Thinking Anglicans

Church Times and women bishops

The Church Times has today published this longer than usual leading article: Women bishops: what should happen next.

THE General Synod is in trouble. In ten days’ time, it is to consider giving final approval to the consecration of women bishops. In the normal run of things, this would be the stage for a general debate in which the participants return to first principles, examine whether the legislation does or does not fulfil their wishes, and vote accordingly. This debate looks increasingly unlikely to happen…

The effect of the amendments has been the opposite of what was intended, however. The failure of opponents to endorse them, understandable though this may be, and the fierce rejection of them by many of the proponents, to the extent that some have been calling for the Measure to be voted down, mean that the Meas­ure might fall in both the Houses of Laity and Clergy. This would be a farcical end to the long, tortuous synodical process, and hard to square with the overwhelming vote in the diocesan synods…

The Synod is in danger of attracting widespread puzzlement if it fails to agree women bishops after such a long process. Put simply, it must not fail. Anxiety has been expressed about the precedent set by allowing parishes to choose their own type of priest (as if this did not happen at present). A far more worrying precedent will be set if Synod members cannot find a way to live in the same Church as those with whom they disagree.

There is also this news item: Women bishops: ‘little silver balls won’t stay in their holes’.

29
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
29 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
18 Comment authors
John FletcherPam SmithLapinbizarre/Roger MortimerFather Ron SmithFather David Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

“The Synod is in danger of attracting widespread puzzlement if it fails to agree women bishops after such a long process.”

“In danger?”

The Church of England has already attracted widespread puzzlement for failing to ordain women bishops years ago.

If the Church of England now chooses to ordain women bishops, but only because they will be second-class bishops, the puzzlement will turn to widespread outrage and embarrassment.

Do you realize the damage that the Church of England is doing to the Anglican brand throughout the world?

Priscilla White
Guest
Priscilla White

But not only the episcope of women will be compromised but also that of those male bishops who participate in their ordinations and agree with them. The amendments are a problem but not simply because women would be second class bishops.

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Let’s suppose that the forthcoming General Synod will vote to adjourn the Final Approval debate to allow the HoB to reconsider its amendment to clause 5. Further, let’s suppose that the HoB is prepared to change its amendment — not remove it entirely, but change it.

What text is likely to garner support?

The rule of this particular sub-topic is that it has to be something that the HoB might plausibly agree to. And it has to plausibly increase the chances of the Measure gaining Final Approval at a subsequent vote, and not be one-sided.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“It is not enough, however, to fling the matter back at the Bishops like a piece of badly done homework with an instruction to do better next time and return the Measure to the Synod unamended. This is a misreading of the mood of the Bishops and the motivation that led them to amend the Measure in the first place.” Uh-oh, Big Daddies be in a Baaaad Mood! Look out, chilluns! {roll eyes} But seriously, I want to return to what I believe is a key point: “There must be no doubt about the sacraments, and, to those whose convictions… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Simon Kershaw’s point about the Measure being one-sided would certainly be true if it were to go back to the HoB and its originally unamended state. We all know that, even if it is destined to fall now, it was also destined to fall unamended. The Synod should just get on with the Final Approval Debate, being faithful to the process. It would be a ridiculous scenario, were the Measure to be returned to the HoB, and a complete waste of time, energy and money. Please, members of Synod, for the sake of sanity and common sense, make Monday week,… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

I’m not sure where all this “one-sided” stuff comes from. The measure in its unamended state was very far from the “single-clause” measure, which could perhaps legitimately be described as one-sided. Many of us who supported the unamended measure know how far it was from our “side”. What I am looking for is a “one church” solution, and many of the “two-sided” suggestions in fact leave us with two churches pretending to be one. I don’t think we should go for such self-deception. I think the Bishops have damaged their credibility so much that it is hard to see that… Read more »

sally Barnes
Guest
sally Barnes

It always amazes me when people try and dismiss, or make excuses for, the argument against the use of the concept of TAINT as in the editorial by saying “The argument about “taint”, not a word that is generally used by traditionalists”. Of course it isn’t. They are highly unlikely to do so are they? The author of this is writing from a point of view that is either not aware of, or does not consider, how women see the implications about them/us that has gone unchallenged in any deep way throughout this long debate about the acceptability of women’s… Read more »

Pam Smith
Guest

“The vote is of a different character, and the Synod arithmetic is not so easy to predict as some people suggest” General Synod members would have gone into the vote – had the voting been on the proposal as it was presented to Diocesan Synods – with a very clear understanding of the range of views that had been expressed at those discussions. Changing the proposal at this stage makes it a matter of guesswork and if I were a General Synod member I think I would feel unable to vote for it simply on those grounds. It should not… Read more »

Susannah
Guest
Susannah

The whole synod should just vote on the unamended version as it was going to (with support of 95% of dioceses) before the bishops’ intervention. And if the Synod is not allowed to vote – democratically – on a proposal with such a mandate from the dioceses, then there should be a walk-out, leaving the bishops to their imperialism, until the right of a Synod to vote democratically on issues it chooses to vote democratically on, has been restored. Clearly, if the Synod is not allowed to vote on an issue where 95% of dioceses have mandated it, the the… Read more »

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

Mark Bennet – “I’m not sure where this one-sided stuff comes from.” First of all, the “one-sided” concept was introduced by Simon Kershaw in an earlier posting. The Revd Bennet is fooling himself, if he really believes that the unamended Measure was any kind of compromise towards traditionalists. He clearly does not understand or even attempt to understand where we are coming from. Maybe he ought to take a look at the Church Times leader, which is more than a little helpful in making necessary clarifications about the traditionalist position. Furthermore, the same Leader is astute in its observation that… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

I can understand why those who believe that women should not, or cannot, be priests might want to have the sacraments administered to them solely by men ordained by men. However I would find it helpful if the bishops would clarify precisely why, in their view, if the concept of ‘taint’ is rejected, it might be so important for those opposed to women’s ordination – but not those in favour – to be ministered to solely by bishops who agree with their theological perspective on this particular matter. For instance, unless I am mistaken, when I lived in west London,… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Guest
Mark Bennet

Sorry Benedict – I am not fooling myself. The “traditionalist” voice has been heard loud and clear. But the voice of those of us who have set aside principle, convinced that the Holy Spirit will lead the church in the end into all truth, has constantly been discounted by comments like yours. You may not imagine that there has been compromise or movement – but you are wrong, there has, and it has been huge, and a lot of my colleagues are thinking “why did we bother” when you dismiss it as virtually nothing. You cannot imagine how much work… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“WATCH, GRAS and others …I fear for the kind of Church we shall have in the future, if those organisations’ wings are not clipped in some way. Dreadful!”

Dreadful, all right. “Dreadful” is the way you slipped into the language of *violence* against those who resist your patriarchal assumptions. The “Church we shall have in the future” needs reforming, to have all sinful misogyny scrubbed clean out. Maranatha!

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

The dictates of WATCH and GRAS and voting patterns at synods will never overcome personal conscience, so as painful as it is, there will be traditionalists who remain in the Church of England who continue to doubt the validity of women bishops and who will therefore, in conscience, refuse their sacramental ministry. That is the reality of the sort of compromise Mark Bennet and others believe they make in arguing for the unamended measure.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

One question which seems to have been unasked by anyone in this present stand off is this:

Whether or not the no-Women contingent in the Church of England are able to avoid the ministry of Women; If their objection to Holy Orders for Women within the Church is legitimate for them; how can they possibly remain within a Church that actually ordains women?

If they are insistent that Women’s Ordination is a travesty of theological Order, then how could they possibly compromise their belief on this issue by remaining in the Church? The Ordinariate is their only quasi-Anglican guarantee of ‘non-taint’

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Benedict, the people-will-be-upset argument does not, in and of itself, persuade.

Does their upset have any principled validity to it? Or is just that some people resist change because they are stuck in old ways of thinking?

There were people who were upset when the Mass was first said in English.

Fortunately that didn’t stop the church from moving forward, and saying its services in a language “understood of the people.”

Father David
Guest
Father David

Well done the House of Bishops in achieving the near impossible by uniting the Church of England in a near universal rejection of the two amendments. The Church Times Leader suggests that if the bishops are requested by Synod to reflect again upon the amendments then the “most the Synod can reasonably hope for is a tinkering with the wording to make the amended Measure more generally acceptable”. I am left wondering if “tinkering” will prove to be any more acceptable than “fine-tuning”? Will the Group of Six be once more called upon to decide whether the “tinkering” has been… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

This is not just a male ..female issue..as many men will be discriminated against, because their orders derive from women. It is in reality the issue of creating an institutionalised schism, and the bishops have miscalculated as badly as they did with the covenant.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

‘their orders derive from women’

And there was I thinking ordination ‘derived from’ God ! I thought the holy spirit is present doing her stuff. Silly me !

The self named ‘conservative’ and ‘orthodox’ approach here, seems very ‘man-centred’with God as a bit of an after-thought.

Bishops are not necessary for Ordination. That was just an arrangement that once seemed convenient, but has become more trouble than it’s worth- je pense.

Father David
Guest
Father David

“Bishops are not necessary for Ordination”? Now didn’t the Wesley boys get into a spot of bother by thinking the self same thing?

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Benedict..do you think that if the unamended measure failed in this Synod a measure more favourable to the “traditionalist” view point would be brought forward in a few years time? That seems to me pretty unlikely given the changing composition of the Church as more and more women are ordained and male clergy opposed to women’s ordination retire.It has been clear from the beginning that a Third Province was a non-starter.I am unclear what exactly traditionalist catholics would accept short of that..and presumably not all traditionalists would have the same sticking point.Conservative Evangelicals have their own ( and different) theological… Read more »

Lindsay Southern
Guest
Lindsay Southern

Father David, I believe the Wesley boys got into trouble for thinking that the sacraments were too important to be denied to people, just because a war sent Bishops scurrying for safety…

Benedict
Guest
Benedict

In response to Perry Butler’s point, the Bishops’ amendments provide a relatively good starting point, since they recognise one of the fundamental problems Anglo-Catholics have, ie. that it must be a bishop within the unbroken continuum of traditionalist Bishops who ministers to those parishes which, at the very least, doubt the validity of orders of both women bishops and consequently those they themselves ordain or consecrate. The amendments are really quite helpful in that sense, though they do not address the old chestnut of jurisdiction. The difference between derivation and delegation, I think, may have been a partial response to… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

“One can understand why there is no faith in a code of practice”. How right Benedict is and is it any wonder that this should be the case as so little respect is being currently shewn toward the Act of Synod and moves are afoot to abolish it? How long before a Code of Practice follows the Act of Synod on the road to oblivion?

Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer
Guest
Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer

RIW’s very true observation that “men will be discriminated against, because their orders derive from women” – a point I had failed to appreciate until I read his comment – makes it crystal clear just how great a potential for schism within the Church is embodied in the bishop’s “fine tuning”. Check Benedict’s post above and his remark that AC parishes must have “a bishop within the unbroken continuum of traditionalist Bishops who ministers to those parishes which, at the very least, doubt the validity of orders of both women bishops and consequently those they themselves ordain or consecrate”, to… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Lapin has high-lighted the disastrous nature of what will occur if the Amended Draft Measure is passed by General Synod of the Church of England: The lineage of every Bishop will be under intense scrutiny by every ‘purist’ on the issue of ‘Sacramental Assurance’ – this, despite the fact that the Pope believes there is no such thing within the Anglican structure. Since the Reformation, the Church of England has determined its own ‘Sacramental Assurance’ – on account of its declared membership of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. One cannot undo the break in relationship from Rome, so… Read more »

Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer
Guest
Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer

“Better Together – Anglo-Catholics keeping faith with God, Church & Nation” has launched a sugared-pill charm offensive in support of their “Charter” (charters and covenants; covenants and charters!). Reminds one of the Oxford diocese’s less-than-successful campaign in support of the Covenant. http://www.bettertogethercampaign.co.uk/

Pam Smith
Guest

One item in the Better Together Charter does strike me as needing a bit of unpacking before I personally could sign up to it: “We believe that the overwhelming majority of the Church of England would welcome inclusive legislation to enable women to be bishops in a Church that has space for us to work together, side by side, for the good of our mission to the wider society we serve” I believe a majority in the Church of England would like those opposed to women’s ordination on theological grounds playing their continuing part in the mission and ministry of… Read more »

John Fletcher
Guest
John Fletcher

The HoB’s amendment introduces a ‘congregationalist ‘ principle that each congregation has the right to demand a bishop who mirrors their pre-existing convictions and prejudices – initially on the issue of women ‘s ministry but once the precedent is granted, what is to prevent it spreading to other contested issues ?
A formula for ‘designer bishops’ that undermines the traditional notion of episcopacy.