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Better Popery than female bishops

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Nov. 8th, 2010 | 01:03 pm
posted by: secretrebel in feminism_lives

Five Anglican bishops are to leave the Church of England and join the Roman Catholic church in protest against the proposed ordination of female bishops.

"The departures follow more than a stormy decade over what provision, if any, there should be for those who do not believe women should be ordained as bishops.

Groups within the Church of England have been campaigning for female clerics to become bishops without any concessions that would undermine their authority. But traditionalists and conservative evangelicals oppose the historic change, claiming the concept of women bishops runs contrary to doctrine.

Earlier this year, at a meeting of the General Synod, the archbishops of Canterbury and York argued for a new class of male bishop who would look after such parishes. Their proposal was narrowly defeated and traditionalists and Anglo-Catholics saw little or no accommodation in the draft law permitting the ordination of women to the episcopate.

The controversial vote followed an announcement from the Vatican about a Personal Ordinariate, an initiative for disaffected Anglicans who want to convert but retain some of their spiritual heritage."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/08/archbishop-canterbury-accepts-bishops-resignation

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordination_of_women#Anglicanism

I think it's interesting that these bishops see the ordination of women bishops as such a sticking point that they'd join another church. I don't think Rome would necessarily confirm them as bishops either. So they'll be losing their ministries, their careers, their standing in the church - and having to relearn their faith from a RC point of view. That's a powerful amount of negativity towards the ordination of women.

I'm certain readers of this community will be divided on the relevance and value of the Christian church at all. However I do think it's encouraging that the Church of England is aiming (in a slow and fumbling way) to be more inclusive. There's still a long way to go though. The CofE has a pretty unimpressive record on LGBT issues as well. Which I suppose isn't surprising given that in 2000 years most people in the Christian communion remain unconvinced that women can be priests.
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Comments {19}

Shameless

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from: liminalia
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC)
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Actually there is precedent and the Catholic Church will likely be happy to confirm them as bishops after a short training period.

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Secret Rebel

(no subject)

from: secretrebel
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 01:14 pm (UTC)
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Interesting. What if they're married? (I haven't checked.)

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Sushidog

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from: sushidog
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 01:16 pm (UTC)
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There are now some married Catholic priests, for precisely this reason!

(The celibacy of the clergy n the Catholic Church was only ever a financial matter, not a doctrinal one, so it's less of a big deal than you might think.)

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Shameless

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from: liminalia
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 01:19 pm (UTC)
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastoral_Provision

They can get special dispensation from the Pope to remain married and be priests.

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glittertigger

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from: glittertigger
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 01:44 pm (UTC)
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I'm also pleased to see that the CofE is continuing to move slowly in a more inclusive direction, in spite of the traditionalists. The gulfs within the CofE seem as large as those between the more conservative parts of the CofE and the Roman Catholics, so perhaps the change for these bishops may not be as big a leap as one might initially think. And the CofE will be better off without them!

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Mo

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from: undyingking
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC)
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I agree, good riddance! It's people like that who have been holding back the CofE from being more inclusive and representative.

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blackberry44

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from: blackberry44
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
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As an RC nun of my acquaintance once told me, the RC church/pope could decide at any time that there should be women priests and there would be little or no discussion.

I can't see it myself, but as far as I'm concerned, those bishops and priests who cannot stomach change will be better off out of it. And those who are left will be better off too.

As for most Christians being unconvinced of women's ability to be priests, I'm not so sure that so many of them find their church's position either reasonable or, ultimately, defensible.

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Secret Rebel

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from: secretrebel
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC)
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As for most Christians being unconvinced of women's ability to be priests, I'm not so sure that so many of them find their church's position either reasonable or, ultimately, defensible.

Good point. I'd like to see statistics on the communion generally and on ordained priests' beliefs specifically.

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Mo

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from: undyingking
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
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It should maybe be noted that there are plenty of people in the Christian communion who reject the whole concept of priesthood, of whatever gender, as a suspect mechanism cooked up some time after Jesus's death so as to better control the flock. (And the episcopate even more so.)

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h a n n a h

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from: thisglasnost
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
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Yes, and it would be interesting to find out stats among these on how many are against women preaching/having authority in church and who are not!

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anthrokeight

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from: anthrokeight
date: Nov. 9th, 2010 06:13 pm (UTC)
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In the US, it would be my guess that the kinds of churches that don't go for much in the way of structured authority ala Catholicism have pretty conservative views on women. I'm thinking in particular of Pentacostalism and other Protestant traditions that came about during the 19th c. religious revivals*.

(Also, President Jimmy Carter left the Southern Baptist Church (publicly! in an op. ed!) when the denomination decided women should not serve as ordained ministers in the Church. (I <3 Jimmy Carter!))

*Professor Google reveals that the early Pentacostal movement in America actually had a very strong thread of women in leadership, but it didn't take long for the kibosh to be put on that! Quelle surprise!

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The Woman Who Would Have Thunder in her Heart

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from: alitheapipkin
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 03:31 pm (UTC)
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This also makes me wonder how Roman Catholics in general feel about priests being invited to join their Church for such a negative reason.

As a non-Christian, I find it all both interesting and bemusing from the outside - while the RC Church seems generally far more conservative than the Anglican one, individual Roman Catholics of my acquintance are (while I'm sure not very representative) a liberal bunch, and a fair proportion are in favour of women clergy.

Leaving aside my fascination with other peoples' faith, as a woman I find it quite staggering that these bishops are prepared to go to such lengths over the issue. Especially as I haven't heard a coherent argument against it that isn't explained by the historical position of women in society. Is there actually anything in Bible where Jesus speaks out against women preaching?

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Shameless

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from: liminalia
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
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Not Jesus, but Paul, yes.

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The Woman Who Would Have Thunder in her Heart

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from: alitheapipkin
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 04:33 pm (UTC)
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Ah, I'm not surprised about Paul, I'm not overly familiar with the Bible, but he's something of a woman-hater, isn't he? And also responsible for a whole bunch of other rules the modern Church ignores?

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Shameless

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from: liminalia
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
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Depends on the church, but you're mainly correct.

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The Woman Who Would Have Thunder in her Heart

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from: alitheapipkin
date: Nov. 9th, 2010 11:37 am (UTC)
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Yes, I should have been clearer there, I'm well aware that there is a huge amount of variation between different Christian churches, thanks for correcting me.

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h a n n a h

(no subject)

from: thisglasnost
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
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Jesus did not speak out against it, but Paul has a lot to say on the subject (as well as women remaining silent in church, headcoverings, etc).

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anthrokeight

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from: anthrokeight
date: Nov. 8th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
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I am a member of the RCC in the US. The thing I don't get is why they're jumping ship to an institution that is SO RIFE with other issues right now. Ordaining women bishops is a bigger spiritual problem than 1) announcing that it is as big a sin to DISCUSS women clergy as it is to COMMIT child sex abuse as a priest? and 2) Cover up, deny, and minimize the sex abuse scandals have/are emerging? For reals?

Also, people can declare that Christianity is irrelevant these days, especially to feminists/ism. But since there are many many self identified feminist Christians in the world, not a few of them being women religious, that seems like wishful secularism with an exclusionary outcome. Which is to say, I am glad you brought this up here, because I think that it is important to discuss.

Edited at 2010-11-09 06:00 pm (UTC)

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Ailbhe

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from: ailbhe
date: Nov. 9th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I was kind of thinking, "They may practically condone the mass rape of children, but at least they don't think women or gay men are equal to real people!

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