Comments: bishops to resign on Monday

Vaya con Dios!

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 6 November 2010 at 7:06pm GMT

Bitter much?

Posted by trooper at Saturday, 6 November 2010 at 7:47pm GMT

This is dynamite. Will the RC church in Britain - already in dire trouble for all the usual reasons - be able to survive the adhesion of such gargantuan egos and professional trouble-makers as these bishops? Many principled Romanists - including most of the episcopate - want nothing to do with them. But their hand has been forced by the Vatican.

Posted by john at Saturday, 6 November 2010 at 7:56pm GMT

I wonder whether ++Rowan will immediately set about appointing successors, or hang on a bit until the situation stabilises to see what ought to be done next.

Posted by Paul Roberts at Saturday, 6 November 2010 at 9:30pm GMT


Posted by timothy at Saturday, 6 November 2010 at 10:09pm GMT

As a Canadian, this whole situation of non-territorial bishops whose job it is to provide "oversight" only for a special group of conservative Anglo-Catholic parishes is baffling and we now see the result of such nonsense. These bishops have never been loyal to the Church of England and they seemingly exist only to play games and uphold troublemakers while causing trouble themselves. How did such people get appointed? They are in the blogosphere and it seems mighty precious and pointless to have them traipsing around in lace and mitres trying to be more Catholic than the Pope. Now they can have their hearts' desire and stop the games-or start playing them in a different field. This may seem sour grapes, but the C of E has not "lost" bishops it hasn't really had. As a Roman Catholic, I would be embarrassed to think that opposition to women as bishops could be such a tipping point and a refuge could be so easily provided. Why did they stay so long with women as priests? Their theology makes no sense and it illuminates the silliness that surrounds the "let's pretend" world of many Anglo-Catholics. The prospect of women as bishops finally ends their little charade. Apart from wanting refuge in Rome from women (gays are another story which we don't hear much about-more pretending), it will be interesting to see how they like living under someone else's authority. If I were a RC woman (or man), I would be ashamed of my Church.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 12:24am GMT

To resign your post as a bishop in The Church of England because you do not feel women should be accorded access to all ordained ministries is a shameful moment in Church history. It is telling that Rowan Williams finds it necessary to wait until Monday, to make this announcement. Earth to Rowan: Come in please!

Posted by Chris Smith at Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 3:35am GMT

Time to finish the whole concept of "flying" Biships!

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 7:05am GMT

If this is true it will make honest men out of good men. It has been very unpleasant to watch these able and good people consistently undermining the Church of their ordination (and stipend). It has not been good for any of us. The break will be, for many, a parting of friends but with some sense of 'we hate to have to lose you but we think you ought to go'.

If you haven't read Fr. Philip Ursell's excellent letter in last Friday's (or was it Thursday's?) 'Times', it is worth getting hold of. This man is no woolly liberal but he makes clear that not all catholics, even conservative ones, in the C of E are of the mind of +Ebbsfleet and +Richborough.

Posted by Lister Tonge at Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 7:26am GMT

Thank heavens the truth is out - flying bishops are heavier than air and have been unable to get off the ground.
Church unity is achieved when members of a church are of one mind.

Posted by cuirmichael at Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 7:50am GMT

'Time to finish the whole concept of "flying" Biships!'

I agree. It looks as if the contradictions in the misguided 'Act of Synod' are working themselves out at last and the whole thing has become a dead letter. Of course it puts those who have depended on the ministry of 'flying bishops' in a bit of a spot and brings their time of decision making even nearer. I just hope that ++Rowan doesn't appoint any successors. The experiment of legal provision for dissenters is at an end. Time to move on.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 8:45am GMT

" But how fascinating that Bishop Newton, rather than an existing Catholic bishop, could be leader of the Ordinariate. He cannot be ordained a Roman Catholic bishop, as he is married, but if he were the priestly “ordinary” of the communities, he would exercise many of the legal (as opposed to sacramental) powers of a bishop"

- Damian Thompson, in the Telegraph -

And, of course, Damian is right here. Bp. Newton will be a sort of pretend bishop - with authority only to manage but not to ordain. He may well be allowed to wear his pontificals at local meetings of the Roman Catholic Church, but just imagine the 'peculiar' image of a bishop that he will be promoting - certainly that of a 'capon'.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 8:46am GMT

"Time to finish the whole concept of "flying" Biships!'"

Will the departing brethren have to turn in their wings? I, too, from the outside looking in, hope those wings are permanently retired.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 1:03pm GMT

'Church unity is achieved when members of a church are of one mind. '

Nooo - church unity is achieved when members can listen to and respect each other despite differences in their mind. It comes down to the ability to see that those with whom you have real substantial differences are also Christians just like you.

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 1:15pm GMT

I am saddened by the bitter, bordering on sardonic, tone of the comments published so far on this topic. Why are we not wishing these men well in their future? Why are we not thanking them for their decades of service to CoE?

Where are the offers of prayers for them?

At this historical moment in time, Jesus please remind us of your love for us all and how we are all created in God's image and likeness to love and serve you.

Posted by Jakian Thomist at Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 1:43pm GMT

"Why are we not thanking them for their decades of service to the Church of England?" Probably because a great deal of "their service" was to serve their own personal needs and grudges and not the Church of England. These so called "flying" bishops represent human beings who do not believe equal access for women and the glbt community, to ordination as priests and bishops. We are talking about misogyny and homophobia here. The healthiest thing for those who suffer from misogyny and homophobia is to leave and leave quickly. Enough accommodation has been made and it is certainly time for these people to move on. The longer they stay, the more damage they will try to inflict on those who believe in full inclusion of women and the glbt community. This is no longer acceptable. Yes, I wish them well but I do not agree with any of their secretive and dysfunctional behavior. Go!

Posted by Chris Smith at Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 4:31pm GMT

As one of the non-cheerleaders, in response to Jakian, who has a good heart, but a somewhat naive one, I question what their "decades of service to the CofE" really meant to them, since, as "flying bishops", their constituency was very much to their liking and gave them a comfortable platform. Remember that they served a select and self-selecting segment of the CofE and were give carte blanche to do very much as they wished, even if the wider CofE had to deal with the fallout. How many women, especially ordained ones, in the CofE did they serve? It seems as if they pretended that women priests did not exist-hardly a service to them or to the Church that ordained them. My issue is perhaps not about these men, but about the reasons they existed in the first place as bishops. Despite their Catholic pretence, they behaved like congregationalist Protestants, where they ministered to those of like mind and ignored the real calling of the office of bishop, which is to be a focus of unity for all. They made a career out of being unhappy in the CofE and still enjoyed the titles and privileges. Is that the kind of service (on their own terms) that we see in the Gospel? Self-service is not service. At least the brinkmanship of "will he or won't he go" and the threats posed might be gone and they will finally be honest after years of having their cake and eating it. A Church whose leaders always have a foot out the door can hardly be a sign of God's Kingdom. If their loyalty to Rome is anything like their loyalty to the CofE, there will be more to this story.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 4:54pm GMT

"The first batch of leavers will be small as it needs both a committed priest and ready and willing congregation. It is the second wave that I think will be larger but even then it should not worry the Church of England too much."

- Fr. Ed Tomlinson -

One wonders which, if any, batch of the F.i.F. followers will Ed belong to? From Evangelical to esoteric Anglican Catholic is as stretched as one can get within the compass of Anglicanism. One can see the conservatism of SAMS has stuck with Ed throughout his ministry, which no doubt is the cause of his 'horror-struck' encounter with the liberal side of the Church active in the world.

I'm pickling it will be very difficult for such Anglo-Catholic priests, who admit to having a fixed mind-set against the liberality of Christ in the Gospel and will do their damnedest to avoid its consequences at any cost. Such a sad, bitter commentary on the supposed inclusivity of Jesus in the gospels. Zaccheus would have had a very hard time with F.i.F's selectivity of those it considers worthy of Christ's redemption.

If you do move, Ed., may you get your heart's desire - but don't blame the Church of England for its perceived need to campaign for justice for all - Greek, Jew: male and female, Straight or gay.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 9:35pm GMT

Chris..whilst I am deeply sceptical about the proposed Ordinariate.. I do feel that these two fellows are genuine in their search for Catholic Truth. It is not sexism but a yearning for truth.
We should be praying for them, not mocking them.

Posted by robert Ian Williams at Sunday, 7 November 2010 at 9:54pm GMT

Chris Smith, what does any priest or bishops "service" mean then? Is it useless unless they're in a horribly divisive parish/diocese? From your description any priest or bishop whose parish is not tearing itself apart is too homogenous and the priest/bishop not doing his job. I seriously doubt that the bishops did nothing for their calling just because they and their parishioners agreed on who belongs at the altar or in the Episcopate. Do inclusive bishops who have inclusive parishes do nothing? They're "preaching to the choir" like the flying bishops,right?

Adam, Why do "liberals" always sound so condescending toward those who disagree? Anyone who disagrees, and in this case is trying to get Christians to act like Christians towards their brothers and sisters is "goodhearted" but "naive?" It sounds like you're describing a precocious seven year old.

The church needs more like Jakian and Rosemary.

Posted by Chris H. at Monday, 8 November 2010 at 12:13am GMT

"It is not sexism but a yearning for truth."

It's an assertion that sexism IS "Truth", RIW.

Pretty it up if you must, but it's a DENIAL of the Imago Dei in half of humanity ("If you discern a call to holy orders BUT have two X chromosomes, you are, per se, deceived"). It is not consistent w/ Christ's Gospel, nor Reason (Tradition is debateable at BEST). Send this Big Sexist Lie back to the Hell it came from! (By way of---sadly---Hell's Popoid portal)

Posted by JCF at Monday, 8 November 2010 at 12:47am GMT

Mr. Williams wrote: "I do feel that these two fellows are genuine in their search for Catholic Truth. It is not sexism but a yearning for truth."

If that were the case, then they would have left decades ago.

The reality is that some Roman Catholics remain, despite their disagreements with the Roman hierarchy, and some English Anglicans remain, despite their own disagreements with the CofE.

But some RC's reach their own point of intolerance for Rome's decisions, and depart, and similarly some Anglicans -- such as these few CofE bishops -- reach their point of intolerance for CofE decisions; for them it was female Bishops.

You can spin it all you want, Robert, but the facts are obvious.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Monday, 8 November 2010 at 3:53am GMT

Chris H asks, 'Adam, Why do "liberals" always sound so condescending toward those who disagree? Anyone who disagrees, and in this case is trying to get Christians to act like Christians towards their brothers and sisters is "goodhearted" but "naive?" It sounds like you're describing a precocious seven year old.'

May I answer for myself?

I think slavery is wrong. I think it is wrong to strap someone to a chair and blast them to death with electricity. I think it's wrong to behead someone in the public square. I think withholding pain relief from women in labour is wrong, even though the Bible says that women will give birth in pain. I think it's wrong to circumcise and infibulate women. I think it's wrong to give LGBT people less rights in law, and especially wrong to make a gay person a criminal for expressing physical love. I think it's wrong to discriminate against women just because they're women, whether it's in the workplace or the public arena or anywhere. I think it's wrong to deny equal rights to people of colour.
These are liberal causes, and they have been opposed by conservatives time and time again. And I'm not ashamed to be condescending towards those who disagree with me, because I really think that my moral judgement in these issues is better than my opponents'.
I believe the same to be true of the causes of women's and LGBT folk in the church. Make them priests. Make them bishops. I really, genuinely believe that those who oppose this have a defective moral sense.

Posted by junius at Monday, 8 November 2010 at 8:14am GMT

A couple of points:
anglo catholics are not all conservative. i worship in an anglo catholic church and we are very liberal, PWB and pro gay/lesbian priests/bishops.

I note also, in my meetings and dealings with more than several of the FiF community that there are quite a few priests (and dare I say it, the odd Bishop) who are gay - some openly with partners.

If Christ called no women to be desciples (and this is a key argument for the Anti Women view) then I'm pretty convinced he called no gays either.

Except the absences of a particular kind of person is not evidence of Christs will and so should not be an argument against either gay or women, or euro MPs, or IT consultants or people with red hair being priests or bishops.

Posted by sibling at Monday, 8 November 2010 at 1:25pm GMT

"Adam, Why do "liberals" always sound so condescending toward those who disagree?" I think I was making a reasonable observation and you are just trivializing my comment by calling it "condescending" and labelling me a "liberal". I am not a "liberal" in many ways and it is much too easy to label and ignore some opinions by calling them by the "l" word. It isn't "liberal" to treat half the human race as if they are made and by their Creator as fully human beings. It isn't "liberal" to treat people whose sexuality is God-given as children of God. It isn't "liberal" to assume that God's vocation to ministry isn't limited to those whose physicality is male. It isn't "liberal" to assume that women have the same dignity in God's eyes and receive the same love. The idea that only heterosexual males have the right to minister, and are therefore higher beings in siome sense and thus have special privileges seems more and more unjust, unGodly, and just plain strange. As a male priest ordained thirty-five years, I often wonder how I would have lived my vocation had I been born female. If being "liberal" means to think about these things and to arrive at these conclusions, I suppose I am guilty. But I have no doubt that the old patriarchal system and the view of the God who sustains it is more and more irrelevant and just plain nonsense.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Monday, 8 November 2010 at 2:05pm GMT

Sibling, those against women/gay bishops would point out that modern bishops are supposed to take the apostles' places in leading the Church and should be the type of people Christ would have chosen and did.
I still believe the church needs more people like Rosemary and Jakian above and that the self-righteous on both sides need to stop treating their opponents like they aren't human beings capable of reason or thought because they come to different conclusions.

Posted by Chris H. at Monday, 8 November 2010 at 4:12pm GMT

There's a latent assumption that seems to be operative in a lot of complaints one hears about "liberals" to the effect that "liberals" are more or less relativists who believe in fuzziness for its own sake and don't think we can ever really know anything. Thus, those who do not identify as "liberal" are perplexed when those who do fail to live down to the straw man created for them. Personally the "liberal" positions I hold on e.g. SSM and OOW, I hold on Scriptural and Patristic grounds, and I think my opponents are as wrong as they think I am - and in their case, with far more dangerous consequences. So this idea that certainty is the preserve of one side is a bit odd to me.

Posted by Geoff at Monday, 8 November 2010 at 7:18pm GMT

There's also, unfortunately, a very true perception of "liberal" as one who backs down immediately, which feeds the UNtrue concept of liberal relativism.

I've never understood how someone can claim to have conviction which, in the last extremity, they refuse to fight and/or die for.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Tuesday, 9 November 2010 at 5:48am GMT

"I've never understood how someone can claim to have conviction which, in the last extremity, they refuse to fight and/or die for.

- Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday -

Sadly, Mark, most human beings were ever thus - especially when to protest against institutional injustice or bigotry might mean the loss of one's job or ministry in situ.

I'm figuring that many people in General Synods around the world of Anglicanism will fall into line on the business of accepting the Covenant.
While I sincerely believe that there are many of us who really feel the Covenant is not a valid price to have to pay for unity in the Anglican Communion, I, personally, will not have to surrender any position or post in the Church by expressing my loud opposition.

However, for many beneficed clergy-persons, both male and female, who may have the same sentiments as myself - profoundly anti-Covenant - may still vote for its passage into canon law, for fear of being seen (or heard) to oppose their Bishop (or maybe even their Vicar, for a lay-person) and be given their marching orders by one means or another.

We know that this situation happens within many Church settings and meetings - where those who oppose perceived injustices in current Church polity and practice, and who make their opinions known, are frowned upon and sometimes even relieved of whatever post they had held before their protests were heard, in Synod especially.

For instance, if one is a serving clergy-person (I am now retired) and speaks in Synod on matters opposed to one's local Bishop - who happens to be party to a particular piece of legislation that is being put forward - the consequences of such a stance could be highly threatening to one's role or standing in the local Church. It is on these grounds that I fear for the 'sleeping-passage' of the Covenant Motion in General Synods - around the world, not just in England. Bravery will surely be needed - it may mean crucifixion.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 10 November 2010 at 3:39am GMT
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