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