Friday, 11 July 2008

Why the Code is not enough

THE report of the Women Bishops Legislative Drafting Group (the Manchester report) contained an illustration of what a statutory code of practice might look like. Its principal elements were:

• the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993 and the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 would be repealed in their entirety; • the code would outline the arrangements to be made for those conscientiously unable to receive women’s priestly and episcopal ministry, involving the voluntary delegation of certain episcopal functions by diocesan bishops to “complementary bishops”;

• the code would be drawn up by the House of Bishops, subject to approval by the General Synod; and

• bishops and others would be placed under a legal duty to “have regard to” the code of practice. “Complementary bishops” do not equate with the existing flying bishops, specially appointed by a province to oversee traditionalist congregations. Instead, they might be suffragans or assistant bishops within the diocese, or diocesan bishops from elsewhere, providing “sacramental and pastoral care” on behalf of the diocesan bishop. The diocesan would not relinquish his or her general oversight or legal jurisdiction.

A code of practice, since it is not a law, could not be enforced under the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003, which speaks of clerics acting “in contravention of the laws ecclesiastical”. Read more

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  1. This is only "what a statutory code of practice might look like". The code has not yet been written, this is journalistic speculation. If you don't like this suggested code, work to make it something you like more. And you omitted the last paragraph of the Church Times report which explains how the code might in fact be enforceable.

  2. Peter

    I will not normally post a whole article from another internet source because whilst giving an introduction and linking to that site can be regarded as sending them 'trade', and therefore hopefully is 'fair use', simply copying the whole thing would be a clear infringement of copyright.

    That is why I ommitted some of what was a very short article. No nefarious motives!

    The Code of Practice won't work because it isn't wanted by those to whom it is mean to apply and doesn't represent anything more than a concession.

  3. A Code of Practice "is like Parliament saying to the Islamic community in the UK: We want you to stay here and we shall value your contribution as long as you eat pork. That statement would be offensive and intolerable. So is what General Synod has done last Monday."

    I concur with this quote on the blog of St John's, Sevenoaks

    In my view a Code of Practice is there to satisfy misogynists, not those who uphold the Catholic fatih in the Church of England - we are not misogynists,we believe that God has called and gifted women to minister in the church in many areas and are grateful for that, but do not believe that there are grounds in Scripture and apostolic tradition for women to be priests or bishops