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STATEMENT from The Catholic Group in the General Synod of the Church of England
Posted on the 15th Mar 2013
The Catholic Group in the General Synod of the Church of England welcomes with joy the election of Pope Francis.
His Holiness can be assured of our prayers as he starts this new phase of his ministry and as we all seek the unity of the Christian Church across our world.
Summary of response to Women in the episcopate: a new way forward
Posted on the 6th Mar 2013
The Catholic Group in General Synod
Summary of Response to GS MISC 1042
Women in the episcopate: a new way forward
- We agree that the Church of England needs to give 'the highest priority to finding a solution which will enable legislation to be approved by Synod on the fastest possible timetable.' (GS Misc 1042, para. 12) We remain committed to doing all that we can to facilitate the safe and speedy passage of fresh legislation through the Synod; to this end, broad agreement will be needed on proposals before the formal legislative process begins.
- We would agree with the first and fourth propositions in GS Misc 1042
that it 'would not be sensible to try to take the rejected draft Measure as a starting point and tweak it.' (ibid. para. 18);
'that there needs, so far as possible, to be a complete package of proposals that can be assessed in its entirety before final approval, without the possibility of further amendments to some parts of it between the final approval of the legislation and its coming into force. (ibid. para. 24)
- The second proposition that 'any new approach should not seek to reopen questions around jurisdiction and the position of the diocesan bishop, in law, as the ordinary and chief pastor of everyone in the diocese.' (ibid. para. 20) needs further consideration, because at different times, the majority of the Revision Committee, the Archbishops and the majority of the Synod all supported proposals for a limited transfer of jurisdiction. Such proposals would have applied to all diocesan bishops, male and female, thus ensuring that all diocesan bishops would have had 'exactly the same powers and responsibilities' (ibid. para. 22)
- The fourth proposition has two objectives, to:
Produce a shorter, simpler measure than the one that was defeated;
Provide, through the totality of the elements in the package, a greater sense of security for the minority as having an accepted and valued place in the Church of England while not involving the majority in any new element of compromise on matters of principle. (ibid. para. 28)
We would generally agree with the first part of this proposition: the failed legislative package was just too complex, involving a lengthy Measure, an even lengthier Code of Practice, and then each Diocese would have had to write its scheme as well. Our response to the second part would be qualified by the need for further consideration of the second proposition.
- It is very difficult to see how a single-clause Measure, or any other draft legislation which made less adequate or less secure provision than the failed Measure, could attract sufficient support to pass at Final Approval in Synod.
- We would want to see an inclusion in the Canons of the Lambeth Conference Resolution to the effect that both those who support the ordination of women, and those who do not, are loyal Anglicans. We recognise that being loyal Anglicans involves responsibilities as well as entitlements.
- Similarly, we would want to see the incorporation into the Canons of a statement that 'discernment in the wider Church of the rightness or otherwise of the Church of Englands decision to ordain women to the priesthood should be as open a process as possible' (Act of Synod, clause (3)(a)(i)) Such a statement would be an important recognition of our belief that the Orders of the Church of England are Orders of the Universal Church of God.
The full submission can be found at : www.catholicgroup.org
The New Bishop of Blackburn
Posted on the 1st Mar 2013
We send our good wishes to the Ven. Julian Henderson on his appointment as the next Bishop of Blackburn, and assure him of our prayers as he prepares for this new ministry.
Catholic Anglicans have reason to be grateful to Archdeacon Henderson, as one of those members of the Synod who voted against the Women Bishops Measure despite their own support for the principle.
We welcome his commitment to ensuring that there is an honoured place for both positions on the ordination of women within the mainstream of the Church of England. Like him, we hope that Blackburn might continue to be a model for the rest of the Church of England in this regard, as it has been under his predecessor. Whether that can be so will depend to a significant extent on whether both views continue to be represented among the dioceses bishops.