Thinking Anglicans

Women bishops: WATCH continues to call for complete withdrawal of Clause 5(1)c

Updated Thursday evening to include additional link
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 28th August 2012
WATCH continues to call for complete withdrawal of Clause 5(1)c

WATCH (Women and the Church) has considered the consultation paper GS Misc 1033 sent out to members of Synod near the end of July and considers that complete withdrawal of amended Clause 5(1)c remains the wisest course of action for the House of Bishops at their meeting in September.

Opinions are divided amongst supporters of ordained women as to the best way forward. Though every effort has been made to engage fully with the brief consultation process, no one proposal for a new wording for 5(1)c has achieved very wide support.

WATCH has made a formal response to the consultation (attached and also here as a web page). Amongst the key points in our thinking are:

  • We do not agree with the reasons given by Archbishop Rowan for the need for further amendment. Opposition to the priestly of episcopal ministry of women is based foundationally upon theologies of gender.
  • Those who support the ordained ministry of women have already made huge compromises in supporting the unamended Measure that already made provision for those opposed to have a male priest and a male bishop. Accepting the new Clause 8 represents a further compromise on our part.
  • The unamended Measure received an overwhelming mandate from the dioceses. 42/44 have debated and approved this legislation. General Synod should be allowed to vote on legislation that is as close as possible to that which was approved by the dioceses.
  • We are concerned that hasty amendment will again prove to be a hostage to fortune. Any new wording inserted at this stage will not have received adequate scrutiny given the timing of the consultation (25/7 to 24/8). It is likely that the full implications of any new wording will only be discovered later in the autumn influencing Synod voting in unforeseen ways.
  • If further concessions are made, some Synod members will no longer be able to support the draft legislation and the loss of just a few votes from those who support the ordained ministry of women may be enough, in combination with those who would vote against it anyway, to bring the legislation down.
  • With the full support of the bishops and archbishops, legislation with the new Clause 8 but without Clause 5(1)c would have a better chance of passing than any other option.

We conclude that withdrawing 5(1)c is the safest path to the successful passage of this Measure and the only way to keep faith with the diocesan consultation process.

The Reverend Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH said
“The House of Bishops will have a very difficult judgment call at their meeting in September. It is vital that whatever decision they make does not further undermine the ministry of ordained women.”

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bookguybaltmdFather Ron SmithOriginal ObserverHannahJeremy Pemberton Recent comment authors
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Benedict
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Benedict

Rachel Weir and members of WATCH have conveniently forgotten that a significant minority of the 44 Dioceses also passed following motions expressing a desire for a proper form of provision for traditionalists. What kind of a church are we developing into, I wonder, where majority rule becomes the order of the day, and there is no place for conscience or space for those with whom we disagree. The Church of England has never been of that ilk, and I suspect that Ms Weir will actually (hopefully) discover that the Bishops will remiain mindful of their pastoral imperative to care for… Read more »

commentator
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commentator

Benedict:
My conscience has been continuously overridden by ++Rowan Williams and ++John Sentamu in relation to my conscientious conviction that I would have wished to have the Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John ‘elected’ to the See of Southwark and to serve him as my bishop.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“What kind of a church are we developing into, I wonder, where majority rule becomes the order of the day, and there is no place for conscience or space for those with whom we disagree.” – Benedict – One might ask ‘what kind of Church would we be if we obeyed the conscience of the Minority?’ The conscience of everyone is entirely their own affair, but if they do not go along with the majority that determines Church Order (in this case, allowing Women’s Ordination), they have the choice to ‘suffer with’ the majority, or find comfort in another ecclesial… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I believe that WATCH is right on the ball here. It seems that only the withdrawal of Amendment 5.1.c. is likely to bring a positive result for the upcoming General Synod on Women Bishops.

The ball is in the House of Bishops’ court.

Alastair Newman
Guest

But Benedict, what about the significant minority in 1978 who were narrowly defeated in a motion to bring forward legislation to remove the barriers to ordaining women to the priesthood and consecrating them to the episcopate? That particular motion passed in the House of Bishops and Laity but was defeated in the House of clergy 149 to 94. A very narrow defeat: a very significant minority. The “significant minority” in 1978 then had to wait 14 years until 1992 for legislation to be passed allowing women to be ordained to the priesthood. The “significant minority” back in 1978 is still… Read more »

bookguybaltmd
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bookguybaltmd

Just a question: does this amendment ‘cut both ways?’ For example, if a liberal parish should disagrees with a conservative Bishop and come to feel that the conservative nature and actions of that Bishop has somehow invalidated his ministry as it relates to that particular liberal parish, may that liberal parish, under this proposed or some other canon, request alternative oversight from a, to them, more ‘orthodox’ (aka liberal) Bishop? If not, why not? What is the distinction between the objection of some to women Bishops or, for that matter, to a Bishop who supports the ordination of women, and… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“…may that liberal parish, under this proposed or some other canon, request alternative oversight from a, to them, more ‘orthodox’ (aka liberal) Bishop? If not, why not?” – bookguyaltmd –

A very valid point here. If ‘special arrangements’ are to be set in stone for ‘anti-women bishops’ parishes; is there going to be a complementary ‘special arrangement’ made for pro-women bishops’ parishes? That would be only fair and just.

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

I still think WATCH are bending over backwards to accommodate people who would not and will not bend at all in their direction. The unamended Measure should be the limit. If that clause stays in I hope the whole thing gets voted down. Next time, a one clause measure.

I thought I was getting softer in my old age. On this, I’m not.

Hannah
Guest
Hannah

No, the amendment does not cut both ways. Provision can only be made for those who will not accept the ordained ministry of women (or men who accept it). So, if you live in a diocese where the bishop does not ordain women, you can’t seek provision from someone who shares your theological convictions on the matter.

Original Observer
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Original Observer

The whole thing deserves to fail as it has been so poorly thought through. Unless a clear theology of how the Church can live with women bishops while accommodating another integrity which holds them to be invalid can be defined, then passing this legislation, whether amended or not, and with its unspecified code of practice, would be nothing but a reckless shot in the dark.

bookguybaltmd
Guest
bookguybaltmd

Is it possible to offer a “substitute motion/clause” that would make the possibility for objection/alternative oversight more evenly split? Or would that be something that could only originate with the Bishops? Is there room for dialog or compromise between the two bodies? (noting that it has already been pointed out that the advocates of women’s episcopate have already compromised endlessly and with enormous patience). Forgive my ignorance of English polity. But, raised by an English mother, I had been trained to believe in a certain English even-handedness and sense of fair play. But, perhaps that idea is yet another myth… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“lost in the wilds of the US, surrounded by barbaric Americans….”

Posted by: bookguybaltmd on Thursday, 30 August 2012 at 4:09pm BST

The US, ‘barbaric’? – Not so! at least, as far as common human rights are concerned, they seem to be way ahead of the English Bishops

bookguybaltmd
Guest
bookguybaltmd

“The US, ‘barbaric’? – Not so! at least, as far as common human rights are concerned, they seem to be way ahead of the English Bishops”

…Perhaps that, too, was part of the myth originating in the nostalgic fantasy of an English ex-patriot….