Friday, 20 June 2008

Church Times: Synod urged in two different directions on women bishops

THE CHAIRMAN of the Catholic Group on the General Synod, the Revd Canon Simon Killwick, has described as “insulting” and “offensive” the motion on women bishops which the House of Bishops will put forward at the July sessions (News, 13 June).

The Bishops are backing the “single-clause measure” option, in which special arrangements for those opposed in conscience would depend on a voluntary code of practice rather than being enshrined in legislation. The Catholic Group had already dismissed the option as unsatisfactory in its earlier response to the Manchester report (News, 2 May).

“I think the wording of the motion shows there has been no real attempt to engage with us and with our view on the matter, and so no real attempt to achieve a consensus,” Canon Killwick said on Tuesday. “If that motion were passed unamended, there would undoubtedly be a split within the Church of England.”

Calls for a code of practice were hypocritical, he suggested, coming as they did from people who were calling for the Act of Synod to be rescinded. “The wording is insulting, and the very fact that they put it in this form is what is so offensive,” he said.

Recalling, however, that the General Synod had on three occasions rejected amendments that would have had the effect of introducing a single-clause measure and a code of practice, he said: “If past performance is anything to go by, I think it’s unlikely this motion will be passed unamended. The consistent mood of Synod is that, yes, it wants women bishops, but it also wants adequate provision for those not in agreement.” Read more
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