Women bishops urgent question
On 20 November, the General Synod of the Church of England voted narrowly against the appointment of women as bishops.
The measure was passed by the Synod’s Houses of Bishops and Clergy but was rejected by the House of Laity.
In the Commons, Sir Tony told MPs that a fresh attempt to allow women to become bishops should take place “as soon as possible”.
He said the issue should not be “parked for the next couple of years” until after the next round of General Synod elections in 2015.
“It is perfectly possible for a different and amended measure to consecrate women bishops to be considered by General Synod,” he said.
Sir Tony, who represents the Church of England in the Commons, told MPs it was “impossible for me to explain” how the Synod opposed the measure.
The measure would have made it lawful for women to be consecrated to the office of bishop.
David Cameron has said he is “very sad” that the Church of England rejected the introduction of women bishops.
But he said Parliament had to “respect the individual institutions and the way they work” during prime minister’s questions that week.
The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Rowan Williams, spoke of his “deep personal sadness” after the vote.
Listening to Sir Tony Baldry, the Church Commissioner in the House of Commons, in his excellent summary of what actually went on in Church House, Westminster last Tuesday, 20 November, when it failed to pass the Draft Measure that would have led to legislation being passed in the Houses of Parliament to allow for the Ordination of Women Bishops in the Church of England; one could not fail to register his keen disappointment (and possible personal embarrassment) with the outcome.
From his speech, that can be accessed from the video clip above, it is obvious that Sir Tony. Baldry is anxious for the Church to take immediate steps to bring forward a motion to the General Synod that would ensure arrangements to be made for Women Bishops – before the next scheduled meeting of the General Synod in 23015. From the chorus of ‘Ayes’ heard during his speech – even though the House was far from full at the time – it would seem that Parliament is looking to the Church for some more positive action in this important matter. What might follow if nothing is done, remains to be seen! DO WATCH THE VIDEO!
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand