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.”