|Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales Picture: WalesOnline|
From WalesOnline: "The Church in Wales is set to have a crunch vote for the first time in five years on whether to allow women to be ordained as bishops. Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan said: “Since we ordain women as deacons and priests it makes no theological sense not to ordain them as bishops since we believe in the three fold order of ministry. That is why I and my fellow bishops will be asking members of the governing body to vote in favour of the Bill". "
"Plaid Cymru’s Rhodri Glyn Thomas, a Minister of Religion and a member of the Assembly’s equalities committee said: “Our party has played an active part in the fight for women’s equality, because we recognise that this is important in allowing everyone in Wales to play a full and active part in their communities. I hope that the members of the Church in Wales will recognise if they are asked to vote on the matter, and that they deliver equality for women within the Church.”
Eluned Parrott, the Liberal Democrat AM for South Wales Central, said: “This is welcome news and I applaud the bishops’ attempts to reform and modernise the Church in Wales.
The vast majority of Christians hold to the biblical faith of the church. Adapting Christianity to make the church 'more relevant to society' under the pretext of equality is nonsense. There is no inequality in the church. There are different ministries, lay and ordained. To equate the ordained ministry with secular employment to justify women bishops is to appeal to secularists who have no interest in religious belief. It is not that "it makes no theological sense not to ordain [women] as bishops", rather, it made no theological sense for a tiny minority in the Anglican Communion which is a relatively small church within the Holy Catholic Church, unilaterally to ordain women to the priesthood in the first place.
The new vote comes following a trail of false promises and deception both in the Church of England and in the disestablished Church in Wales. When women were ordained to the priesthood pledges were made that provision would be made for those opposed on theological grounds to the ordination of women. Opponents have since been deceived and marginalised. As Sir Peter Bottomley so frankly put it: "Essentially everyone knew that when you had the ordination of women as priests that this would lead to the ordination of women bishops after a decent length of pause. Some would say it has now been an indecent length of pause." Presumably he meant everyone without a conscience.
Despite all the deception, some provision has been maintained for opponents in England through the continued appointment of Provincial Episcopal Visitors. Not so in Wales. Their Provincial Assistant Bishop was not replaced after his retirement because the goal of women priests had been achieved. The following extract from 'A Noble Task' written by Bishop David Thomas helps to clarify the situation in Wales. Read it in full here.
The appointment of a PAB reflected the scale of the problem in 1996: the suggestion that the PAB would need to be replaced by a bishop with jurisdiction simply reflects the scale of the problem that would arise if women were admitted to the episcopate. The fifth recital of the 1996 bill made reference to the pastoral guidelines, and the guidelines were distributed at Governing Body before the vote. Being no lawyer, I therefore assumed that the arrangements contained in the guidelines were constitutionally guaranteed. Several months later, I discovered that this was not so. I mention this because any arrangements of the kind outlined above would need to be enshrined in legislation. A new episcopal jurisdiction is, by definition, not the kind of thing that can be brought into being simply on the basis of goodwill and mutual agreement to disagree, essential though those things would undoubtedly be. I would argue further that the necessary legislation should be part of any bill, or possibly a schedule to any bill, opening the episcopate to women. To fail to do this would create untold confusion and anxiety. It might also lead to a situation where the election or appointment of a woman bishop meant that appropriate legislation had to be prepared in a great hurry. That would be most undesirable from all points of view, including, one suspects, that of the bishop-elect or -designate herself.
Under proposals to be presented to the Governing Body, the Archbishop and his fellow bishops are asking for a "blank cheque" to achieve Dr Morgan's cherished ambition of approving women bishops while offering unspecified provision for those opposed on theological grounds. To date the track record of the revisionists has been appalling. In the Church of England there was outrage at the lost vote. The guidance of the Holy Spirit which they prayed for has been ignored and a new approach is being engineered by the bishops under the guidance of WATCH.
In Wales Dr Morgan is insistent that there will be no provision for opponents which he regards as a 'church within a church'. So what provision can there be? Without a complete reversal it is clear that there is nothing for opponents in these proposals other than ultimate exclusion if the Bill is passed.