22. The House recognises that the nature of the theological conviction on the ordained ministry of women which underlies a decision to pass such a resolution will vary according to the tradition of the parish concerned. Where a resolution has been passed, and before clergy are appointed to the parish or a bishop chosen by the diocesan bishop to provide oversight, there will, therefore, need to be consultation between bishop and parish to ascertain the nature of that conviction so that the resolution can be implemented effectively. The House will provide guidance for bishops and parishes to help facilitate these conversations.

 

A Guidance Note from the House of Bishops has been published. The covering note says ‘This is… a guidance note. It neither adds to nor subtracts from the contents of the Declaration.’ Any attempt to give it a status that it does not claim to possess should be resisted.

 

The purpose of consultation between the diocesan bishop and the parish’s representatives is not for the bishop to attempt to persuade the PCC to modify its theological conviction, but simply to find out what the conviction is, so that appropriate provision can be made. A Conservative Evangelical parish might be happy with a male bishop or a male priest, regardless of who ordained him, but a Catholic parish will not be.

 

A Catholic parish will understand that in receiving the ministry of a priest it is receiving the ordaining ministry of the bishop who ordained him, and that if there is doubt about the sacramental ministry of women as bishops, there will be doubt about the sacramental ministry of those they ordain. And a well-taught Catholic parish will understand that a priest can only flourish if he is in full communion with a bishop and with all those whom that bishop ordains to the priesthood – a full communion made visible when he stands together with them at the altar. This will require the ministry of a bishop who ordains only men to the priesthood.

 

Forward in Faith’s Advice to PCCs and Parish Priests includes guidance to facilitate this consultation between the diocesan bishop and the parish.