WATCH Women and the Church) responds to the Archbishops

Hat Tip: Thinking Anglicans

All bishops are equal but some are more equal than others.

WATCH has studied the outline proposals of the Archbishops’ intervention in the progress of legislation for women bishops. Despite the assurances that all will be well we are not convinced that the issues raised regarding jurisdiction will be resolved equitably when the practical steps of implementation are worked out. Will an “unacceptable” Diocesan bishop be required to share jurisdiction and how? Or will it be at her or his discretion? If the former, we are in effect back to automatic transfer.

The timing of the Archbishops’ intervention is similarly to be questioned. The Revision Committee considered all proposals put to them in great and thoughtful detail. These new proposals could have been made in similar detail to the Revision Committee. This would have enabled their practical consequences to be thoroughly considered before they came to be debated by General Synod. It is important that the Church does not re-create the unforeseen consequences of the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod in agreeing to proposals that have not been thoroughly explored and explained. We ask; In what way are ‘nominated bishops’ not actually flying bishops with extended jurisdiction? Are we not creating a two-tier episcopacy of ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ bishops with all that implies about how the Church continues to view women? Have the Archbishops sought the views of the senior women who must be counted amongst “the full diversity of voices in the Church of England”? Has their support been obtained for these proposals?

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