Thinking Anglicans

more on Episcopal Resignations

GRAS (Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod) has issued this press release.

PRESS RELEASE

Press briefing for immediate release 9 November 2010

Departure of “flying bishops”

The announcement that the PEVs (Provincial Episcopal Visitors – known as flying bishops, since they have no dioceses and minister only to parishes which oppose ordination of women) are leaving to join the Ordinariate has not been a surprise.

Only 2.8% of parishes in the Church of England have opposed the ordination of women and requested the ministry of a flying bishop. These bishops are considered acceptable because they will not ordain women. This has been described as a “theology of Taint” which undermines the dignity of every woman and should hold no place within the Church.

The question arises as to whether there is any need to replace these bishops by new appointments. The General Synod of the Church of England, after lengthy consideration and debate has prepared legislation for the admission of women to the episcopate. The legislation does not envisage the use of PEVs. As their future is uncertain GRAS questions the wisdom of replacing these bishops for what could be a short duration.

Provision has been made within the legislation that will enable those opposed to have the ministry of a male priest or bishop. It is those in favour who have made concessions out of a spirit of generosity. As an interim measure the small number of parishes opposed to women’s ordination and episcopacy could be covered by existing bishops.

It is hoped, therefore that any future Episcopal appointment will be in keeping with the spirit of the legislation.

The Church Mouse writes Bishop of London to set up Society for those who oppose women bishops.

The Parish of St John the Baptist in Sevenoaks has this impressive list of relevant links on its website: From today’s news…

The Guardian has Steve Bell on the Anglican bishops who are converting to Roman Catholicism. [The banner reads “Ban the babes”.]

Channel 4 News has this video report, with both Bishop John Broadhurst and Canon Giles Fraser interviewed. See Anglican bishops defect to Roman Catholic Church.

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Simon Kershaw
Admin
10 years ago

Whilst it is true that the two PEVs in the southern province have announced their intention to resign, we should not forget — and GRAS should be more careful — that the PEV in the northern province, the Bishop of Beverley, has not made any such announcement, and has, I understand, other plans entirely.

The northern bishops have (pace Bp Edwin Barnes) perhaps shown more leadership than the southern bishops — or at least leadership in a different direction.

simon

Fr James
Fr James
10 years ago

I’m sorry, but why should any Episcopal appointment be in keeping with the spirit of the legislation?

This is legislation which has not been passed, and there should be no assumptions about what will or will not happen. The appointment of bishops should not depend on legislation which has not (and may not) come into effect.

Fr John
Fr John
10 years ago

I agree with Simon regarding not only the Bishop of Beverley for whom I have a high regard, but also those other Bishops who have quietly got on with being a Father in God to their flock as suffragan Bishops, whilst not being in agreement with women priests. Let us also not forget the quiet but strong ministry of Lord Hope.

It is to these Bishops that +Rowan has turned to in the continuing ministry to those still opposed to women priests.

Fr John Harris-WHITE

Sara MacVane
Sara MacVane
10 years ago

I’d like to add a comment about the graciousness of the Bishop of Beverley. He was in Rome visiting the Anglican Centre just before my ordination, when I was about to become Assistant Director, and as he was leaving he asked me when my ordination was to take place. I told him and he said ‘I will certainly remember you in my prayers that day because I will be ordaining others.’ After the door had closed the Director told me that he was ‘flying bishop’ (and a close friend of John Flack who was the Director at that time). I… Read more »

Benedict
Benedict
10 years ago

Once again, GRAS, in its silliness and lack of coherent argument, has called for the episocpal ministry of the PEV’s to be withdrawn. Surely this is preempting the outcome of the General Synod in 2012, which no one, given the recent change in its make up, can confidently predict (though I am very heartened to hear that there may well be a shift in the mood, given the number of Conservative Evangelicals and Catholics). Both GRAS and WATCH, rather than simply seeking equality at every level of the Church, seem to desire absolute domination and are therefore turning into the… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
10 years ago

Sara MacVane’s sharing of her own experience is heartening. At the end of the day, our humanity is all we have. Is what we have despite all ambivalence– or is that because and through our limitations ?

Adam Armstrong
Adam Armstrong
10 years ago

Broadhurst has called the CofE the Titanic and recently referred to it as “fascist”. This term is a favourite of people who don’t get their way, as well as the “N word”. Giles Fraser is right – there is little that is gracious about his departure and it puts his ministry as a PEV into perspective. He can’t have saved these remarks until now. I have respect for people who say that any criticism of Broadhurst or other departing bishops should be muted and we should admire their convictions and pray for them on their Christian journey. Silence and platitudes… Read more »

Edwin Barnes
10 years ago

This ‘only 2.8%’ figure is a gross misrepresentation. First, it refers only to “C” parishes; yet those who have voted for “A” or “B” have also declared at the very least severe misgivings over women’s ordination. Then, the bar is set very high for parishes to pass the resolutions. If they are in teams or groups, individual parishes are denied the right to vote. When they announce they are to vote, they will be descended on by the big guns, Archdeacons, Suffragan Bishops, even the Diocesan himself, to persuade them of the folly of their ways. Every trick in the… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
10 years ago

Sara MacVane’s lovely story about the graciousness of the Bishop of Beverley highlights one of the real problems of the present situation in the Church of England. However, the same could not happen in the Church of Rome – where there is little leeway given to clergy and laity in the denomination who feel the theological pull of the Gospel towards the ordination of both women and gays. There are no ‘special arrangements’ made for such dissenters in Roman Catholicism. They have to – like the Bishop of Beverley – do what they can to further their cause from within… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin
10 years ago

Bishop Edwin writes: “And it is only GRAS and its supporters which has ever asserted a doctrine of ‘taint'”. It might be the case that FiF and its members and supporters do not *assert* a doctrine of taint (I’ll leave that for others to decide). But actions speak louder than words. What are onlookers to infer when you, Bishop, and your successor at Richborough visit a parish and preside at the Sunday morning celebration of the Eucharist — but on the less frequent occasions when the diocesan bishop or his suffragan are invited, it is never to preside, but only… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
10 years ago

Stop digging Edwin.

Savi H
Savi H
10 years ago

Benedict, I do not think that GRAS or WATCH are calling even for equality. As I understand it the proposed legislation allows ongoing discrimination against women of a kind that would be unlawful in most walks of life. However, there would be recognition that women bishops are real bishops, while allowing parish churches to be ministered to solely by men if they wish. In continuing to make provision for those opposed to women’s ordained ministry who wish to remain Anglican, I think there would be risks in perpetuating structures that can result in confusion and be seen as negating the… Read more »

The Rev. Canon. Dr. Lettie James
The Rev. Canon. Dr. Lettie James
10 years ago

“Sara MacVane’s lovely story about the graciousness of the Bishop of Beverly highlights one of the ral problems of the present situation in the Church of England. However, the same could not happen in the Church of Rome” Father Ron Smith Oh yes it could and did. In 1980 I was Director of Pastoral Services in a large downtown hospital. My pager went off one morning about 7.a.m. A Roman Catholic patient had asked for the R.C. chaplain before emergency surgery. The chaplain had been detained on the highway. I went to the hospital and rather hesitatingly knocked on the… Read more »

Jerry Hannon
Jerry Hannon
10 years ago

I am gratified by the incisive and specific testimony of Simon Kershaw, in response to the spin and distortions of Bishop Edwin Barnes. The volume and intensity of similar distortions from the self-proclaimed ultra orthodox within the CofE would diminish if they were more frequently, and more courageously, presented with the entire truth in contrast to their casual use of very small parts of it. Certainly there are legitimate theological differences in the broad Church, and some of us may never be realigned as one body if the standard is conformance to only the most liberal or the most conservative… Read more »

Andrew Brown
Andrew Brown
10 years ago

Can anyone suggest a practical test by which a theology of taint could be distinguished from whatever it is that FiF asserts? By this I mean, some action which would be impossible if you believed in “taint”, but which is practised in FiF.

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 years ago

I have asked Simon to make this post anonymous because I do not want the parish involved or the parish priest to be named. This is about taint. In 1991 I was an honorary assistant priest in a parish. I had no vote in any synod at any level, and I did not even attend any synod meetings at any level. It was known to colleagues, and to any laity who asked that I was in favour of the ordination of women. I had never preached about it or spoken publicly about it. I counted the period of my priesthood… Read more »

sally
sally
10 years ago

It is true that there is no doctrine of “Theology of Taint”; it would be a denial of Christian teaching. But by denying the vocations and priesthood of women, by publically refusing communion from them, not welcoming them to take part in ordinations, allowing separate male ordinations on the grounds they are women is perceived as Taint. There are many examples of how women priests have been treated in the course of their work which denies who they are as well as the gifts they bring. Not only is this discriminatory it is damaging to the Church and example of… Read more »

John Roch
John Roch
10 years ago

Not to mention refusal to help out or provide cover in places where a woman has at any time presided at the altar.

ezlxq
ezlxq
10 years ago

Nor the position of some who assert that they are unable to recognise their Cathedral as their Mother Church because they doubt the validity of its Eucharistic ministers.

john
john
10 years ago

I’m glad people here seem to respect, even to admire, the Bishop of Beverley. Difficult as it is, we have a continuing duty to accommodate FiF people – just as they have a continuing duty to accommodate us. I’d like it if they exhibited just a little more ‘give’, along the lines of the complaint aired by John Roch above. Some of course already do. I was glad too both that at last night’s public meeting in Durham concerning the next Bishop of Durham several speakers lamented that it could only be a ‘he’ and that an obviously FiF elderly… Read more »

t c rawson
t c rawson
10 years ago

So 2.8% is a small enough group to ignore? Impartial studies indicate that the gay population is less than that figure, so why don’t we just ignore that constituency as well. GRAS is proving that it’s really just a matter of liberal hypocrisy.

Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
10 years ago

Yes, wherever people are, there will be lovely things, and not the ugly. I am capable of both, as are we all.

I have experienced kindnesses in RC parishes, missions and retreat houses, myself. I will always remember when arriving at church for my young cousin’s funeral mass, in north London years ago, the young priest insisting on my joining him and concelebating with him. He would not hear of my protestations. All the family were heartened and it made complete human(e)sense.

Savi H
Savi H
10 years ago

Anonymous, what a sad experience. tc rawson, I do not understand your rationale. At present opponents of women’s ordination are as far as I am aware free to worship anywhere and apply for any kind of ministry, lay or ordained, in the C of E, though for reasons of conscience they may choose not to seek to exercise that ministry in certain settings. Indeed woman face, and will continue to face, discrimination which would be unlawful in other settings in order to accommodate them. Are you really saying this is the case for gays – e.g. that there are several… Read more »

JCF
JCF
10 years ago

“So 2.8% is a small enough group to ignore? Impartial studies indicate that the gay population is less than that figure, so why don’t we just ignore that constituency as well.” – Posted by t c rawson The “gay population”, t c, doesn’t claim anything ON THE BASIS OF SIZE. Only by being Made (LGBT, and partnered accordingly) in the Image of God! There are those who claim that homophobia is (also) some kind of “orientation”. {*} Perhaps—but their orientation should pertain ONLY to themselves, and not to everyone else! {*} Personally, I don’t believe it is (an orientation). I… Read more »

MarkBrunson
10 years ago

Not to mention tc rawson’s “impartial” studies aren’t – they tend to be founded on conservative cash and staffed by religiously-conservative “scientists.”

Serious researchers find between 4% and 5% identify as gay. Most *actual* researchers also acknowledge that the only ones doing well-funded and popularly-disseminated studies are funded by interest (for or against) groups that are the only ones who *care* how many gays there are.

A conservative just misrepresented reality – how (yawn) novel.

Sally
Sally
10 years ago

With respect to tc Rawson GRAS in not at all saying ignore the 2.8%; neither is WATCH. If you read the proposed Legislation now going to the dioceses for consideration you will see that there are several provisions made for this group including the fact that a parish can write a letter of request asking for a male only priest or bishop (stating their theological grounds). The objection to this from many in this 2.8% group is that any male bishop won’t do. It has to be a man who has not ordained a woman or has taken part in… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Laurence Roberts
10 years ago

‘wherever people are, there will be lovely things, and not the ugly. I am capable of both, as are we all.’ (Laurence Roberts yesterday evening)

sorry about the typo -so rare for me ! It should have read of course, ‘lovely things and ugly things…’

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