Press Statement from WATCH (Women and the Church) 5th July 2010
WATCH Opposes Archbishops’ Amendment Regarding Women Bishops
The text of the Archbishops’ amendment on women bishops appears innocuously brief and simple. However, their proposed small alterations to the draft legislation hide some changes for the Church that WATCH sees as highly contentious.
In removing the reference to ‘delegation’ we are returned to the idea of ‘transfer’ of jurisdiction: a female bishop will have some of her job automatically removed as soon as she is appointed. This was rejected (as TEA) by the House of Bishops in 2006, and found unworkable in practice after detailed examination by the Revision Committee.
When it comes to having ‘coordinate jurisdiction’, the Archbishops appear to be seeking to create, in effect, two Diocesan bishops in each Diocese: one to minister to those who accept ordained women, and one to minister to those who don’t. This is a step further even than flying bishops. Such an innovation must not be accepted without serious examination of the consequences.
Senior clergywomen have written in the last week to the Archbishops asking them to withdraw their amendment. They say that the proposed amendment ‘brings dismay and despair amongst women priests, and many have voiced their reaction by saying how deeply undermining it is of their ministry as ordained women.’ WATCH remains opposed to the Archbishops’ amendment.