CoE women bishops to have full authority

UPDATE: See below

Perhaps the Vatican intervention into Anglican affairs in the Church of England has changed the direction on women bishops. Thinking Anglicans reports:

After much discussion, the members of the Committee were unable to identify a basis for specifying particular functions for vesting which commanded sufficient support both from those in favour of the ordination of women as bishops and those unable to support that development. As a result all of the proposals for vesting particular functions by statute were defeated.

The effect of the Committee’s decision is therefore that such arrangements as are made for those unable to receive the episcopal ministry of women will need to be by way of delegation from the diocesan bishop rather than vesting.

Revision Committee and a Press Release from the committee.

Issued Saturday 14th November 2009

Questions and Answers

What does this mean?

It means that the Committee could not identify which functions or powers they thought should be given by law to the bishops who would give oversight to traditionalist parishes, so the idea essentially falls. They now have to decide whether to return to the idea of a statutory code of practice or to adopt a solution that would set out no provision in the legislation itself for those who object to women bishops. But whatever this Committee decides, it remains for the full Synod to debate the matter fully.

What’s the difference between delegation and vesting?

Delegation means that functions would be exercised on the authority of the diocesan bishop, who in future may be female. Vesting would have meant certain functions being exercised as of right by those bishops providing oversight for traditionalist parishes.

What do you mean by ‘functions’?

Functions in this context mean episcopal activities such as conducting the ordination of priests, and providing pastoral oversight of parish clergy.

Is this the result of the Pope/the Westminster Hall debate/anger from women?

The 19 members of the Committee spent a lot of time exploring possibilities in some detail and were unable to find a basis for vesting which commanded sufficient support. What influenced individuals to vote as they did on particular proposals can only be a matter of speculation.

Why issue statements when the decisions keep changing?

Synod members coming to speak to amendments that they have submitted have the right to know when there has been a major change affecting their proposals. Since such decisions will quickly become widely known the Committee concluded that it was best to put the facts on the public record.

How did people vote?

The voting figures will be included in the Committee’s report to Synod.

Will the report be ready for the February Synod?

That has always been the Committee’s aim, but the timetable is now extremely tight. The Committee has three further meetings scheduled between now and early January.

Isn’t this decision simply going to push many Catholic Anglicans to go to Rome?

There are many further stages yet in the legislative process (see 8 October statement) and nothing is certain until the draft Measure has secured a two thirds majority in each House of Synod on final approval and then secured parliamentary approval and Royal Assent. It will be at least 2012 before the Synod has concluded its own consideration.

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