Jonathan Baker, the Bishop of
Ebbsfleet, has a talent for telling it like it is yet with grace. Having spent some time with him at
Pusey House, he has long impressed me with his gentleness, wit, and perception.
So it comes as no surprise that
his comments on General Synod and its aftermath are among the best I’ve come
across. I commend his whole
missive to you. But the following
stands out to me as cutting through the fog to explain what really happened:
First, it has been suggested that the draft Measure represented the
fruits of work done over many years by representatives of all traditions in the
Church of England, and that it was a compromise and the best possible way
forward. This is simply not the case, as anyone – myself included – involved in
the various processes of preparing the legislation for Final Approval (the
legislative drafting group, the revision committee stage, and so on) would have
to admit. At every step of the way, provision for the traditionalist minority
was withdrawn altogether or significantly watered down. Looking back, we can
see a number of decisive forks in the road: when delegation (rather than a
transfer of jurisdiction) was adopted as the basis for the legislation; when
the Archbishops' amendment for co-ordinate jurisdiction was defeated – by just
5 votes in the House of Clergy – in 2010; when the amendment to Clause 5.1. (c)
of the Measure, proposed by the House of Bishops, was withdrawn in the face of
pressure from members of WATCH in July of this year. In the light of all this,
it seems to me that there is only one analysis of the vote on 20th November
which rings true: that the draft Measure was driven 'over the cliff' by those unwilling
to agree proper provision for those of us who have conscientious difficulties
concerning the ordination of women.
Exactly. +Ebbsfleet says it much more graciously
than I have, but, indeed, WATCH and their ilk have only themselves to blame for
the failure of women bishops legislation.
If they only had the grace to give traditionalists the space they
needed, women bishops would already be on the way.
Labels: Church of England, feminists, Jonathan Baker, Women's Ordination