[1] Now that legislation has been passed to enable women to become bishops the Church of England is fully and unequivocally committed to all orders of ministry being open equally to all, without reference to gender, and holds that those whom it has duly ordained and appointed to office are the true and lawful holders of the office which they occupy and thus deserve due respect and canonical obedience;

 

The Church of England expects us to show due respect to those who hold office in it. Office-holders should of course be given due respect. Everyone should be respected, including us!

 

The Declaration returns to the issue of canonical obedience later on, and so shall we. For the moment it suffices to say that canonical obedience is owed to the holder of the office of diocesan bishop, whether or not that person has been ordained to the order of bishop. A diocesan bishop has spiritual jurisdiction, and is owed canonical obedience, from the point when his election is confirmed. His ordination as a bishop sometimes occurs days, weeks or even months later. In both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church there are Ordinaries who hold jurisdiction equivalent to that of a diocesan bishop, and are owed canonical obedience, but are not bishops.