Today, the Church Times reports that ‘Chaos’ warning as rumours fly after Bishops’ meeting by Bill Bowder.
.. A spokesman for Forward in Faith said that it did not comment on speculation based on leaks.
News of a possible decision by the Bishops not to offer legal provision for the objectors was reported in The Sunday Telegraph this week. It said the move had been opposed by a “substantial minority”, and that the Archbishop of Canterbury had argued that, although creating jurisdictions with male bishops only would further divide the Church, it would honour promises made to traditionalists.
On Tuesday, however, a Church of England spokesman refused to confirm whether the Bishops wanted a simple “code of conduct” for objectors, in order to keep the legislation to a minimum, and had rejected the idea of a third province. He also declined to comment on whether they wanted to end the right of parishes to opt out of the ministry of women priests.
“The House of Bishops had a full discussion of the Manchester report [News, 2 May], and agreed that the options in the report should be debated by the Synod in July. The House agreed a motion to act as a starting point for the Synod debate. The wording of this will be issued with the other Synod papers next month,” the spokesman said.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York would set out in a covering note “the considerations [the House of Bishops] believes that the Synod will need to weigh in coming to a decision”.
In the paper edition this article also says that:
“Two online petitions, one for male clergy (including retired bishops), and the other for laity, have been set up by Thinking Anglicans to support legislation for women bishops that does not give legal protection to objectors.”
Meanwhile, the Telegraph today has a further story, see Church of England closer to appointing women bishops after MPs signal approval by Martin Beckford.
Members of Parliament’s Ecclesiastical Committee had previously said the church was not ready for women priests to become bishops, an historic step which has divided Anglicanism for decades.
But this week MPs on the committee, whose approval would be needed before any legislation is passed, said most are now in favour after bishops voted to go ahead with the reforms without any concessions to opponents…
And here is another parliamentary exchange that occurred recently, well on 8 May, concerning this matter.
Robert Key (Salisbury, Conservative)
There is clearly still some way to go. Does the hon. Gentleman agree with me that it really is time that the Church of England stopped discriminating against 50 per cent. of the human race when it comes to episcopal appointments? Can he imagine this House finding it expedient to agree to any Measure from Synod that sought to discriminate against women, in the hope that it was going to allow women bishops in the Church of England—but not at any price?
Stuart Bell (Second Church Estates Commissioner; Middlesbrough, Labour)
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his comments. He will remember that this House voted almost unanimously, but certainly overwhelmingly, for women priests way back in 1992. Given that he is a member of the General Synod, he will know that in July it will look at the options for progressing the ordination of women as bishops, informed by the recently published report of the legislative drafting group, chaired by the Bishop of Manchester. This House—in its majority, I think—supports women bishops and we urge the Church in this case to make haste less slowly.
Matt Cresswell has a similar report for Religious Intelligence Parliamentary boost for women bishops campaign.