Breaking – No Welsh Women Bishops

It will probably prompt a flurry of claims about my misogyny, but I am delighted that the Welsh Synod failed to pass a vote on allowing Women Bishops. The vote in favour in the House of Clergy was only 58.7%, short of the two-thirds required for the motion to pass.

I am in agreement with Ft Jeffrey Steel when he wrote this morning

What is so sad about this debate and particularly this article is the lack of exgetical and contextual apologetics for these views.

Follow the link to his website and you’ll see a piece in today’s Guardian by Barry Morgan (the Archbishop of Wales) which has not a shred of Scripture in it on the subject of headship and leadership in the church. The Galatians 3:28 quote he uses is a red herring as it is soteriological, not ecclesiastical.

Roll on the English Synod rejecting this nonsense in due course.

UpdateRuth G has more including a quote from Barry Morgan

I am deeply disappointed, especially since it was lost with a very low margin in the house of clergy. It was just three votes. The same thing happened over the ordination of women to the priesthood 11 years ago. That later went through at the second attempt. It is an issue that is not going to go away or be ignored. The Church in Wales will have to grapple with it. I am sad that we have to go through the whole process again.

and this priceless contribution from Giles Fraser

It’s an absolute disgrace. If women are good enough to be priests they are good enough to be bishops. Anything other than this is a theological nonsense.

Obviously. And your scriptural reasoning would be?



Nope, didn’t think so Giles, just more of the same waffle about "justice" and "equality". Sigh.

10 Comments on “Breaking – No Welsh Women Bishops

  1. Peter,
    Re your comment on the quote from Giles:
    I do understand the practical, theological, difficulties which women bishops would present, but (ignoring any argument regarding “equality” or “justice”) if the Church of England has determined that a woman may be a priest what do you see as the scriptural / theological bars to such a woman being a bishop?

    I ask this because the Forward in Faith literature that my church looked at in 2005 with regard to women bishops (we did a series of house groups culminating in a congregational meeting) seemed to me to just be rehearsing the views against the ordination of women to the priesthood, plus adding the further complications which women bishops would bring to those who can’t accept women’s ordination: i.e. you won’t be able to tell whether a man has been ordained by a man or a woman so how can you know whether to accept his orders.

    I actually thought at the time of the Synod vote on women priests that it was a nonsense to ordain women as priests but not as bishops. I could understand why as deacons but not priests, but I couldn’t fathom priests but not bishops. This isn’t criticism: I’m genuinely interested in the arguments and would like to further my understanding of this issue.

  2. Gregory,

    I can’t think of anyone on either side of the argument who would disagree with the essence of what you are saying.

    As your experience of their literature implies, Forward in Faith doesn’t. (I recall a most amusing radio interview with Fr Kirk where the interviewer’s opening question was “If woman priests, why not bishops?” to which he replied, “No reason at all.” The interviewer, however, carried on as if he’d disagreed with her, and things became hilariously confused.)

    The Forward in Faith view is simply that both are wrong (tho’ it’s true that the practical and oecumenical implications of woman bishops are more serious) and therefore to be opposed: the fact that the Church of England and the Church in Wales have made one mistake (on the priesthood) is not an argument for making a second (on the episcopate).

    (The Archbishop of Wales’ view is the mirror image of course: that both are right.)

    Pax et gaudium.

  3. Peter,
    No claims about justice or equality from me, just a reference to the Biblically-nurtured trajectory that has pulled us out of condoning slavery, the stoning of adulterers, homosexuals, and disobedient children, and the wasting of the spiritual gifts of women, to name just a few things. For an experiential dimension to this question, I wish you MUCH contact with ordained African women, such as Canon (for missions) Rosemarie Mbogo from Kenya.
    In Christ,

  4. Gregory,

    I think the Welsh Jacobite has the answer for you.


    I can’t see what the nurturing and promotion of spiritual gifts in women has to do with ordination (and consecration). On that line of reasoning you would ordain absolutely anybody who did anything in the church that even vaguely equated to ministry.

    Ordination is to do with recognised ministry leadership as Scripture proclaims. The problem with the revisionist perspective is that it simply will not engage with the Biblical complementarian model, nor the theology behind the church tradition of male presidence at the Eucharist. That’s my gripe. It has nothing to do with whether women are gifted or not (I work with two fantastically gifted women in my parish). It has to do with how God has creatd us to be, as we discern from Scripture.

  5. “On that line of reasoning you would ordain absolutely anybody who did anything in the church that even vaguely equated to ministry.”

    Well my goodness, we couldn’t have THAT! That sounds too much like a…… like a……… a priesthood of believers, for crying out loud!

  6. But the point is that the priesthood of all believers is NOT the same as recognised church leadership. No-one is denying that ministry is gifted to all the church (even though many members seem reluctant to exercise it). The issue at hand is leadership, NOT the ability to minister.

  7. Yes, but to be precise the issue is headship not “leadership”.

    The elision of headship into leadership can be misleading.

  8. Hello Peter,

    am a bit more tentative on this subject than on the gay issue (!) – I’m not very knowledgeable about the arguments around ordaining women. But I’d like to comment and ask some questions.

    What is “the Biblical complementarian model” – is this to do with the complementarity of the sexes that’s alluded to in the ‘gay debate’, and does it have much of a Biblical basis?

    Also, what is the “theology behind the church tradition of male presidence at the Eucharist”? Rupert Shortt’s book, ‘Rowan Williams: an introduction’ talks about RW’s view on women’s ordination: “Above all, Williams thought that the case for reform could be inferred from the incarnation itself. Patristic teaching on Jesus’ attributes had been grounded in the claim that ‘the unassumed is unhealed’ – and what Christ ‘assumed’ was representative humanity, not only maleness” (p37). If this is so, why can’t a woman be at the altar in persona Christi?

    “It has to do with how God has created us to be, as we discern from Scripture” – but if God has created only men to be in recognised positions of headship, it seems to me that this would mean God has created men to be superior to women, that there is a gender hierarchy. In your original post you say, “The Galatians 3:28 quote he [Barry Morgan] uses is a red herring as it is soteriological, not ecclesiastical” – but if “thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” how can the one be split off entirely from the other?

    Lastly, you hope that the C of E synod will “reject this nonsense in due course”, but can it, given the reasoning in The Welsh Jacobite’s first comment? Given the C of E has women priests (granted that they aren’t recognised / accepted by all), what reason is there not to have women bishops – unless the decision to ordain women were overturned…

    And yes, I’m being reactive, rather than arguing anything positive myself….

    in friendship, Blair

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