Put your goggles on Bishop - are you flying or might you now even just set up a bishopric next door?

So are these male bishops for those who do not agree with female bishops going to be nested or will they have to fly in, as they have done in the past? Could we even get to the point where there are two bishoprics in a diocese, one for all and one for the one or two parishes in a diocese who will not accept oversight from a woman?

I don't think I like the latest updates from the revision committee on Women Bishops.

In that press release we were informed that the Revision Committee has voted to amend the draft legislation so as ‘to provide for certain functions to be vested in male bishops by statute rather than by delegation from the diocesan bishop under a statutory code of practice’.

Can the Church of England continue to be all things to all people. I guess in many ways I am attracted to its via media peculiarities but I wonder how women bishops will feel when others can simply opt out of their diocesan control. I guess you are going to say it has nothing to do with how people feel and everything to do with theological sensibilities but theology is at stake when the diocesan bishop should be be a focus of unity, male or female.

If you can opt to come under the control of another bishop that focus of unity is compromised?

Tomorrow I will church-hop to an Anglo-Catholic church to which I have been invited by someone who is becoming a good friend. They will not believe in women bishops but from a Catholic perspective I can understand this. Women Bishops are new and Anglo-Catholics pay a great deal of attention to tradition. Like Tim Keene, who blogged this response over a year ago, whose words I've borrowed 'I find it hard to understand why the issue is so important to Evangelical Anglicans. Conservative Evangelicals acknowledge that bishops are not necessary in the same way as the gospel, the Bible or the sacraments. If bishops are not necessary, and let's face it some of them are distinctly unnecessary, why does it matter if they are women or men? For years Evangelical Anglicans had survived an episcopacy that was horrendous. Why does it matter so very much if the bishop is a woman, perhaps even a godly and orthodox woman? Evangelicals have always had to cope with bishops who should not be bishops. Even if they consider it inappropriate for women to be a bishop, can they not rejoice when they get a godly bishop even when a woman?' It seems a lot better than what many have now. What I am saying is that the issue seems to have gathered a significance that is appropriate only to fundamentals such as the gospel, when the issue does not merit it. The letter to the Galatians is a tract directed against giving non gospel things a kind of gospel status.'

If this half-way house measure becomes the one adopted, and I believe there is much time and debate to be had before this happens, if it happens at all, are we really able to sustain such a compromise, when as I have pointed out on this blog before the whole thing will become a mockery as traditionalists go through the kind of questioning system below to ensure the purity of those in oversight:

(1) - have you ever received communion from a woman?

(2) - were you confirmed by a female bishop?

(3) - were you confirmed by a male bishop who:-

(a) - was confirmed by a female bishop?

(b) - was ordained by a female bishop?

(c) - was ordained at a service where women were also being ordained?

(d) - was consecrated at a service where a female bishop was present or laying hands?

(e) - has ever received communion from a female priest or bishop?

(f) - has ever ordained a female priest?

(g) – has ever participated in the consecration of a female bishop?

(4) -If you answered 'no' to (3(a) to (3)(g)) above, repeat each step (a) to (g) in relation to:-

(i) the bishop who consecrated the bishop who confirmed you

(ii) the bishop who ordained the bishop who confirmed you

(iii) the bishop who confirmed the bishop who confirmed you

This was only half of the process, I got a bit lost after point 4, it's more thorough even than this!

For more see Church mouse, Brad Cook, Thinking Anglicans Reuters


SueM said...

I love your checklist to ensure that there has been no "taint" by a woman! I blogged on this yesterday,the whole issue leaves me very frustrated. It seems to me that anything other than a simple code of practice is going to be wholly unworkable.

fibrefairy said...

"Tomorrow I will church-hop to an Anglo-Catholic church to which I have been invited by someone who is becoming a good friend. They will not believe in women bishops but from a Catholic perspective I can understand this. Women Bishops are new and Anglo-Catholics pay a great deal of attention to tradition."

Rachel, be careful with generalisations, it is far from the truth to say that all AC "will not believe in women bishops" some do not (leaving aside that one doesn't "beleive" in them, or not, as if they were Father Christmas) and many do. as evidenced by Affirming Catholicism. Clearly, Forward in Faith has most of it's roots in the catholic tradition, ( though not exclusively) but the corollary is not that all catholics agree with FiF. The dangers of labels come to bear here, one can sit under a label in one sense, but not fit the " popular" stereotype in every aspect. We cannot assume.
IME too even when a parish has passed ABC (from whatever perspective) it is not guaranteed that all in that parish are in full agreement by a long way, they may worship there for multitudinous reasons.

I won't start the Tradition definitions & debate now though!! Suffice to say that many catholic anglicans beleive Tradition gives plenty of approval for ordained & episcopal ministries for women. The catholic anti argument is based much more on Persona Christi.

hope you had a good morning :-)

Rachel Marszalek said...

Hi fibre-fairy, I think by 'they', I was trying to convey the sense of 'congregation as concept' which is wrong really, since they are 'living stones' with diverse beliefs. However, the church was a Forward-in-faith' church under separate jurisdiction. I can't imagine that this separate jurisdiction is for any other major reason than their not finding it concordant with their theology that women are priested and consecrated.

The experience, I hasten to add was good. I did meet with God and perhaps moreover with the Church as a living temple over the ages. I did encounter the Holy Spirit but I did rather miss Jesus who was a little overshadowed for me by the veneration of the Theotokos, however my feelings here are a product of my own particular theological sensibilities and desires because I am more used to a setting which exalts the name of Jesus with a gusto!

Thanks for dropping by.

fibrefairy said...

I wrote that comment before reading your report of this morning - I totally understand where you're coming from, and I understood that this *particular* church was under alternative episcopal oversight with all that entails. my point was more to flag up the fact that one cannot conflate "Anglo catholic" with "opposed to women's ordination" because that is very clearly not the case- but it is often misunderstood to be so by those with little experience of the AC tradition, just as many outside evangelicalism assume that all evos are opposed..! Glad you had a good time :-)


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