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Church of England approves women bishops
July 15, 2014 9:37 AM   Subscribe

"The General Synod today gave its final approval for women to become bishops in the Church of England," paving the way for appointments in the near future, and perhaps as soon as later this year. The vote comes after a long and contentious debate on the subject. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby: "My aim, and I believe the aim of the whole church, should be to be able to offer a place of welcome and growth for all. Today is a time of blessing and gift from God and thus of generosity. It is not winner take all, but in love a time for the family to move on together." A round-up of responses can be found here and here. NPR coverage.
posted by MonkeyToes (24 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's both amusing and revolting to see how thoroughly drenched by the tide of progress these clerical Canutes have to get before they get a clue and bow to the inevitable.
posted by Decani at 9:46 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Woshops!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:48 AM on July 15


Interesting commentary here re thoughts like decani's above:
It’s worth reflecting, perhaps, on the fact that it seems conceptually impossible for religious modernists to understand why orthodox believers cannot accept that women could be priests or bishops. It has to do with what a priest is within the sacramental scheme of a particular religion, or iteration of that religion. But then, ours is a world in which existence is increasingly believed to precede essence. If people don’t believe that maleness and femaleness are much more than social constructs that we are free to adapt to individual desires, then why on earth should they believe that the sacramental priesthood is a male-only thing? I can see how it literally makes no sense to them, except as an expression of bigotry.

They’re wrong, but they live on the other side of a conceptual divide.
Just the most recent example of two 'sides' talking past each other as our worlds drift farther apart.
posted by resurrexit at 9:55 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]


If people don’t believe that maleness and femaleness are much more than social constructs that we are free to adapt to individual desires, then why on earth should they believe that the sacramental priesthood is a male-only thing?

Indeed, there is hope.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:00 AM on July 15


Any mention of bishops makes this happen in our house.

(but yay, good for them)
posted by emjaybee at 10:13 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


What looked like a positive step in April - the first gay Church of England vicar married his partner - has now led to the man's license to practice as clergy revoked by the church. A second gay CoE vicar who married this month may face similar problems.
posted by biffa at 10:19 AM on July 15


It’s worth reflecting, perhaps, on the fact that it seems conceptually impossible for religious modernists to understand why orthodox believers cannot accept that women could be priests or bishops.

I understand it perfectly. I am completely aware of the "reasoning" behind this view, and how obdurate and non-negotiable it is if you accept the particularly irrational mindset that renders it so. Doesn't change the fact that the mindset is particularly irrational, and as such, worthy of both condemnation and mockery.
posted by Decani at 10:22 AM on July 15 [4 favorites]


Not that I'd want to paint myself as a "religious modernist", I'd hasten to add.
posted by Decani at 10:22 AM on July 15


Any word on what the reaction has been from the more conservative branches of the Anglican church in Africa?
posted by PenDevil at 10:34 AM on July 15


About bloody time, too. Now start treating QUILTBAG clergy properly.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:38 AM on July 15


Wonderful news for the 1.9% of the UK population who actually bother to head down a CofE church of a Sunday.

Also wonderful news for the 98.1% of the UK population who have to put up with endless bloody news reports about that 1.9% constantly getting in a tricameral tizzy over whether women are really, really, really actual people, even though their top boss is the fucking Queen.
posted by jack_mo at 10:42 AM on July 15 [13 favorites]


I can see how it literally makes no sense to them, except as an expression of bigotry.

They’re wrong, but they live on the other side of a conceptual divide.


No, this is still bigotry. The thing about bigots? Most of them can dress it up prettier than 'nyah nyah nyah nyah.' There's always some reason: 'oh, women just don't have the same brains as guys so they can't be engineers,' etc.

All that matters is that some people are telling other people 'stay in your place.' It doesn't matter what justifications they can muster for their poor behavior.

Upon preview:
About bloody time, too. Now start treating QUILTBAG clergy properly.

Here's hoping.
posted by mordax at 10:47 AM on July 15


Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith (who I know) in the (UK) Catholic Herald:
From a Catholic point of view, nothing much has changed, for it is the principle of female ordination that is the sticking point. The Anglicans have long embraced the principle, this is merely extending it, not changing it. In many ways this is a very sad day for ecumenism, for it shows the huge gap between Catholics and Anglicans on the question of Apostolic Succession and the nature of the Church. But at the same time it is in a sense a refreshing day, because it clears the air. We know where the Church of England stands now, or rather, we knew where it stood, but our perception of that stance is clearer. And we know where we stand.
(Also reproduces the statement of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales and notes the repeated stated opposition of the Russian Orthodox Church.)
posted by Jahaza at 10:49 AM on July 15


The CoE did something right.

The Catholics are still on the wrong side of history.

Film at 11.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:16 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]




I'm delighted by this result, but unlike Decani, I don't regard it as 'inevitable'. It's taken years of work to get here -- years of patient effort in the face of stubborn resistance -- and as Kate Cooper has pointed out (in the best commentary on the vote that I've read so far), 'there is still a daunting amount of work to be done' before the Church of England can achieve gender equality.

Still, it's very good news. Eighteen months ago I predicted that 'it's virtually certain that the Church of England will start ordaining women as bishops within the next two years'. That was in November 2012, and it's now being suggested that the first female bishop 'could be appointed just before Christmas', so my prediction was pretty accurate, even though I slightly over-estimated the speed with which the Church of England can move. ('Like a mighty tortoise / Moves the Church of God'.)
posted by verstegan at 3:05 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


Raise a glass of beer.

The Conservatives are going on about gender essentialism and the priest's sacramental role as an "icon of Christ." Even using those assumptions, having female bishops ought to be considered a good thing.

God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness"...So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27.

When God looks in the mirror God sees male and female. For as long as all bishops were male, the College of Bishops was a really shitty reflection of what God is like.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:42 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Pshh, that's nothing, the Norse church just approved female Gods.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:44 PM on July 15


For as long as all bishops were male, the College of Bishops was a really shitty reflection of what God is like.

When will God's reflection show
Who God is insiiiiiiide?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:26 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


I was discussing this with a clergy colleague today, and we agreed that they should have tried to keep this decision quiet because announcing it only reminded people who thought that this was decided long ago that they were wrong.
posted by 4ster at 8:06 PM on July 15


Give it a couple hundred years and the Catholics will come around.

You know what I'm looking forward to, as a CoE raised person who is now atheist?

A female Archbishop of Canterbury.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:30 PM on July 15


Overheard in our office:

"I can't believe this is happening in the 21st century. It sounds like a headline from 1900."

"Well, it's understandable that bishops move slowly. After all, they can only move diagonally..."
posted by problemspace at 10:59 PM on July 15 [6 favorites]


A female Archbishop of Canterbury who can take a big swig of beer and then say "Archbishop of Canterbury" on a single belch.
posted by biffa at 4:36 AM on July 16


"Who is Dawn French, Alex?"
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:13 AM on July 16


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