Members of Forward in Faith can take some comfort from the House of Bishops’ recent decision to resist calls to delete clause 5(1)(c) of the Women Bishops’ draft Measure, added by the House in May. The revised clause, with the welcome language of ‘respect’ at its heart, indicates that the theological convictions held by traditional catholics and orthodox evangelicals on this disputed question continue to occupy an authentic and honourable place in Anglican teaching and practice.
Should this draft legislation receive Final Approval in November, the proposed Code of Practice will assume huge significance in setting out the manner in which the new clause 5(1)(c) will be interpreted and implemented. There is, therefore, a good deal more work to be done on the legislative package as a whole before its full implications for traditionalists can be properly assessed.
In the meantime, attention returns to the text of the draft Measure as a whole, in advance of the debate on Final Approval. The question for members of General Synod remains the same: is this legislation fit for purpose in meeting the needs of all members of the Church of England, both those who welcome, and those unable to receive, the development of ordaining women as bishops?