinking Anglicans again! (so this is my last) I have NEVER talked of women priests in "sneering tones"-Gerry Reily; I did not "protest against the mind of General Synod - Father Ron Smith. I simply said that I am sad that a small number of supporters of what is clearly the settled mind of the C of E feel it necessary to complain that I exist. I am glad that the wider C of E has not taken that position. My understanding is that there is room for us within the C of E, and am glad that Archbishops and Bishops have made it possible.

Posted by Frank Nichols at Wednesday, 9 July 2014 at 6:26pm BST

"I thought that the Lambeth Conference has declared that both those Anglicans who accept and those who for theological reasons do not accept the Ordination of Women to the Episcopate are loyal Anglicans and should be accounted as such."

But of course the Lambeth Conference does not legislate for the Church of England. (Thanks be to God!)

Posted by Jeremy at Wednesday, 9 July 2014 at 10:32pm BST
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