Thinking Anglicans

Women bishops – what happens now

Following Synod’s vote to adjourn, the House of Bishops will reconsider its amendment to clause 5(1)(c) of the draft measure at its meeting on 12/13 September. The General Synod will meet in November (19-21) in London to resume the Final Approval debate in the light of the House of Bishops’ consideration.

There are two official press releases on this morning’s business and its consequences.

Latest on women bishops legislation from General Synod
General Synod – Summary of business conducted on Monday 9th July AM


  • Clive says:

    And with this, it’s game over for traditional Catholics in the Church of England. WATCH and GRAS know perfectly well that the “concessions” they are offering are not what’s needed. There is no practical difference between a single clause measure and what will now be passed, in terms of how things will play out on the ground. Wholly incompatible bishops will be forced on traditional parishes either way. Belief in the consecration and ordination of women will be an article of faith in the CofE from here on – if you’re not sure, you’re not welcome.

    The Code of Practice is mere window dressing that attempts to hide it. When someone with a peanut allergy is starving, giving them a peanut butter sandwich isn’t going to help.

    Traditionalists can only leave for the Ordinariate at this point. I can’t for the life of me see why anyone would stay in a church that so obviously rejects them.

  • Anthony Archer says:

    It was always going to quite seductive to adjourn the final approval debate rather than risk it being lost at this stage. However, not to grasp the nettle now presupposes that the measure can come back with some nuanced amendment in November. The wicked language seems to be ‘theological convictions’ and certainly I would have voted for the adjournment today based on that flawed device. It is difficult to see what the bishops can do. Maybe some fudged words around the notion of ‘catholicity’ might work. It will be interesting to review today’s voting lists. Those implacably opposed on any basis would have voted against the adjournment. On that basis, there remains exactly one-third of the whole synod against. Assuming the bishops voted for the adjournment, that suggests there is still a mountain to climb, probably in the house of laity.

  • Will Adam says:

    I’m not sure either Clive or Anthony Archer are wholly correct.

    The debate was not about getting rid of provision for opponents but about getting the right wording of the measure. Likewise I do not think that ‘theological conviction’ was objectionable per se.

    My reading was that something drawn up as a ‘shield’, to protect those who in conscience object, could have been turned round to become a ‘sword’ to be wielded against bishops (and patrons and parish representatives) in the future.

    I remain optimistic that it can all be rescued by November. But then I’m not on General Synod …

  • Feria says:

    A primary Act of Parliament can go from first reading to Royal Assent in 17 days [1]. I think a lot of people are going to find it very hard to understand why it takes over four months to reconsider (or, as I think most of us on here would hope, reverse) an amendment to a Church Measure.

    There is a particularly bitter irony in this: one of the purposes of inventing Church Measures in the first place was to enable ecclesiastical legislation to pass more quickly than it could if it had to be contained in a primary Act of Parliament [2].

    [1] The Northern Ireland Act 2009 achieved this speed record.

    [2] See the speech by Archbishop Davidson in the House of Lords on 3rd June 1919.

  • JCF says:

    “I can’t for the life of me see why anyone would stay in a church that so obviously rejects them.”

    What I’ve heard from secular LGBTs for decades, Clive. I hope you can appreciate my empathy in “Been There, Done That”. :-/

  • It had to happen this way. Better no Women Bishops than that they be hobbled in their jurisdiction.

  • Clive says:

    JCF : I do, actually. But (at least in the US) you stayed because you saw a fight you could win, and win it you have. The same will inevitably happen in England. Staying when the fight is lost is a different matter. It would be nice to see those who have won control of the Anglican churches be more gracious in victory I think, but that’s just me.

  • David says:

    The House of Bishops seem to have missed the simple fact that they were (still) a body of men considering amendments to legislation largely affecting women. Why could they not have consulted closely at the outset with the very people likely to be most directly affected by the amendments to the legislation – the senior women clergy.

    It was as ridiculous as an all-male House of Commons or House of Lords discussing (say)FGM or the appropriate week for permitting legal abortion.

  • Hmm. Actually I think that both men and women are affected by the legislation. Just as both males and females are affected by abortion limits.

  • JCF says:

    “But (at least in the US) you stayed because you saw a fight you could win”

    Speaking personally, Clive, I stayed in obedience to God-in-Christ and the Gospel (in terms of “a fight”, I ALWAYS expect the cross!).

    Yet at the same time, Christ promises us “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”…and yes, there have been definite Alleluia!-moments of lightness, also. It’s a paradox.

    Again just speaking personally, I welcome you to continue living that paradox within the Anglican Communion (if you’re ever Stateside, please worship w/ us in TEC!). God bless.

  • Clive says:

    JCF : God bless you. I lived the “integrity” of Forward in Faith and a flying bishop in England but on arrival in Canada I crossed the Tiber. I cannot understand those of my persuasion who don’t now. But God bless those who stay too.

    For me the issue of LGBT inclusion would not have been a factor and in turn if my church ever ordains women I will embrace it. For me it was simply a question of authority to change the apostolic succession and the need to be sure the Eucharist is the Eucharist.

    I do find the way the debate has hardened hearts and become very ugly to be disappointing. It belies my own experience where personal relationships flourished across the divide of opinions. Indeed I still count a female Anglican priest in Canada as a personal friend. That said I also think the time to put up or shut up has arrived in England for traditionally minded Catholics.

  • JCF says:

    “if my church ever ordains women I will embrace it”

    And you see yourself as having no voice in that decision, Clive? It’s all up to the Bishop of Rome? In my “persuasion”, I find that sad. But Vaya Con Dios…

    [“the need to be sure the Eucharist is the Eucharist”: Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine! (I’m not a Protestant, but I do like that hymn.]

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