Like you, I was very disappointed at the outcome of last weekend’s debate at General Synod in York and appalled at the intransigence of some feminist clergy and their supporters. What kind of a church is it that is willing to ignore the leadership of its Archbishops and to renege on a solemn promise given to Parliament about an honoured and permanent place for us?
We now face a most serious situation, made all the worse by the refusal of the Synod to pass the Archbishops’ amendment. Resolutions A & B – which provide the basis in law on which the ordination of women can be opposed – are to be removed. This means that any opposition which might be tolerated will be based on the recognition of supposed prejudice rather than the respect of theological principle. Further, the abolition of the PEVs is proposed, which will leave our constituency in an intolerable position. All we would be allowed under the draft Measure as it now stands is access to a male bishop, whose own beliefs need not coincide with ours. That is sexism writ large.
Despite the dreadful result in York, we owe a debt of gratitude to the Catholic Group in General Synod, along with all those who supported them in the debate. In the coming weeks, a new Synod is to be elected and it is vital we all do all we can to ensure the return of as many orthodox candidates as possible, in order that a Catholic presence on the Synod can be there to continue to represent the interests of Catholic Anglicans throughout this divisive and unnecessary process.
That these are very difficult times for all of us goes without saying; we need, above all, to take time to pray, to consult together and to support one another, as we try to discern our respective ways forward – not just in faith, but also of course in hope and in love.
TA note: Bishop John Broadhurst is Bishop of Fulham, a Suffragan in the Diocese of London.