Press release on Women in the Episcopate

Ruthie Gledhill has kindly put the press release at her tumblr. It is, she says, the worst press release since the Reformation.

My understanding of it is as follows:

Changes made to the draft measure:

1) Clarification of the word “delegation” to mean legal permission to act as a bishop rather than sacramental derivation of bishoppyness;

2) Inclusion in measure of guidelines stating that pastoral provision for parishes unable to accept female bishops must be practically consistent with their theology (it isn’t enough to be assigned a male bishop; the male bishop must not ordain women). [I see this as about practical actions rather than beliefs, but I do wonder what happens if no such bishop is available.]

The draft must now go to the “Group of Six” who will decide whether the changes are substantive (in which case more bureaucracy cycles) or not (I believe it then goes to General Synod for a final vote, but it may be more complicated than that).

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4 Comments

  1. On the question about what happens if no such bishop is available, I think that the other two “principles” referred to (not discriminating against those opposed at selection for training; and ensuring a continued supply of bishops whose theology is opposed) ought to cover it – at least in the medium term. My reading of the situation is that the Church is committed to ensuring that such bishops *are* available.

    Reply
    • Chris,

      I don’t doubt that for the foreseeable future, such bishops will be available. My uncertainty is regarding what would happen in a hypothetical situation. Suppose no parishes issued a Letter of Request for two hundred years, and then after that time one came, seemingly out of the blue, and there were no suitable bishops? Would the C of E then need to consecrate a bishop, essentially on the whim of a parish?

      To be fair, this question applies to existing alternate provision too.

      Reply
      • It’s an interesting point. I suspect that if no letters of request are forthcoming after a period of time (say, 20 or 30 years) then quite a lot of people (e.g. WATCH) would make a strong case to revisit the whole Code of Practice. That’s why (so I gather) there is so much opposition to giving the CoP statutory force: it’s much harder to amend legislation.

  2. Unshaun sheep (track him down on Twitter @unshaunsheep) has done a “good news for modern man” style translation of the press release. (I tend to read Paul’s epistles in Good News version or The Message before tackling it in any other version; at least I can have a basic idea of what it means as a starting point…)

    Reply

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