Thinking Anglicans

some group responses to Vatican

Updated again Thursday morning

The Anglican Church in North America has posted this press release from Archbishop Robert Duncan.

CANA has this response from Bishop Martyn Minns Vatican Move Recognizes Reality of Anglican Divide.

Bishop Jack Iker in Fort Worth has Response to Vatican announcement of “personal ordinariates” for Anglicans available here.

Reform in the UK has Reform Initial Response To ‘Apostolic Constitution’ Announcement.

Affirming Catholicism has issued this:

Affirming Catholicism shares the desire of all Christians, and especially Catholic Christians, for the full and visible unity of the Church of Jesus Christ. We also value our Anglican tradition as one which has its own distinctive contribution to make to the life of the whole Church, a gift of the Spirit which is an important part of the richness of God’s work in the world.

We recognise that Pope Benedict’s announcement may be of great comfort to some who combine deep attachment to Anglican patterns of worship with acceptance of the claims of the Roman Catholic Church as regards doctrine and church order. We affirm, though, that there is an authentically Catholic tradition within Anglicanism which seeks unity through a process of mutual learning. In such a process, each church will have something to give and to receive at every level of its life.

It is for that unity that we continue to pray.

The Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough have this statement.

The Society of the Holy Cross has issued a statement, see here, or in the comments below.

The Traditional Anglican Communion, which is probably the main beneficiary of this development, has issued this statement.


more on the Roman announcement

Updated again Wednesday evening

In the Guardian Riazat Butt and John Hooper have Pope opens gates to Anglicans disaffected over women clergy.

In The Times Ruth Gledhill has Pope’s gambit could see 1,000 quit Church of England. And also Desperate bishops invited Rome to park its tanks on Archbishop’s lawn.

Tim Bradshaw writes Pope’s move will harm dialogue and weaken Church of England.

Edwin Barnes writes that The Catholic Church offers us a warm welcome.

And yesterday there was also Vatican plan to allow Anglican groups to convert dates back a decade.

In the Telegraph there is a leader comment, Half way to Rome.


The Times also has Q&A: what happens to the Catholic Church and Church of England after Rome decision? by Ruth Gledhill.

And Ruth has a further blog entry, headed Will Michael Nazir-Ali go to Rome? which includes his statement in response to the Vatican.

Washington Post Vatican fishing for disgruntled Anglicans

New York Times Vatican Bidding to Get Anglicans to Join Its Fold and see also Why the Vatican Wants Anglicans

Reuters Disaffected Anglican dioceses may switch to Rome

The Times Ruth Gledhill Hundreds of Anglican clergy to meet after Vatican offer.

And in tomorrow’s paper, 400,000 former Anglicans worldwide seek immediate unity with Rome.


Personal Ordinariates for former Anglicans

Updated Tuesday lunchtime, afternoon and evening

In a joint statement issued today the Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury have said

Today’s announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church.

Pope Benedict XVI has approved, within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.

There is also a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury to “the Bishops of the Church of England, and the members of the Primates Meeting of the Anglican Communion”.

Read the full statement and the letter below the fold.

Damian Thompson in the Telegraph reports this as Pope announces plans for Anglicans to convert en masse.
Also in the Telegraph George Pitcher has Pope throws a lifeline to the Church of England for women bishops.
Yet again in the Telegraph Martin Beckford and Nick Squires have Pope Benedict XVI paves way for thousands of disaffected Anglicans to cross over to Rome.

Reuters has Pope approves document on Anglicans joining church.

Associated Press has Vatican creates new structure for Anglicans, and, more extensively, Vatican creates new structure for Anglicans.

John Hooper in The Guardian has Roman Catholic church to receive Anglicans.
Also in The Guardian Riazat Butt and John Hooper write Roman Catholic church to receive Anglicans.

Austen Ivereigh in America has Rome offers new home to Anglican trads.

Ruth Gledhill in her Times blog has Pope unity move ‘not act of proselytism or aggression’ says Rowan Williams. This includes the text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter, and also a letter from the Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough (two of the “flying bishops”).
Update – Ruth Gledhill has updated her blog with video and audio from this morning’s press conference.
Ruth Gledhill and Richard Owen have the Times news article on this story: Vatican moves to poach traditional Anglicans.

Forward in Faith UK has issued a brief statement FiF reacts to Statement from Rome.

At The Guardian Andrew Brown writes in his blog about The end of the Anglican Communion.

Jim Naughton at Espicopal Café writes Vatican offers home to traditional Anglicans

Catholic blogger Rocco Palmo at Whispers in the Loggia writes For Canterbury Exiles, Rome Builds a Bridge.

Episcopal Life Online has Pope announces special provisions to accept former Anglicans in Roman Catholic Church.
The US Episcopal church has issued this statement From The Episcopal Church on the recent statement from the Vatican.

The Catholic Church in England and Wales also has the statement on its website along with a Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) press release: Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church.
There is a longer version of the CDF press release here.



Fulcrum analyses the APA report

Fulcrum has published this article:
Changing Sexual Orientation and Identity? The APA Report by Andrew Goddard and Glynn Harrison.

This is a discussion of this report:
Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation.


Thought for the Day

There has been some public debate recently about the BBC Radio 4 morning slot Though for the Day. The BBC Trust will soon respond to various charges made against it by supporters of secularism and humanism.

Nick Baines reported on an event he took part in, at Free thinking, a couple of weeks ago.

This weekend Jonathan Wynne-Jones wrote a detailed review of the arguments in the Telegraph, see Rethinking Thought for the Day. His earlier blog entry is here.


a range of opinions

Naftali Brawer writes in The Times that There are no easy answers in interfaith dialogue.

Ruth Gledhill writes on Articles of Faith about Gays and flat-earthers: Jack Spong attacks Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury et al.

Gary Wilton wrote in last week’s Church Times that [the Lisbon] Treaty will make the EU more accountable.

John Hall the Dean of Westminster wrote The Abbey has its neighbours round.

Timothy Seidel wrote at Ekklesia Looking at what truly makes for a just peace.

Anna Hartnell wrote at Cif belief about The rise of the religious left.


women bishops: Church Times coverage

Updated Saturday

Pat Ashworth reports for the Church Times on the revision committee’s decision: Synod’s women-bishops committee draws back from code of practice.

SUPPORTERS of women bishops have expressed shock at a decision by the revision committee for the draft legislation not to go further down the route of a statutory code of practice. Traditionalists say that the change of direction proposed does not go far enough…

Scroll down that page for responses from David Stancliffe Bishop of Salisbury and from David Houlding Pro-Prolocutor of the Convocation of Canterbury.


THE news that the revision committee has chosen not to explore the option of the single clause with a statutory code of practice any further, and has gone for “certain functions to be invested in bishops by statute” will strike despair into the hearts of many. What the committee is proposing takes a step back from the position Synod thought it had reached in July 2008.

My concerns are on several levels. First, these proposals appear to institutionalise mistrust in legislation: the opponents of women’s ordination do not trust the bishops to make proper provision. Is that really what we have come to?

Second, it destroys the ecclesiology of the Church of England, making it legitimate to “choose your own bishop”. Are there to be any limits as to the grounds on which you might petition to do this?

Third, it seems wildly impracticable: something very similar, Transferred Episcopal Authority, has already been found wanting, and it must remain doubtful whether such discriminatory legislation would pass parliamentary scrutiny or stand up to challenge by judicial review…


…The Act of Synod, despite its imperfections, has given space to many to flourish and grow. Embracing the principle of “reception”, it provides for extended episcopal care, under the Ordinary. Once a woman is ordained a bishop, there is correspondingly a much higher degree of impair­ment of communion. We have never had to face this situation before. This is why, I suggest, it is proving so hard for us to get our minds around the new solution required.

The decision last week of the revision committee to provide by means of law for the transfer of episcopal authority is, therefore, a real turning point in helping us reach the decision that will need to be made. Anything by way of code of practice or delegation can only lead to a diminution of a woman’s ministry. To provide for both positions to co-exist alongside one another by statute rules out the possibility of any further wrangling. By creating proper space and the necessary boundaries, the Church is including everyone.

Women in the episcopate remain a contested develop­ment in the wider Church, and therefore the principle behind the nature of provision must be inclusion for all. The Archbishop of Canterbury has enunciated this more than once in speeches to the Synod: “the others (who­ever they may be) are not going away.” Our task is to hold the Church together for the sake of its mission and to ensure that we live together in the highest degree of communion possible

Giles Fraser writes about it in his column, Let Synod’s ‘yes’ be ‘yes’.

I admit that I have never been a huge fan of the General Synod, even when I was a member. But to see a representative body treated with such contempt ought to make everyone who gives up their time and money to support synodical government wonder why they bother.

In July 2008, the General Synod voted clearly that it wanted women bishops with no small print that made them into half-bishops, and no further institutionalisation of the sexism that keeps them out of the episcopate.

Some did not like this clarity, and sought to protect the con­sciences of those who are against women bishops by securing legal no-go areas where women in purple would not be welcome. After a comprehensive debate, where all shades of opinion were repres­ented, the Synod said no…

The Church Times leader column is titled Revision committee deserves a hearing.

…Until the committee reveals its deliberations in a final an­nounce­ment, probably in January, it would be wrong, therefore, to condemn it. It might be wise, though, not to be over-enthusiastic, either. There are several examples where a small group runs ahead of the people who commissioned it, finding agreement where none exists outside. A case in point was the Final Report of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), which was ignored and then rejected by the Vatican. A General Synod that is, in the main, sceptical about any agreement over women bishops can overturn any of the committee’s recommendations. The committee knows this perfectly well, and yet believes, clearly, that its preferred solution is worth fielding. It deserves an opportunity to make its case.

Two letters to the editor on this topic are now available without subscription, see St Thérèse of Lisieux and women bishops.


Bishops’ office and working costs

The annual report of these costs has been published as a 24-page PDF.

Read the press release.

The 2008 office and working costs of bishops in the Church of England are published today. Figures for individual bishops were first published, for the year 2000, in December 2001. Bishops’ office and working costs were previously published as a total figure.

Read the full report.

For reports on previous years, go here.

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Equal Pay Day

The Fawcett Society promotes 30 October as Equal Pay Day.

Ekklesia has published an article Women’s dignity and the church’s tainted love by Fran Porter which discusses the relationship between this and the Church of England, including, but not limited to, the issue of women as bishops.

…For those who argue that opposing women bishops is not about the secular discourse of equality but about the theological discourse of faith, the two issues of the gender pay gap and women’s potential inclusion to the episcopate do not speak to each other. Indeed, it may be possible to support the former while opposing the latter.

The Church of England has excluded its own governance and practice from equality legislation by claiming the Section 19 exemption for organised religions in the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act, which already means women clergy (deacons and priests) are not covered by the legal employment protections of that Act.

In particular, a Parochial Parish Council (PCC) can advertise for male clergy only to apply for vacancies of incumbent, curate or non-stipendiary minister and may also ban a woman priest from celebrating the Eucharist within parish boundaries. [3]

More generally, the language of equality is not a first language for theology or more specifically theological anthropology; Christian understanding of human beings and how they relate to one another is expressed in language of human personhood created in the image of God more than it is through modern sensibilities of equality. Equality is not irrelevant, but it has a derivative value.

Hence, for Christians, the equality that human beings have with each other comes from their commonality in being creatures of the one Creator. The dignity of each human person comes from our being made in the image of God. Similarly, the inalienable rights that human beings possess without distinction, for Christians, are rooted in the understanding of God as Creator who bestows innate worth on humanity.

Yet this framework of personhood that enables those opposed to women bishops (and women priests) to argue that their position is one of theology and faith (Jesus ordained and gave authority only to men) and not one of secular equality or justice [4], is the same framework in which those who support women’s ordination live and breath…


reactions to Peter Selby

There have been several reactions to the lecture by Bishop Peter Selby that is reported here.

Adrian Worsfold wrote An Exocet – At Last and later Criticised.

Mark Harris wrote Bishop Selby tells it like it is: Resist the Anglican Covenant.

Tobias Haller wrote Peter Feeds His Sheep.

Fr Jake wrote The Emergence of the Hidden Wisdom of God’s People.

James Richardson wrote Anglican update: Rowan Williams asked to stand against homophobia.

And Colin Coward has begun a series of posts, starting with these:
Archbishop accused of abrogation of responsibility in gay debate
No truth in the House of Bishops
Rejecting the Covenant
Listening, conversation and dialogue


women bishops: more views

Reuters has published an article by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes Proposed legislation on women bishops falls short.

Daily Episcopalian has published I am not a nobody by Lauren R. Stanley.

Maggi Dawn has written Women Bishops Are Tainted? And Tainting The Church?


women bishops: Inclusive Church press release

Inclusive Church Press Release
12 October 2009
The Decision of the Revision Committee

Inclusive Church is deeply disturbed by the recent announcement of the Church of England’s Revision Committee. It has moved away from the expressed will of General Synod in July 2008 – that there should be legislation to consecrate women as bishops on the same terms as men with an additional code of practice containing arrangements for those who do not accept the authority of bishops who are women.

Their decision reflects a further undermining of the Anglican understanding of the role of the Bishop as the pastor of, and focus of unity in the Diocese. If implemented it will inevitably create a two-tier institution with little prospect of long-term unity.

The impact of this on those within and outside the church will be immense. The bias shown against women in this proposal will mean that the church continues to be seen as institutionally discriminatory towards them. The impression given is of an organisation which perpetuates injustice, undermining its ability to witness to Christ in the world. It ignores the considerable gifts ordained women have to offer within the Episcopate. Men and women should be present on the same terms.

We urge the Revision Committee to reconsider its decision and prepare legislation, as it was requested, to open the Episcopate to women with a national code of practice to be drafted separately.
Revd Canon Giles Goddard
The parish of St John with St Andrew Waterloo
Chair, Inclusive Church
Secker St
London SE1 8UF
07762 373 674


Preparing for Women as Bishops


WATCH is publishing a series of papers on Preparing for Women as Bishops. All are PDF files.

First, there is Introduction to the papers: Preparing for Women as Bishops by Christina Rees. Her paper is titled Preparing for Women as Bishops –Legislating in Fear or in Faith?

The Church of England is in the process of drafting the legislation that will make it lawful for women to be bishops. After debating the issue of women’s ordination for over 40 years, WATCH is delighted that the General Synod has agreed that having women as bishops is ‘consonant with the faith of the Church’. We are concerned, however, that certain proposals have been put forward which would result in a two-tier episcopacy and a fracturing of the historical Anglican understanding of orders. Further, we are alarmed that the flawed theology of the Episcopal Act of Synod 1993 may be absorbed in the legislation permitting women to be bishops.

Several members of WATCH have written about their hopes and fears for the women bishops legislation and we offer this series of papers as a contribution to the on-going discussions about the way in which the Church will legislate for the Episcopal ministry of women…

The first paper is available here, and is by Dr Judith Maltby.

The prefatory material says:

Introduction to the Revd Dr Judith Maltby’s essay in Act of Synod –Act of Folly? edited by Monica Furlong, SCM Canterbury Press 1998.

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, but Two Integrities?

On 11th November 1992, after many years of debate and discussion at all levels in the Church, the General Synod voted to make it lawful for women to be ordained as priests. Almost exactly one year later, with only two debates a day apart, the General Synod passed the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod, creating provision for three separate ‘flying bishops’ to minister to those opposed to women’s ordained ministries.

Five years after the Act of Synod was passed, the late Monica Furlong edited a collection of essays entitled Act of Synod –Act of Folly? Canon Dr Judith Maltby, Fellow of Christ Church College, Oxford, has given WATCH her permission to use her contribution to Monica’s book. We are grateful to Judith for her essay, which traces the theological and ecclesiological flaws inherent in the Act and the damaging precedent it has set, not only for the Church of England but for the entire Anglican Communion. 16 years on, the Act is still in place, although only 2% of parishes in the Church of England have signed Resolution C, the resolution calling for the extended Episcopal oversight created by the Act.

As the Church prepares to open the Episcopate to women, WATCH continues to work for the rescinding of the Act of Synod and for the simplest and most straightforward legislation for women bishops.

The second paper is now also available: Walls of Suspicion, Hatred and Taint by Jean Mayland.


women bishops: a look back

To put the recent press release from the revision committee into context, it may help to review what actually happened on 7 July 2008.

The order paper is here, listing the full text of all the amendments. The pertinent amendment is number 72 in the name of the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds.

Peter Owen’s report of the voting is here.

Here is the rollcall of the bishops votes.

And the rollcall of the clergy votes.

And subsequently, I wrote an analysis, Bishops give a clear lead. I wrote about amendment 72:

Finally, ten of them [i.e. conservative bishops listed earlier] voted for the Bishop of Ripon & Leeds’s amendment to keep open the possibility of “statutory transfer of specified responsibilities”. Altogether 21 bishops supported this, but amazingly both Chichester and Birmingham opposed it, leading to a 21-21 tie in that House. (The chair of the drafting group, the Bishop of Manchester, abstained on many though not all votes.)

The amendment did obtain a 53% majority in the House of Laity, but failed in the House of Clergy where it obtained only 47% support. Had the vote not been by houses, the amendment would have passed by the slim margin of 203-200, with 3 abstentions.


South Carolina proposals get press attention

It has been several months since we reported on South Carolina bishop makes proposals.

The five proposed resolutions to be voted on at the Special Convention, October 24, are now online here (PDF).

There has been extensive coverage in the local press namely the Charleston Post & Courier recently:

It’s hard to imagine an English diocesan synod meeting getting this kind of space in the local paper!


Weekend opinions

Roderick Strange writes in The Times about Christ’s startling challenge to the rich young man.

Cif belief had this Question of the Week: How should the church deal with war? with responses from Lucy Winkett, Austen Ivereigh and Rosemary Hartill.

The Archbishop of Canterbury delivered this sermon at a service in St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday 9 October to mark the end of military operations in Iraq.

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times about Capitalism: accidental generosity?

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph on William Gladstone: A prime minister who read books and Never more the sound of bells.


Peter Selby on the Covenant

Bishop Peter Selby spoke at the Inclusive Church residential conference this week.

There is a press release from Inclusive Church reproduced below the fold.

The full text of his lecture is available here: When the Word on the Street is Resist.

The Church Times has a news report (on the website only) see Covenant would not be Anglican, says Selby.



women bishops: more coverage and some reactions

Updated Friday evening and Saturday morning

Bill Bowder has a report on the Church Times website, Women bishops: hope for traditionalists.

THE COMMITTEE responsible for the progress of the women-bishops legislation through Synod is seeking to reverse the decision made in July 2008 to proceed by code of conduct only. Those who cannot accept the authority of women bishops have argued that their position should be protected by statute.

A statement issued on Thursday by the revision committee, chaired by the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch, suggests that it agrees…

Reuters has a report, Anglicans, in row, may cut women bishops’ powers. A later copy has the headline changed to Church of England moves to heal row over women bishops.

Andrew Brown has written an explanation of what it means at Cif belief The church loses its nerve, again. He writes (emphasis added by TA):

Women can’t be part of that chain. So a woman not only can’t be a priest herself: she can’t, if promoted, make other priests, as a bishop must. So for Anglo-Catholics to go on believing that they are priests, they must be able to exclude women from their lineage. They must also shun male bishops who ordain women priests, because such men don’t share their understanding of the priesthood. So what happens when such a priest finds that his bishop – to whom he swore obedience in all things lawful when he took his post – does ordain women?

Favourable reactions have come from Reform (see earlier news reports) and from Forward in Faith. See Statement by FiF in response to news from the Revision Committee.

There is now also a response from WATCH [Please note that this is the final version (added by us on Saturday); we accidentally published a draft on Friday.]:


WATCH (Women and the Church) issues the following response to the press release of 8th October by the Committee established by General Synod to consider the draft legislation enabling women to become bishops.

In that press release we were informed that the Revision Committee has voted to amend the draft legislation so as ‘to provide for certain functions to be vested in male bishops by statute rather than by delegation from the diocesan bishop under a statutory code of practice’.

WATCH is very disappointed that the Revision Committee has come to this decision. In the Church of England, as in society as a whole, people want to see women able to serve as bishops on the same basis as men. WATCH has long been campaigning for the adoption of the simplest possible legislation to this effect.

What is being proposed by the Revision Committee needs further clarification but we do not believe that statutory transfer can avoid creating a two tier episcopate. This would be demeaning to women and would fundamentally damage the office of bishop in our church.

Moreover, were such proposals to pass through our church synods, the Church of England would be in the extraordinary position of asking Parliament to ratify legislation that institutionally discriminates against women.

There will be opportunity for detailed scrutiny of the Revision Committee’s proposals, including the tabling of amendments, when the draft legislation returns to Synod in February. WATCH is confident that Synod will, on further consideration, adopt legislation which reflects the mainstream theology of our church: that men and women are equally made in the image of God and equally graced to hold the offices of priest and bishop.


American Exec Council on the Covenant draft

ENS reports Executive Council notes concern with covenant’s disciplinary section.

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council said October 8 that the majority of the General Convention deputations and individual deputies that expressed an opinion do not support the disciplinary process outlined in the latest draft of a proposed Anglican covenant.

The comment came in the council’s official response to the Ridley Cambridge Draft, which the members said addresses “some of the most difficult matters and substance relating to such a covenant.”

The Anglican Communion’s provinces were asked for specific comments on the draft’s Section Four, which contains a dispute-resolution process…

The Executive Council said that the comments it received on Section Four were “so interwoven” with comments on the covenant as a whole that “separating the two is difficult.”

“The majority of deputations and individual deputies that responded are not convinced that the covenant in its current form will bring about deeper communion,” the council said. “Several stated that the overall idea of a covenant is ‘un-Anglican.’ One went as far as to say that the ‘document incorporates anxiety.’”

On the other hand, the council noted, another deputy called the covenant “a presentation of the Christian community as a dynamic spiritual body in which God-given freedom is inextricably bound up with God-given accountability.”

…The council also said that it was “grateful” for the opportunity given to provinces to consider the Ridley Cambridge Draft “in the hopes of realizing a fully matured Anglican covenant.” It also pledged that its ongoing participation in the covenant development process would be entrusted “to the leading of the Holy Spirit” and that it “look[s] forward to the next three years as we grow more deeply into our common life in the Anglican Communion.”

The actual text of the response, linked in the above report as a Word file, can be read in html here.

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women bishops: press reports on the press release

The press release is reported in the previous item.

This morning’s newspapers report this story in various ways.

Telegraph Martin Beckford Women bishops may not be equal to men under controversial new Church of England proposals

The Times Ruth Gledhill Plan for women bishops put on ice to avoid defections from Church of England

Guardian Riazat Butt Church removes power from women bishops

Daily Mail Steve Doughty Parish power could block women bishops as church promises law to appease traditionalists