Saturday, July 5, 2008

UK: Barring Women Bishops is Discriminatory?

London: If the Church of England does not scrap its discriminatory laws against women, and allow them to become full Bishops, the Government will force them to, according Labour and Conservative MPs.

At a press conference hosted by Watch (Women and the Church) at Westminster Abbey last Monday, chair Christina Rees read a letter by Conservative MP Robert Key: “I can guarantee that if Synod sends us a Measure that discriminates against women and seeks legal exemption from our well-established law against discrimination it will certainly be challenged and probably rejected.“

I pray that Synod will not even try going down that path, but will accept the advice of the House of Bishops.”

It received the support of Labour MPs Chris Bryant and Ann Cryer, and also Baroness Elspeth Howe, one of the first People’s Peers. The parliamentarians saw this as the first step towards levying anti-discrimination law on other religions, with Ms Cryer announcing her plan to oblige mosques to admit women as readily as they do men.

On the other side of the debate, pressure was being piled on by Forward in Faith who published an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, from 1,333 clergy scared that the Act of Synod could be repealed. “Should the Church of England indeed go ahead with the ordination of women to the episcopate, without at the same time making provision which offers us real ecclesial integrity and security, many of us will be thinking very hard about the way ahead.

“We will inevitably be asking whether we can, in conscience, continue to minister as bishops, priests and deacons in the Church of England which has been our home.”

Read it all here.

Bishops are taken from the order of priests. The Church of England made a big mistake in ordaining women as priests and now it is about to make another mistake in consecrating them as bishops.

Clearly, in secular England there is little understanding of the gender specificity of the priesthood. As far back as it can be traced the priesthood has been associated with sacred law and shed blood. The origins and development of the priesthood make it clear that it is not intended for women. This is not to rob females of some "right" but rather to recognize that women also have a gender specific task that involves the shedding of blood in birthing.

Read more here, here and here.

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