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C of E: Male bishops amend legislation on female bishops

C of E: Male bishops amend legislation on female bishops

Thinking Anglicans has the press release from the Church of England. The core–which, to be honest is beyond my interpretive capabilities is here:

The House accepted an amendment making it clear that the use of the word “delegation” (in Clause 2 of the draft Measure) relates to the legal authority which a male bishop acting under a diocesan scheme would have and was distinct from the authority to exercise the functions of the office of bishop that that person derived from his ordination. For example, when another bishop ordains someone to the priesthood he needs permission to do from the bishop of the diocese (“delegation”), but the power to ordain derives from his consecration as a bishop. The amendment also makes clear that delegation should not be taken as divesting the diocesan bishop of any of his or her authority or functions.

The House also accepted an amendment to express in the Measure one of the three principles which the House had agreed in December (see notes). This amendment adds to the list of matters on which guidance will need to be given in the Code of Practice that the House of Bishops will be required to draw up and promulgate under the Measure. It will now need to include guidance on the selection by the diocesan bishop of the male bishops and priests who will minister in parishes whose parochial church council (PCC) has issued a Letter of Request under the Measure. That guidance will be directed at ensuring that the exercise of ministry by those bishops and priests will be consistent with the theological convictions as to the consecration or ordination of women which prompted the issuing of the Letter of Request. Thus, the legislation now addresses the fact that for some parishes a male bishop or male priest is necessary but not sufficient.

The House rejected more far-reaching amendments that would have changed the legal basis on which bishops would exercise authority when ministering to parishes unable to receive the ministry of female bishops.

Who can help us understand what this means?


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“Why don’t they just make an CoE version of DEPO and call it a day?”

Because they’re hung up on the “Delegated” part of DEPO, Nicole. If a bishop-who-is-a-woman can delegate to their precious Forward-in-Faith selves, that means they have to *acknowledge* her power to delegate. Which means they’re acknowledging her *oversight*. Which means they’re acknowledging her as bishop. Heaven forfend! {clutch pearls} {vapors} {die away in lace-covered horror}

JC Fisher


Jim, I trust WATCH’s take (described on the Cafe above).

It’s all about girl-/girl-affirming cooties, or “taint”. And taint ain’t catholic.

JC Fisher

Adam Wood

>>In my opinion it is just one more attempt to make women 2nd class bishops.

While my strong preference/conviction is for completely equal orders for all genders, the actual content of this (indeed, poorly written) explanation seems to suggest a refinement TOWARD equality.

The issue of delegation says that, in the case of a male Bishop invited into a female Bishop’s Diocese for the purpose of ministering to those who find it difficult to have a female Bishop- the visiting male Bishop’s authority to do so comes from the female Bishop of the Diocese, who remains the actual Bishop and the source of ecclesiastical authority in her Diocese. This allows the conservatives to have what they seem to need in practice (male presence in Episcopal rituals), while enshrining the equalist view with regards to authority into law. I’d say that’s a pretty good compromise, all in all.

The second paragraph is a little more troubling. IT is saying that when a parish requests alternative oversight from male clergy, they should also specify what kind of male clergy they want, with regards to their theological position. Conservative parishes were apparently concerned because they feel that maleness is “necessary, but not sufficient.” That is, the priest MUST be male, but he MUST ALSO be other things (conservative, or whatever).

This amendment troubles me much more than the other one, and taken together they paint an odd picture of Anglican polity: Authority in operational matters flows down from the Bishop, but authority in matters of theology rests with an individual congregation. Aside from gender issues, this seems bass-ackwards.

John B. Chilton

What this means:

“Giles Fraser ?@giles_fraser

42/44 dioceses of C of E agree legislation for women bishops. Then small group of all male bishops in closed session decide to change it.”

Malcolm French+

What I make of it is that the CofE needs to hire some competent writers. This isn’t a case of being separated by a common language. The Times’s Ruth Gledhill described this meandering bit of busted boilerplate as the worst written news release since the Reformation.

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