Thinking Anglicans

Women Bishops: Early Day Motion

There are reports today that Frank Field MP has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons.

Telegraph Church must make women bishops, say MPs

BBC MPs push case for women bishops

Press Association Government urged over women bishops

The full text of the motion is published here:

EDM 1364

WOMEN BISHOPS 27.01.2011

Field, Frank

That this House welcomes the current moves by the General Synod of the Church of England to pass legislation permitting women to be bishops; notes that the Synod is currently engaged in consulting the Dioceses on the Women in the Episcopate: draft bishops and priests (consecration and ordination of women) Measure; further notes that General Synod expects to debate the final approval stage of the Measure in July 2012; encourages the House of Bishops to commend the Measure as currently drafted; and calls on Her Majesty’s Government to remove any exemptions pertaining to gender under existing equality legislation, in the event that the Measure has overwhelming support in the dioceses but fails through a technicality to receive final approval in General Synod.

71
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
71 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
29 Comment authors
Rod GillisSeeker after truthPat O'NeillSimon SarmientoA seeker after truth Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
John C
Guest
John C

If they can do this to lift the discrimination on the grounds of gender – can they also do it on the grounds of sexuality too?

Bill Dilworth
Guest
Bill Dilworth

Are there members of Parliament who don’t participate in legislating for the CofE out of principle (“I’m a Methodist – what business do I have running the CofE?”)?

Adam Armstrong
Guest
Adam Armstrong

To those of us across the pond this seems absurd and rather upsetting. Why would women want to be bishops if they feel that they have been legislated into office? How could the Church justify some of its postions that criticise the government if they are made out so clearly to be an arm of the government? If seems as if you are going back to the period before Keble’s Assize sermon. Why would Anglicans want to belong to a Church where the laity and for that matter the clergy and bishops are subject to the will of a parliamentary… Read more »

Malcolm+
Guest

Bill, not sure about MPs who decline out of principle because they are not CofE, but I understand that both Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales) MPs decline on the grounds that they are not English.

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

Bill….The Church of England in the past has had its bishops chosen by a Unitarian, two Baptists , Congregationalist as Prime miinisters. Margaret Thatcher was a Methodist.

Hannah
Guest

Adam, There is nothing particularly absurd, upsetting or unusual about Frank Field’s EDM. It is not the first such EDM to be tabled in Parliament. One of the things about being the established church in this land is that all our synodical legislation is passed through parliament, it’s just that most of it causes no comment or debate. Further, the CofE exists by virtue of parliamentary legislation, and all CofE clergy take an oath of allegiance to the sovereign at our ordinations and licensings. The fact that lots of the (rather small) ‘Ordinariate crowd’ are in favour of disestablishment is… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

If the Women and the Episcopate meaasure fails on what Mr. Field describes as “a technicality” – then it wouldn’t even reach parliament for approval or not. Early Day Motions are rarely debated or voted upon, especially those which only receive a mere handful of M.Ps. signatures. The whole point of them is simply a way to express an opinion, so I am left wondering why so many are getting hot under the dog collar at Field’s EDM – a paper tiger if ever I saw one.

Will Adam
Guest

In 1927 and 1928 the proposed revision of the Prayer Book was defeated on two occasions in the House of Commons. Had Scottish, Welsh and Irish MPs had not voted it would have passed. A large number of free church MPs also voted against it. These days there is a convention that Parliament does not initiate legislation touching the business of the Church of England; Parliament cannot amend legislation passed to it by the General Synod (it can refer it back, though) and does not legislate on doctrine. However there is nothing to say that it is not proper for… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“General Synod expects to debate the final approval stage of the Measure in July 2012; encourages the House of Bishops to commend the Measure as currently drafted; and calls on Her Majesty’s Government to remove any exemptions pertaining to gender under existing equality legislation” – part of UK Government motion – I find this parliamentary motion quite in keeping with the English tradition of Church and State relationship – tempered with the factual reality that most Anglicans – in England at least – are wondering what all the fuss is about. The Queen is female, and she is ‘Head of… Read more »

Hilary
Guest
Hilary

If we start from where we are (not where some might like us to be) then Parliament has the final word on allowing women to be bishops, as it does with all major Church of England legislation. All CofE bishops are ‘legislated’ into office, being appointed by the Crown under the law of the land. As I understand it this EDM is pointing out that Parliament takes its responsibilities towards the CofE seriously, and that if the majority wish of Church members is to support the current draft legislation for women bishops, as expressed in Diocesan Synods, and yet the… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Father David, do you really think that if Synod blocked the ordination of women to the bishopric, Parliament would stand idly by?

Isn’t it far more likely that Members of Parliament would clamor for a legislative solution, and fall over themselves in their haste to vote for something like this EDM?

Anglican voice
Guest
Anglican voice

Ron The Catholic Movement in the Church of England which gives rise to you claiming to be “Catholic” and to use the title “Father” was founded, as I am sure that you are aware, precisely on this matter of the relationship between Church and state in the Assize sermon of 1833. The Queen is not in any sense “Head of the Church”, she is the Supreme Governor. You have written several times elsewhere that Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the “Head of the Church” which clearly suited you when trying to dismiss the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Having read the threads on this particular story, I now understand why some of them are so supportive of Frank Field and his cronies. Women bishops, at any cost, even when it sidesteps the will of God, as expressed through the Synodical Chamber. If the legislation falls, then so be it. Proponents can not in one breath proclaim that the Holy Spirit has moved the Synod thus far and in the next claim that His work has come to an end, simply because it hasn’t gone their way. If Frank and his colleagues were successful, it would be a very… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Guest
Cynthia Gilliatt

Looking at our newly elected Senate and House, I am profoundly glad TEC is not established. Just think of what the tea-partiers might want to do!

Adam Armstrong
Guest
Adam Armstrong

Fr Ron Smith and I are usually on the same page and being huffy is not my intention. It just seems to me that this is coming at an awkward time. As a Canadian, women as bishops is a non-issue. But it would seem strange to have been told by Parliament that we had no choice back in the day. My main concern is how this looks. The idea that politicians dictate what the Church must do seems to say that the Church can’t manage its own affairs to their satisfaction, if at all. It also hands a serious weapon… Read more »

Prior Aelred
Guest

IIRC, the Church of Sweden (when by law established) HAD to ordain women since they were civil servants & government employees anti-sex discrimination laws applied to them.

FWIW, there were non-CofE Lords & MPs who voted FOR the 1928 BCP on the grounds that if that was the way the CofE wanted to pray, it was their business (of course it still failed & Prayer Book revision probably still would – “the language of Shakespeare …”)

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

Would equality legislation not also affect the Roman Catholic Church if Parliament wishes to apply it to any institution that discriminates against women?

RPNewark
Guest
RPNewark

Father Ron, this is NOT a UK Government motion it is an Early Day Motion put down by a respected LABOUR MP (a Methodist Local Preacher if memory serves). If it attracts sufficient signatories from all parties, it will send a message to General Synod that parliament expects the GS vote to reflect the majority decisions of the diocesan synods.

Oh, and BTW, HM The Queen is NOT “Head of the Church (of England)”. That position belongs to our Lord God. She is, however, the Supreme Governor of the CofE.

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

“There is still the matter of the title ‘Defender of the Faith’ accruing to the English Sovereign!(unless Benedictus has withdrawn it secretly in conclave).”

The papal title “Fidei Defensor” granted to Henry VIII by Leo X in 1521, was personal to Henry alone, who continued to use it even after the break with Rome in 1534. It was An Act of Parliament of 1543 that invested the title in the English Crown, and made it hereditary.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Benedict, are you sure that the Holy Spirit does not, on occasion, work through Parliament?

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

In fact the Pope withdrew the title from an excommunicate King and then parliament re-awarded a similar title.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“Having attended a packed Ordinariate Study Day on Saturday at which Keith Newton came spoke very clearly and with great humility many, like myself, who are unsure about joining the Ordinariate will be encouraged by the clear warmth of welcome on offer from the Catholic Church” – Anglican Voice on Monday – Yes, but whose voice will you be on Tuesday? Sorry about that but it just caught my sense of the ridiculous – that anyone should call themselves – even to make a point by that title. You, Sir, are obviously not too securely locked into the Anglican part… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Jeremy, you really are scraping the bottom of the barrel when you seek to justify Frank Field’s motion as a work of the Holy Spirit. Why bother with General Synod at all then? Just let Parliament decide on matters spiritual, theological and ecclesiological, and be done with it. I think not! The truth is that the secular agenda has now crept so far into the life of the nation, as well as the Church of England, that the idea of the spiritual is being cosnsigned to the dustbin of history. Very few of the threads on this website seem to… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Jeremy – Do you really think that our parliamentarians would “clamour” to reverse a decision of the General Synod not to proceed with the ordination of women to the episcopacy? With all the problems and issues that this Tory-led coalition has to deal with I think women bishops would be pretty low down on their list of priorities. Can you really foresee a situation where our Members of Parliament would be hastily falling over themselves to devote precious parliamentary time to this particular issue?

Malcolm French+
Guest

The matter of MPs from non- English constituencies has gained a new currency with devolution and the creation of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. The absurdity now exists that a Scottish MP can vote on matters of education policy (for example) that only apply to England, but neither the Scottish MP nor an English MP may vote on matters of education policy in Scotland since education policy is devolved. This isn’t (as much of a) problem in Canada, for example, because there are separate legislatures in each of the ten provinces and three territories – although the remit… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Re Defender of the Faith, I seem to recall that Charles (Windsor) mused about changing the title to Defender of Faiths (plural). I also seem to recall that one of the C of E bishops replied, in effect, that its a non-starter because (1)it’s in the coronation service and (2) you can’t defend them all–not that it matters much here in Canada. Although the latter point is worth thinking on. One of the reasons that Hitchens so roundly defeated Tony Blair in the Monk debate is that Blair was trying to defend too much ground (religion) with too few resources.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

C of E erastian ? Shock horror !

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“The truth is that the secular agenda has now crept so far into the life of the nation, as well as the Church of England, that the idea of the spiritual is being cosnsigned to the dustbin of history” Actually, this has nothing to do with a secular agenda. I don’t particularly agree with this EDM, but the purpose of granting religious institutions an exemption to the equality law is to allow them freedom of theology and of religious belief. It is abundantly clear that there are no theological difficulties for the CoE as a whole, as General Synod has… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Time to discontinue the office of bishop in its current failed and failing form ?

A wee experiment in England.

A dreadful institution that seems unredeemable – women – all of us – will be better off without it.

Episcope* can be done many ways -does nt all have to be about power …

* Taking care

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Erika, how then could Parliament justify putting an end to exemption from Equality Legislation for the Church of England without doing so for Roman Catholics and all the other faiths of this country? That would be to set an extremely dangerous precedent. General Synod is there to act as the mouthpiece of the Church of England, and to frame its laws. Surely it should be free to do that, even if it does mean the unpalatable prospect, for people like yourself, of the current women bishops legislation falling. And from my point of view, and others like myself, denying women… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Frank Field MP isnt a methodist lay preacher. he is an anglican communicant formed at St Nicholas Chiswick ,a moderate anglo-catholic parish in west London under Fr Lewis Lloyd

Richard Grand
Guest
Richard Grand

I do get enough of Anglican Romanists who think that the Ordinariate is just so wonderful and Anglicanism is so peculiar and misguided, endlessly telling us how wrong Anglicans are on almost everything. As an Anglo-Catholic myself, it produces in me more respect for the Reformation and respect for Elizabeth I than I would otherwise consider necessary. Why do we keep hearing the same old song about the glories of Rome and the Papacy and what a terrible trial and horror it is to be Anglican? To some like Benedict and RIW, who seem to be thoroughly Roman in the… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Benedict
I don’t know what Frank Field is hoping to achieve and how he is hoping to achieve it.
But I would have thought that, at least in theory, it should be possible to qualify the exemption clause for all churches so that it is restricted to genuine theological difficulties and religious freedom.

The minute a discrimmination falls outside those boundaries it becomes subject to standard legislation.
In this particular case it would be quite simple to show that what is stopping women bishops is no longer a theological problem.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Benedict “You seem to be admitting that you yourself see this as a political issue, so the case rests: secular ways continue to creep into the life of the Church” General Synod has been debating this issue and has concluded that there is no theological reason against women bishops and that the way for women bishops should be prepared. This clearly shows that, provided there are provisions for those for whom it still IS a theological issue, there is no religious reason stopping the CoE from having women bishops. That being the case, there is no reason why a religious… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Well said – Richard Grand. May I direct your attention to Archbishop Cranmer’s Blog where under the C of E logo we find the words:- “THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND – Loving Jesus with a slight air of superiority since A.D. 597”.

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Erika, the Church of England has not yet decided that women can be bishops and at the moment affords a place to the conscience of those who on theological grounds cannot accept the ordination of women as priests. Too often the outcome of the legislation is being preempted. Frank Field did the same but went a stage further and said that if it were to fall, Parliament should ensure that the decision were overturned. To me, that is riding roughshod over the process of Synodical government, whichever wing of the Church you stand on. Furthermore, religious exemption is about the… Read more »

Anglican Voice on Tuesday
Guest
Anglican Voice on Tuesday

Yep Ron, still an Anglican Voice, even on Tuesday! I note your technique yet again of belittling or poking fun at a comment rather than engaging with the several substantive questions that I raised from your earlier, rather unhelpful post which seemed to welcome political interference in the running of the Church – of course it was interference that suited your particular world view which is presumably why you welcomed it. If the shoe were on the other foot I can imagine your howls of protest and that General Synod must be free to do as it wishes. Echoes there… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Benedict said: “Jeremy, you really are scraping the bottom of the barrel when you seek to justify Frank Field’s motion as a work of the Holy Spirit.” I say: “God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.” For example, was the Elizabethan Settlement not a work of the Holy Spirit? Was the Elizabethan Settlement not, at the same time, the work of government and legislation? See the Act of Supremacy, the Act of Uniformity, etc. Of course, from Benedict’s perspective, the Elizabethan Settlement may be even lower in the barrel. But others would likely rank the Elizabethan Settlement… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

It seems to me that some people on this thread are happy to be in an established church, until Parliament gets involved.

With respect, it is that position that epitomizes having it both ways.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Benedict To me, it’s a bit like Germany discussing many years after the war whether it could again have an Army. In the end it was decided that it could, but that a protective space had to be created for conscientious objectors. And ever since then young men had to spend 18 months serving in the Army or 24 months in a caring capacity – a social carers, in hospitals, hospices etc. Making space for conscientious objectors, though, is not the same has having objections to being a military power. I don’t agree with this EDM but I can see… Read more »

peterpi - Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi - Peter Gross

A tip of this Yank’s hat to Richard Grand on Tuesday, 1 February 2011 at 1:15pm GMT

With my woeful ignorance of all of the ramifications of an Established church, I find a lot of this thread fascinating and educational. Thank you all. Although, it makes me very glad of the USA Constitution’s First Amendment, first clause thereof.

Malcolm French+
Guest

RIW keeps making it up as he goes along.

Henry Tudor, whatever else he may have been, was never “excommunicate.”

It is not at all clear that the Pope ever “removed” the title from Henry, but he DID award the same title to Henry’s nephew, the King of Scots.

peterpi - Peter Gross
Guest
peterpi - Peter Gross

That great font of historical and theological truth, Wikipedia, states that the phrase “Supreme Governor of the Church” was used as a compromise, instead of “Supreme Head”, because some within Elizabeth’s inner circle objected to women being the head of anything.
*sigh*
plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Father David
Guest
Father David

Jeremy you propose that “It’s when a government is in serious trouble that it needs close watching.” On that basis the current Administration needs watching 24/7 – 365 days in the year. I can hardly believe that a parliamentary move to bring in women bishops would have the general populace dancing in the streets amidst all the current economic difficulties! And you call me naive? On the basis of your proposition do you think that only the introduction of Women mullahs and imams in Egypt could possibly save the Presidency of Hosni Mubarak.

MarkBrunson
Guest

The charge that this makes this “political” is laughable.

The church structure *is* political, and the more hierarchy and structure, the more power to those hierarchs and structures, the MORE political it becomes. To believe otherwise is disingenuous.

Organized religion may be the best we have, but I do not believe it is what Jesus envisioned, and the Holy Spirit acts through it most often *despite* its questionable wisdom and tradition.

God save us from “good christians.”

Antony
Guest
Antony

This just underlines how “catholic” the CofE is – very, very little….if any?!
It’s Erastian and protestant, both liberal and puritan – what a mess!

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Erika, thank you for your response. I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. There is nothing logical about seeking to force members of the Church of England to toe the line, whilst allowing their counterparts in the Roman Catholic Church and of other faiths to be exempted under Equality Legislation, irrespective of establishment. It smacks of a mild form of dictatorship! As I suggested earlier, however, no one will dictate to me acceptance of what my conscience will not allow. And no one will persuade me of the rightness of the potential innovation of women bishops.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Benedict, We are really discussing something that isn’t going to happen anyway, because if I understand Frank Field’s motion correctly, he wants to remove the exemption from the CoE. That, I would definitely not agree with. But theoretically, it has to be right to ensure that an exemption, any exemption, is only applied to the categories it was granted for. And the minute a topic ceases to be theological and becomes purely political, it would be wrong to still claim exemption on the grounds of protecting religious sensibilities. That some individuals still see women priests as a theological problem is… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“As I suggested earlier, however, no one will dictate to me acceptance of what my conscience will not allow. And no one will persuade me of the rightness of the potential innovation of women bishops.” Benedict: Then I suggest that when and if the CoE agrees to the consecration of women as bishops that you seek a new church home. The church discerns what is right through the actions of its synod…if you cannot accept a decision of synod in good conscience, then clearly you and the church have parted ways. To insist that the church continue to accommodate your… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Father David — You are naive indeed if you believe that a government is either in trouble 24/7/365 or it has people dancing in the streets. A government’s relationship to its electorate is not so binary. And a government in trouble will fight for every single percentage point of approval. I didn’t say that parliamentary intervention to force the ordination of women as bishops in the C of E would _ensure_ the Tories’ success at the next election. It is unlikely that any particular policy could — to use your term — “save” the coalition electorally; it would require a… Read more »