Comments: Women Bishops: A closer look at option 5

How can these two sentences be reconciled?

"Nor does it allow parishes to choose their own bishop or insist that the male bishop selected for them reflects their own churchmanship."


"In practice, the needs of conservative evangelical parishes, and traditional catholic parishes, in this respect are unlikely to be identical.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 27 July 2012 at 8:59am BST

The proposed new paragraph 97 of the draft code of practice says 'the diocesan bishop should seek to accommodate the parish’s concerns relating to holy orders'.

That's 'the parish's concerns', not 'the PCC's concerns'. So what happens if a diocesan bishop, having received a letter of request from a PCC, investigates and finds that the majority of believing Anglicans in the parish don't share the PCC's concerns, and would in fact be quite happy with a female bishop/priest?

Posted by Feria at Friday, 27 July 2012 at 4:33pm BST

That's an interesting and very valid point. PCCs, any more than Deanery or Diocesan synods, don't represent the views of the person in the pew. In my PCC experience there is seldom an election for vacancies, there is no system of manifesto or hustings and there is thus no opportunity to explore candidates' views on a host of issues which concern not only the right ordering of the parish affairs, but also the wider concerns which affect worshipers. Thus a few activists can skew the entire policy of a parish. Are these the people who should be consulted?

Posted by Richard Ashby at Friday, 27 July 2012 at 10:06pm BST

Apologies for trespassing on the CofE's business once again from the antipodes, but two points:

a) ensuring the legislation keeps the power to select the priest or bishop with the diocesan, requiring consultation with the parish (or PCC) but not its approval, seems a positive evolution to me

b) is it necessary to include the word 'male' before 'bishop' and 'priest' in option 5 of the clause?

Posted by Peter Sherlock at Saturday, 28 July 2012 at 8:34am BST


Your PCCs aren't elected by the people of the parish? (Not even the church-attending ones?) How are they chosen?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Saturday, 28 July 2012 at 11:28am BST

Richard Ashby, and what of a parish in which the majority of members on a PCC are convinced proponents of women's ordination, whereas there is genetral opposition from the people in the pews? What happens then I wonder?

Posted by Benedict at Saturday, 28 July 2012 at 12:22pm BST

I suggest, in response to Benedict, that PCC's over the years often mould to the mind-set of the incumbent, whereas the general congregation may well be more diverse: thus it ('it' being the attitude towards ordained women) probably works both ways, though how you'd demonstrate it is not easy to see - who is, for example,'the congregation'?

It's an interesting thought, though - how many congregations ARE being oppressed by their inclusive, affirming PCC?;-)

We're off to the Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage on Monday, complete with youth group and impeccably catholic female priest-colleague.... We'll try harn not to oppress anyone while we're there....

Posted by david rowett at Saturday, 28 July 2012 at 2:26pm BST

I have to say, 'liberal' responses to this exercise are mean and ungenerous.

Any 'liberal' who thinks as I do should hare over to

Posted by John at Saturday, 28 July 2012 at 7:51pm BST

My idea for alternative provision is set out here, as a simple document:

Posted by Pluralist at Saturday, 28 July 2012 at 9:15pm BST

Dear Pat,

There are two significant difficulties there. The first is that PCC elections are usually uncontested, so no actual ballot takes place. The second is that, even if one can manage to achieve a contested election and a lively hustings, only about 10% of members of the Church of England are on church electoral rolls.

Both situations are gradually improving: on the first matter, if I understand correctly, quite a few parishes are reducing the number of seats on their PCCs to be a better match to the number of volunteers to serve, increasing the chances of contested elections; on the second matter, that 10% is up from a truly shocking 0.1% back in 1974.

Posted by Feria at Sunday, 29 July 2012 at 12:31am BST

It should surely not be assumed that 'In practice, the needs of conservative evangelical parishes, and traditional catholic parishes, in this respect are unlikely to be identical'. In most (maybe all) dioceses, evangelical and Anglo-Catholic parishes share bishops.

I wonder however whether there is a wider concern about clergy and maybe congregations sometimes feeling uncertain that they will be treated sensitively and fairly by a bishop whose theological views are very different from their own. This is linked with good employment practice and dispute resolution procedures overall. Perhaps addressing this concern would be helpful to opponents of women's ordination serving under bishops who are in favour and vice versa.

Posted by Savi Hensman at Sunday, 29 July 2012 at 8:07pm BST

No there's definately no place for TWO sets of flying bishops (Evo and Anglo)- get real for pities sakes !

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Sunday, 29 July 2012 at 10:59pm BST
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