“Faced with fissures in the unity of Anglicanism, Rowan Williams and John Sentamu, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, came up with a compromise: if an individual congregation had a strong objection to being under the control of a woman bishop, it would be allowed to have a male one officiate at all the critical ceremonies when a bishop’s presence is required. In other words, congregations would be allowed to “opt out” of having women bishops, just as they were with women vicars in 1992.”
Plans were rejected by the General Synod in 2009, with traditionalist Anglo-Catholic leaders calling plans to introduce female Bishops and creating a separate class of complimentary male bishops as “totally unacceptable”, “limited”, and “theologically incoherent”. In 2008, more than 1,300 clergy, including 11 serving bishops, wrote to the archbishops of Canterbury and York to warn that they will leave the Church of England if they are not given proper provisions when women are made bishops. One Bishop Jarett claimed that the entire proposal will have to be overturned if common ground cannot be found. Now, lets forget this is the Church and a religious organisation, with rules that don’t seem to gel with the laws of the land that the rest of us have to follow, and wake up to the fact that this is the 21st century. If I was taken on in a role of authority, I would also be incredibly insulted if a man was taken on to appease people on the grounds they did not agree with women holding that position. It would also be insulting to those men who had put in the same amount of work to obtain those positions. It would, in fact, be a case worthy of going to employment tribunal.
Leading Anglo-Catholic clergy warned that the failure to provide concessions to opponents of the historic reform would force many of them to defect to Rome.
Like it or not, The Church of England is still intrinsically Catholic at its heart regardless of our break from Rome. If this were any other sphere in the private sector, the church would be prosecuted for their deliberate discrimination against women. This again emphasises the privileged stature of religion within the law. The church is now considering how best to cater to objections and curry favour with the ultra-right wing, dissenters who deem it appropriate, in the 21st century, to bar individuals from particular roles on the basis of gender.
Anglo-Catholics and conservative evangelicals who object to women bishops have threatened to leave the Church after claiming that current plans do not meet their demands.
The Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr Rowan Williams) and the Archbishop of York put forward this last-ditch compromise at the weekend, to enable the ordination of female bishops. These compromises would have meant the implementation of a new class of male Bishop to look after Parishes who oppose the ordination of female Bishops and would have avoided a schism within the Church of England. The general Synod has failed to back this reform which leads me to believe that the Catholic church has done too good a job, over the last nearly 2000 years in its general promotion of misogyny. It is NOT a difficult issue. Under the law of this country it is already illegal to discriminate against race, sexuality or religion. Church leaders have no business picking or choosing which of the laws laid down by this country are to their taste the same way they pick and chose which parts of the bible they decide are worth observing literally or are open to ‘interpretation’.
More than 5,000 women have been ordained as priests in the Church of England since 1994 and the number of women training for the ministry is increasing.
Between them, they urge the Synod to speed their deliberations over female bishops before handing the legislation to the Churches’ diocese for consideration. The majority, in favour of female bishops are staunchly sticking by their principles and are unprepared to make further concessions. Dr Williams has said that the Church of England will hopefully have set up the preparation needed in producing a code of practice in the next 18 months and this would be the final stage of legislation. There has to be something missing the general reasoning that makes another 18 months an acceptable delay in abiding by established employment law. What is happening while all this consideration and deliberations are happening? Women are being barred from roles of authority within the community, not because they are ‘unqualified’, but because they are women.
”As the votes on Saturday illustrated, we remain as a Synod, it seems, committed by a majority to the desirability of seeing women as bishops for the health and flourishing of the work of God’s Kingdom, of this Church and this nation,” he said.
As it stands, if legislation is passed this week with a majority in the synods, the Church of England will still have to approve and then further consideration would have to be made in 2012 The earliest appointment of a female Bishop in the Church of England is thought to be 2014 IF there was a 2/3 majority in favour in each of the three houses of the General Synod – Bishops, Clergy, Laity. That is another 4 years of living by their own rules and shows the contempt that have for the employment rights that have been fought for while the Church enjoys its position above the law and beyond contempt by royalty and Parliament alike.
“It is bound to be more difficult to hold on to people now,” he said. “How can you stay in a family where members of the family have no need of you.” – Fr Jonathan Baker, principle of Pusey House and a leading traditionalist
While the Compromise was being put forward, and rejected, seventy traditionalists met with a Bishop of the Catholic church to discuss plans of defection. Earlier this year the Pope also made an offer to rejoin Rome to disillusioned Anglicans. Three Bishops have already travelled to Rome to discuss this ‘offer’. The rejection of the compromise has obviously a blow to Dr Williams as it appears the Church of England only follows his lead when he agrees with them. Anglican priests might well find it difficult to accept women into a role traditionally filled by men but who is it that has made that a ‘male role’? The Church. With all their pageantry, pomp and splendour, masking what is essentially a rotten core, the Church still looks upon gender discrimination as a part of what shapes them. They may not call it that and they don’t necessarily sermonise the overall weakness and corruptibility of women anymore but we must ask those ‘traditionally’ minded Anglicans, why they would rather rejoin Rome than allow women to become bishops should they so wish.
“We must be magnanimous and meet people half-way,” he said. “The Church of England must cater for everyone. I have never been part of a particular group or faction – I’m an Anglican and Anglicanism has always been the middle way.” – Dr John Sentamu, the archbishop of York.
The fact that the law of this country has allowed them to flout the rules for so long is disgraceful enough, but to claim magnanimity in even considering allowing women to take posts of authority within their organisation is disgusting.