Press Association Synod rejects compromise on bishops
Ruth Gledhill’s blog is now behind a paywall, but her latest entry is copied in part below the fold.
Mitre versus Right: Clergy defeat Archbishops over women
Ms Ruth Gledhill
…So in the end it was neither laity nor bishops, but the clergy who defeated the bishops. This is a terrible blow to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Their personal and archiepiscopal authority is massively diminished.
Canon Celia Thomson of Gloucester gave one of the best speeches illustrating the problems with what the Archbishops proposed:
‘This is the source of such sadness, such dismay among the ordained women at all stages of their ministry. The effect would be to legislate for the automatic transfer of episcopal authority in law in a way that would not only damage the authority of a woman bishop but also undermine the whole nature of episcopacy in the Church of England.’ She said the nominated bishops were ‘flying bishops’ by another name and that concept had not worked, in particular for women. It could also open up demands for alternative episcopal oversight in other areas where people did not agree with the diocesan bishop.
But even worse, it would send out a ‘damaging message’ about the Church to the wider world.
‘If the Church is seen to discriminate against women by law, not only will it compromise the ministry of women bishops in future and by default of all its women priests, but more fatally, the mission of the Church in the 21st century. Many people will despair of the Church. Most people under 40 simply cannot understand it and so dismiss our beloved Church as irrelevant in our life and in attitudes towards the world.
‘One-third of all clergy are now women.
‘If and when women become bishops they must be allowed to be bishops. The Church cannot have two categories of bishop.’
She warned that women called to be bishops might not have wished to serve under such circumstances.
I had also been given to understand that Parliament might reject a measure as amended by the Archbishops, and that the women themselves might vote against it and defeat it in the end had the Archbishops been successful…