It would seem that there might be flying bishops but there will not be super-bishops, in fact, from what I can understand, it would seem that 'headship' (yes, that rather misleading term), could be invested in a woman: (remember though that this is only the story so far, which will be played out in meetings until a final decision in 2012)
After much discussion, the members of the Committee were unable to identify a basis for specifying particular functions for vesting which commanded sufficient support both from those in favour of the ordination of women as bishops and those unable to support that development. As a result all of the proposals for vesting particular functions by statute were defeated. The effect of the Committee’s decision is therefore that such arrangements as are made for those unable to receive the episcopal ministry of women will need to be by way of delegation from the diocesan bishop rather than vesting.
...so if the diocesan bishop is a woman and she decides that another bishop can be flown in to confirm or ordain those for whom she, by her gender, presents problems, then is not the fact that she has assented to this arrangement a sign of her authority over the situation and thereby does she not pollute the chain for traditionalists, remember this:
To test the purity of a church for a traditionalist, he would need to ask the priest:
(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
Is there a point to be inserted at the top:
Are you confirming/ordaining me after receiving permission to do so from your diocesan bishop? Is that bishop a woman?
And if she's a woman, then they are scuppered, aren't they?
I wonder what the end result will be for those who cannot tolerate the episcopal oversight of a woman? There are three more meetings to go before February and I think the next few weeks are going to prove a very interesting time. Christina Rees does use a persuasive subtlety in her affirmations, for how can a Bishop represent unity if some of the functions are transferred to someone else. She is pleased that thus far "the Church of England can proceed to opening the Episcopate to women in such a way that the nature of the Episcopate is retained". It is retained because a consecrated woman will represent unity because she will make decisions about the 'protection' of those for whom her ordaining and confirming presents problems. If I understand things correctly, she will get to make the decision as regards bringing in a man for these functions.
Anglo-Catholics have an offer on the table from the Vatican but what about Conservative evangelicals?
For Anglo-Catholics going to Rome, will they need to be certain that they fulfil some of the Magisterium's rulings? For example, can a divorced and remarried Anglo-Catholic take communion in the Catholic Church (Catechism para 1665)? What will happen to priests who join the ordinariate? Will it really all be so easy for them?
Will Conservative Evangelicals take up membership of Reform and support all things GAFCON, FOCA and Jerusalem Declaration? Will we have the creation of a church within a church?
Someone over at Thinking Anglicans describes how 'There will, therefore be 3 "anglican" provisions in England: The CofE; the Ordinariate; and some form of evangelical anglicanism under the umbrella of GAFCON. What needs to be addressed now is the relationship between those 3 bodies and the means by which folk align themselves to them.' Someone else describes how 'God's rain falls wetly on the Anglican evangelicals, the Anglican Catholics, and the Anglican progressives, no matter.' ;-) (of course this betrays a limited understanding of what it means to be an 'Anglican evangelical', but we all know what he's getting at).
See Thinking Anglicans and included below is the statement from Christina Rees, who always manages to communicate what everything means in essence, without all the jargon!
WATCH PRESS STATEMENT
Saturday, 14th November 2009 – for immediate release
WOMEN BISHOPS LEGISLATION NOW ON RIGHT TRACK
WATCH is delighted to hear that the Revision Committee on Women in the Episcopate has decided that legislation for women bishops will no longer include proposals for the mandatory transfer of authority - the vesting of particular functions by law – in bishops who would provide oversight for those unable to receive the Episcopal and/or priestly ministry of women.
WATCH commends the recent work of the Revision Committee, which met yesterday to explore how the previous proposed arrangements could be made to work. WATCH is aware of the huge outcry from members of General Synod and from other Church members to the earlier announcement of the Revision Committee to make changes in law that would have resulted in a two-tier episcopate.
WATCH Chair, Christina Rees said: “This is a real breakthrough. I am delighted that now we can look forward to having women as bishops on the same terms that men are bishops. Women will bring valuable different perspectives and ways of doing things and will also bring a sorely needed wholeness to the Episcopal leadership of our Church. The House of Bishops will cease to be the ‘men only’ club it has been and will be more representative of the people whom the Church exists to serve. Now the Church will be able to draw on the experience and wisdom of many gifted women. We know from 15 years of having women as priests that they are often able to reach people and approach situations in ways that are creative and empowering for many others.”
WATCH is pleased with the outcome on two counts: first, and most importantly, the new proposals express the theological understanding of the Church about the status of baptised Christians and about the relationship between men and women and God. Secondly, the Revision Committee has shown that it has heeded the will of General Synod to draft legislation that would not have arrangements in law that would differentiate between male and female bishops.
WATCH continues to urge to Revision Committee to bring proposals to General Synod in February 2010 which adopt the simplest possible legislation, so that the Church of England can proceed to opening the Episcopate to women in such a way that the nature of the Episcopate is retained and the Church can best communicate its belief that women and men are equal in the eyes of God.