Updated Wednesday morning
Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Bishops put forward as solution to Church of England row over women clergy
Riazat Butt in The Guardian Church tries to quell dissent over female bishops with new role
Robert Verkaik in The Independent Opt-out for parishioners opposed to women bishops
WATCH (Women and the Church) has issued a press release today commenting on the draft.
WATCH is pleased that provision in the draft legislation endorses the authority of diocesan bishops, and that they retain the authority to delegate certain functions to another bishop if requested to do so. This means that episcopal authority resides in and is retained by the diocesan bishop and is not transferred automatically to another bishop.
The full press release is below the fold.
George Pitcher at the Telegraph has Women bishops demonstrate the Anglican tradition of compromise.
Andrew Brown at Comment is free has Will complementary bishops fly?
Women in the Episcopate
WATCH Statement on the Further Report of the Legislative Drafting Group (GS 1707)
In 2005 General Synod passed a motion asking that the legal obstacles to having women as bishops be removed, and this report contains draft legislation making it possible for that to happen at last.
WATCH is pleased that provision in the draft legislation endorses the authority of diocesan bishops, and that they retain the authority to delegate certain functions to another bishop if requested to do so. This means that episcopal authority resides in and is retained by the diocesan bishop and is not transferred automatically to another bishop. WATCH is opposed, however, to the provision of male-only suffragan sees from which ‘complementary’ bishops may be appointed.
The report acknowledges that some of its arrangements would restrict the rights of bishops who are women, and cites the Church of England’s continuing exemption from the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the principle in English law that where there are conflicting rights, the “exercise of one right may sometimes need to be restricted in order to protect the exercise of another right”. (GS1707 page 3, paragraph 16)
WATCH is dismayed that the rights of bishops who are women should be proscribed and that there is not equality of opportunity for women at this level in the Church. WATCH believes that the 20 years’ experience of women as bishops elsewhere in the Anglican Communion shows that mutually acceptable arrangements work well on an informal basis. Chair of WATCH, Christina Rees said today, “This report needs to be seen in the context of a General Synod which has for the past few years stated its desire to open the episcopate to women, and in the wider context of a Church which wonders why this is taking so long. WATCH will be making submissions to the Revision Committee about the contents of the Code of Practice, some of which we find unacceptable, but for now, we take heart that at last we have the draft measure which makes it possible for women to be bishops.”
Revd Charles Read
Revd Sarah Lamming