"It is possible to wonder what more there is to say about whether the Church of England should have women bishops. The Church of England has already been blessed by a series of substantial reports – notably the Rochester Report in 2004, and the series of documents that went to General Synod in 2006 from the Guildford Group, the
"This Report, nevertheless, breaks new ground and is of a different character from what has gone before. The task that the General Synod gave us in July 2006 was to prepare possible legislation, consistent with the Synod’s view that the time had come to explore in some detail what the practical implications would be of admitting women to the episcopate. This report, therefore, seeks to move the debate on from the ‘whether’ to the ‘how’. In so doing it sets out some key options, with illustrative legal material."
Full text of report is here
Here is the long and short of it:
"138. This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult circles to square. Having pondered the matter carefully, we believe that any possible solution needs to incorporate the following elements:
"a. A clear statement by the Church of England that, in admitting women into the episcopate, it is now fully committed to opening all orders of ministry to men and women;
"b. An acceptance on the part of those who, theologically, cannot receive the ministry of women priests and bishops or those ordained by them that the Church of England has decided to admit men and women equally to holy orders and that those whom the Church has duly ordained and appointed to office are the lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and lawful obedience;
"c. An acknowledgement by those in favour of women’s ordination that the theological convictions of those unable to receive the ordained ministry of women are within the spectrum of Anglican teaching and tradition and that those who hold them should, therefore, be able to receive pastoral and sacramental care in a way that is consistent with their convictions."
Quickly scanning this report, at no point do I ever see any theological discussion whatsoever, much less any theological argument in favour of the action being proposed. Perhaps, however, that has been dealt with in the previous reports.
To me, the message here, not a new one, is that people in the Church of England are free, indeed encouraged, to believe and practice whatever they wish, as long as it is appropriately sanctioned by legislation, or some lesser official regulation. The possibility that those beliefs might be entirely contradictory to each other, or that one might be contrary to the Catholic faith is of absolutely no import.