Skip to comments.Quandary ahead on women bishops
Posted on 07/14/2006 6:25:11 PM PDT by sionnsar
A new legislative group has been given the brief from hell to find new legislative arrangements for ordaining women bishops without splitting the Church of England asunder. After two years of seeking a way forward in legislation to create provisions both for ordaining women and to satisfy opponents in the House of Bishops, the General Synod decided to put the task in the hands of a special legislative group. The flying Bishop of Beverley, the Rt Rev Martyn Jarrett, said that he could not believe that the new legislative group would be any more successful than the Guildford group which put together proposals for Transferred Episcopal Arrangements, or indeed the House of Bishops which has failed to come up with any sort of plan.
The Archdeacon of Pontefract, the Ven Jonathan Greener, expressed reservations about the motion, accusing the House of Bishops of giving the new group the brief from hell. But the Archbishop Canterbury told Synod that the issue would only be resolved as people from across the spectrum work directly with each other, trying their best to calculate what are acceptable sacrifices or anomalies, what are for them betrayals of principle. He said that problem of translating support in principle for women bishops into the right kind of legislation was a question that has severely taxed the House of Bishops. He said that the failure of the Guildford group and the House of Bishops to produce workable legislation, was primarily the fault of time restraints. So the task now is to create a process that will continue to facilitate real engagement between contending voices rather than a vague exchange of claims, he said. The Very Rev Vivienne Faull, the Dean of Leicester, revealed that meetings were taking place between senior women priests and traditional catholic bishops. She called for a timetable which was a framework rather than a straitjacket while those conversations went forward.
Two significant amendments were made to the motion under debate on Monday. The first by Prebendary David Houlding (London) committed the Church of England to the resolution of the 1998 Lambeth Conference that those opposed to womens ordination were loyal Anglicans. But a further amendment committed the new legislative group to Canon A4, which spells out that the orders of all validly ordained deacons, priests and bishops must be accepted by all as truly bishops, priests or deacons. While both amendments could be seen as cancelling each other out, the specifying of Canon A4 as a reference point for the new legislative group may make it difficult in practice to come up with anything that could be considered remotely satisfactory to groups like Forward in Faith.
Traditionalists continue to hold out for a parallel province with its own Archbishop, while campaigning groups like Women And The Church (Watch) want there to be no no-go areas for women bishops. The two aims are widely seen as incompatible.
The new legislative group will have at least a year and a half to come up with specific proposals to General Synod. Such a timetable makes it unlikely that final approval will be given to womens consecration for at least five years.
At least another year & a half of hacking the church into bits...why do these people have such a hard time saying "NO?"
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