February 8, 2012 7 Comments
If a woman is a priest, she can also be a bishop: if she’s not, she can’t.
And so, the notion of setting up another ghetto for dissidents is simply ludicrous:
Is there any spectacle more absurd than that of the Church of England’s remaining Anglo-Catholics desperately attempting to negotiate “special arrangements” which will allow them in good conscience to remain within the Church of England once that body’s General Synod finally authorises women bishops?
Firstly, there is the prior question of women priests. Anglo-Catholics are already members of a Church which ordains these ambiguous beings. Are they priests, or aren’t they? (For the moment, put to one side the question of whether or not anyone in the C of E is a validly ordained priest.) If you believe they’re not, you are already yourself in an ambiguous condition, since you are a member of a Church which has arrogated to itself the power to ordain them, a power which even the Pope (like the Orthodox) denies that he possesses. You are a member, that is to say, of a Church which has already finally divorced itself from any possibility of reunion with the Universal Church of which it has thus far claimed to be a part. So, what kind of a Catholic does that make you? It is a question you must already have asked yourself; and to that problem there is now only one solution: the ordinariate. The existing arrangements for “flying bishops” were a temporary measure, which allowed a constituency of non-jurors to gather itself in preparation for secession: those temporary arrangements are no longer necessary and have now therefore morally lapsed.
But if you accept that women may be priests, that those women already ordained as such by the Church of England are validly ordained (and I actually heard a member of the Catholic group in Synod actually saying on the radio that he did accept them as priests, but that he didn’t want them to become bishops), then what are you on about? If a woman is a priest, then she is eligible to be a bishop. If she’s not, she isn’t. Either way, you are a member of a Church in which there are now hundreds of women priests: and whether you put yourself in a ghetto which doesn’t accept them or not, you are still in full communion with them (and don’t give me that stuff about “impaired communion”: you are in full communion with your own bishops (flying or not), who are themselves in full communion with the male bishops who ordained all these women, so you are in full communion with them: get used to it, or leave…
William Oddie has more here.