Let’s try and piece together the history of this document.
- 5th July 2010 – The Southwark Crown Nominations Commission meets to discuss the final decision on the next Diocesan Bishop. Rowan Williams brings to this meeting some legal advice from Church House to help guide the discussion. This legal advice is not the document released today. (Source – Colin Slee’s Leaked Memo)
- Autumn 2010 – After the events of the Southwark CNC, Rowan Williams (and possibly other senior bishops) asks Church House lawyers to draw up a formal document which will clarify the legal position. This is the document released today (and leaked by Andrew Brown in May 2011). The document is dated December 2010. (Source – Supposition and Andrew Brown piece in Guardian of 25th May 2011)
- May 2011 – The House of Bishops meets to discuss the document but is “divided”.Â (Source – Andrew Brown piece inÂ Guardian of 25th May 2011)
- 19th June 2011 – Despite this “division”, the unedited document is presented to Synod for information only. (Source – Jonathan Wynne-Jones in Telegraph of 19th June 2011)
Given that the legal advice has now been published unaltered from the form it went to the House of Bishops in, one wonders what the “division” was that Andrew Brown reported. Is the reality that there was no “division”, that the House of Bishops broadly accepted the proposals and the “division” story was concocted by revisionists in order to run up a head of steam in opposition to the legal advice?
As to what I think of the criteria in the legal opinion, that was covered by this post back in May.