Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Anglo-Catholics and Women Bishops (1)

My plan was to continue a series of whining about GAFCON, and I still plan to do that, but in the meantime the General Synod of the Church of England has approved the appointment and consecration of women to the episcopate. (We are urged to continue breathing normally, however.) This has largely displaced GAFCON in the British press and on many of The Usual Blogs, at least for a little while. So I will detour through a series of curmudgeonly reflections on the decision of the General Synod and the reactions to it, divided into a number of sections since once I got started I could hardly restrain myself....

Much of the big whoop in England has to do with the fact that the measure passed by Synod does not provide for safe all-male havens for those who claim that in conscience they cannot acknowledge the episcopal or priestly ministry of women—primarily conservative Anglo-Catholics, although some conservative Evangelicals are allied with them on this issue. (I don’t in the least doubt that they are in sincere conscience; whether it is good conscience is another question, which I may get to later.) Those who wanted special protection from girl cooties by means of some system of “super bishops,” or even a boys-only province of their own, did not get it. The measure provides for a “national code of practice” (yet to be formulated) to give some respite to those who will not accept a female bishop. On the other hand, it is speculated that this code of practice will also repeal and replace the current system of “flying bishops” who minister to those who have refused to accept women priests in England.

No comments: