‘Affirming Catholics’ – Response to Archbishops’ Council

28.11.12 Reaction to Archbishops’ Council

Affirming Catholicism Press Statement – 29 November 2012

Affirming Catholicism welcomes the statement issued on the conclusion of the Meeting of the Archbishops’ Council on 27-28 November 2012, and the decision that a process to admit women to the episcopate be restarted at the next meeting of the General Synod in July 2013.

Affirming Catholicism hopes to be closely involved in the discussions in the New Year with a view to bringing legislative proposals before the Synod in July. Affirming Catholicism will continue to bring to those discussions not only strong support for the consecration of women to the episcopate, but also a deep concern to maintain the Catholic ecclesiology of the Church of England.

In offering support to the move to bring legislative proposals before the Synod in July, Affirming Catholicism will continue strongly to assert the principle that a woman appointed to be a bishop must be a bishop on exactly the same terms as her male colleagues, whilst recognising the need to make pastoral provision for those opposed. However, the rejection of the Measure, combined with the opposition to clause 5(1)(c) this summer, demonstrated a lack of support for the way forward laid out in the Measure, whilst also demonstrating overwhelming support for the admission of women to the episcopate in the Church of England. This indicates that a new way forward must be found, which recognises from the beginning that acceptable provisions cannot mean structures for separate existence.

We believe that this is the time for the House of Bishops to ensure that every diocese in the Church of England has an ordained woman on the senior staff and regularly present at senior staff meetings. In recognition of the need to ensure that theological objections to the ordination of women do not slip into prejudice against women, Affirming Catholicism would welcome an initiative by the House of Bishops, together with those who advise them on senior appointments, to commit to engaging in proper training in gender awareness on all levels of the Church of England.


Many people who do not fully understand that most Anglo-Catholics around the Anglican Communion are supportive of the Ordination of Women – to both the priesthood and the episcopate – seem unable to take on board the fact that, as with this group of ‘Affirming Catholics’, many of us who claim to be Anglo-Catholics are fully accepting of the fact that as there is a commonality of both male and female in the human race – so that commonality extends to God‘s call to both women and men into the priesthood and episcopate of God’s Church.

A statement, from the above article, bears testimony to this:

“In the mean time, Affirming Catholicism urges Bishops of the Church of England to offer a clear demonstration of their commitment to the full inclusion of women, and in particular to the ministry of ordained women, in the Church of England.”

The mistaken ‘ontological argument’ of those ‘ultra-montane’ Anglo-Catholics who, in the Church of England, have allied themselves with the extreme conservatives in the Evangelical wing of the church to protest against the ordination of women; cannot claim to represent  the majority of traditional Anglo-Catholics. Nor can they claim that they represent the ‘truly-catholic’ viewpoint of anyone other than themselves.

When one understands that their objections to Women as Clergy is based on what they see as a necessary alignment with the Roman Catholic Church, they have to take into account that the R.C. Church does not even recognise the ordination of their (male) Anglo-Catholic clergy! On these grounds alone, Methinks they doth protest too much – and without actual collegial support for their own ministry  from their Roman Catholic brethren.

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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3 Responses to ‘Affirming Catholics’ – Response to Archbishops’ Council

  1. Another story:- As rhe priest in charge of North Hinksey Parish, Oxford I enjoyed good relationships with all the clergy who met for breakfast meetings which included a special liturgy and bible study and discussion.. Our discussions were often challenging but always informative and mutually respectful. The Roman Catholic priest left after a few years and was replaced by a former Anglican priest. I wonder if he returned the £30,000, bearing in mind that we women were supposed to have led the Church of England into financial crisis because of ‘Cost of Conscience provision?

    Upon discoering my presence this new RC priest seemed to have thought it his Christian duty not to attend any of our breakfast meetings. In addition he actively sought to oppose my ministry once complaining in the local press that I had no right to publicise a parish initiative in the local precinct as ‘Your local parish church’. Excuse me, we were by law established the parish church and I had a solemn duty to pray for every soul in the parish. This sort of un-christian pettiness continued on his part but I continued to attend certain events in the RC parish church when invited. which invitations usually came from the laity

    It so happened that there was a lovely but very unstable lady of blessed memory, wo suffered from a psychotic illness of some gravity,living in the parish. Her parents were most distressed when she converted to.Roman Catholicism after 1992. I constantly did my best to assure them that their daughter’s soul was safe in her chosen path. The said lady was very aggitated when she discovered that her new parish priest was married with five children and telephoned him to protest! He responded by refusing to administer communion to a house bound woman and no member of his laity was authorised to do so either. At the request of her parents, bearing in mind she had been sectioned many times, I made a visit which was all a bit scary to say the least. Eventually we became good friends and she received communion and we laughed a lot. On one occasion when I was trying to calm her fears I took her to the dentist so that he could confirm that she did not have a bugging device embedded under a filling in her tooth. Dentist thought I was a little crazy and it was all a pointless excercise in any case because two weeks later the dear woman showed me a letter from the foreign office which confirmed that a bugging device could indeed be inserted into a filling!!!. I could write a whole book about her story alone. As a result of this parituclar ministry I was asked to visit her agnostic dying uncle and was privilidged to be at his death bed and that of the said lady who died from breast cancer.She left a note to her parents to say that I was to be given all her music collection which was a precious gift for lots of reasons.

    God always does his best to provide shepherds when the aoppointed one’s defect.

    On the basis of this story alone I think I may be forgiven for calling the present situation utter madness.

    Another funny about the market place:-

    Ruth Gledhill of The Times tweeted this: !!! God always has the last laugh

    Of all the stories I wrote yesterday about the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, this is my favourite:

    ‘There was a slight hitch when he went for his interview with the late Bishop of Kensington, John Hughes. Hughes was not impressed. He told the future archbishop: “There is no place for you in the modern Church of England. I have interviewed a thousand candidates for ordination and you do not come in the top thousand.” It took him another year to get his place as an ordinand. His spiritual journey then took him down a more catholic route.’

  2. Sorry I can’t work out how to spell check at the same time as posting – oh well God writes on crooked lines.

  3. I am prayerfully trying to get my head around what is happening in Synodical procedure.

    With reference to the Report of the Working Group on an
    Illustrative Draft Code of Practice the Archbishops said:Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure: Draft Code of Practice

    Both our Archbishops signed their names to this closing sentence in this Forward. I humbly suggest that this does not bode well for the future of The Church of England and there is nothing to suggest a change of mind on the holy table at the moment.

    ‘Our prayer is that we can help one another forward, refusing to be imprisoned by a sense of burden and anxiety’

    How can this ever be a holy statement concerning any of the concerns of the Body of Christ? They cannot refuse to be imprisoned as it seems to me that their vision is being obscured. This blindness is imprisonment. Some of their imprisoned souls believe it is incumbent upon us to bring to God’s holy table those petitions that do actually imprison us with burdens and anxieties on behalf of others and ourselves. There is much Christian tradition to support this belief.

    ‘A Kingdom divided against itself cannot stand’ and so I will therefore be working very hard day and night on a book to be published on line detailing my journey with Christ from infancy. It is a harrowing and joy filled tale. Confessing Church is about being open and transparent with each other however painful this may be. As a victim of severe childhood and marital abuse and on occasion self abuse, I seek transformation every day and find it in the sacramental life of our beloved Church. I would ask you to believe me for the moment. I have heard stories of mind boggling abuse from women ministers in The Church of England and these women have been systematically bullied into silence for the sake of their position and for the supposed quest for unity. They deserve more than soothing words.

    To date, I have been persecuted non stop by all that is against the love of God and a great deal of this persecution came from church officials whose legislation and mind set allowed for individuals to be literally taken prisoner. In the course of my work to free prisoners I have genuinely come close to death on numerous occasions but I had heard the still small voice just hours before a dangerous operation telling me ‘You will be ordained. I am giving you gifts of prophecy, discernment and healing’. I was in a wondrous space at the time. I awoke from the operation feeling no pain and refusing pain killers much to the consternation of senior medical staff!

    Since that time I have suffered non stop persecution with and for the abused from the evil that results from discrimination of all kinds. We know that this kind of evil operates in all state institutions and it is called emotional psychopathy. We read all about it every day of the week. Bishop Graham Leonard of blessed memory put a stop to one form of abuse by sending me to a renowned spiritual director Rev’d Doctor Martin Israel and a psychiatrist in order to circumvent my knock back from ACCM. I recall his kind and wise words ‘Rosie, I do not wish you to get in the back door and so I am sending you to the best people I know and if they tell me you are fit for ordination I will endorse this. At the time he did not know that I had read most of Martin Israel’s books which was why I had been led thus far. Martin Israel was the only spiritual director who has ever understood my spiritual life and it’s ramifications and talking with him is something of an inquisition!. He was and remains good at rooting out sin.

    The present mind of the Archbishop’s Council seems ignorant of Christ’s command to preach and to teach and to heal in the light of the Good news of Jesus Christ and it totally ignores the very real burden of anxiety felt within the Body of Christ and humankind and their blindness and indifference is writ large and clear in their closing sentence. This sin is behovely and may lead to a time when all shall be well, all manner of things. Nothing that I have read to date combats the dangers that lie ahead.

    I will, therefore, be working day and night on my book which I will publish on line. It is a painful story and includes stories of abuse by church officials towards those I sought to help and against my person. This is all documented. Strange that I tore up and burnt original copies in an effort to cleanse myself and forgive. There is plenty on file in government departments and diocesan offices, thank God. Meanwhile, I ask your prayers for protection, as in addition to fighting with the very Devil have just received notice that the bailiffs are coming! I have also suffered an auto immune disease which manifests itself in many crippling ways, including swollen legs with blood blisters There is no real cure, only periods of remission. Somehow I am still walking towards truth and still laughing at the works of the devil and rejecting them with all the grace I am sometimes enabled to receive. I was the victim of a large scale fraud involving a bogus violent builder who was backed by an influential millionaire. Of course the correct authorities want nothing to do with the affair. This despite the fact that the criminal took a mallet to the house, hurled live electric wires at me and trapped me in his van and tried to terrorise me with sexual advances. He has broken in to the house three times. I have forgiven him because I know why he is sick, and I have every confidence that he will not attack me again. I have been unable to forgive the millionaire or the Gendarmes or the various Government and Church authorities who ignored my pleas for help. I have mostly restored the house and it is for sale in a very depressed market, not helped by an architect who three times drew a simple window wrong and the planning authorities kept rejecting my planning application, This was understandable. One time he drew a window that did not open. I have begged God to reveal to me the reason why I have been holed up in a cold house this winter, and also in shameful debt. It is clear to me that I am a prisoner for the Lord’s sake. I do hope you will read the book. ‘Will the Real Jesus Please stand up’. It will be on line as soon as The Holy Spirit enables this.
    I wonder how many voters and would be voters read, marked, learnt and inwardly digested today’s Epistle from Romans in the Eucharistic readings for The Feast of St Andrew which tells us:-

    Romans 10:12-18

    For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
    But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’But not all have obeyed the good news; for Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our message?’So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.
    But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for
    ‘Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
    and their words to the ends of the world.’
    There is no counter argument to these words in the Bible which we read and understand brothers and sisters. I put my question vis a vie how many would read and understand to Jesus and his reply seemed to be ‘Not enough, Rosie’.
    Like many walking in the footsteps of Christ and hoping and praying that they are discerning correctly and that they might have a particular calling, I was on high alert for signs of Christ’s presence and knowledge of his will during this evening’s Mass/Eucharist. On leaving the chapel I was stopped by my dear deaf and dumb friend who caught hold of my trailing belt and tied it fast around my coat whilst mouthing the words ‘Keep it tightly fastened and try tying a knot in it’ I was musing on these words whilst taking the short walk home when my attention was drawn to the sky. I saw a myriad of orange coloured lights that appeared to be floating up to heaven. I kept looking and asked myself if I was going potty. I often have to ask myself this question and my nickname at school was ‘Potty Scotty’! I met a French neighbour who was rushing to the local square and asked her what the orange coloured ballons were and she confirmed their worldly description, thank God! I believe those myriad lights represent all those who pray for justice and an end to sexual discrimination of all kinds. Our prayers are not in vain or lacking spiritual fire.
    It is not a ‘kiss and tell’ account for we have already received the kiss of betrayal and been sold for naught. It is a ‘Go tell!’ account of the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit and the whole company of heaven and Judas is one of my best friends too.
    So I travel on and labour with my work in the name of God, our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
    Rev’d Rosie Bates 30th November 2012

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