Choose your own bishop: Williams, Sentamu tell anti-female forces

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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….abcwithahataby.jpg

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?

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Leonardo Ricardo
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Once again Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury (and the Lord of York) has avoided true moral leadership and compromised the end ¨message¨ of ¨we will have no injustice nor discrimination¨ at the C of E...furthermore, these men, yes men, contaminate true Christian/Anglican love for all in the name of a vile compromise that means nothing short of ¨women are inferior¨...shame on these men who are well educated yet ignorant of basic human decency...they are compromised in dangerous ways for all. Resign, both.

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George Clifford
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George Clifford

Apparently, in Christ there is male and female – at least according to the ABC. If this were a matter of ethnicity or race, few in the Church would countenance such a policy. Continued equivocation in the name of unity must end. If a person is a new creation in Christ, then the former distinctions (gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.) are no longer relevant.

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John B. Chilton
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John B. Chilton

Word, Ann.

ABC chose to abuse his position in #mitregate. There's no other word for it.

As far as the proposed measure, it can't be that easy. On the one hand, it's unlikely to placate a single member of the anti-women bishops crowd. On the other, it sounds like nothing less than slight of hand that I've suggested before -- simply make legislation symmetric by inserting his or her everywhere and pretend this applies equally to men and women bishops.

Did the archbishops not read the Sunday lectionary? - there is no longer male and female.

"Gala 3:23 (NRSV) Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise."

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EH Culver
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EH Culver

The "A" word, "Abusive," is the operative word here. It has no place in the Church's vocabulary, except to be condemned. Thanks, Ann Fontaine, for speaking the truth to injustice.

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Ann Fontaine
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How disappointing but not surprising. I guess ABC and ABY think women and gays will just "take it" because we love the church so much. Seems like many an abusive relationship I have seen.

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