Statements released regarding the withdrawal of Philip North from nomination as bishop ordinary to the See of Sheffield


Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of literal and virtual ink dedicated to the announcement of the nomination of the Rt Revd Phillip North to be the bishop ordinary of the Diocese of Sheffield in the Church of England. The conversation began with an article by senior theologian Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford. He pointed out North’s membership in a Church of England subgroup, the Society, which issues cards to its members allowing the male priests to show/prove that they have been ordained by a male bishop. Dean Percy felt this membership made North unfit for the See of Sheffield. The snowball kept rolling downhill from there. With North’s announcement that he was withdrawing his name from the nomination, a number of CoE hierarch’s, pundits and UK publications have published statements. This list may be updated as more interesting folks wade into the fray.

The Archbishop of York

The Bishop of Doncaster

The Society

Forward in Faith


The Telegraph

The Guardian

The Times

The Mail

The Church Times

Christian Today

The photo is from the Burnley Express.

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Jenny Replogle
Jenny Replogle

I appreciate having multiple sources for reactions to the story. However, as I read through them, I realized that the only organizations (as opposed to news sources) that you included are The Society and Forward in Faith (who fund The Society), who oppose the ordination of women. I think it would be helpful to also include responses from organizations that were on the other side of the debate to provide balance between voices in the CofE. For example, Women and the Church (WATCH) produced both a response ( and a helpful explanation of the nuances of the coverage ( Sheffield Action on Ministry Equality (SAME) also produced a statement (

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Ann Fontaine

" issues cards to its members allowing the male priests to show/prove that they have been ordained by a male bishop." And that the male bishop has never ordained women or received sacraments from women or in any way "defiled" or "contaminated" the male priesthood.

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Cynthia Katsarelis

Yes, and the Church of England went to great lengths to insure "mutual flourishing" by protecting those donatists. The only reason CoE got female bishops at all is because Parliament forced them.

In developing their 5 Principals and trying to enshrine "two integrities" and "mutual flourishing" of each "integrity," the CoE leadership do not seem to have thought through what that would look like in practice, say if a Society member was selected to be a diocesan bishop (who could have forseen that?).

In the view of the "traditional Catholics" (and many who subscribed to the compromise, mostly male), "mutual flourishing" in reality meant that girls and women clergy in some dioceses would have to continue to suffer the awful messages that Ann pointed out so that they can keep an "untainted" line.

It is so offensive.

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