The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Anglicans prepare to bolt over women bishops

Could the trickle of Anglicans leaving their church turn into a flood?

From the Telegraph:

Hundreds of traditionalist clergy are set to leave the Church of England over plans to introduce women bishops.

Leading Anglo-Catholic clergy warned that the failure to provide concessions to opponents of the historic reform would force many of them to defect to Rome.

In a highly-charged debate at the General Synod, the Church’s parliament, members rejected a compromise deal put forward by the archbishops of Canterbury and York which would have averted a schism.


The archbishops’ plans would have seen the creation of a new class of male-only bishops to look after conservative evangelical and Anglo-Catholic parishes opposed to female leadership in the Church.

Canon David Houlding, a prebendary at St Paul’s cathedral, estimated that as many as 200 traditionalist clergy could leave the Church, taking thousands of worshippers with them.

“People’s patience is running out and many will now be asking whether they should try and practice their Catholic faith in the Church of England,” he said.

“The vote was a severe blow to the archbishop [of Canterbury] and it has pushed us closer to the door.”

A group of 70 traditionalist clergy met with a Catholic bishop on Saturday to discuss plans to defect to the Roman Catholic Church. Earlier this year three bishops travelled to the Vatican to talk over an offer made by Pope Benedict XVI inviting disillusioned Anglicans to convert to Catholicism.


Fr Jonathan Baker, principle of Pusey House and a leading traditionalist, warned that young Anglo-Catholic priests will struggle to see a future in the Church of England.

“It is bound to be more difficult to hold on to people now,” he said. “How can you stay in a family where members of the family have no need of you.”

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posted July 12, 2010 at 11:51 am

Gee – you forgot to list how many people have bolted from the church because of conservative stances on women and homosexuals and anyone else who does not confrom to the heirarchies perspective on “the norm”. It’s not like people have been sitting there and accepting all of the exclusions and limitations impossed by the various authority structures.
This article – and many like it – simply show how one set of changes is creating a set of consequences. To be fair it should be noted that every change has consequences, what those are, and which has the better chance of strengthening the Church as a whole.

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Eugene Pagano

posted July 12, 2010 at 3:44 pm

From someone who has gone in the other direction.
Jestrfyl makes good points. The Pew Foundation recently found that tens of millions of Americans are former Catholics.
I am one of many who has gone from the Roman Catholic Church to the Episcopal Church over its “conservative stances on women and homosexuals and anyone else who does not confrom to the heirarchies perspective on ‘the norm.’ ”

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Your Name

posted July 12, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Yes let us all run over to the church that says anything goes when we don’t like the rules. The one that was started by the king who was married only six times. What a joke.

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posted July 12, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Fr. Baker makes an excellent point: “How can you stay in a family where members of the family have no need of you.”
Now let’s apply that thought to all the women who hear the call to ordained ministry, all the married people who feel the call to ordained ministry, all the gays and lesbians who have effectively been told “God loves you, but not as you are”, all the children whose abuse has been ignored and perpetuated by the RC church, and scores of other categories of people hurt by the church. Then try to understand why so many people have left the Roman Catholic church even if they remain counted in statistics.
Fr. Baker’s thought is precisely why I resigned my membership in the SBC and now proudly embrace my identity as an Episcopalian.

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Your Name

posted July 12, 2010 at 7:42 pm

“and now proudly embrace my identity as an Episcopalian.”
I would find it hard to embrace anything let alone a religion that changes its positions every couple of years. Kudos to those coming home to Rome.
The way it is going for the Anglican/Episcopal communion doesn’t sound too promising for the long haul. Even in England it is dying.

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Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk

posted July 13, 2010 at 6:31 am

I never understood why there is so much angst against women serving as priests to begin with. Didn’t Jesus send down the Holy Spirit, His Shekina/Sophia, to his mother, Mary, before it even annointed the disciples? Didn’t Mary Magdelane travel and serve Christ alonside the disciples? As a woman, it makes me sad that there is such hate against the idea of women serving their congregations as ministers. My question is, do the Anglicans hate women that much?

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posted July 13, 2010 at 3:04 pm

“My question is, do the Anglicans hate women that much?”
Strange leap in that question. You go from women not being ordained to hatred of women. It has nothing to do with hatred. It has everything to do with the fact that Catholics, Orthodox and some Anglicans believe that the ordained ministry is reserved to men.

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John C. Wilson

posted July 14, 2010 at 3:25 pm

As I wrote in the comment link below, female church leadership isn’t the structure that God put in place. It is hard enough to be a good disciple within the roles outlined in the bible. Taking on a different role than the one God gave us will only lead to a distortion of scripture. This is very evident in Elle’s comment above who is apparently homosexual and believes that God sanctity’s that belief. Once you’ve gone down that road of deception, there isn’t a sin that can’t be justified and acceptable in their minds.

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Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk

posted July 30, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Dear Conservative,
No, it wasn’t a big leap. If you read what I wrote regarding Jesus sending the Holy Spirit to light upon the heads of Mary Magdelane and the Virgin Mary at the same time it came upon the heads of his apostles, you will see what I am referring to: obviously Jesus Christ did not withold the blessing of being a teacher of his work from the women, but gave it to them as well as to the men.
It was Peter who wanted women to be kept silent and out of places of authority within the church, as he is quoted below by the others:
“Likewise, you wives, you shall be in subjection to your own husbands” – (1 Peter 3:1)
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection, for I do not tolerate a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to keep her mouth shut” – Timothy quoting Peter(1 Timothy 2:11).
But, as one can clearly see, Jesus’ own actions demonstrated otherwise. So again, my question is why does the church choose to ignore the fact that Jesus blessed all those who followed him and commanded all of them to spread his word and why does the church instead choose to follow instead the views of the human being, Peter on this issue?
To me, it seems like it is an archaic viewpoint of women.

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