Updated: Thinking Anglicans rounds up the media reports.
Thinking Anglicans has the story about a joint amendment proposed this morning to legislation permitting women to become bishops in the Church of England. The Church of England’s General Synod meets July 9-13.The archbishops released a statement that is excerpted below.
Monday 21 June 2010
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have signalled their intention to propose jointly in due course an amendment to the draft legislation to enable women to become bishops in the Church of England due to be debated at General Synod in July. This note explains their reasoning.
DRAFT LEGISLATION ON WOMEN IN THE EPISCOPATE
AMENDMENTS TO BE PROPOSED BY THE ARCHBISHOPS OF CANTERBURY AND YORK
1. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Revision Committee for their dedicated and painstaking work. We wish, however – after much consideration, and after discussion in the House of Bishops – to offer legislative amendments to the Draft Measure which we believe might provide a way forward for the Church of England. We want as many people as possible to feel that there is good news for them in this process, and we hope that what we are suggesting may help secure the broadest degree of support for the legislation without further delaying the process of scrutiny and decision….
3. The issue that has proved most difficult to resolve in securing these two objectives has been that of ‘jurisdiction’. Once women become bishops, it will be possible to maintain something like the present ‘mixed economy’ in the Church of England only if there is provision for someone other than the diocesan bishop to provide episcopal oversight for those who are unable to accept the new situation. The need for such provision is widely accepted. But what is still much debated is what should be the basis in law for the authority exercised by a bishop in this kind of ministry….
5. The amendments we intend to propose involve neither delegation nor depriving a diocesan of any part of his or her jurisdiction. Instead we seek to give effect to the idea of a ‘co-ordinate’ jurisdiction….
6. What this would mean is that:
the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop – whether male or female – remains intact; he or she would remain the bishop of the whole area of the diocese and would be legally entitled to exercise any episcopal function in any parish of the diocese;
• where a parish had requested arrangements, by issuing a Letter of Request, the diocesan would in practice refrain from exercising certain of his or her functions in such a parish and would leave the nominated bishop to exercise those functions in the parish in question;
• the legal authority of the nominated bishop to minister in this way would derive from the Measure itself – and would not, therefore, be conferred by way of delegation; but the identity of such a bishop and the scope of his functions would be defined by the scheme made by the diocesan for his or her diocese, in the light of the provisions contained in the national statutory Code of Practice drawn up by the House of Bishops and agreed by General Synod;
• thus both the diocesan and the nominated bishop would possess ‘ordinary jurisdiction’; the diocesan would retain the complete jurisdiction of a diocesan in law, and the nominated bishop would have jurisdiction by virtue of the Measure to the extent provided for in the diocesan scheme – in effect holding jurisdiction by the decision of the Church as a whole, as expressed in the Measure;
• in respect of the aspects of episcopal ministry for which the diocesan scheme made provision, the diocesan and the nominated bishop would be ‘co-ordinaries’, and to that extent, their jurisdiction could be described as co-ordinate – that is to say, each would have an ordinary jurisdiction in relation to those matters; and
• the Code of Practice would contain guidelines for effective co-ordination of episcopal functions so as to avoid duplication or conflict in the exercise of episcopal ministry….
15. We believe that the amendments secure two crucial things:
1. that women ordained to the episcopate will enjoy exactly the same legal rights as men within the structures of the Church of England and that there will be no derogation of the rights of any diocesan bishop, male or female; and
2. that those who request oversight from a nominated bishop under a diocesan scheme will be able to recognise in them an episcopal authority received from the whole Church rather than through delegation or transfer from an individual diocesan.
Can we stop pretending that Rowan Williams is valiantly trying to hold together the warring factions of blah, blah, blah and just acknowledge that when it comes right down to it, he will abandon any member of the Communion to his left in order to placate any member of the Communion to his right?