Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Women Bishops: What Happened?

I was under the impression that yesterdays General Synod (blogged superbly by Ruth Gledhill) was doing momentous things. Then I read the motion which was finally passed:

That this Synod:
(a) affirm that the wish of its majority is for women to be admitted to the episcopate;

and (b-d) that it wants a code of practice to be drawn up, with 'first consideration of the draft legislation in the agenda for the February 2009 group of sessions.’

(a) is something the Synod has already done: the original motion read 'reaffirm it's wish....', and Synod has already voted in favour of women bishops in both 2005 and 2006. So that's nothing new.

(b-d) will prolong this debate for the next couple of years, as the code is drafted, amended, debated, put out to Diocesan Synods, returned with new amendments etc. Someone commented that we won't see women bishops for at least another 4 years. You certainly can't accuse the CofE of rushing into things.

The only substantial outcome from yesterday was ruling out a 'church within a church' option for those opposed to women bishops, and ruling out the opposite end of the scale, which was no provision at all for those opposed.

It looks more like a shuffling half-step towards something we'd already agreed on.

Meanwhile, back to the important issues. Check out Bob Geldofs interview on the Today programme this morning about the G8 and global poverty, and how far the worlds richest nations have kept their promises from Gleneagles.

(cartoon from ASBO Jesus)


  1. David, I think your summary is right; and few times has 'a shuffling half-step' been so painful to achieve, or so swiftly condemned by the Vatican, the Orthodox, and Forward in Faith, for apparently being such a huge and uncaring leap...

    I may have a couple of follow-ups from the conservative catholic perspective on gensyn.blogspot.com later.

  2. The awful thing is that Synod is going to put itself through this again. I'm no expert on procedure, but there will clearly be another debate in February, and possibly more after that.

    Maybe next time we'll notice that the G8 summit (or something else of real importance) coincides with Synod, and make a timely comment, instead of agonising in our stained glass bubble.