Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Please can we now do women bishops the right way?

Three step process:

1. Formally decide that the period of reception is at an end, and that the Church of England definitively accepts women priests.
2. Construct a generous, loving - dare I say 'Christian' - settlement with all those who on reasons of conscience cannot accept #1, involving transfer of property and so on - at least one new denomination, but let's be fraternal about it.
3. Synod passes a remarkably simple single-clause measure bringing in women bishops by unanimous consent.

Is it really so hard to do things the right way, rather than descending into so much appalling political bickering?

12 comments:

  1. It is too much to ask so long as you remain an Established church. You might as well ask "Can we have great tasting ice-cream while still having a tablespoon of cat sick in every scoop?"

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  2. Seriously, Sam - if you can't get female bishops through the C of E's General Synod, do you think you can get your point 1 through?

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  3. Or ... those who want women bishops leave now, form their own denomination and have women bishops from next week.

    Or is that also being a bit over-the-top at this stage?

    Pause, repent, reflect is my actual verdict.

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  4. Tim, the C of E accepted the principle of women bishops years ago. The defeat today was by an unholy mix of the few people opposed to that principle and possibly just as many people opposed to making any kind of compromise with those few. I suspect many are fed up with all the special arrangements still being made for opponents of women priests, especially after so many of those opponents crossed the Tiber. So I think there is a good chance of Sam's proposal 1 passing.

    Of course that doesn't make the proposal right, as I'm sure John R would remind us. And I'm sure it would only be presented after an adequate pause for reflection - but who sees the need to repent? But I think it is only a matter of time before we see John's party crossing, if not the Tiber, then perhaps the White Nile to find oversight in Uganda or Rwanda.

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  5. Women bishops will happen, just not as soon as many had hoped for. All that happened yesterday was that the draft legislation was rejected, not the principle. The tail can't wag the dog forever: eventually the dog will catch its tail and than that tail had best beware; but it will be painful...

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  6. Peter

    I am not sure why you are so keen to throw out of the CofE the ideologically impure by your measure.

    After you throw us out who's next?

    Or will our removal ensure peace, harmony and abundance for ever?

    Phil

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  7. Phil, it's Sam's proposal, not mine. But I don't see it as throwing anyone out. I see it as formally recognizing what is obvious, that women priests are here to stay, and are fully accepted by the vast majority in the church today. The alternative arrangements for the small minority are in disarray as a large proportion of that minority have already voluntarily left for Rome. Those who are not prepared to accept this situation, reached through much prayer, as God's will (as John Richardson urges everyone to accept yesterday's decision) will not be forced to go against their conscience but will be offered generous arrangements to become independent or to join a different body.

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  8. I see some of my readers today of my new post on this subject have also found my 2007 post Bishops without borders, including women. Rereading my own post reminds me that Sam's proposal is in effect the same as many opponents of women bishops were calling for in 2007: a separate province. Maybe if the proposal is presented as such it will find supporters on both sides of the argument.

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  9. Tim - if we can't get #1 through, then it means that the period of reception has not been concluded, and we are therefore not in a position to pursue women bishops. I just feel that there has been hasty impatience at the expense of honesty and honour.

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  10. Meanwhile, whilst the internal battles continue on, irrespective of the maybe valid obstacles, the credibility of CoE as relevent in 21st century simply ebbs away. My view from the outside and not meant to offend.

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  11. Jon - no offence taken! Just glad to see you popping by :)

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  12. If we think the credibility of the Church depends on it being in step with the principles of a secular society, then we should shut the shop down and join the Lions Club. We're meant to be disciples of Jesus, not populist politicians. (note, for those who don't know, that I say this as a person who happily serves in a diocese led by a woman, Bishop Jane Alexander).

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