Revised Tuesday lunchtime
Andrew Brown has analysed the proposals for the Guardian in Church of England leaders propose female bishops by 2015.
The bishops of the Church of England have published a plan to consecrate female bishops by 2015, after the defeat of legislation last autumn. It would end 20 years of bitter struggle with a clear decision in favour of progress.
The proposals, published on Friday and backed by both archbishops, offer a nearly complete victory for the female clergy and their supporters outraged by the failure of the earlier legislation…
Tom Heneghan Reuters Church of England unveils plan for women bishops in 2015
Jonathan Petre in the Mail on Sunday reports that Church leaders may ask Queen to dissolve Synod if it continues to oppose creation of women bishops.
Senior bishops have raised the prospect of asking the Queen to dissolve the Church of England’s ‘Parliament’, the General Synod, if it continues to oppose the creation of women bishops.
The unprecedented proposal was made in a confidential meeting chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury last week and reflects Church leaders’ frustration with the Synod for narrowly defeating legislation in November to allow women priests to become bishops…
Ed Thornton and Glyn Paflin wrote in the Church Times House of Bishops sets out next steps on women in the episcopate.
…Speaking on Friday, Bishop Stock said that “we have a choice of proceeding by grace or by law. As you go down the options, more law goes into it. It seems wise to start with maximum grace and see where that gets us; that’s where the House of Bishops would like to start.”
Bishop Stock said that small-group facilitated discussions among Synod members would take place on the Saturday of the Synod’s meeting, and warned of the danger of returning to “a zero-sum game”. “We’re hoping people will not start to take positions and sides too soon. . . This is a real attempt to see how we can begin to honour each other rather than be suspicious of each other.”
He went on: “People now really do want to look at a more positive way of being together rather than being in separate silos where you have no real contact with each other. There are various signals about that, and a new way of working.”
It would be “entirely open to anybody to produce an amendment” in the Monday debate, but “the Bishops thought this is where we ought to start.”
The first response from the Conservative Evangelical wing was published by Cranmer’s Curate on Sunday and then, after one modification, taken down. It has now appeared here: CofE Hierarchy terrified of political backlash over women bishops and part of the article is copied below the fold.
CofE Hierarchy terrified of political backlash over women bishops
By Julian Mann
Special to virtueonline
May 27, 2013
The latest legislative proposal for a single clause women bishops’ measure reflects the clear choice of the Church of England hierarchy to follow the world and not the Word by imposing a uniform, secular model of leadership on parishes.
The liberal establishment is desperate to get this legislation through the General Synod as soon as possible because it is terrified of the backlash from the metropolitan elite in Westminister if the Church of England repeats its failure to embrace political correctness. The failure of the General Synod to pass the women bishops’ measure in November led to outrage in the British Parliament.
Members of Parliament cheer-led by the Prime Minister – who has admitted that his faith fluctuates like the signal from his local radio station in the Chiltern hills – fell over themselves to denounce the Church of England for failing to ‘get up with the programme’. One newspaper columnist acidly observed that people who could not care less about the Church of England suddenly started developing ‘bilious opinions’ about women bishops.
There was even talk of banning ecclesiastical bottoms from the ermine benches of the House of Lords because they were so out of touch with societal opinion.
More sinisterly, homosexualist parliamentarians were quick to realise that acceptance of women bishops was an essential precursor to the capitulation of the Church of England to their agenda.
Campaign group for the traditional integrity, Proper Provision, has just issued a statement explaining in stark terms what the single clause option announced last week would mean for conservative evangelicals.
This breath of realism in advance of the July Synod meeting shows the real spiritual and moral battle ground on which conservative evangelicals are to pray and to take action and to make sacrifices so that the local churches we love can remain faithful to the revealed, apostolic Word of the Lord Jesus Christ and not be neutered by the world.
The House of Bishops have decided that “the moment has come for demonstrating how the Church of England can manifest its commitment to remaining a broad church without having to rely on legislation to do so”.
They are therefore recommending to General Synod that we move forward with “Option 1” (of the four offered by the Working Party).
In short this is the “Single Clause” option – with a non-legally binding declaration from the House of Bishops/ an Act of Synod (not available in July) which would set out recommendations for arrangements for those whose theological conviction does not enable them to receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests.
We must however remember that NONE of the options provided jurisdictional provision (despite the Working Party recognising that this is what we had said was required).
All four options REQUIRE Conservative Evangelical Ministers to:
- Swear the oath of Canonical Obedience to their Diocesan (male or female)
- Accept that they hold a “dissenting” view because “the Church of England has reached a clear decision on the matter”
- Play a “full part” in the lives of the Dioceses and Deaneries in order to ensure that the “majority” flourish.
This option also has the potential to put our PCCs, incumbents and patrons at risk of being challenged under the Equality Act if there is a disagreement over the appointment of a male incumbent/nomination of a female curate in the future. The document makes clear that this will be at their own cost.
It would clearly be a disaster if a measure of this nature were passed but we must pray that people recognise the clarity of the decision the Church is making – we may be saying “yes” to women bishops but we are also saying “no’ to those who hold the dissenting view.
Despite all the talk about mutual flourishing and loyal anglicans this option will have the effect of reducing the breadth of churchmanship in the Church of England and unchurching large numbers of clergy and laity.
- Conservative Evangelical ministers will either have to lie (when taking their canonical oath to a woman) or leave.
- Conservative Evangelical laity will have to risk court action if they appoint the man of their choice.
- All Conservative Evangelicals will have to live as oxymorons – loyal dissenters.
Please pray for all those who will be making decisions about how to move forward on this issue.