Thinking Anglicans

women bishops: Affirming Catholicism proposals

Press release from Affirming Catholicism 30 March 2007
Women bishops: the limits of dissent

Affirming Catholicism has made a formal submission to a Church of England group charged with drawing up the legislation that will enable women to become bishops. In its submission, Affirming Catholicism argues that women bishops should have the same authority and status as their male counter-parts and that pastoral provision can be made for many but not all of the opponents of the move. The legislative drafting group was created by the Church’s governing body, the General Synod, after a debate in July 2006 when the great majority of its members backed a motion in favour of women bishops, although the question of how to deal with opponents was left unresolved.

The Rev’d Jonathan Clark, who chaired the Affirming Catholicism working party, said:

The General Synod has asked the legislative drafting group to produce proposals which will require all members of the Church to accept the fact of women bishops but which affirms that it is possible to dissent from that decision while still remaining loyal Anglicans. We argue that the clear implication of this tough brief is that pastoral arrangements can be put in place for those who regret or disagree with the decision to admit women to the episcopate but not for those who want to insulate themselves from the rest of the Church by living as though women had never been ordained.

The debate about women’s ordination as bishops has been high on the agenda of the General Synod over the last three years, with no set of proposals gaining the full support of its members. Canon Nerissa Jones, MBE, Chair of Trustees of Affirming Catholicism, said:

The Church has been grappling with the ordination of women for a generation now and many many people are keen to see it at last resolved. Although only a minority of parishes and priests oppose the ordination of women as bishops, we are arguing for generous and secure pastoral provision to be made for them, provided that it does not put women who are bishops on a lesser footing than their male colleagues or create a church within a church. We believe our proposals strike the right balance between clarity and charity.

The legislative drafting group is due to meet in the middle of April to consider the submissions it has received from individuals and groups and is expected to make a progress report to Synod when it meets in July, although it is as yet unclear when the final vote on legislation will take place.

To read the full text of the submission, click here (.doc format)

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17 years ago

“pastoral arrangements can be put in place”

Thinks: map to the nearest Specsavers?

“right balance between clarity and charity”

Oh goodness, the sort of cliche to make an admin/secretary laugh in the bath 😉

17 years ago

Prayers that the CoE will work this through.

17 years ago

Surely the point must be that the question of the ordination of women (to whatever order of ministry) remains an open and disputed issue – as does the ordination of practising homosexuals. The aim should be to remain within the same church in as great a degree of communion as possible…whatever one’s view on these disputed and yet to be resolved matters.

17 years ago

after all of these years of women having their ministry recognized by the church, after having a Presiding Bishop who is a woman, I simply cannot believe that this conversation is still going on. This is incredible! It is very simple. Women are fully capable of serving in the church, in every order. Those who don’t agree don’t belong. We have tried to give them a special place to keep their bigotry up for too long. All we get in return is more arguments and more fights. Enough. It is amazing that there are Christians somewhere still fighting over this.… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
17 years ago

If you think things are sad, check this out

Stumbled across today whilst checking out the progress of the tsunami today that caused damage in the Solomon Islands and rippled down the east coast of Australia.

Fr David
Fr David
17 years ago

The biggest problem with these proposals is that they simply will not work. The provision offered to opponents insists they accept the orders of female bishops and that is exactly what they cannot do. Provision offered on that basis is not provision at all. The results are terrifying – many will feel unchurched and leave the anglican communion – BUT others will almost certainly stay and take such actions as they believe necessary. There is real danger that the flying bishops and many who look to them will refuse to work this system and leave – but that may well… Read more »

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