Women in the Episcopate – Manchester Report published

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The three approaches set out by the Legislative Drafting Group are:

• The simplest national statutory approach with no binding national arrangements;

• Legislation that would provide some basis for special arrangements for those unable to receive the ministry of women bishops, such arrangements to be made within the present structures of the Church of England;

• Legislation that would create new structures within the Church of England for those unable to receive the ministry of women bishops.

The Group does not offer a recommendation of its own but analyses the pros and cons of each approach, identifying, where relevant, various sub options.

Read the whole summary and download and read the whole report.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

5 Comments
Posted April 28, 2008 at 8:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Marcus wrote:

Note the difference in spirit towards the conservative minority in this report with that in Wales recently, and the insistance on openness when compared with Australia’s tactics…

April 28, 10:36 am | [comment link]
2. Dale Rye wrote:

I’m not sure how Australia’s “tactics” contradict openness. It has been clear for a very long time that the great majority of Anglicans and of Anglican dioceses had no objections to women in the episcopate. That has been obvious even to me here in Texas, as was the fact that at least 2 (and possibly 4) of the 5 metropolitan dioceses had women who were logical candidates to fill the next suffragan bishop vacancy.

However, under the unique Constitution of the Anglican Church in Australia, the Diocese of Sydney had a veto on any formal extension of women’s ordination, if that was to be regarded as a change in doctrine. Once there was a formal ruling that it was not a change (women were already in Holy Orders and already exercising ministries involving oversight), the floodgates were obviously going to open almost immediately in the dioceses that agreed with that ruling. That was no secret, and hardly contradicts openness.

As another consequence of the Anglican Constitution, the dioceses that disagree aren’t bound by the ruling and are are free to continue to forbid the ordination of women to the presbyterate or episcopate. Sydney may secretly have welcomed the precedent that Australian Anglicans are free to hold diverse beliefs and exercise diverse practices concerning ministry. This bolsters their argument that lay administration of Holy Communion should be available to Sydney and the other two Super-Evangelical dioceses, notwithstanding the opposition of every other Anglican diocese in the world.

April 28, 11:40 am | [comment link]
3. azusa wrote:

#2: If a universal principle of Anglican orders could be set aside piecemeal and unilaterally with WO (thus violating the longstanding universal principle of the interchangeability of Anglican orders throughout the Communion), then arguments against lay ‘administration’ can hardly stand either.
Add to this Tec’s claim that it can unilaterally depose from the priesthood and episcopacy men who go onto serve in those capacities in other branches, and you have nothing but anarchy.
And whose fault is this state of affairs?
Dale, you know that women bishops in Australia was achieved by a legal maneuver, not by a proper constitutional change. This is really unsatisfactory, just as Roe v. Wade was a very unsatisfactory way of overriding the sovereignty of states.
And Sydney did NOT have a veto on any change - no diocese in Australia has that power. The proponents of change didn’t have 2/3 of the votes as the Constitution required - so they got a legal ruling instead.

April 28, 1:41 pm | [comment link]
4. Dale Rye wrote:

I believe that Sydney did have a veto. Sec 67(1)(c) of the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia provides for the following supermajority required to amend the Constitution on any matter affecting Sections 8-10, which deal with the appointment of bishops:

A bill for a canon to alter the provisions of this Constitution mentioned at the foot of this clause or to add a new section to this Constitution (not being a new section that alters a provision referred to in paragraph (a)  or paragraph (b) of this sub-section) shall be a canon duly made if passed by a vote of a majority of the members of each house but the canon shall not come into effect unless and until at least three quarters of the diocesan synods of this Church including all of the metropolitan sees have assented to it by ordinance and all such assents be in force at the same time.

Thus, if the legal ruling had been that allowing the consecration of a woman bishop affected those sections of the Constitution, Sydney would have had a veto. Because the ruling went otherwise, Perth and Melbourne were free to go ahead. This was not Roe v. Wade overriding the sovereignty of states, but exactly the opposite—-a decision that the national church should not override the sovereignty of the dioceses.

Again, the national decision to admit women to Holy Orders (including priestly positions such as Archdeacon and Dean with substantial oversight responsibilities) had already been made by unquestionably constitutional means. There are only about 5 dioceses strongly opposed to that, and they were already in the position of regarding the Anglican ministry as non-interchangeable even within Australia, much less throughout the Communion. This development does not affect them at all.

The reason a canon couldn’t get 2/3 of the votes was the uncertainty as to whether such a canon would have had any effect. Either the dioceses were already free to elect a woman (in which case the canon would be superfluous) or they were constitutionally prohibited from doing so (in which case the canon would be ineffective without Sydney’s consent, which wasn’t going to happen). That question was quite properly settled by a legal ruling.

April 28, 2:26 pm | [comment link]
5. azusa wrote:

Not surprisingly, Sydney didn’t agree with the Appellate Tribunal (which included Ap. Herft as a member). Courts can give wrong rulings, of course (Roe V. Wade, Dred Scott) ....

April 28, 5:43 pm | [comment link]
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