The response to the Church of England Synod approving women bishops without adequate provision for objectors has only begun. I’m sad to say we can expect a flood of Anglo-Catholics going to Rome although I hope they will stay Anglican somehow.
The most consequential responses I’ve seen so far are from Forward in Faith UK. Their initial response last night is a model of being terse and to the point:
Forward in Faith and the Catholic Group in General Synod note with regret that, despite the clear advice of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Durham, the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Exeter and other Bishops, the Prolocutor of the Province of Canterbury and the Chairman of the House of Laity and the obvious lack of consensus, the General Synod today resolved to make no meaningful provision for those in conscience unable to receive the ministry of women bishops.
There must now be a period of prayerful reflection. However, members of both the General Synod and of the Church of England will understand that actions always have consequences.
Having slept on it, they added this morning:
The consistent behaviour of the General Synod compels Forward in Faith and the Catholic Group in General Synod to recognise that, without intervention by the House of Bishops, there is little prospect of gaining a synodical majority which would provide a structural solution that would meet the needs of those who, out of obedience to scripture and tradition, are unable in conscience to receive the ordination of women to the episcopate. We will in the coming days continue to explore all possible avenues which might secure our corporate ecclesial future and look to our bishops to facilitate this.
The Vatican has expressed its regret. But why do I think they are eagerly anticipating more Anglo-Catholics crossing the Tiber?
The most on-target response I’ve seen so far comes from an Aussie evangelical of all people, David Ould:
The talk of being inclusive and generous is just that. Talk. In reality there is no desire to [be] anything like inclusive and generous. And, since we've been noting it regularly, do also be aware that the promise made to Synod in the 90's during the debate on the ordination of women to the priesthood that there would always be legal safeguards for dissenters has been knowingly abandoned. This is beyond a lack of charitable spirit - this is a knowing and deliberate breach of trust.
The most interesting response comes from someone very much affected by Synod’s decision, The Ugley Vicar.
All of us should respond by praying for those distressed by Synod’s act.
MORE: Andrew Carey is also on target.