Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Watching on women bishops

Watching the C of E General Synod debate (debacle?) unfold over next few days re women bishops.


Father Ron Smith said...

A very good article in today's Christchurch Press, (taken from 'The Times') by a black woman priest, Chaplain to the House of Commons, The Revd. Rose Hudson-Wilkin.

Of the current debate about Women Bishops in the Church of England she says: "We need to stop moving the goalposts (about the possibility of ordaining women bishops). I am not happy with anything that only begrudgingly makes women bishops. What sort of collegiality is there going to be between these two if the other (intervening male) bishop does not accept the role of the (diocesan) woman bishop?"

If the Engish Archbishops go ahead with 'Flying bishops', this will enshrining the idea of a two-tiered episcopate. Not very 'catholic'!

I pray that the Holy Spirit will open the hearts and minds of the C.of E. General Synod to a more generous approach to women's episcopal ministry. Also to the same openness to Same-Sex Blessings

carl jacobs said...

As George McGovern once said (he being the Democratic Presidential candidate who was crushed by Nixon in 1972) to explain his historic defeat ...

“I opened the doors of the Democratic Party – and twenty million people walked out.”

Inclusion at work. There is a very simple question in play in this vote about Women Bishops. "Is establishing the authority of women bishops worth the loss of a large segment of your church population?" The CoE can't have it both ways. It must choose. Statements of "Well, we made provisions for them that we considered adequate. If they leave, it's on them" amount to nothing but provide a fig leaf of covering for what is a transparent attempt to coerce another's conscience. The bowl is brought forth and the judge makes a show of washing his hands before the crowd. But it is only a show. It matters not at all whether proponents consider the provisions adequate. What matters is whether those allegedly protected by those provisions consider the provisions adequate. They manifestly don't. They are offered a short cold "This is what you get. Take it or leave it." They will leave both it, and the CoE. Is that an acceptable cost? Because the CoE will pay it if it forces the issue. The cost is certain.

If the CoE chooses unwisely, it will precipitate a process that cannot be stopped. The inhabitants of Thinking Anglicans will be delighted of course. At least until the money runs out.


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Carl,
I could be quite wrong in my reading of the situation but my knowledge of the C of E, including noting the overwhelming diocesan synodical support for women bishops suggests that there will not be a major loss of people from the pews.

(I would not go so far as to say there will be a major influx because of the passing of the legislation).

But I could be wrong ...

Andrew Reid said...

In Australia, there was no legislative mechanism to offer protection for objectors to women's consecration. That was because the women's bishop measure failed to achieve a 2/3 majority at General Synod, but was brought in by a later Appellate Tribunal ruling.

So, we have a protocol whose text can be found here:

It provides for just about all the protections that objectors would wish for, I believe. However, I'm not sure if the protocol has really been tested yet. The 2 current (Perth, Melbourne) and 1 prospective (Canberra/Goulburn) female assistant bishops are part of a team with male bishops, so alternative oversight can be provided simply. The tests will come when a woman is elected to a senior bishop role (bishop of non-metro diocese or archbishop of metro diocese).

I am unaware of any major complaints so far from "objecting" parishes in Melbourne or Perth regarding the operation of alternative oversight. Probably most of the parishes for whom this would have been a serious problem have already departed to the Traditional Anglican Communion or Anglican Catholic Church over women's ordination as priests.

Father Ron Smith said...

There is a simple answer to Carl's objection to Women Clergy. It is not to renege on the emancipation of such - out of fear for mass departures; but rather to pursue the tenor of the Gospel, and the advice of St.Paul: 'In Christ, there is neither male nor female... All are given the same Spirit" - in their Baptism into Christ.

Jesus did not die only for macho males. He died for ALL. Therefore ALL have an equal share in the proclamation of the 'Good News'. Mary Magdalene proved that. Also, Mary of Nazareth produced, in her own body, 'The Word made flesh'.