Friday, January 13, 2006

Women Bishops in England?

The following, from The Church of England Newspaper, is only hearsay, but, given the publicly announced developments in this process, it is probably true. And, perversely, it is logical. How can a church have women deacons and priests without bishops as well? What is curious is that there appears to have been no 'fudge' this time in the form of giving a nod to the proposal for creating a Third Province. One must ask Fr Kirk what the point is of such a province.

THE CHURCH of England’s bishops put their differences over women bishops behind them this week in an attempt to continue moving the issue forward. At the House of Bishops meeting in London they were deeply divided over the recommendations of a report, which proposes to introduce provincial regional bishops in place of the Act of Synod.

However, they reached a compromise, which will allow the process of promoting women to the episcopate to go forward, according to one insider. “We had good, robust discussions, but we agreed that we must set out a way in which Synod will approach the issue,” he said. “We have a role to play in giving good leadership and the resolution [for the February Synod] will allow the process to move forward.” The report, which was chaired by the Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Rev Christopher Hill, proposes that the first woman could be consecrated as soon as 2012, but traditionalists at the meeting argued that this was far too soon.

One bishop at the meeting described the report as “insulting” to the Anglo-catholic constituency who have warned that they will leave the Church of England if they are not given proper provisions. Fr Geoffrey Kirk, National Secretary of Forward in Faith, expressed surprise that the bishops had been able to find a way forward on the issue considering the divergence of opinion: “Agreement in the House of Bishops is always astounding and in this particular case, incredible.” He said that the traditionalists would not accept a compromise deal that did not meet their requirements. “People are not prepared to have the Act of Synod mutilated and something inadequate put in its place, especially considering the stakes are being raised with the promotion of women to the episcopate.”

Plans for a free province for those unable to accept women bishops looked to have been discarded as a viable option, but Fr Kirk said that this will happen whether or not it is legislated for. Yet, campaigners for women bishops will be encouraged that another woman has been promoted to a senior position in the Church’s hierarchy. Canon Penny Driver, who is currently priest-in-charge of Sharow in Ripon and Leeds diocese, has been appointed to be the next Archdeacon of Exeter. She joins a handful of other women who have reached the post, from which it is a common platform to be promoted to bishop. A leading campaigner for women bishops, Christina Rees, has also been appointed to a powerful position, gaining a seat on the Archbishops’ Council.


poetreader said...

Back in '76, when the first batch of women were 'priested' in an act of ecclesiatical piracy, I saw the logic of it. When it became officially permitted, I left, because there is no logical barrier to woman bishops once there are woman priests. Commitment to the Apostolic succession was given up at that point, and likewise in the other provinces that have since taken that first step. The currently increasing crop of women in pointy hats is no surprise, and, though there are a large number of Catholics remaining in the Canterbury Communion, this can be nothing but a temporary and awkward period of transition. One simply cannot be 'in communion' with churches whose ministry is invalid, and whose Eucharist cannot therefore be considered real. It's a sad situation, and one that cannot be remedied by a 'third province' or any other arrangement that requires the recognition of something that cannot be recognized. Withdrawal from the hertics becomes the only answer, painful though it may be.


Warwickensis said...

Yes, I've seen this.

I really hope the TAC is going to raise their profile in England. Their presence is going to be crucial in the next few years as the debate gets settled by heretics railroading in unorthodox legislation.

If the TAC come to NW Kent, I shall be make every effort to get involved. What happens otherwise I just don't know.

albion said...


Why wait? Get it started. Have a look at the latest post and contact Fr Brian Gill.