Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Singularly unimpressed

All sorts of reactions pouring out about the CofE GS failure to approve the particular measure on women bishops placed before them. Have read quite a few on Twitter. I realise that disappointment and pain skews perception and good sense, but I am singularly unimpressed with reactions which blame the few people by which the measure failed to pass, or the general process of GS decision-making. That is very poor indeed. The simple fact is that synods pass measures agreeable to them and do not pass measures disagreeable to them. The proposers of the measure bear responsibility for crafting a proposal which did not carry the day. They should not be blamed for the debacle since on this particular matter it might be argued that no measure was going to carry the day. But it is worth asking if more care had gone into thinking about what could be approved instead of what should be approved then the measure could have passed.

I say this as one who used to lose proposals put to synod until I started to think about what synod might agree to.

When synod started agreeing with what they were agreeable to then someone said I manipulated synod ... oh, well!


MichaelA said...

Interesting comment, Peter, re how to persuade a Synod.

A related point: I note that a lot of media and blog comments are currently emphasising that this measure (although actually in a different form) was previously passed by 42 out of 44 diocesan synods of the Church of England.

But there is a little detail that people tend to miss - I understand that 10 of the dioceses that "passed" the measure also passed a "Following Motion", which is in effect a suggested amendment.

Perhaps those who want the measure passed next time might have a look at those Following Motions to see what the dioceses recommended.

Father Ron Smith said...

When one analyses the root cause of the failure to affirm the canonical ordination of Women as Bishops in the Church of England, one cannot discount what could be perceived to be an over-cautious ploy on the part of the House of Bishops to accommodate the minority in the Church who have drummed up the scare scenarios against women's authority in the Church.

The orchestrated Opposition on the part of both Right Wing Ultra-montane Anglo-Catholics (on the grounds of ontology; and sola-scriptura Evangelicals (on grounds of Male Headship) - unlikely bed-fellows in normal circumstances - would appear to have influenced the House-of-Laity reaction.

My prayer was that the Holy Spirit would influence the outcome, But then, one's prayers are not always answered in the way one hopes!

The only hope now for those in the Church of England who affirm the episcopal potential of women in ministry, may be that - next time around (2015?) - the loop-hole for misogyny in the Church we be closed

Anonymous said...

The Church of England doesn't need more bishops, it needs more Christians. The crisis of all western institutions has been the expansion of ever more middle and senior managers on top of a decling base of plebs and payers. The C of E has many more bishops than it used to have, fewer parish clergy, and fewer (and poorer) payers. Putting it crudely, bishops don't generate income, they spend it. It would be a bit different if bishops were frontline evangelists and church planters, as they were in the apostolic and early church and still are in Nigeria, but today they are basically managers. And in most of the western church, all they are managing is decline. Time for a rethink. Just what is the point of bishops today?


Peter Carrell said...

Redacted from Shawn:

"While I support women's ordination I understand the concern of those who do not, and the fact is that the bill did not do enough to accommodate those concerns.

And misogyny has nothing to do with it, nor with the issue as a whole. Many conservative women also opposed the bill. Are they misogynist? Over the last 15 years I have seen no misogyny in Evangelical circles, but plenty of it in pro- gay churches. My wife has never had a problem preaching or teaching in any Evangelical church. The one and only time she was told it might not he safe for her to so it was in a pro-gay liberal church, because of hostility from homosexual clergy.

As I have said before the cause of women's ordination and leadership is being held back because if the association with the [combination] of Liberal heresy and cultural Marxism."

Anonymous said...

But this has restored my faith in British justice:

Mrs Mills better be careful she doesn't call any of her new Scottish neighbors 'English'.


Paul Powers said...

Fr. Ron, are you open to the possibility that the Holy Spirit did influence the outcome of the synod vote? I'm not suggesting that the Holy Spirit is opposed to female bishops in the C of E (although that is one possibility). It could be that God in his infinite wisdom has determined that now is not the time for female bishops. Or that he saw that if passed in its present form, the measure would cause further disunity and distract the Church from its Gospel mission. Or even that a measure creating second-class bishops would cause more harm than good.

Of course it's also possible that the issue is less important to God than to us. Lacking the gift of discernment, all I can do is ask these questions. Wiser men and women than me will have to find the answers.

Father Ron Smith said...

" It could be that God in his infinite wisdom has determined that now is not the time for female bishops." - Paul Powers -

Indeed, Paul. That is why I have said, precisely; that our prayers are not always answered in the way we might expect!

A further thought is that, under the proposed (amended) legislation that failed; Women would still have been subject to certain 'No-Go' areas in the life of the Church, which may not be God's intention.

Perhaps God is waiting for a non-sexist proposal to be put forward by the C.of E. - like that in N.Z., where a woman bishop has the same authority as that of a male bishop. That would certainly be preferable - to me, at least, and more just!

MichaelA said...

A point I made on another thread - the supporters of women bishops in England need to point the finger of blame at themselves for this one. They lost this entirely through their own failure to apply basic political logic. Consider:

The measure was passed in preliminary voting by 42 out of 44 diocesan synods. Since these work on a simple majority, it should have been obvious to everyone involved that this gave no guarantee whatsoever that a 2/3 majority would be obtained at General Synod. Yet this one fact was continually touted (with no qualification that I can recall) as showing that the measure must succeed at General Synod.

And when you also consider that the measure failed to reach 50% in the largest diocesan synod (London), and 10 of the diocesan synods who passed it did so with a recommended amendment (a following motion) giving more allowance for traditionalists, why is anyone surprised at the result in GS?

I do think this shows the political smarts of the archbishops Williams and Sentamu - early this year they obviously did the numbers and so they amended the measure to give more concessions to traditionalists. This would probably have got the measure through.

But the supporters rejected this at the July synod and demanded that those concessions be watered down. They have no-one to blame for their defeat but themselves.

And now I note a lot of angry women-bishops-supporters on Thinking Anglicans and Ugley Vicar blogs demanding that even less concessions be given to traditionalists next time! They think their mistake this time around was in offering too many concessions - amazing how people will not learn.