Church of England to Have Female Bishops

The Church of England General Synod has voted to have women bishops, and surprising to me, it has also voted not to provide formal safeguards for Anglo Catholic traditionalists who are opposed. Instead there will be an unwritten ‘code of practice’ to minister to opponents of the innovation. The Daily Telegraph reports here. Damian Thompson comments here, saying the Church of England has, at last, confirmed that it is a Liberal Protestant Church, not part of the ancient Catholic Church. 

My only disagreement with Damian is his headline, “The Church of England is Protestant again.” I disagree with the word ‘again.’
UPDATE: George Pitcher writes here on how nasty the debate in General Synod was.

Fr Ray reports the Vatican’s response here.
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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I’m not suprised. Liberals are mean, and they really don’t give a shit about their opponents, because everything to them is a ‘justice’ issue. And somehow they have a lock on the Platonic Ideal of Justice…

  • Just wait and see the influx of converts to Rome that this is going to lead to. Woo hoo!

  • David, this is not a numbers game. Yes there is expected to be an influx of converts but remember the reason they have left the Anglican church to begin with. remember to pray for the people that have still not heeded Pope Benedict XVI’s words: “Truth is not determined by a majority vote”.

  • If the college of cardinals voted to have women bishops I would obey. Once you have female priests it is only logical that they would aspire to the episcopate. The Anglicans are only being logical. The real vote, for them, took place in the 70s. And as others have mentioned, the Anglicans live in a world where if a faction doesn’t like a vote they need only vote again (unless they are conservatives I suppose).I don’t think that will even happen in Rome, though female Deacons may not be out of the question. I don’t think anyone aruges that there weren’t female deacons in the early church, do they?

  • Marcus,I suspect that at most, there might be a position like that which the Anglicans had for many years known as a deaconess. It was a lay order without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, but that changed following the 1968 Lambeth Conference.Perhaps the Anglican experience will deter even the possibility of deaconesses. Although the Orthodox appear to be moving in the direction of approving deaconesses.Note, however, that the history of deaconesses is most ambiguous, and some scholars even argue that a deaconess was merely a deacon’s wife.But you probably know most of this already.

  • Very disappointing. I am sure many are facing quite a crossroads at this time. Let us remember to keep them in our prayers.Another quick update from A Catholic Notebook. . . . you can add your favorite books to the Blogger’s Choice Catholic Reading List until Wednesday. The deadline was extended due to some special requests! The results will be compiled at the end of the week.

  • This is so sad. And Irenaeus, you hit the nail on the head. I am a former liberal, and I would never have thought of myself as mean in those days. I wanted to help people, I wanted to be selfless and make a difference in the world. Liberals don’t think they’re mean, they think they are RIGHT because they are smart and (according to themselves) know what everyone else should do. But the truth is, they are mean, arrogant and insulting.The liberal Episcopalians I know think that the conservatives are the ones being mean and close-minded, that the liberals are the only ones who clearly see the truth and what the world will be like in the future. One I work with told me that he would fight forever to bring equality to his “gay brothers and sisters,” but he didn’t care at all that he would be fighting with millions of his Anglican brothers and sisters. The Anglicans are wrong and he is right. It’s admirable — if you really are right. But what if you’re not? It reminds me of an old Smothers Brothers routine, when Tommy Smothers insisted that “Joan built the Ark” and “Noah led the army.” When Dick corrected him, he said, “You said to stand up for what you believe in! It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong!”

  • Marcus,In the early Church, new Christians were baptised naked by immersion, then covered with a white robe on exiting the baptismal pool. Deaconesses had only one function: to baptise the new female Christians. Baptisms were conducted by deacons, but obviously, because of how baptism was accomplished, women had to fulfill that function. They had no other function.

  • I’ve heard that argument before Estiel, but I think there are significant counter arguments. I believe ‘Israel Deaconess Medical Center’ is named after a fairly famous Deaconess who probably had a more significant role than ‘naked baptizer’.

  • The Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital was founded by Methodist women full-time church workers, called deaconesses, who in 1896 erected a 15-bed hospital next to the home in which they lived. This is the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital to which you refer, Marcus. The “deaconesses” here are in no way related to the historic deaconesses of the early Church.

  • The C of E is a government organization, and government organizations cannot legally discriminate based on gender. It would be discriminatory and illegal for the C of E to deny opportunity to aspiring bishopesses.