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The Church of England’s “solution” in allowing women bishops

The Church of England’s “solution” in allowing women bishops

Andrew Brown of the Guardian appears stunned by the House of Bishops plan to mollify opponents of female bishops:

The archbishops envisage that the Church of England, once it has female bishops, will continue ordaining men who do not accept these women, finding them jobs they will deign to accept, and promoting some of them to be bishops who will work to ensure the continued supply of male priests who refuse to accept female clergy. In fact, the church will pay three bishops (the formerly “flying” sees of Ebbsfleet, Richborough, and Beverley) to work full time against their female colleagues, and to nourish the resistance.

The General Synod, last summer, rejected the archbishops’ plan to fix a reservation in law where the opponents could live as if nothing had changed. Now they have brought back the same proposals, but call them “a code of practice” instead. In theory, this gives both sides what they want. In reality neither will find it easy to accept.

Obviously this will be unacceptable to most supporters of women’s ordination. But the cream of the joke is that it will probably be unacceptable to their principled opponents as well. The unscrupulous ones will, of course, be very happy with the deal.

Despite all these concessions, there will be female bishops, as there are already female priests, and these will be treated exactly the same as male ones – except by the men who don’t want to treat them equally and who believe that God has called them to undermine women’s authority wherever it appears.

This is apparently Rowan Williams’s idea of justice.


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Weiwen Ng

To be fair – there’s no good solution here, taking a harder line might cause the no women priests folks to go schismatic, and demographic trends are most likely against the no women priests folks. By doing this, they keep the church more or less intact, but the NWP crowd eventually dies out. It’s a bit like the Ordinariate: they’ve got a loophole, but they’ll die eventually, so not a threat to the church overall.

Not saying I necessarily like it, of course.

Jeffrey L. Shy, M.D.

@ Karen

All bishops are equal, only some are more equal than others.

HT Mr. Orwell.

Rod Gillis

Hardly surprising. It’s typical of a church which lumbers on as a patriarchal institution.

The Anglican Church of Canada “grand-fathered” its “conscience clause” in 1986. Anyone ordained after that date was required to accept women’s ordination. Conscientious objection by by parishes was not allowed.

Since that time, Canada has gone on to ordain women to the episcopate.

Notwithstanding the decision of General Synod back in 1986, Canadian bishops, including some female bishops, continue to do business as if the conscience clause were still in place. The struggle for gender equality and justice is not limited to mother corp. in England.

Leslie Scoopmire

I think Karen’s comments are spot on. This is a ridiculous kowtowing to prejudice, sexism, chauvinism, whatever you want to call it.

Karen Macqueen

This proposed “solution” departs from the catholicity of the Church, where every bishop has been equal. Until now. In the CofE, authority to exercise extraordinary jursidiction will flow from a “Code of Practice”, rather than from the episcopal office, itself. Meanwhile, female bishops will certainly be second class bishops, who will hold their limited authority, still circumscribed by the men in the Church. Even tossing overboard the catholicity of the Church of England is not too much for Rowan Williams.

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