Thinking Anglicans

women bishops update

Updated Saturday

Today, the Church Times reports: Women drafts impress supporters, but not FiF by Pat Ashworth.

DRAFT legislation for women bishops has drawn cautious responses since its publication last week (News, 2 January). There is a prevailing desire not to question what the proposed Code of Practice could do before the General Synod examines it in detail in February.

The response of the traditionalist Catholic body Forward in Faith has been the most uncompromising. While it welcomed publication of the further report and associated documents, the organisation opposes in principle the Code that is at the heart of the proposals.
“We have consistently argued that a Code of Practice (with no transfer of jurisdiction) will not provide the security which tens of thousands of faithful and loyal Anglicans need in order to live with integrity in the Church of England after the ordina tion of women to the episcopate. Nothing in these documents changes that situation,” a terse statement on its website said last week…

The Forward in Faith statement is here.

And there is a Leader: Manchester’s plan.

…Taking the two sides in turn, supporters of women bishops have nothing to fear. This is a big, grown-up world, where every woman priest lives with the knowledge that her orders are questioned by a neighbouring priest or parish. After all, every C of E priest works (or should work) closely with Roman Catholics who cannot official recognise his or her orders; every Christian works (or should work) with people of other faiths who take issue with many of his or her central beliefs. In 21st-century Britain, any Christian — bishop, priest, or lay person — who is surrounded solely by affirming, unchallenging supporters needs to get out more. If women are confident that opposition will dwindle naturally over the years, then they need do nothing but wait.
One might be similarly robust with traditionalists. If they believe in the rightness of their position, it will thrive in the C of E whether hedged about by legal structures or not. The Manchester proposals contain firmer provisions for opponents of women bishops than had been thought, and it is conceivable that agreement might be reached on this basis. But there is a stumbling block. The 15 years since the passing of the Act of Synod have furnished traditionalists with a wealth of tales of pressure and shenanigans in some dioceses. These have brought them to the point where they simply do not trust bishops, or future bishops, to uphold the code of conduct…

Last week, The Times had It’s time to appoint Britain’s first woman bishop, says Canon Jane Hedges by Ruth Gledhill.

And Ruth’s blog asked: Women bishops: what’s the answer?

Update
Jonathan Wynne-Jones wrote It’s time for a truce in battle over women bishops.

Notes of a meeting of Church of England bishops held at Lambeth Palace have been passed to me…

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JCF
JCF
12 years ago

“traditionalists. If they believe in the rightness of their position, it will thrive in the C of E whether…” Aye, there’s the rub. They don’t so believe—not really. It’s of the very essence of fundamentalist, reactionary religion: the FEAR that God is NOT in God’s Heaven. Rather, God has been “falling down on the job”, and CONSTANTLY needs The Elect to fix the “liberal mess” or “Dictatorship of Relativism” (etc) that God has misguidely allowed. [NB: in contrast to the Worldly, Violent Power-Over that the God-in-Christ of Scripture, Tradition and Reason has *actually* come to cast down!] While I by… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

“Supporters of women bishops, whom nobody disputes are in the majority, are dismayed by the proposed autonomy and permanence of the complementary bishops. Forward in Fatih, prominent among opponents, still will not countenance anything less than a structural provision, and appears to dismiss the manchester proposals in toto.” – Church Times, Leader – Despite the ‘bending over backwards’ proposal to accommodate F.i.F. and other opponents of the Women Bishops Measure in the Church of England, by affording ‘autonomy and permanence’ to the suggested ‘complementary’ male-only bishops to provide special provision for them, this has been rejected by the F.i.F. contingency.… Read more »

Grumpy High Church Woman
Grumpy High Church Woman
12 years ago

The Church Times leader implies that it is a lack of maturity by women priests and the need to get out more, that is behind our issues with the Draft Legislation. I think the author of this Leader needs to get out more. His/her (?) ecumenical and inter-faith analogies are flawed – how can you have ecumenical relations with members of your own church – and how can the CofE productively have ecumenical relations if it cannot accept its own orders? If one ‘got out there’ one would find the idea of discriminating against women in this way simply because… Read more »

Mark Wharton
Mark Wharton
12 years ago

Father Ron Smith, thank you for your post. Let me ask you a question; if I build you a bridge to cross a river, and I know that as soon as you step upon it, it will break, have I really built you a bridge? The problem with a code is that it creates holes in the diocese, because there would be places where the Bishop could not minster as a Bishop. However if we had a new diocese, then there would be no holes because I would no longer be in that particular diocese, but in another non geographical… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
Rev L Roberts
12 years ago

FiF are taking the proverbial – they will push as hard as they can, to seehow far they can get others to panic, concede to them. They are hardly a moderate or eirenic voice. They are under the misapprehension that they can lay down the law to the other 90 % of the Church. Call their bluff, say I ! They need not recieve ministry from those who happen to be of the female gender. They need not accept women as their vicars or curates, or colleagues. Just as I need not attend a FiF affiliated,with their aping of Rome,… Read more »

john
john
12 years ago

I’m with JCF and Rev L Roberts. Behind so much ultra-orthodox thinking is anxiety. I don’t mind that. I do mind when they constantly seek to impose the consequences of their anxiety on everyone else. I used to be in favour of (continued)separate jurisdiction. I’m not now. Most FiF people don’t deserve it. By that I mean that it could only work if there were mutual respect and a recognition of mutual integrity. There isn’t. The very idea is incomprehensible to most FiF people (not all, of course, but it’s the organisation that drives policy). A code of practice, by… Read more »

Wilf
Wilf
12 years ago

If you ask me the Church Times leader has got it about right – as has the draft legislation. The number of complementary bishops will depend on the number of petitioning parishes so we hope, in time, will dwindle.

By the way, did anyone see the advert in the Church Times for a priest in charge for the flagship catholic parish of Holy Trinity Reading? Sadly it now has an electoral roll of only 46. If this is repeated across the FiF element then there is no way they could form self-supporting dioceses.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
12 years ago

“I don’t demand special protection from them or from them or from anyone who has ever been contact with them. I don’t demand to ‘protected’ from bishops who have taken part in such illegal ,unanglican goings-on !

“Should I ?”

Not unless you fear male RCwannabe cooties. Then you should be afraid, very afraid!

Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

“but in another non geographical diocese, under a Bishop that I can say 100% is actually a Bishop. The Diocesan Bishop would not have to worry about those who cannot agree that she is a Bishop and we could all simply be the Body of Christ.” – Mark Wharton – And here, Mark, is the nub of your real problem -“(whom) I can say 100% is actually a Bishop”. Is this really about you, Mark, rather than about what the Church believes and says – that women, as bearers of the Divine Image and likeness of God, are equally qualified,… Read more »

JCF
JCF
12 years ago

“a Bishop that I can say 100% is actually a Bishop”

I’m sorry, MarkW, but it is not right for the Body of Christ (and those called to holy orders within it) to be held hostage to your *perceptions*.

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
12 years ago

Forward in Faith…no Backward in Logic.

I do hope the Church of England will not give them an apartheid solution, and force them to nail their colours to the mast.

If you love someone ..you tell them the truth.

Ian
Ian
12 years ago

John wrote:Most FiF people don’t deserve it.

How many of the membership do you know to be able to make that sweeping generalisation?

John also wrote: Their current lack of loyalty is offensive to the rest of us

Loyalty to whom? The Church of England or the Church of God?

kieran crichton
kieran crichton
12 years ago

“Loyalty to whom? The Church of England or the Church of God?”

What, if anything, is the difference between the Church of England and the Church of God?

Lister Tonge
Lister Tonge
12 years ago

If people feel there is a difference between loyalty to the C of E and loyalty to the Church of God surely it behoves them to leave the former rather than to seek an arrangement where they can pretend that it is what they feel they need it to be. I don’t want anyone to have to leave the Church of England but I am not prepared to see it create a sort of ‘Flat Earth Society’ within itself whose members are intent upon disregarding the rest of us so that they can remain pure, spotless and only in contact… Read more »

Neil
Neil
12 years ago

“a Bishop that I can say 100% is actually a Bishop” I’m sorry, MarkW, but it is not right for the Body of Christ (and those called to holy orders within it) to be held hostage to your *perceptions*. Nor yours JCF! And there is still a whole lotta talking to do until Christendom is reconciled in agreement with the innovation. Or agrees it was an aberration – either course is possible in say 50 years time. Hopefully though the ordination of women will not meanwhile become a dogma people are required to assent to! We don’t like ‘dogma’ do… Read more »

Bromenblue
Bromenblue
12 years ago

Just a general observation about the liberal voices on this website. I am appalled by the degree of illiberalism they actually seem to show. I don’t claim to be a liberal, so I’m happy for people to call me “Conservative”, “Anglo-Catholic” or “Traditionalist”, even if it is occasionally meant in a derogatory way (I’ve broad shoulders!), but I do now wonder what true Christian liberalism is, because it certainly doesn’t seem to allow for opinions that differ from its own, at least, that is, if some of the offerings on this website are any indication of its definition. I am… Read more »

Ed Tomlinson
12 years ago

Wilf you say ‘By the way, did anyone see the advert in the Church Times for a priest in charge for the flagship catholic parish of Holy Trinity Reading? Sadly it now has an electoral roll of only 46. If this is repeated across the FiF element then there is no way they could form self-supporting dioceses.’ What exactly is your point? I could equally point to a great number of FIF parishes that are flourishing (my own has doubled in last 2 yrs). Indeed if you want to play the numbers game I can guarantee that the healthiest statistics… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
12 years ago

“I’m sorry, MarkW, but it is not right for the Body of Christ (and those called to holy orders within it) to be held hostage to your *perceptions*.

Nor yours JCF!”

The difference being that Mark W’s perception go against the discerned theology and the adopted policy by his church, whereas JCF’s perceptions are in line with it.

If individual perceptions don’t count, those arising out of a discernment process of a whole church do.

Rev L Roberts
Rev L Roberts
12 years ago

It’s not dogma. We have women ministers –all we can do is get on with it now.

The ‘Do we want em?” has passed I notice.

Next it’ll be said that we don’t believe in Baptist ministers or that we need a discussion !

Early Quakers used to issue a letter to someone saying “God (seems to) have started using this person in minsitry. Be open to him / her.”

Lets go back to that for a decade or two – maybe

JCF
JCF
12 years ago

But it’s NOT just my perception (I’ve never had any say on anyone’s vocation other than my own—and that’s a long, ambiguous story for another day). The affirmation of women called to holy orders, has been through succeeding (representative) democratic-majorities of the General Convention of the Episcopal church for 33 years, plus (just as important) the particular affirmations of each ordained woman’s call in every diocese [I speak only of TEC here—other Anglican churches have their own ordination procedures]. In this way, an individual call for each woman has been affirmed ON THE SAME BASIS as has been a man’s… Read more »

Bromenblue
Bromenblue
12 years ago

By the way, I thought the website was called “Thinking Anglicans”, so why does Robert Ian Williams continue to feel it necessary to make so many contributions, when he’s a former Anglican Evangelical who’s converted to Roman Catholicism? He’s an awful lot to say about the Church he’s left. Perhaps you’re missing us Mr Williams?

David Malloch
David Malloch
12 years ago

“The difference being that Mark W’s perception go against the discerned theology and the adopted policy by his church, whereas JCF’s perceptions are in line with it.” This is simply incorrect. The position of the CofE, of which Mark is a member is that is accepts WO AND accepts that one is free to believe that women cannot, sacramentally, be priests or bishops. That is the context in which synod has asked for legislation that enables the consecration of women and makes provision for opponents. That principal is clearly set out in the report of the drafting group and its… Read more »

BillyD
12 years ago

“Next it’ll be said that we don’t believe in Baptist ministers…”

I, for one, believe strongly in Baptist ministers, having personally met several — they do, indeed, exist. What that has to do in a discussion about Anglicanism, though, is unclear.

john
john
12 years ago

Bromenblue, I think you misrepresent (at least some) liberals. Take this thread. There seems to be more or less ‘liberal’ agreement that FiF people can have their beliefs within the C of E and that no one wants to coerce them. But the argument then is that they should do so within the broad structures of the C of E, within a code of practice, but without a Third Province (or whatever). The onus is on FiF people to show why the latter is necessary. We can leave that aside for the moment. The more important point in the present… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

“And I am pleased to report that the majority of my liberal colleagues are not demanding that I leave the Church of England, but dearly want the Church to do its best to ensure I can stay, even if that means a structural solution. Liberal dogmatists they are not!” – Bromenblue – Then it would seem that your ‘liberal colleagues’ go along with your need to defend yourself against the ministry of female priests and bishops within the Church of England, which body, however, has already affirmed the fact that women should not be debarred from these ministries in our… Read more »

Ed Tomlinson
12 years ago

‘In Christ there is no male or female’ is true. But it is a statement relating to baptism/ And in baptism we are indeed all equal in God’s eyes. Ordination is slighty different as some are called and not others. Hence the call of apostles from within the disciples, Oh and apologies to the prior poster if he finds no ‘parity’ in my blog. I would stress that as a traditionalist I do find much liberal theological argument thin and compromised. But disliking the theology does not equate to the people – and I am very good freinds with many… Read more »

john
john
12 years ago

Indeed, even as a FIF priest, I am in a cell group with two female priests.

Good for you! And you actually call them ‘priests’! You see, I think that kind of thing is the way forward. You disagree most profoundly about their sacramental legitimacy and yet you’re actually in a cell group – pretty exposed theological environment – with them. But I still maintain there’s a big gulf between that and your (and Jeff’s) blog.

Father Ed
12 years ago

Yes but then there is a mighty gulf between my beliefs which are in line with Catholic thinking down the ages- and what is emerging from within the liberal tradition of the Anglican church within the last half century. The cell works in so much as I care for both people involved and thoroughly support them in as much as they have been sanctioned to operate as they do. However in my view neither should be ordained and I would not involve myself in any sacramental activity with them nor formally acknowledge them to be ‘priests’ by any Catholic understanding… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
Rev L Roberts
12 years ago

Indeed, even as a FIF priest, I am in a cell group with two female priests.

This is terrific. You couldnt get much closer than that without marrying ! So thats the problem solved then. Great.

Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

“and I am very good friends with many whom I disagree with. Indeed, even as a FIF priest, I am in a cell group with two female priests. So careful how you stereotype please, especially when using names.’ – Ed Tomlinson – Everyone knows that the intimacy of cell groups (cf: the recent Lambeth Conference) can help us all to come to a mutual respect and understanding of one another – to the degree that we may no longer need to be separated out from one another in terms of ecclesial parity in ministry. My prayer for you, Ed, and… Read more »

Father Ed
12 years ago

I believe them to be sincere Christians and good friends. However I do not consider their orders to be in any way valid as I do not think the Anglican Church has either the right nor the authority to simply change 2000 years of tradition without serious theological and bibilical evidence in keeping with tradition and under the blessing of Rome and Constantinople. Alas- no one has ever provided such convincing theology (as Kalistos Ware pointed out at the last synod ) All we get is arguments stemming from secular philosophy. The ‘rights’ of women et al. Turst me I… Read more »

Adrian Furse
Adrian Furse
12 years ago

Fr Smith, the problem is not with respecting or understanding female clerics , but the fact that in the eyes of the wider church of both the East and the West that these people do not not possess the grace of priestly orders. St Therese of Liseux desperately wanted to be a priest but was unable to be one. Their sense of vocation is genuine, their desire to serve God and his Church beyond doubt, but the Universal Church has yet to affirm the admittance of women into holy orders. Once they do, I and many other people will be… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Pat O'Neill
12 years ago

“I believe them to be sincere Christians and good friends. However I do not consider their orders to be in any way valid as I do not think the Anglican Church has either the right nor the authority to simply change 2000 years of tradition without serious theological and bibilical evidence in keeping with tradition and under the blessing of Rome and Constantinople.” What? Rome and Constantinople don’t even accept the ordination of Anglican MALE priests! Why in the world should we await their blessing on the ordination of women? I think the extreme Anglo-Catholics sometimes forget that we broke… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
12 years ago

“These people do not posses the grace of priestly orders.”

“But I know that consecrating women isn’t going to help things.”

“… a matter of conscience fundamental to our understanding of what the Church is; the validity of her orders and the Apostolic Succession…”

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
12 years ago

Adrian The problem seems to be that you define yourself in terms of what every single church in Christianity does. The church you a are member of, however, is probably one of the churches in the Anglican Communion who does not define itself in those terms. The descernment process in the CoE has gone on over a period of 35 years and has been made on the basis not of social justice and gender equality but of theology. The discernment process has gone against your understanding of theology and of church, and I can accept that this is very painful.… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

“I do not think the Anglican Church has either the right nor the authority to simply change 2000 years of tradition without serious theological and bibilical evidence in keeping with tradition and under the blessing of Rome and Constantinople.” Father Ed (Tomlinson?), it seems to me that you may be mistaken in your apparent need to defer to the polity and tradtion of ‘Constantinople and Rome’. Do you not belong to the historic Church of England, which has long resiled from the jurisdiction of both Rome and Constantinpole? In case you have forgotten the fact, I should remind you that… Read more »

Neil
Neil
12 years ago

No Erika – not settled yet. The debate in the wider Church will continue and still could go either way over the next 50 years. The majority votes of General Synods and Conventions re women’s ministry may yet be seen to be a mistake in the future. Or not. But to say the matter is settled is wishful thinking!

Neil
Neil
12 years ago

I agree with the commentator about Jane Hedge’s lack of theology in her article. You can judge for yourself by looking at her sermons on the Westminster Abbey website. Homely rather than heavyweight thinking (which is fine for a CanonPastor…and she’s good on Pram Services as well) but were she be the first woman bishop in the CofE, she wouldn’t be the first to be theologically thin.

Bromenblue
Bromenblue
12 years ago

Father Smith, history tells us that the Church of England is both Catholic AND Reformed. It is not solely REFORMED as you seem to infer. Why else would we be having these debates? It is because our Apostolic Ministry unites us with the great Churches of East and West, however they see or understand our orders. The Anglican Communion has not definitively stated its case about orders. If that were the case, why are there Anglican provinces around the world which still refuse to accept either women priests or bishops? And why, even as the debate is going on within… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
12 years ago

“the fact that in the eyes of the wider church of both the East and the West that these people do not not possess the grace of priestly orders.” But in the eyes of the wider Church, no Anglican male possesses the grace of priestly orders either. Indeed, in the eyes of the wider Church, we are not part of the wider Church, but at best some “faith community”? I have asked this many times and gotten no answer, so I’ll ask you. If we need the approval of “the wider Church” for this, what else do we need that… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
12 years ago

Neil
of course it is theoretically possible that a future General Synod will discuss women priests again. And it is theoretically possible that a future General Synod will then vote against women priests and get rid of half of the CoEs working priests. Of course.

But that cannot possibly concern us here.

A past General Synod has discussed them and decided in favour of them.
Another past General Synod has decided in favour of women bishops.

So for all practical purposes a decision has been made and the matter is settled.

john
john
12 years ago

Bromenblue, You didn’t reply to me. Sulk. Ed (don’t really do ‘Father’ – no offence), I’m not trying to persuade you of the theological rightness of WO, merely that a practical deal requires some sort of mutual acknowledgement of legitimacy, within continuing disagreement. (Rather as, say, a Labour supporter may never vote Conservative but grants others the right to do so.) But I also am bothered when you immediately write that you have never seen any arguments for WO not based on ‘secular philosophy’. Whatever ‘ye are all one in Jesus Christ’ (etc.) is, it is not ‘secular philosophy’. Remarks… Read more »

Bromenlue
Bromenlue
12 years ago

John, I did reply, but the moderator may not have allowed it through, though there I don’t think there was anything offensive in my remarks. Maybe I’m making too many comments or space is limited. Maybe I went over the allowed number of words. Maybe the comments didn’t get to the Moderator in the first place – who knows.

Father Ed Tomlinson
12 years ago

Ye are all one in Christ Jesus’ – that IS the theology???? Please do me the courtesy of actually reading the theological arguments I have put forward – as detailed on my site (click on ‘theol. obj’ on right hand panel) and answer each of those points theologically. Secondly the beautiful quote you provide was not uttered in relationship to ordination but discipleship and is therefore not terribly relevant in this debate. I could say your ignorance of that is laziness, stupidity etc… but that would seem very uncharitable. Finally comparing the theology of priesthood/sacramental validity with the need for… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
12 years ago

“You ask me to accept a secular political principle and apply it to sacred doctrine and church practice. Sorry no can do!”

There’s a whole body of good theology out there, as you well know.
But of course no-one asks you to accept it.
What we do ask of you is to accept that your church has accepted it.

john
john
12 years ago

Ed, You’re being very evasive here, and I’m absolutely sure you know it. ‘All we get is arguments stemming from secular philosophy. The ‘rights’ of women et al.’ To which I reply with my quote (used by someone else above, or one of the very similar ones). This is not meant as a total defence of WO. It is meant as a complete refutation of your claim – made, precisely, in relation to WO – ‘ALL we get’. You can say the quote is misapplied (of course, I wouldn’t agree, for many reasons, including the fact that there were’t any… Read more »

john
john
12 years ago

Ed, You’re being very evasive here, and I’m absolutely sure you know it. ‘All we get is arguments stemming from secular philosophy. The ‘rights’ of women et al.’ To which I reply with my quote (used by someone else above, or one of the very similar ones). This is not meant as a total defence of WO. It is meant as a complete refutation of your claim – made, precisely, in relation to WO – ‘ALL we get’. You can say the quote is misapplied (of course, I wouldn’t agree, for many reasons, including the fact that there were’t any… Read more »

David Malloch
David Malloch
12 years ago

“Another past General Synod has decided in favour of women bishops.” Well, that is not strictly true. Synod has a range of complicated rules and procedures and after the last vote on this matter the synod’s legal team were asked to clarify its status. Their clear reply was that is represented the view of the majority on the day of the vote BUT that it could only be seen as a decision of synod at the final vote, when the legislation would require a 2/3 majority in each house. The final vote will not be for some years and, at… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
12 years ago

” Why else would we be having these debates? It is because our Apostolic Ministry unites us with the great Churches of East and West, however they see or understand our orders” – Fr. Ed Tomlinson – Ed, you obviously have not read my previous post, or are, at best, ignoring it. “The Great Churches of East and West” (Rome and Constantinople) do not agree with you, so why should you bend over backwards to assert a theology of your ministry which these parties do not recognise? Beats me! You and I know that the Anglican Churches of our Communion,… Read more »

Bromenblue
Bromenblue
12 years ago

Father Smith, YOU have obviously not read properly MY previous post. If you had you would have realised it’s Bromenblue and not Ed who posted it!

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