Failure on Women Bishops risks ‘constitutional crisis’

Failure to vote in women Bishops risks ‘constitutional crisis’ in Church

The Church of England is facing a “major constitutional crisis” and should vote through women bishops by 2015, according to a secret memo written for the archbishops.

Women bishops rejection has damaged Church, traditionalist bishop admits

The Enthronement of the Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner as the 103rd Bishop of Chichester
Photo: JIM HOLDEN

By , Religious Affairs Editor –Telegraph – 6:16AM GMT 26 Nov 2012

The General Synod failed to see through a plan for women bishops last week due to the voting system within the church.

Within 72 hours of the vote William Fittall, secretary-general of the General Synod, wrote a memo warning the decision would “badly damage” the Church.

He said the Church must take steps to overturn the vote and consecrate women bishops or the decision risks being taken out of its hands by Parliament.

The memo, meant for the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and passed to The Times, stated: “Unless the Church of England can show very quickly that it’s capable of sorting itself out, we shall be into a major constitutional crisis in Church-State relations, the outcome of which cannot be predicted with confidence.”

As the Church’s most senior “civil servant”, Mr Fittall is seldom ignored.

Mr Fittall outlined a plan to consecrate women bishops with no provision for opponents being put to Synod when it meets at the University of York in July.

After going through revision committees and the dioceses, it could be ready to vote through to Parliament by 2015 or earlier, he says, insisting that radical action is the only way to avoid a constitutional crisis and hinting at possible disestablishment if the Church fails to sort itself out.

He warned: “We have to do so because time is not on our side. Parliament is impatient.”

______________________________________________________________

Both the parliamentary representative for the Church Commissioners, Sir Tony Baldry, and now the Secretary-General of the Church of England General Synod, Mr. William Fittal, have expressed grave concerns about the result of the failure of the Draft Measure for the Ordination of Women Bishops in the C. of E. This must raise important concerns about what steps will be taken by Church officials in the near future that will ensure that the issue is re-visited by General Synod at the earliest opportunity.

The House of Bishops will be meeting to discuss this urgent matter early in December. One wonders what could be done by them to save the issue from being relegated to nothing more important than just being scheduled as part of ‘further business’ for the next 2015, General Synod? There can be little doubt that some Members of the House of Commons, at least, are keen that the Church be seen to be compliant with basic justice, where there appears to be sexist discrimination in the State Church against women.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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1 Response to Failure on Women Bishops risks ‘constitutional crisis’

  1. Just some thoughts and information you may not wish to post?

    I thank God for the fact that we are ‘established’ church as at least there are some checks and balances as to the protection of children and the teaching of ‘belief’ in schools. The extreme Evangelicals have closed the doors to Christianity in many a school and the guardians of the schools were acting in the best interests of young minds. Archbishop Rowan was rather good at speaking out against certain institutions and established orders. However, there is a justifiable ‘table turning’ going on at the moment.

    I am really surprised that more campaigners for a Yes did not spot the possibility of a well organised coup a year ago. It seemed perfectly obvious when listening to televised debates and personal appearances on UK TV. I suppose having been in the Oxford Deanery for the best part of nine years helped me to understand the possible scenarios. Pretty scary really. I just rather hoped that the ridiculous arguments would be ridiculed on the day but they really were turning up in great numbers, this opinion is well researched by others who are more in the know about specific parish numbers signed up to Reform.

    This issue is now not one about women bishops or gender at all. True faith in Christ has no gender. From where I am looking it is about protecting every child that is born from this dangerous extremism. If you replay the debate – and I have not, I think you will notice what a conversation stopper this biblical certainty is? If ever I am in the middle of such a conversation I seem to suffer from the most awful brain fog, it is just like a suffocating blanket coming down. This has always disturbed me and I foolishly believed it was because I didn’t know nearly enough about the bible. Sure, I don’t know enough about the Bible but it seems to me there are some things God just does not wish us to hear. How about the woman who was so certain of her understanding of Biblical authority requiring members to vote No that she started to quote a few lines from Psalm and then stuttered as she tried to grab her indexed Bible. It struck me that if the Holy Spirit had wished her to use the power of these words she would have been enabled to remember them. It was something that struck me like a lightning bolt at the time and it haunted me as I realised there was a very strong possibility that the Yes was lost in the mist of this scriptural confusion. Yes, God wanted this motion to fail but not to highlight whether or not there should be women priests, or bishops with a protective clause or not. No, I now feel certain in my own mind, that God Almighty wished to highlight how dangerous our collective theology has become. We are always on such a big sales and marketing trip we forget that the temple needs regular cleansing. Well, Jesus has his whip out now and he is raging at the impression we are giving to potential Christians. Actually, I correct that unreservedly, to absolutely every human being. Its a crying disgrace alright, a highly funded organised disgrace at that. The Church of England does seriously need a health warning stuck on to its manifesto. Like, ‘Be aware this theology may not be suitable for the under 18’s’ at the very least. God has just pushed his parental control button and I thank the disadvantaged and the abused and the atheists for drawing our attention to how really irrelevant we are concerning scriptural authority. If we do not wish to be tainted by the poison of this so called medicine then it is either time for a total reform of what Anglicans believe the bible teaches or it is time for schism, actually schism has been pretty much in evidence for many years. Shame on the Anglo Catholics for allowing God’s image and likeness to be so opportunistically abused. I hope that + Justin will be able to find ways to get certain theological colleges to regularise their Biblical teaching. Have we actually got any guidance on this – ??? The sad thing is it will continue to undermine all the wonderfully positive news that is out in the market place. Do we have any guidelines about what is Anglican???

    Do some forensic research on Rev’d Canon Chris Sugden as it is all very informative.

    ‘The Times 22nd November

    Ruth Gledhill talks to members of the House of Laity and finds that they are celebrating a strategic victory
    Unlike most of the Church of England, leading members of the House of Laity are celebrating the failure to pass legislation to ordain women bishops because they believe that schism has now been averted.
    In a signal that deep divisions may be impossible to bridge, one member told The Times that the House of Laity rejected the move despite knowing that it was the majority view of church members.
    But, in an indication that lay members were winning the strategic battle long before the ballot, she revealed that the arithmetic of voting had been a central thought throughout.’
    Regional Anglican CelebrationsAugust 25th, 2012 Posted in Anglican Communion | Comments Off
    Chris Sugden Evangelicals Now September 2012
    The last 12 months has seen a significant development in the Anglican Communion. National Anglican Churches (Provinces is the technical term) have begun to hold significant large gatherings of all Anglicans in their area along with international guests from other parts of the Communion…….
    ………….
    Over the next period of time we will probably see these regional networks of Anglicans develop and flourish as centres of Anglican Communion life. There will be considerable interchange among some networks, and less between some networks and others. There will certainly be the need to work out the implications of these regional expressions of the Anglican Communion particularly for identifying what actually unites us and what can sunder us apart. The Anglican Communion will no longer be a global organization with a western hub.

    Regional Anglican CelebrationsAugust 25th, 2012 Posted in Anglican Communion | Comments Off
    Chris Sugden Evangelicals Now September 2012
    The last 12 months has seen a significant development in the Anglican Communion. National Anglican Churches (Provinces is the technical term) have begun to hold significant large gatherings of all Anglicans in their area along with international guests from other parts of the Communion…….
    ………….
    Over the next period of time we will probably see these regional networks of Anglicans develop and flourish as centres of Anglican Communion life. There will be considerable interchange among some networks, and less between some networks and others. There will certainly be the need to work out the implications of these regional expressions of the Anglican Communion particularly for identifying what actually unites us and what can sunder us apart. The Anglican Communion will no longer be a global organization with a western hub.
    Did you pick up on the following at the time?

    George Pitcher
    George Pitcher is an Anglican priest who serves his ministry at St Bride’s, Fleet Street, in London – the “journalists’ church”.
    Anti-gay Anglicans take Queen’s name in vain
    I hear that Canon Chris Sugden may have somewhat spoilt his chances of a knighthood. The secretary to the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, which is this week busy fanning the embers of Anglican schism, went on Roger Boulton’s BBC Sunday programme and was asked whether it was true that The Queen had written to Canon Sugden and his traditionalist pals to say that “she understood their concerns”. Canon Sugden replied that this was “correct”.
    “Sources close to the Palace”, as they say, have coughed lightly and raised an eyebrow to one another. That’s a courtier’s equivalent of being incandescent with rage.
    Because Her Majesty said no such thing. A secretary wrote in reply to representations that Her Majesty (as Supreme Governor of the Church of England) “understands the commitment to the Anglican Church that prompted you and your brethren to write as you did”. And that was a year ago, in reply… Read More
    Tags: Anglican Mainstream, BBC, Buckingham Palace, Canon Chris Sugden, Foca, Gafcon, HM The Queen, Roger Boulton, Sunday programme
    Thank God for Her Majesty the Queen and the journalists and Houses of Parliament.

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