Thinking Anglicans

Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure

Updated Wednesday

The House of Lords today passed the motion to approve the Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure.

John Bingham The Telegraph Women bishops approved by House of Lords

BBC Women bishops change approved in the House of Lords

Women bishops: Archbishop’s speech in House of Lords debate

As John Bingham also notes:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, also disclosed during the debate that all the main Westminster political parties had signalled their support for a plan to fast-track the first women bishops into the Lords.

The debate in the House of Commons has now been scheduled for Monday of next week. Subject to a favourable vote in the Commons (which everybody expects) the measure will then only require the formality of the Royal Assent to come into effect.

Update
The verbatim Hansard report of the Lords’ debate is now available here.
David Pocklington of Law & Religion UK has written this summary of the debate.

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Laurie R
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Laurie R

All very good and encouraging really.

Whatever next ?

A clue from the pope’s homily perhaps ?

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1404223.htm

paul richardson
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paul richardson

The Lambeth/Chicago Quadrilateral is not a definition of Anglicanism. It was intended as a definition of Church order. It provided the basis for a proposed united Anglican/Lutheran Jerusalem episcopacy that never materialised and for a hoped for but never achieved united Protestant episcopal Church of the USA. It formed the basis of the failed 1980s Methodist/CofE/URC covenant and of the successful Porvoo Communion settlement.
Yet again the Lambeth Palace “curia” Is failing its understanding of Church History, ecclesiology or both!

Concerned Anglican
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Concerned Anglican

I rejoice that women will be bishops in the C of E soon … but ‘fast tracking’ into the House of Lords is positive discrimination too far.

The office of bishop will not be helped by such a move, neither will the new women bishops. They should wait their turn, it won’t take long in the normal course of events.

Gareth Hughes
Guest

While the idea of fast-tracking the first women bishops into the House of Lords is commendable, it is likely to require new legislation on how bishops are allocated seats in the House of Lords. It doesn’t seem to be that Cameron (who seems not to know anything about law) and Welby realise that fast-tracking would likely lead to MPs debating whether to get rid of all reserved seats for bishops.

Charles Read
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Charles Read

Actually somebody worked out it will take a while in the normal course of events – that’s why we are thinking of a fast track. Having an all-male bench of bishops in the Lords when there actually are women diocesans will not play well with the Lords or the commons.

Richard
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Richard

How anyone can think that *not treating female bishops equally* advances the cause of equality is utterly beyond me.

Simon Kershaw
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It will be interesting to see what the Government and Abp can come up with.

One possibility perhaps is to say that alternate vacancies are filled by the senior female diocesan then the senior male diocesan, turn and turn about, provided there are candidates of that sex available (and if not then that turn is simply omitted).

Something like that is at least arguably equal and fair in that it is not just giving women bishops priority over men, but is saying that from now on the two sexes are treated equally.

Robin Ward
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Robin Ward

The first woman diocesan bishop could just be made a life peer.

Barry
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Barry

This business has become a disgrace, concerned almost solely with status, rights and equality. Whatever became of the notion that being a bishop was a vocation, and that bishops should be appointed on merit and for no other reason? What happened to the conviction that the only person truly fitted to be a bishop was one who protested (honestly) that they did not want to do it? Where is our theology of episcopacy?

Edward Prebble
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Edward Prebble

As I suggested on another thread some months ago, another way would be to persuade the current incumbents in London, Durham, and Winchester to translate to other vacant sees (or retire), and appoint women to fill the resulting vacancies, all of which lead to immediate membership of the House of Lords.

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“How anyone can think that *not treating female bishops equally* advances the cause of equality is utterly beyond me.” Well, to some, it seems like a small but good start at undoing centuries of injustice. Even in modern times, CoE is 40 years behind on WB’s. The reason for having WB’s at all, and in the Lord’s Spiritual in particular, is to include diverse voices. Given CoE’s disconnect from the rest of society, why would anyone want to wait another hour to include those voices? It isn’t about those lucky fast tracked women! It is about including, affirming, and representing… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“How anyone can think that *not treating female bishops equally* advances the cause of equality is utterly beyond me.” So how long are you willing to risk women only having a token presence amongst the Lords Spiritual? That hereditary peerages pass only down the male line (with a tiny number of exceptions that don’t affect the general point) was one of the reasons why the passage of the legislation to massively reduce their number was so easy: it was obviously discriminatory. If women bishops are appointed but there’s no sign of them being appointed to the Lords, the pressure to… Read more »

Iain McLean
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Iain McLean

David Pocklington’s post is VERY important. Clause 2 of the Measure states 2 Amendment of Equality Act In Schedule 6 to the Equality Act 2010 (c.15), there is added at the end— “Bishops. The office of diocesan or suffragan bishop is not a public office.”. Two thoughts. 1 In one view this is the CofE legislating for its own disestablishment. 2 See the interaction between Lady Howe and the ABC. Lady Howe asked for an assurance that this would not be used to claim Equality Act exemptions on any matter other than gender. The ABC’s reply was guarded. David Pocklington… Read more »

Philip Hobday
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Philip Hobday

Perhaps helpful to see a broader issue here: seniority of appointment is not necessarily the best route for selecting parliamentarians – one ideally wants to ensure a broad geographical range, diversity of background, experience, and talents, and so on. There may also be people who would be excellent diocesans but are not appointed because they are not interested in (or suitable for) appointment to the Lords, and that problem too would be solved. For those reasons – which include the question of gender representation but actually range more widely – reform which allowed the Church to select its own nominees… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Admin

Seniority has some real advantages though. It entirely depoliticizes the process. No one can lobby for an early place, whether on their own behalf or that of someone else. No one can claim that they achieved their place on any grounds other than length of service. No one has to decide who will get the places — the bishops themselves, the Archbishops, the Archbishops’ Council, the General Synod, everyone on a parochial electoral roll or equivalent, Parliament, nor any other body. Who would be trusted? And once meddled with once there would be every incentive to meddle with it again… Read more »

Richard
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Richard

Interested Observer,

My difficulty is that I simply cannot see why we would fast-track anyone into the ranks of the Lords Spiritual. It is done, as Simon Kershaw says, on length of service. I may think that, say, the newly-appointed Bishop of Blogtown to be a far wiser man than the Bishop of Smithston who has been a bishop for several years and is next on the list. Nonetheless, the way it works is that +Smithston is next. I don’t see the issue.

Robin Ward,

Would you not prefer a matrilineal hereditary peerage?

Savi Hensman
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Savi Hensman

The alternate vacancies option is an interesting one.

Wilf
Guest
Wilf

I have it on good authority that a draft bill has been drafted to effect the fast tracking of women bishops into the Lords. No details of how yet, though.

A female diocesan being given a life peerage would not bring her into the same category in the Lords as the other bishops. She would hold her seat for life rather than retiring and would have to sit separately – this might not give off the right message.

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

No issues with fast tracking women bishops, if that is what the second chamber wants. Think it would need primary legislation though. The Kershaw formula would probably work, for a transitional period of say 15 years. The life peer route has less to commend it as, by definition, they stay for life, adding to ++Eames, ++Carey, ++Hope, +Harries, ++Williams et al!!