Should women become Church of England bishops?
Thank you George Pitcher for your excellent article on why women should be Bishops. You gave clear, theological and biblically based justifications for the acceptance of women as priests and bishops ...
The fact that the Church has chosen to ignore the teaching and examples Christ gave us in his life and ministry towards women (as well as St Paul too who is much misunderstood in this respect) is more about how its Traditions have developed within the cultural contexts in which it has been formed than theology. Traditions and attitudes change, as the Church has over centuries. It is absurd to think that we think about issues in the same way as Christians thought in different Centuries; take slavery for example, as George so rightly pointed out, there were plenty in the Church who were loath to see the back of that and tried to justify it theologically in the same way that discrimination against Christian women is being argued about now.
Reading about the narrow and excluding interpretation of Christianity put forward by Peter Mullen, together with the male clergy who threaten to leave the Church of England over women bishops, lead many of us to ask where exactly the roots of their Christianity lie. If, “There is no longer slave or free, no longer male and female, for you are all one in Christ” (St Paul) how can these men justify their negative (and damaging) attitudes towards women who have shown their clear vocation to the priesthood and have benefited the Church at every level – and soon it is hoped within the Episcopate.
The time is long past for them to stop wrapping their misogyny in a cloak of theology and behaving as if women are the faulty half of Gods creation. It does them no good in the eyes of men and women in and outside of the Church. It is particularly damaging to those women who internalise their negative views
The proposals, for what amounts to a “purity code” with exclusive male-only areas as outlined in the Manchester Report, being discussed at the General Synod, are the very antithesis of Christ’s teaching and life. They are damaging to the view of Christianity and the Good News of the Gospels. Attitudes like this have turned away many people from the doors of the Church, and, not much attention has been paid to their pain I notice. I sincerely hope that women become bishops with no discrimination attached to their admission to the Episcopate. Then the Church can speak with some credibility about respecting Human Worth in an unjust world. It might just be listened to.
Posted by Sally Barnes on July 5, 2008 9:23 AM