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Sunday, 17 June 2018

Women bishops defy Governing Body

Jolly June          Source: Twitter@LlandaffDio

Within the Church in Wales, those who on grounds of theological conviction and conscience are unable to receive the sacramental ministry of women bishops or priests continue to be within the spectrum of teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion. The Church in Wales therefore remains committed to enabling all its members to flourish within its life and structures as accepted and valued. Appropriate provision for them will be made in a way intended to maintain the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church in Wales. (Principles. Women Bishops Code of Practice) 

It appears that the newly appointed women bishops in the Church in Wales are happy to defy their Governing Body in an act which can only be described as a visible sign of disunity, showing no regard for the procedure which enabled them to be appointed bishops.

At ordinations presided over by the first female bishop of Llandaff, as a mere gesture towards the agreed Code of Practice, arrangements have been made for a male bishop to step forward for the laying on of hands if the ordinand, on grounds of conscience, is unable to receive the sacramental ministry of a woman diocesan bishop.

I understand that similar arrangements have been made for ordinations carried out by the bishop of St Davids. The gesture is clear.

The rules were changed unilaterally by the Church in Wales to grant the wish of women who claimed to be 'called to ministry', even though the Church in Wales claimed to share the historic episcopate with other Churches, 'including other Churches of the Anglican Communion, the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches, which continue to ordain only men as priests or bishops'.

No provision was made for those, who on grounds of theological conviction and conscience, are unable to receive the sacramental ministry of women bishops or priests. Instead the Governing Body voted for a Code of Practice.

Under the Code, "Individual members of the Church in Wales who, on grounds of conscience, are unable to receive the sacramental ministry of a woman diocesan bishop, shall not be required to do so against their conscience, and alternative provision shall be made".

For the Code of Practice to have any meaning it must be seen to satisfy the consciences of those for whom it was intended but I understand that the new female bishops are making their own arrangements, thus placing orthodox ordinands in an impossible position.

The procedure has become so far removed from when the Provincial Assistant Bishop presided at ordinations that it lacks any integrity whatsoever.

The minister in the Sacrament of Ordination is the Bishop. The celebrant presides over the whole service – the interrogation of the candidates, the laying-on-of-hands (assisted by other priests who are symbolically receiving the new priests into the presbyterium) and the celebration of the Eucharist.  Importing another bishop (solely because he is male) to step in and lay hands on any candidates who have conscientious objections to the sacramental ministry of women, far from being a gesture of accommodation, turns the whole business into a charade of misogyny.

The curious arrangements proposed in Llandaff and St Davids do nothing to solve the basic problem of conscience either, since it is a requirement in the ordination service that those being ordained receive Holy Communion from the bishop who is the celebrant.

It has been said over and again that we do not have a problem with women; our problem remains the unilateral departure from the practice of the undivided church and by far the greater part of Christendom whose orders we have always claimed to have shared.

Traditionalist Anglicans in Wales are not alone in their struggle to survive. In the Church of England specific provision was made for men and women who in conscience are unable to receive the sacramental ministry of women bishops or priests but there has been a constant chipping away at the agreement. For the latest developments see the Forward in Faith document Nomination to the See of Sheffield: Lessons Learned.

When it comes to women's ordained ministry there seems to be far more of the old Eve than the new.


  1. If this is true, AB, it is very sad. It was things like this that speeded up people and priests in the Church of England opting for Pope Benedict's offer of reception into the Roman Catholic Church through the Ordinariate. Friends of mine got fed up of fighting for a level playing field, and when their priest announced that he was going over to the Ordinariate, his entire Parish went with him. It is duplicity at its worst. The Bench promise anything to get their way, and when they get their way, they connive and scheme to back peddle.
    Whilst I personally have no problem with the ministry of women priests and bishops, I feel for those of you who do. Common sense says that if a person cannot accept ordination from a woman on the grounds of theological conscience, they cannot accept any sacrament from them. For those who are being forced to go through with this charade, they must simply refuse to move from their seats at the point of reception of Holy Communion. It is egotistical madness. My friends in England felt that time was fast approaching when people would be required to carry their Confirmation Certificates to church with them - to see who was "properly" confirmed and who was not.
    For those who struggle with women's ministry, a real problem is coming much further down the road. If a man (Rev X) is ordained this June by either Bishop June or Bishop Joanna, and then in years to come is elected to the episcopate, is he properly a bishop? For those who do not recognize the ministries of either June or Joanna, then clearly Rev X is neither a deacon nor a priest, so his ordination would be seen to be irregular at best, and non-existent at worst. Oh what tangled webs we weave.


  2. Evans the Song18 June 2018 at 11:57

    To be honest, AB, I am not sure how to respond to this or other recent posts since you suddenly declared a moratorium on the use of any Nom de Plume. It makes me wonder whether someone from Paul Goulding QC's Chambers has been leaning on you? In which case, should we just now refer to people by their real name, and leave you open to the risk of being sued for defamation?

    At the risk of this being removed by the moderator, I offer the following:

    June Osborne is indeed ignoring both the spirit and the letter of the Code of Practice. Did we expect anything different? However, she is being more generous than her predecessor, Bishop Barry Morgan, who would not countenance the involvement of another bishop to meet the theological and pastoral needs of an ordinand. Then, it would probably have been a case of 'Do as I say or bu**er off.' As for sacramental integrity and the Eucharist, do any of the Welsh bishops (with the possible exception of Gregory Cameron) have anything like sufficient grasp of the theology, history and tradition surrounding the issues to respond imaginatively and with integrity? Certainly, it cannot have been thought-through by Archdeacon Peggy Jackson and Canon Jenny Wigley as they pursued their narrow agenda.

    This is why it was instructive for me to have attended an event, last Saturday, to celebrate the work of the great Oxford Movement scholar Bishop Geoffrey Rowell, not least because a former Archdeacon of Bangor gave an impressive paper and praised Dr Rowell's 'generous' catholic vision, and his refusal to engage only with the like-minded. He recalled a Synod to which Dr Rowell invited another bishop (and arch-liberal) who took a view directly opposed to his own, to make a contrary case over the ordination of women to the episcopate. He also highlighted how Dr Rowell's diocese grew under his leadership, when all others were in a state of terminal decline. Quite a different modus operandi to the management of the Governing Body over the past decade or so, I would suggest. No wonder Barry Morgan fought like a cornered rat to stop this particular archdeacon becoming a bishop in Wales a decade ago. After all, we cannot have people who might cause a breach in the defences, and who might argue for generosity towards those who differ from us, can we? You are welcome in our Church, on our terms, and on condition you become 'one of us.' I am reminded of some notable secular ideologies that terrorised Europe during the 20th Century, and which peddled a similar line.

  3. Fear not Evans the Song. Unlike 'Llandaffchester Chronicles' AB has not been got at although the former administration did try to interpret fair comment as a breach of copyright in a bid to silence free speech. It is tribute to the success of the Chronicles that many nicknames (no pun intended) have stuck. All I have asked is that commentators take care to avoid offense by crossing a line which gives rise to complaints and provides ammunition for detractors.

    Archdeacon Peggy Jackson and Canon Jenny Wigley may not have thought-through their proposals but I think that unlikely given the intense opposition to cradle Anglicans whose only wish has been to worship as they have for generations.

    Many of the existing problems were foreseen in the links below. The fact that the system has developed as it has suggests that it was intentional.


    See also 'Church in Wales publishes guidelines on women bishops' and listen to the Archdeacon of Llandaff earning her pieces of silver in what must rank among the most duplicitous statements of all time.

  4. If my sources are correct, Evans, you were not the only person with Llandaff connections to be present in Pusey House last Saturday. Someone much closer to the Golfing Prelate (and now in a neighbouring Diocese) was observed doing his best to 'blend in' from what I am being told. Do we now have a double agent in the Province, I wonder?

  5. The only sensible solution to the ordination problem is for A/B John to exert his authority and Ordain traditionalists,from lady let dioceses,himself. This would be fair to all and answer the Code of Practice.

    1. Interestingly Catnap I see from the list of those from St Davids to be ordained Priest, one of the candidates has a note against his name "Ordination in Brecon Cathedral".
      This is not entirely satisfactory as the entire bench has departed from the tradition exercised by the majority of Anglicans in common the with Roman Catholic and orthodox Churches.
      The code of practice states that "Since the Church in Wales continues to share the historic episcopate with other Churches, including other Churches of the Anglican Communion, the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches, which continue to ordain only men as priests or bishops, the Bench of Bishops acknowledges that this decision on ministry and gender is set within a broader process of discernment and reception within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God."
      In those circumstances it is difficult to understand why any man would want to be ordained by a woman bishop.

  6. How interesting since the CiW website has the same cleric as having a priesting date of 24th June 2017. Is this merely an error or it is that he is being 're-ordained'?

    1. From the Church Times. ST DAVIDS Diocesan correction: the Revd Aled Lewis was not ordained priest on 24 June.