Reactions are rolling in on the last minute intervention by the ABC and the ABY into the well-laid plans of the Church of England General Synod to approve women bishops. The two archbishops call their plan co-jurisdiction. There's broad agreement that it's arm twisting, it's hypocritical, it's naive, and it's absurd.
Andrew Brown explains:
The Church of England officially believes that women may be priests and bishops; unfortunately it also believes that they may not be. This is a position too subtle for the general public to understand, and increasingly one too subtle for the Church itself. ...
[T]he Archbishops propose that the women voluntarily surrender some of their powers in cases where male priests don't accept them. Quite what would be voluntary about this arrangement is unclear to me and to everyone else I have spoken to. ... [T]he proposal does not state which functions the bishop would give up. In any case these would have to be renegotiated on an individual basis by each successor. This looks like a recipe for endless conflict.
It is clear that there are to be no reciprocal or balancing arrangements for supporters of women priests whose bishop is an opponent.
So what on earth is Rowan up to here?
Damian Thompson puffs:
If Dr Williams and Dr Sentamu succeed in their arm-twisting, the numbers of Anglicans leaving to join the Ordinariate will be smaller, no doubt about it. But, as Fr Ed says, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Holy Father’s provision is incredibly generous – so much so that various Catholic bishops of England and Wales are still spitting tacks over it – but it is not designed for “Anglicans in communion with the Holy See”. Because no such creature exists, or ever will exist, and it’s better to have just one Ordinariate parish that truly understands its Catholic identity than dozens with divided loyalties.Or ever will exist. Got that, Rowan? Communion with Rome is a pipe dream. Benedict is not interested in communion no matter how much faith and order you impose.
Over at Pluralist Speaks, Adrian Wolsford spoofs the plan line-by-line. A taste:
13. In the case where a male sanctimonious nutter or lunatic fundamentalist is the bishop, a parish might ask for episcopal oversight from specifically another woman, but they can whistle into the wind. The Church is not a democracy, nor an equal opportunities employer.
18. We are amazed that no one had thought of this before....
19. Now it is up to the General Synod to agree with us.
20. In Christ there is no male or female, although actually there is in this Church.