Readers may recall our earlier article ‘untainted’ bread?
The Diocese of Blackburn has issued this press release: Cathedral Changes Holy Communion Policy
and Blackburn Cathedral has issued this Policy Statement on Eucharistic Presidency – 12/9/2009
Mindful of our strong desire to find a way of journeying together, in a context where people cannot yet reach agreement over the ordination of women to the priesthood, we have been reflecting on the Eucharistic arrangements which we made in the light of the appointment of the first woman canon to the cathedral staff.
Though we hope that people will respect the fact that we did so for the most collegial of motives and wished to make full use of the opportunities that a cathedral offers for creative exploration, we now regret the course of action that we took.
We apologise for any hurt or pain that this has caused.
It will now be the case that the sacrament at any given celebration of the Eucharist will be consecrated by the President alone.
No alternative provision will be made when a woman presides for those who cannot in conscience recognise her Eucharistic ministry, though we continue, of course, to offer a range of Eucharistic provision on a Sunday…
WATCH has issued a statement which says in part:
WATCH (Women and the Church) is delighted that Blackburn Cathedral has overturned its decision to offer communion wafers consecrated by a male priest when a woman priest is taking a service.
WATCH is grateful to Blackburn Cathedral for acknowledging the offence this caused and for discontinuing the practice which they introduced a year ago after a female canon was appointed to the Cathedral staff. This practice harks back to beliefs outlawed as heretical in the 4th century.
The Church of England’s law-making body, the General Synod, passed the vote allowing women to be admitted to the priesthood 17 years ago. In 1994, 15 years ago, 1,500 female deacons were ordained as priests. Since then 4,000 women have been ordained and there are now almost 3,000 active clergywomen serving in the Church of England, nearly a quarter of all active clergy.
Christina Rees, Chair of WATCH said, “Bearing in mind that the Church is now in the process of making it lawful for women to be bishops, this is very good news. It shows that treating women in ways we wouldn’t treat men is no longer acceptable. Blackburn Cathedral has got the message and has done the right thing and we are very, very pleased.”