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June 23, 2013


Pete Broadbent to Conservatives, “The Game is Up” on Women Bishops in the CofE

Pete Broadbent, the suffragen bishop of Willesden in the Diocese of London has written a post, “Women Bishops - where are we now?, on his personal blog about the current legislative crisis in the Church of England General Synod over women bishops. Pete is in favour of protection for conservatives but what he writes is going to be a massive disappointment if they thought he was going to fight for them.

Here’s his conclusion:

I would urge opponents to adopt realpolitik on this matter. It really is no good any more to argue for provision enshrined in law. The game is up.

For Broadbent the realpolitik in view is that Synod is simply not going to give conservatives the legislative provision they asking for. His argument contains a number of statements that deserve some questioning.

Consider these statements:

2.       There is a groundswell of opinion that Resolutions A & B and the existing Act of Synod are no longer tenable or credible.

...

I would hope that members of Synod can:

...

2. Recognise that the 1993 framework is no longer fit for purpose

...

4. Recognise that an Act of Synod in this context has become a toxic, totemic and divisive mechanism

in the light of this section from paragraph 12 of the recent working party report which Broadbent also cites as something that “I would hope that members of Synod can Embrace [in] totality”:

  • Pastoral and sacramental provision for the minority within the Church of England will be made without specifying a limit of time and in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion and contributes to mutual flourishing across the whole Church of England. 

And here is the, dare I say it, naïvety of Broadbent’s position and, indeed, of any conservative that will buy it (and I don’t think there will be many). On the one hand he wants us to believe that a new act of Synod will have provision “without specifying a limit of time” and then with the next breath urges us to abandon already legislated protections which we had already thought had no limit.

Simply put, conservatives are supposed to wave goodbye to legislated protection because of the “groundswell of opinion” in the Church and yet at the same time be confident that new non-legislated protection will have no time limit. If he can sell that there’s a roaring trade in the Sahara awaiting his skills.

It’s hard to see how Broadbent’s proposal is going to be accepted as “friendly” advice by those he claims to be concerned for. He states,

The sheer incredulity that most Bishops met in the parishes, in Parliament, in the media and in civic life that we had failed to deliver the legislation was pretty universal. I found myself constantly having to apologise for the CofE.

Apologise for what? For General Synod being concerned about providing the very protections that he also claims he is seeking for us? That seems rather incongruous but it does give us another little window into what is a major factor driving this whole debate. As one commentor on his blog put it,

Let’s not be conservative in the sense of conserving favour with a post-Christian culture that does what’s right in its own rather dim sighted eyes.

So where are we now? The turkeys, having narrowly avoided both Thanksgiving and Christmas by the closest of margins are now being told by one of their apparent champions that they ought to go for a fieldtrip to the butcher in time for Easter.


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37 comments

Well, let’s face facts- the millions of people who disagree with women bishops either a) have already left the CoE or b) no longer talk to bishops who favor legislation that would eradicate the Apostolic Succession.  So the only people most bishops heard from, were the ones that are pro-WO.

CoE, the Episcopal Church welcomes you.

[1] Posted by tjmcmahon on 6-23-2013 at 08:41 PM · [top]

It is so hard for me to not say what I think about this creature, and people like him. If we orthodox had been half so authoritarian and fascistic as they are we would not be having to deal with them at all. And, because the orthodox (excepting myself) have been and are so noble, so good, so forbearing, SO liberal and tolerant, we find ourselves pushed out of our own Church, or at best disrespected, sidelined, and liminalized. The only thing that consoles me is the quote from Psalm 37:13, “The Lord laughs at the wicked, for He knows that their time will come.”

[2] Posted by A Senior Priest on 6-23-2013 at 11:04 PM · [top]

My thought is that the Bishop isn’t willing to take realpolitik seriously enough. The proposal fell because enough people weren’t persuaded that it offer appropriate conscience protection. Realpolitikal solution offer better conscience protection.

Vague threats and general hand waving are not realpolitik.

I hope those opposed keep their nerve.

[3] Posted by driver8 on 6-24-2013 at 01:38 PM · [top]

I’m not a fascist. Or a liberal. Or authoritarian. So enough of the name-calling already.

And I’ve lived with this Measure all the way though its progress through Synod, including being on the Guildford Group (who proposed Transferred Episcopal Authority - TEA - for those opposed) and the Revision Committee for the Measure (where I tried, with others, to get provision into the Measure via delegation by force of law). So read a bit of history before the histrionics.

I want ConEvos and TradCaths to stay in the CofE. But provision with the force of law doesn’t commend a majority in Synod, and will be seen by Parliament as discriminatory. So we have to find a way of getting maximum provision (proper bishops) for those opposed. If you read my blog entry and go beyond the knee-jerk reactions, you’ll see that I spell out in Appendix A how the London Plan (which I just rewrote) works that out in practice. It gives real bishops for those parishes who are opposed, not just confirmations and pastoral care. The choice for those opposed is how long they keep insisting on legislation as the mechanism for achieving this. I’m just drawing attention to the reality (as I see it) that legislation won’t happen, and provision is in real danger of being whittled down to nothing. Opponents to women priests and bishops have a real choice to make. Keep on till the last ditch, or find a settlement now that will allow them to flourish and get on with the mission of God to bring the good news of Christ to all. I want to help the internal fightings to stop ASAP and move on, with my friends in Reform and FiF on board. This is an honest attempt to broker something. I know that there’s no trust. We have to rebuild it. But the legal route is probably a cul-de-sac.

[4] Posted by Pete Broadbent on 6-24-2013 at 02:58 PM · [top]

RE: ” It gives real bishops for those parishes who are opposed . . . “

That’s fine—but nobody’s doubting that those opposed to WO will get “real bishops”—it’s that they’re doubting that it is anything other than a temporary device designed to get their votes so that the revisionist activists and revisionists and moderates can then withdraw that device.

So “legislation as a mechanism” is *the only real mechanism* that I can see. The other is merely a faux solution designed to be snatched away.

RE: “I know that there’s no trust. We have to rebuild it.”

I don’t see how it’s possible to “rebuild” trust when it’s quite obvious that the revisionist activists and revisionists and moderates in the COE are *not trustworthy,* as one can tell by their repudiation of their promise never to do what they are now doing back when they approved women clergy.

One way to “rebuild trust” is to stop breaking one’s promises.

[5] Posted by Sarah on 6-24-2013 at 03:16 PM · [top]

Evidence/chapter and verse on broken promises? I think the name-calling isn’t helping here, and it would be good to know what specific things have been done, given that provision still exists - and still works for all the parishes with which I have to do.

[6] Posted by Pete Broadbent on 6-24-2013 at 03:41 PM · [top]

Manchester Report:

67. For example, in 1993, Professor McClean explained to the Ecclesiastical
Committee of Parliament that the General Synod had rejected proposals
which would have placed a twenty year limit on the provisions of the Priests
(Ordination of Women) Measure. He said that this “signalled [the Synod’s]
resolve that protection for incumbents and, in particular parishes, should
remain in perpetuity for as long as anyone wanted it.”

68. Similarly the then Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Michael Adie, said,
“…the time limit was removed in order to give permanence and continuity to
provisions in the Measure so that they can last as long as they need.”9 Again
Professor McClean noted that: “there are no time limits left at all in the
Measure, although there were in earlier versions, and we see that the
safeguards will be there and in perpetuity or for as long as they are
required.”

69. A similar question was asked of the then Archbishop of Canterbury about
what, at the time, was the proposed Act of Synod. In reply to the question
about whether it would have a temporary life and cease to operate in some
future date, for example when the last of the bishops then in office retired,
Archbishop Carey replied: “it is our intention for this to be permanent and we
are not thinking of rescinding it.”

[7] Posted by driver8 on 6-24-2013 at 03:57 PM · [top]

Yeah, and there will have to be continuing provision

(1) of bishops to deliver oversight
(2) for parishes to request oversight
(3) for discussion and voting mechanisms for PCCs to be able to discuss and review this

So I’d envisage that under the legislation for Women Bishops, we’d need something akin to the provisions of the Act of Synod. It can’t remain the same because it was devised for the women priests legislation.

And probably the framework would need to be recast in order to avoid discrimination - which is the point I keep making. Nobody is going to allow women bishops to be second class bishops in the CofE, so the Act of Synod as it is won’t suffice. Don’t sit on the sidelines and shout “treachery”. Find ways of making this work!

[8] Posted by Pete Broadbent on 6-24-2013 at 04:04 PM · [top]

Did you address the bit about broken promises?

[9] Posted by driver8 on 6-24-2013 at 04:06 PM · [top]

As far as I’m concerned (and I went to GRAS to debate with them and tell them why we needed the Act of Synod a few years ago), what is required is the continuation of provision that the Act of Synod contains, as I have outlined above. But the Act is predicated on the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure and isn’t a stand-alone. If the Measure goes or is amended, the Act of Synod and its provision will need a new envelope.

The issue is how we ensure continuing provision and how parishes access it in a future when women will be bishops and where they will have authority in their diocese. That needs a new way of thinking not envisaged in 1994

[10] Posted by Pete Broadbent on 6-24-2013 at 04:13 PM · [top]

In other words if “in perpetuity"and “permanent” (etc.) just means, until the majority decide otherwise - a majority who we are assured may well be minded now to whittle any provision “down to nothing” - then one can at least understand the concern of the FiF folks for a more robust conscience protection.

[11] Posted by driver8 on 6-24-2013 at 04:16 PM · [top]

They may not get it - but to ask them to vote for it - that’s a heartbreaking thing.

[12] Posted by driver8 on 6-24-2013 at 04:17 PM · [top]

RE: “I think the name-calling isn’t helping here . . . “

You seem to be mistaking assessments using words with “name-calling.”  Of course, you’re welcome to define “assessments using words” as “name-calling.”

But then, we will give that assertion all of the due consideration that it deserves.

As far as “evidence” that the COE leadership are violating their promises to those who were opposed to women clergy back when they approved women clergy—thanks Driver8. But then . . . Pete Broadbent knows that, anyway.

The recognition that the COE leadership *are who they are* simply means that those opposed to WO will insist on a law that *forces* the COE leadership to do what they so obviously do not wish to do.

RE: “Find ways of making this work!”

The only way to do that is to come up with a way to *force* the COE leadership to do what they so obviously do not wish to do.

I can’t think of any other way than legislation.

Anything without *force* won’t be acceptable because even the most clueless American can see precisely what the COE bishops will do once women bishops are approved.

Those opposed to WO are between a rock and a hard place. They know good and well what their enemies intend to do once women bishops are approved. So all they can do is use the political process as best they can and continue to vote no.

Obviously, at some point, without sanity [which the COE leaders seem in preponderance to lack] the COE will proceed to do just what TEC did back in 1979—which is lose 1/3 of its parishioners in the WO split.

One of the wonderful things about the COE is that it wasn’t quite as desiccated as TEC in that regards.  But not to worry—without some sanity, it will proceed to toddle right down the same road.

[13] Posted by Sarah on 6-24-2013 at 04:20 PM · [top]

RE: “In other words if “in perpetuity"and “permanent” (etc.) just means, until the majority decide otherwise - a majority who we are assured may well be minded now to whittle any provision “down to nothing” . . . “

Right, Driver8.  But those opposed to WO should Trust These People!  ; > )

[14] Posted by Sarah on 6-24-2013 at 04:25 PM · [top]

We’re not ECUSA - thank God - and we don’t behave in the same way. And you seem to know little about the theological or pastoral position of the CofE House of Bishops, I’m afraid. This “who they are” stuff is quite honestly childish fantasy. Who we are is a bunch of people who want to keep the CofE together, including FiF and ConEvos. You can assert whatever you like to the contrary, but I know from being in the HoB what we’re trying to achieve. And it isn’t the eradication of traditionalists.

And all this “force” stuff isn’t reality either. When a parish asks for oversight, it gets it. It happens. And it happens because we engage pastorally with the parishes to sort it out for them. And since the WB Measure is not going to have discrimination written into it (you all appear to be deaf to this major flaw in your desire for legal protection), the sooner we sort another way of doing it the better.

But of course I’m a fascist liberal authoritarian. What would I know? (laughable really, for anyone who knows me…)

[15] Posted by Pete Broadbent on 6-24-2013 at 04:31 PM · [top]

Well the HoB is less willing to offer a robust compromise than in the early 90s. “Who we are” feels like it’s moved on quite a bit. The CofE is not able or willing to offer the kind of space it made 20 years ago. I get it.

It’s feels odd to say - both that we’re deeply committed to keep the church whole, and, if you don’t accept this you may well get nothing. We love you so much but might give you nothing if you don’t stop opposing what we want?

Yes - if a parish passes a resolution - that’s currently the law of the land. But it’s also the case that parishes are quietly told off the record unless they rescind a resolution they may not able to find a priest willing to serve them and if you’re an AB, let alone C parish in the sticks you might find that no local male clergy will cover for your priest. I’ve personally been pastorally engaged with in both of those ways.

[16] Posted by driver8 on 6-24-2013 at 05:41 PM · [top]

RE: “And you seem to know little about the theological or pastoral position of the CofE House of Bishops, I’m afraid.”

I didn’t comment about “the theological or pastoral position” of COE leaders.  I commented about what is quite obviously necessary to “rebuild trust”—something, oddly, that you assert needs to happen too.

RE: “This “who they are” stuff is quite honestly childish fantasy.”

Now now—I guess it’s okay to make “assessments using words” if it’s you doing that, huh?  ; > )  No offense taken—I’m comfortable with other people making assessments using words.

RE: “Who we are is a bunch of people who want to keep the CofE together, including FiF and ConEvos.”

Sure—as well as have women bishops without offering *forced* protection for those who oppose.  In other words—you want to have the cake and eat it too.

It’s rather like my bishop over here who desires to approve of same sex blessings rites while “all moving forward together” and experiencing zero consequences from the half of the diocese who doesn’t approve.

I also want to do things without experiencing consequences, as well. That seems to be a human condition.

But alas—it’s usually impossible.

At the end of the day, it’s clear that anti-WO people don’t trust the leaders of the COE. And thus, they need the force of law to assure them that the pro-WOer bishops won’t do what many of them have given every indication in their various rants and little newspaper articles that they wish to do.

The notion that anti-WOers should vote for something with any less protection from the sorts of women loons who look lined up for the episcopacy is laughable.  It looks pretty obvious that the pro-WOers will win the vote—but the anti-WOers should definitely go down fighting rather than voting cluelessly to trust untrustworthy leaders.

Why on earth would turkeys vote for Thanksgiving Day?

But . . . I can certainly see why various pro-WO bishops would write essays and articles about why the anti-WOers *should* so vote.  It would all be so much easier if the anti-WOers would just roll over and vote for their own demise and make it easy for the pro-WOers!

[17] Posted by Sarah on 6-24-2013 at 05:47 PM · [top]

RE: “We love you so much but might give you nothing if you don’t stop opposing what we want?”

Right.  And you should trust us too.

[18] Posted by Sarah on 6-24-2013 at 05:50 PM · [top]

The HoB is much less theologically liberal than it was. So although we may not agree with you on the OoW issue, we want not to lose folk who subscribe to scripture, creeds and formularies in an orthodox way. So keeping FiF and Con Evos in is an imperative for those of us who want a believing, evangelising, missional church.

What you’re not getting hold of is that getting discriminatory legislation through Synod and Parliament isn’t in the hands of the HoB. And probably isn’t possible. So, “do you want a deal that gives you more than a minimalist settlement?” isn’t a daft question. It’s an immensely important question.

With regard to the Resolutions, the instances you give are surely about the availability of clergy who are opposed, not about preventing you from having one? We have more what you would call “C” clergy in urban areas than you do in rural.

What we need is more priests - and a desire not to manage decline but to go for growth. That means praying for and nurturing vocations - in London, we are looking to increase the number of ordinands we produce by 50%. And if I were a bishop in a diocese where male clergy were refusing to cover for A/B parishes, there would be some robust pastoral conversations to be had!

[19] Posted by Pete Broadbent on 6-24-2013 at 05:59 PM · [top]

Peter, thanks for coming and commenting here. A couple of thoughts from me:

1. Like it or not, there is a clear sense that commitments previously made (and documented above) are set to be broken. They’ve already been broken in spirit in that some proponents of women bishops are actively advocating it, but we’re all well aware that they will be broken when legislation comes - simply, if you remove the legislated protection then the promise is broken. A Code of Practice or similar simply isn’t the same, and you know it.

2. The issue of equality, as far as I can see, runs in the face of the principle of “Two Integrities” - at least inasmuch as some proponents of women bishops are pushing “equality”. This is just a structural thing in the current situation. I think there’s every likelihood that Two Integrities will be thrown under a bus at some stage for the sake of “equality”. Conservatives know this and fear this.

3. Given that conservatives are often of a mind that the liberals can no longer be trusted to implement a Code of Practice fairly nor (and this is more important) are they in any way confident that the hierarchy of the CofE respects them, then is it not obvious why nothing less than a legislated protection is being asked for? If so, why not actually continue to champion it?

4. I note that it’s the conservatives that you’re publicly asking to surrender all their confidence in the other side here. Why not issue this comment with a parallel public call to the liberals to allow legislated protection? I would guess you don’t because you know there is absolutely no point to it (realpolitik again) because there is no actual desire amongst many of them to be in any way hospitable, let alone generous, towards us. In which case, you can hardly expect conservatives to be full of confidence at your proposal.

5. You say “We are not TEC, thank God”. But perhaps it’s worth listening to the people here who point out that the road map and the scenery along the way look very very familiar to them.

Thanks again for commenting here Pete. We do appreciate you setting out your case and choosing to engage.

[20] Posted by David Ould on 6-24-2013 at 06:09 PM · [top]

1. I do get hold of that. I understand the Bishops can’t impose anything on Synod let alone Parliament. I’m slightly surprised to hear that a more robust statutory scheme would definitely fall foul of anti discrimination law - and didn’t quite get that from the ceaseless reports and Synod debates - I guess I would like to see the legal advice that underlies such a view.

2. Sure - both are soft exercises of power - one through a diocese and one through local clergy. But it does give one slight pause when you suggest things get sorted out pastorally to support A B or C parishes. In my little corner of the sticks it felt a bit more like, “we would quite like it if you didn’t exist”. It’s a little bit more like the whittling away than the keep the church whole.

3. It is as it is - so if nothing that the Catholic group has suggested is to be passed - so be it. But to ask them not to try, not to attempt to persuade, not to voice their concerns and not to vote to uphold their convictions - when the proponents of change site those very reasons as grounds for not offering compromise - seems deeply unfair. Why not just let the debates play out - and assure them of their valued place if they don’t win enough support? Synod is so structured to deliberately make such measures difficult to pass - it’s right that Synod to should face the difficulty the Catholic and Reform folks will bring. That’s the way it’s intended to function.

[21] Posted by driver8 on 6-24-2013 at 06:33 PM · [top]

“Whittling away”. Good way of putting it and so we understand when conservatives don’t agree to having a huge chunk hewn away.

[22] Posted by David Ould on 6-24-2013 at 06:46 PM · [top]

One has difficulty trying to see how the requisite Anglo Catholic, Evangelical and Reformed seminaries will be able to operate without women clergy on the faculty, or how any WO opponent could become a diocesan bishop, or how Apostolic Succession can be maintained (in the AC, seven sacrament meaning of the term) can be maintained under the proposed “schemes” that have no legislated protections.  Given that apparently all bishops have conceded to the will of the revisionist party, one has difficulty seeing how they will maintain all the necessary elements of the Catholic tradition within Anglicanism.

I really fail to see the major difference between what the CoE is doing now, and what TEC did in 1997 when they made Anglo Catholicism functionally illegal within TEC by the wording of Title III.  Of course, all manner of promises were made, and at the time, there were still several Anglo Catholic diocesans (are there any dioceses left in England without women priests?), but it was finally made absolutely non-canonical with the deposition of Bishops Iker and Ackerman a couple years ago.  All you have left are some retirees (although a large number of them were resident in Quincy, and hence also deposed, and a few active priests hiding under stones, no longer in communion (according to TEC) with an Anglo Catholic diocesan bishop, because in TEC, there no longer are any.

[23] Posted by tjmcmahon on 6-24-2013 at 09:20 PM · [top]

I really don’t know why anyone is surprised, given Bishop Broadbent’s enthusiasm for WO (thankfully, none other than Rowan Williams recorded Bishop Broadbent’s opinions for us last year-
http://rowanwilliams.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/2661/women-bishops-enough-waiting-the-bishop-of-willesdens-message-to-general-synod )

“If you are thinking of voting against, can I urge you, if your objection is not completely principled against, to think again?  Because I believe it’s important we get a two thirds majority this time around and don’t look completely stupid in the eyes of society, in the eyes of the Church, and spend our time discussing this for another five or ten years.”

So, those who did vote against therefore caused the bishops, activists and revisionists to “look completely stupid in the eyes of society, in the eyes of the Church.” 

Whatever happened to theology?  You would think, when forcing something on the church that you KNOW going in will divide it,  the primary reason for doing it would be a gospel imperative, but it appears the primary reason to have women bishops is to avoid looking stupid to the 10s of millions of English citizens who don’t go to church, while ignoring those who do.

[24] Posted by tjmcmahon on 6-24-2013 at 09:51 PM · [top]

Truth and theology are voted upon in TEC and COE. It is little wonder they are in they shape they are.

[25] Posted by via orthodoxy on 6-24-2013 at 10:23 PM · [top]

The proposal that was defeated last November amounted to “Dear Opponent of Women’s Ordination.  If you accept this proposal, then we will let you die off in peace.”  White flag, in medieval parlance.  The defeat of that proposal has led to the advent of the red flag: “Dear Opponent of Women’s Ordination.  Accept this proposal, and we will kill you quick.  You don’t want to hear about the alternative…”  That alternative would be the black flag.  No more proposals.  No display of mercy.  Just an awful spectacle of slaughter.  This is the Realpolitik the bishop is proposing.  It can be paraphrased as “You can die easy or die hard.  Just understand you are dead.”

It’s better to force the revolutionaries to pull the trigger.  Let them run the black flag up the flag pole and show no mercy.  Let them be shown for what they are.  Stand your ground.  Prepare to leave.  Let them do their worst.  They will have received their reward.

[26] Posted by carl on 6-24-2013 at 10:47 PM · [top]

#23 There have been a handful of Anglo Catholics appointed as diocesan bishops since the Ordination of Women as presbyters in 1994 (more as suffragan bishops). Have any conservative evangelicals been appointed as diocesans in that time? I can’t think of any.

I think women presbyters serve in every diocese in the Church of England.

Speaking of the ordination of women as priests - I think the only diocese in which neither the diocesan nor either of his suffragans have ordained women is the Diocese of Chichester. However bishops from outside the diocese are “deputed”, so to say, to ordain women as priests at Chichester Cathedral.

A few dioceses - London being the text book example - have diocesans who don’t ordain any men or women as priests because they want to remain a focus for unity but delegate the responsibility to suffragans.

[27] Posted by driver8 on 6-24-2013 at 11:17 PM · [top]

#26 My own view that isn’t quite right. There was some desire to get rid of the old regime (legal protection) - which of course, I think is a shameful betrayal -  nevertheless the Archbishops tried quite hard to get a more robust protection for the minority. It wasn’t what the minority requested but it was more - the costly sort of thing that you need to do if you then want to say, “trust us”.

Synod threw it out.

That’s the really troubling sign for the future of the church. The bishops were unable to persuade Synod. All talk about the deep concern for the unity of the church among the HOB amounts to little when Synod shows every sign of wanting to throw the minority under the bus. If one thinks in terms of confidence building - Synod has done, more or less, everything it can to make clear “you can have no confidence in us”.

So it’s very tricky now - the minority entered into the process, did everything that was asked of them, sat on the committees yada yada and Synod didn’t give a fig for anything they said or did. Why on earth would the minority vote for a proposal when their every suggestion has been shot down in flames? But the bishops need a handful of antis not to vote against to get this thing to pass - so wring hands, say kindhearted things, “trust us”, and warn of the alternative.

I say - keep your nerve - vote with your conscience, it’s immoral to do anything else.

[28] Posted by driver8 on 6-25-2013 at 01:27 AM · [top]

Presumably somewhere in the background of all of this urgency is the nuclear option: that is, that Parliament will introduce women bishops over the head of General Synod.

[29] Posted by driver8 on 6-25-2013 at 01:47 AM · [top]

Driver8,
As I recall, in 2008 or 09, the so called Archbishops Scheme (everyone remember that word has a different connotation in England than in the US) was passed handily in both the HoB and Laity, it was defeated by a few votes of the clergy, so was dropped from consideration. Various other proposals that Rowan floated were either voted down, or withdrawn.  The bishops themselves came up with something that was supposed to be the best case compromise, but the reaction was so vehement, they rewrote it into a completely pointless proposition, which made clear the betrayal of the traditionalists, while at the same time infuriating the liberal/revisionist majority, since it implied they did not have an absolute moral right to impose women bishops on everyone. Which is evidence that the clergy have little respect for the theology or ecclesiology of the HoB, at least when it conflicts with what they want.  The vast majority of clergy in Synod are clearly from the revisionist mold, making one wonder if most of their seminaries are any more fit for purpose than TECs.  I don’t mean there are no good seminaries, just that there are many more revisionist ones, and the candidates from the good ones are shunned by many bishops (and no doubt, by parishes- last thing many want is a presbyter who insists they actually get out of bed on Sunday morning and go to church).

As with TEC, theology marches on in the CoE. You will no longer be allowed to hold the same beliefs you held in, say, 1995.  God is doing a “new thing.”  If you don’t get on the bandwagon, you will be just like that Paul guy in the Bible, who was punished by God for casting Spirit!!! ( © TEC 2006 ) out of people who annoyed him.

[30] Posted by tjmcmahon on 6-25-2013 at 06:45 AM · [top]

“Presumably somewhere in the background of all of this urgency is the nuclear option: that is, that Parliament will introduce women bishops over the head of General Synod. “

No doubt.  And a few years after that, someone will threaten to have Parliament amend the current marriage act and we will see the HoB falling all over itself to adopt gay marriage with a code of practice allowing those who object to voice their criticism privately to the vicar, who will then put them on the list of persons not to be nominated to Synod.

[31] Posted by tjmcmahon on 6-25-2013 at 06:48 AM · [top]

[30]  TJ, you are SO RIGHT!  It’s clear that the revisionists have taken control of the Church of England, and it makes me wonder why in God’s name anyone with an ounce of common sense would even consider studying for holy orders to become a presbyter in that church if he doesn’t share their views.  There’s nothing like a priest’s neck being held to the floor by someone’s boot while he’s being told that “you WILL conform to our views or else,” and that’s, in effect, what they are saying.  God help the Church of England and the people in the pews, for the revisionists are doing to them what Schori and her gang did to faithful Episcopalians who didn’t kowtow to them, and who subsequently left for green Anglican pastures.

[32] Posted by cennydd13 on 6-25-2013 at 09:51 AM · [top]

“... having to apologise…”

I could see maybe an apology for the mournful lack of Christian charity displayed by those opposing legislated protection.  At worst, the innovators should view those resisting as no worse than brothers and sisters refusing meat sacrificed to idols.  1 Cor. 8:1-13.  Of course the world today might view legislation as discriminatory.  Sadly, too many of the innovators within the CoE seem to agree.

I am not persuaded by the prospect of secular interference.  Better to let secular interference begin now - let Parliament block charitable legislated protection.  It is far better to behave in a Christian manner, provide a charitable witness (John 13:35) and provoke secular interference - rather than behaving in a manner pleasing to the world.  Clarity.

(As a realpolitik strategic alternative – one would think that the innovators would be willing to pass legislation with the knowledge that Parliament would block it.)

But this is a church that has thus far been unable to provide a witness of Christian charity by instituting meaningful protection.  The revision movement has never born such fruit - it is inconsistent with the trajectory and underlying world view: ‘protection means discrimination.’

Given this - I see no need to trust or hope that the CoE would somehow develop the future charity to exercise forbearance.

[33] Posted by tired on 6-25-2013 at 10:19 AM · [top]

#30 If one looks for example at the Bishops’ suggestion for a slightly more generous clause in July 2012, despite words of support from the Archbishop of Canterbury (and Bishop Pete for what it’s worth), the proposal wasn’t even considered by Synod. They just adjourned debate on it by an overwhelming majority and the Bishops then withdrew it and replaced it with something less robust. Several bishops and conservative speakers warned in the adjournment debate that without some thing like that it, the entire women bishops proposal might not pass (as in fact it didn’t). Synod just ploughed on regardless.

My view is that the HOB (or at least the majority of them) really wanted to do something, however small, that gestured towards the concerns of the conservatives. Synod just didn’t give a monkeys.

I think that’s a fairly clear message.

[34] Posted by driver8 on 6-25-2013 at 02:26 PM · [top]

The fundamental problem that Bishop Broadbent glosses over is this:  In 1994, women priests were allowed on the basis that those opposed would be legally protected.  On that basis, the women priests measure passed by just TWO votes.  It clearly would not have passed if those protections had not been promised.

Now any thought of providing those protections has been abandoned.  That one fact has destroyed the credibility of those who support Women Bishops.  They cannot be trusted to hold to any promise.

[35] Posted by MichaelA on 7-7-2013 at 10:42 PM · [top]

Bishop Peter Broadbent, CofE, wrote at #2, #8 and #15,

1. “I want ConEvos and TradCaths to stay in the CofE. But provision with the force of law doesn’t commend a majority in Synod…”

Ahem – are you a leader in the Church of England or a clerk of synod who merely counts votes?  If HOB exercises no leadership concerning legal protection then OF COURSE there will not be a majority in the Synod for it. 

In any case, you have adroitly summed up why the women bishops measure failed.  If Synod wants (a) women bishops; and (b) no exodus of its large evangelical churches to form an alternative Anglican force in Britain; then it had better find a way to get a majority in favour of legal protection for conservative evangelicals and anglo-catholics.  Leadership from the HOB would be a good start.

2. “…and will be seen by Parliament as discriminatory.”

Parliament has been able to cope with discriminatory procedures whenever it sees a political need to do so.  Parliament will only get women bishops if the General Synod agrees.  And if General Synod says that women bishops will only be permitted with legal protection for traditionalists, then Parliament has two choices:
(a) have no women bishops; or
(b) knuckle down and accept the conditions set down by GS.

3. “Opponents to women priests and bishops have a real choice to make. Keep on till the last ditch, or find a settlement now that will allow them to flourish and get on with the mission of God to bring the good news of Christ to all.”

The experience in TEC shows that a settlement will NOT allow evangelicals and anglo catholics to flourish, so that is no “real choice” at all.  There is really only one possible course left to the conservatives – oppose to the end. 

Unless, of course, establishment figures like yourself want to start being reasonable and throw your weight behind giving the conservatives real legal protection.  That is YOUR choice to make.

Remember that the conservative evangelicals and anglo–catholics have nothing to lose:  they can fight to the end and then, if they lose, part ways with the CofE.  Some anglo-catholics will go to the Ordinariate, and some will go with the evangelicals to form the UK equivalent of ACNA in England.  Many of them are already operating partly or wholly in their own accommodation and apart from property they don’t need CofE for anything else.  But CofE desperately needs them.

4. “I want to help the internal fightings to stop ASAP and move on, with my friends in Reform and FiF on board.”

If you want Reform and FiF on board, then legal protections are what you will need.

5. “We’re not ECUSA - thank God - and we don’t behave in the same way.”

I am sure you believe that.  But so did many in ECUSA many years ago.  The reality is that at present you are behaving as ECUSA did ten years ago.  That gives good reason to believe that in 10 years time you will be where ECUSA is now, however much you believe otherwise.

6. “And you seem to know little about the theological or pastoral position of the CofE House of Bishops, I’m afraid.”

Sarah appears to comprehend the theological and pastoral position of the HOB quite well.  The real issue appears to be that she has summed up the essentials in a way that is far too close for your comfort. 

7. “I know from being in the HoB what we’re trying to achieve. And it isn’t the eradication of traditionalists.”

Of course it isn’t – you desperately need their parishioners and the income they provide.  But I believe the point being made by Sarah and Driver8 is that you will inevitably achieve the eradication of the traditionalists, whether or not that is what you desire.

9. “When a parish asks for oversight, it gets it. It happens.”

Of course it does.  Well, at least in some dioceses.  And that will continue – for a time.  But this will inevitably change.

10. “The HoB is much less theologically liberal than it was.”

The HOB tells itself that it is much less theologically liberal than it was, sure.  But what’s in a name anyway?

11. “What you’re not getting hold of is that getting discriminatory legislation through Synod and Parliament isn’t in the hands of the HoB. And probably isn’t possible.”

Its certainly not possible if you don’t want to try.  As a result of not trying, you now have no women bishops on any terms.

[36] Posted by MichaelA on 7-7-2013 at 10:49 PM · [top]

Driver8 at #34

“My view is that the HOB (or at least the majority of them) really wanted to do something, however small, that gestured towards the concerns of the conservatives. Synod just didn’t give a monkeys.”

I see no need to make allowances for the HOB over their actions in this.  They either believe in legislated protection or they do not.  If they do believe in it, then they should be providing a thing called *leadership* to General Synod by explaining clearly (and repeatedly) why legal protection is required.  The fact is that the entire CofE House of Bishops is easily deterred by any liberals who disagree with them.  It is clear that they themselves have no strong commitment to legal protections, therefore it is hardly surprising that those they lead also have no such commitment.

In other words, the reason Synod didn’t give a monkeys is because Synod was not given any leadership.  You will see the same factor regularly at work in politics – leaders carry their constituency with them.  The HOB aren’t leaders, in any sense. 

This debacle is likely to lead to the establishment of an alternative Anglican polity in the UK, and the abysmally poor leadership and lack of spine of the English bishops will end up carrying a major share of the blame.

[37] Posted by MichaelA on 7-7-2013 at 10:51 PM · [top]

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