Monday, January 30, 2012

Return of the Mouse

This whole women bishops thing must be serious, even Church Mouse has broken cover from his nest in the vestry, to encourage the CofE to get on with it. It looks like it's a one-off squeak, but worth reading just the same.

I must confess this is one area of church politics I've avoided on this blog, partly out of frustration that we spend more time talking about sex than mission, and partly because the CofE position on ordination is such a mess. We proclaim a 'threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons' which bears minimal resemblance to the ordering of ministry in the Bible, and don't even follow through on it. In most places, deacons are just a priest in short trousers, waiting for 12 months to elapse so that they can take communion services. The New Testament depicts 'bishops' (overseers) as part of the team leadership of a local church, which is a far cry from what they've become in the CofE, never mind the Roman church.

Which is why I can't actually get that political about whether or not we have women in a role that isn't sanctioned by the Bible in the first place. And everyone else will probably be thankful that, with a theology like this, I go back to avoiding the topic.

(And I haven't even got started on the way we've created a sacramental theology which bolsters this structure and makes it almost impossible to question or unpick. )


  1. Hurray! Someone who at last is willing to speak against the whole model of ministry in the CofE. I can't agree more with what you have said..... the whole concept we see is one of invention re Bishops and the 'three fold ministry' is as you have said not the model that is practiced by both main traditions you mention.....

  2. I presume this was just quicker than asking whether any Anglo-Catholics out there wanted a fight!?

  3. Three cheers for you, David! (which is to say, I agree)

  4. How well do you know the Catholic Church to presume to know the role of bishops in it? More importantly, why should church organisation at the time of the early church be of such significance? The organisational structure of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches have evolved organically over time.