It is instructive to delve beneath the bare numbers. At stake is proposed legislation that would enable women to be ordained as bishops for the first time in the Church of England, while the Synod passed in 1992 changes which allowed the ordination of women as priests. It was the latter change which made it possible for the clergy order to defeat the Archbishops' compromise measure, since there are now a significant number of women clergy delegates to Synod as a result of the changes enacted in 1992. The number so elected to Synod easily exceeds the plurality of 5 by which the Archbishops' measure went down to defeat among the clergy.Actually, given the composition of the House of Clergy in Synod, it is somewhat surprising that the vote came as close as it did. Nevertheless, it is surely the case that as the number of female clergy has increased, so the possibility of electing clergy who are opposed to the ordination of women has decreased, resulting in a disproportionate absence of their number from the Synod.
In short, the women priests in Synod combined with a sufficient number of male priests to ensure, by a bare minimum, that the wisdom of the other orders in the Church of England would not be put into practice. And in that description of the result is all the data that anyone needs to conclude that the admission of women to the priesthood in the Church of England was just the first step in a widening gyre. There will be no turning back: after the approval of the ordination of women to the episcopate, the numbers will so change in the Church of England's House of Bishops, and in the lay delegates as well, as to make inevitable the ordination of LGBT's to the episcopate. And at that point, the Church of England -- in whatever form it then remains -- will be indistinguishable from ECUSA.
In short, there is an inevitable but 'systemic' gerrymandering in the electoral system, just as there has clearly been deliberate 'political' gerrymandering in this respect in the appointment of bishops.
12 July 2010
Anonymous users wishing to paste in the comments box need first to select 'preview', then close the preview box. When posting your comments please give a full name and location. Comments without this information may be deleted.