PRESS RELEASE – for immediate release
Roman Catholic and Anglican Solidarity on Women’s Ordination
The Roman Catholic group CWO (Catholic Women’s Ordination) and the Anglican group WATCH (Women and the Church) have sent a joint letter to all the Bishops of both Churches giving support to those in the Church of England for their recent vote in favour of women Bishops and calling for the Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales to look urgently at the growing desire for women priests in the Roman Catholic Church.
The letter has been sent before the joint meeting of Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, to be held at Hinsley Hall, Leeds on 14th –15th November 2006.
The letter says:
“We say to the Anglican Bishops: please do not be afraid of raising the subject of ordaining women with your Catholic colleagues. It falls to the RC Bishops, when they gather in Synod, to consider whether these major issues in the Magisterium of the Church need to be looked at afresh. There are clearly many Catholic Bishops in England and Wales who personally believe that women should be ordained: we hope that in the privacy of your meeting that you will be able to discuss this, and perhaps help the Catholic bishops to consider ways of raising this formally in the structures of their Church. The XII Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is to take place in Rome in October 2008: such a gathering might well provide an opportunity for a discussion of women’s ordination. The RC Bishops of England and Wales, from their experience of working alongside Anglicans, will surely have much to say on the contribution that can be made by women priests.
“To the Catholic Bishops we say: please do not feel this is a one-way dialogue. We believe you also have much to share with your Anglican brothers on the same issue. 14 years ago the C of E voted wholeheartedly for the ordination of women, by a two-thirds majority in all three houses of General Synod. This past July, Synod overwhelmingly agreed with the majority of the Bishops that admitting women to the episcopate was ‘consonant with the faith of the Church’. As Catholics we hope you will feel able to share with your Anglican colleagues that, as this is the step they are taking, they must appoint women as bishops on the same basis as men are appointed as bishops. To do otherwise would be to alter seriously the nature and understanding of episcopé. You will no doubt wish to point out that, in any future reconciliation between Rome and Canterbury, all priests and bishops will need to be universally recognised.