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Saturday, 9 February 2013

Women in the episcopate: a new way forward!

This is the nature of the challenge from "Women in the episcopate: a new way forward" (GS MISC 1042): 

"There are various ways of interpreting what happened on 20 November. But one 
thing on which there is a very wide measure of consensus is that the outcome of 
that day has left the Church of England in a profoundly unsatisfactory and 
unsustainable position. There are several reasons for this: 

    It is apparent that opening all three orders of ministry equally to men 
      and women has a very wide measure of support across the Church of 
    For those women already serving in the ordained ministry, the Church 
      of England’s continued indecision is undermining and harmful to 
   Even for those with theological difficulties over the ministry of women 
      as priests and bishops there is little appeal in a further prolonged period 
      of debate and uncertainty;  
   Wider society – including its representatives in Parliament - cannot 
      comprehend why the Church of England has failed to resolve the issue
      and expects it now to do so as a matter of urgency."

This is the new Church of England, now hardly distinguishable from a trade union for women in the church. To be 'called' to the priesthood is one thing, to presume preferment is quite another and peculiar to the ordination of woman, contrary to what one would expect from those sent to serve. How can the Church of England’s 'continued indecision' be undermining and harmful to morale for those women already serving in the ordained ministry unless they are in the ordained ministry for the wrong reasons?

But they have already been handed the key:

"...while not involving the majority in any new element of compromise on matters of principle" in providing... a greater sense of security for the minority as having an accepted and valued place in the Church of England. - Isn't that the same way forward?

A member of the working group, the Chair of the women's union has already set out her stall here suggesting a new mission statement for the Church of England: A female episcopacy at any cost. The search for simplicity in the General Synod paper shifts the emphasis away from 'respect' to 'trust' (Paras 14, 15, 39 and 40). Now call me a cynic but  all experience so far indicates that revisionists cannot be trusted. If they could be we would not be where we are. The latest example arose in the debate on same sex marriage [Hansard 5 Feb 2013 : Column 160]

"Mr Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con): We should indeed treat one another with tolerance and treat everybody’s sexuality with understanding, but the fundamental question we are deciding today is whether English law should declare for the first time that two people of the same sex can marry.
Parliament is sovereign—we can vote for what we want—but we must be very careful that law and reality do not conflict. In 1648, the Earl of Pembroke, in seeking to make the point that Parliament is sovereign, said that Parliament can do anything but make a man a woman or a woman a man. Of course, in 2004, we did exactly that with the Gender Recognition Act. We are now proposing to make equally stark changes to the essence of marriage. During the civil partnership debates, I was given solemn assurances on the Floor of the House, including by some sitting on the Opposition Benches now, that the Civil Partnership Act would not lead to full same-sex marriage.
Chris Bryant rose
Mr Leigh: I am happy to give way to the hon. Gentleman who gave those assurances to me.
Chris Bryant: Assurances from me do not necessarily determine what happens in Parliament in future. Several hon. Members have raised what I said in that debate. At that time, I believed that civil partnership was the be-all and end-all of the story. I have since entered a civil partnership and believe that the world has moved on. Many Conservative Members who voted against civil partnerships know that Britain’s mind has changed and want to reflect that in a change of the law."

1 comment:

  1. "Assurances from me do not necessarily determine what happens in Parliament in future."

    The Welsh bishops seem to say the same thing about the Governing Body. "You can tell a man by the company he keeps..."