The Bishop of Salisbury on bishops by statute

David Stancliffe, Bishop of Salisbury, on the women bishops brouhaha in the Church of England:

My concerns are on several levels. First, these proposals appear to institutionalise mistrust in legislation: the opponents of women’s ordination do not trust the bishops to make proper provision. Is that really what we have come to?

Second, it destroys the ecclesiology of the Church of England, making it legitimate to “choose your own bishop”. Are there to be any limits as to the grounds on which you might petition to do this?

Third …

Emphasis added.

This, and thoughts from Church Times writer Pat Ashworth, a Church Times editorial, Giles Fraser and the Pro-Prolocutor of the Convocation of Canterbury are aptly summarized at Thinking Anglicans.

Fraser writes: “In July 2008, the General Synod voted clearly that it wanted women bishops with no small print that made them into half-bishops, and no further institutionalisation of the sexism that keeps them out of the episcopate…. [T]o see a representative body treated with such contempt ought to make everyone who gives up their time and money to support synodical government wonder why they bother.”

Ruth Gledhill suggests there is a bald calculus at work. Which choice results in the smallest loss of members: making women bishop equal to their male counterparts, or destroying the ecclesiology of the Church of England by making it legitimate to choose your own bishop?

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