Last Sunday’s Observer had a feature in the Magazine section written by Emma John and titled Should women ever be bishops?
It includes the following statistic:
Forward in Faith and Reform between them have a combined individual membership of 24,000; the Church of England has a regular worshipping community of 1.7 million (who attend at least once a month), the majority of whom – 65% – is female.
Monday’s Guardian had an article by Paul Handley titled Rowan turns rough.
Is Rowan Williams finally getting tough? And is he doing so with the right people?
So, here’s the scenario. Rowan Williams, just turned 60, eight years into the job at Canterbury, decides, at long last, to start throwing his weight around. People are always grumbling about the need for some strong leadership, so, right, he says, let’s give it a go…
…Next, women bishops. The General Synod decided in July 2008 to press ahead with women bishops without giving any cast-iron, legal safeguards to those who don’t accept them. There would be a code of practice, but nothing legally binding. Since then has come the Pope’s offer of sanctuary for traditionalists in the Roman Catholic Church.
In the light of this, New Rowan, joined by the Archbishop of York, a fortnight ago concocted their own cunning plan, introducing the idea of co- ordinate bishops for the traditionalists, so that each diocese has a sort of episcopal twin-set. Supporters of women bishops haven’t been overwhelmingly enthusiastic; but hey, says Rowan, I’m an Archbishop. So, there we have it: at long last, the bearded hippy finds his true voice, and it turns out to be a reactionary, authoritarian one…
But, read the whole article. This was a response to the week’s Cif belief question, which is Which way will synod jump?
(The latter article seems to assume that the synod will be considering the Covenant this weekend, which is not correct.)