Monday, 15 October 2012

GRAS shows scant 'respect' for Traditionalists

The statement below has just been released by GRAS, one of the key supporters of the 'minimalist' approach to the legislation to introduce women bishops. Those who feel the proposed provisions, based on 'respect', would be adequate need to draw their own conclusions.


Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod


Press briefing for immediate release 8th October 2012

The final draft Bishops and Priests [Consecration and Ordination of Women] Measure

If this legislation is passed we hope and pray that this will be a step on the way towards the full realisation that women and men are equally made in the image of God.

Vigilant scrutiny and care will be needed to ensure that the word “Respect” will be interpreted in such a way that the Code of Practice will ensure the excesses that resulted from the Act of Synod will be prevented through provision of a clearly defined code of conduct.

GRAS objectives:
  • The l993 Act of Synod should be rescinded as a precondition of new legislation.
  • A single enabling Measure to give clarity and affirmation to women’s full and equal status in all three orders of ministry. The legislation must be unconditional, with no discriminatory provisions.
  • A Code of Practice designed to recognise that there are essential elements of trust which need to be restored. The integrity and authority of the episcopate must be restored through the assignment of trust in each diocesan bishop, who should be responsible for provisions judged to be right for any in his or her care.
  • A commitment that, since the Church has accepted the principle of the orders of women as priests and bishops, in future all those being ordained should openly accept those orders as valid in accordance with the existing ecclesiastical rule (Canon A4).

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  1. Just like members of WATCH and their sympathizers, these people have no respect for views other than their own. Synod needs to realize how mean-minded these people are before it is too late and they completely have the upper hand.

  2. The 1993 Act of Synod rescinded? Well, seeing how it has been widely and plainly treated with contempt from the start ("1. There will be no discrimination against candidates either for ordination or for appointment to senior office in the Church of England on the grounds of their views about the ordination of women to the priesthood") this can hardly come as a surprise.

    Unconditional, with no discriminatory provisions? So in the interest of "the integrity and authority of the episcopate" we no longer force bishops who can't in good conscience ordain women, to get them to be ordained by someone else? Oh, I see. Some animals are more equal than others in this brave new world.

    All those being ordained should openly accept [women's] orders as valid? I am delighted that GRAS is willing to treat their conservative and Anglo-Catholic brothers and sisters with all the respect the Measure is calling for... oh, wait.

    Call me naive, but I am astonished that a group acting under the banner of Jesus Christ can come out with something as devoid of grace as this.

    John, GRAS has proved your point. 5.1.c needed to be strengthened, instead watered down with woolly "respect" language that, in the hands of the likes of GRAS, will mean as much as provision 1 of the 1993 Act of Synod: nothing. Absolutely nothing.

  3. I made a comment on this sort of thing in a blog post:
    "The fact that the measure has nothing “set in stone” for those against the ministry of women means that it leaves the door open for someone, acting in an ungodly fashion, to be able to force something upon them whenever they feel like it."

  4. The statement from GRAS is clear - they do not want a continuation of ordinands opposed to the ordination of women. If this is so, and no ordinands are ordained who are opposed, what will happen to the code of practice? What will happen to parishes letters of request - they become obsolete as no priest will be opposed to the ordination of women (in theory). Therefore, it is clear that all that GRAS wants to offer those opposed is a temporary hospice room until they have driven out the last remains of the catholic and evangelical integrity. How Xstian is that??!!!

  5. I am a member of WATCH and I do and will continue to offer respect towards those whose opinions are other than my own. It is one of the reasons that I personally decided to support legislation that was not a single clause measure, despite grave misgivings. The fact that WATCH may have taken this step out of genuine regard for others views is rarely acknowledged. It suits others better to assume that as women, we must have some dodgy self-centred motives.

    At the request of someone whose views differed from my own I began to regularly read New Directions, which was recommended as a way of gaining a deeper appreciation of others' views. It was there that I came across an article entitled 'Diversity smells of Sulphur' in the September issue that stated that even those who were willing to tolerate Women Bishops (e.g. the Better Together group) were in fact Satan's playthings and doing the work of the Enemy. The article recommended that ' our christian enemy should be treated as our Enemy.' While I understand that some disagree with the ordination of women and consider it a misguided development, it is more than a little alarming to know that is the level of respect accorded to women genuinely seeking to serve God in obedience to a Divine calling both discerned and affirmed by the Church (and to their supporters). Perhaps you will also understand that being described as Satan's plaything might be considered offensive and why, Peter den Haan, I, like you, fear that women will be treated very badly. There is, of course, no corresponding provision in the legislation for our view to be treated with respect, while yours will have protection in law.

    I have spent today reading another account of a female clergyperson subjected to a tirade of unsolicited verbal abuse from a complete stranger regarding her vocation. It is not, praise God, a common occurrence, but it is nevertheless a fact of life for ordained women. So meanmindednes I can reassure you is not restricted purely to those who support the ordained and episcopal ministry of women.

    Wayne, you talk about GRAS wishing to drive out the last remains of catholic and evangelical integrity, but I know people from both spiritual traditions who agree with the ordination and consecration of women and consider it entirely consistent with reason, tradition and scripture. You also ask how Xstian the GRAS position is. It has become very apparent from the response of some Conservative Evangelical and Catholic groups that they are absolutely determined to sink this legislation. So by the same measure ( ie that excluding people with particular theological views from ordained/episcopal ministry is unchristian) may I ask how Xstian it is to continue to exclude ordained women from episcopal ministry, despite it being agreed by the gathered Anglican communion (Lambeth) that provinces may do so and by the Church of England that they wish to proceed with this development ?

  6. License (I do wish people would comply with the request to use real names here!), some things people say in this debate are undoubtedly dodgy. It won't help (much) to say there are dodgy things being said on both sides, for example by supporters of women bishops about 'gospel imperatives'.

    There is also scant listening. I have spoken at Synods (deanery and diocesan) about the need for 'proper provision' and felt I have simply been ignored.

    Meanwhile, a group like GRAS exists purely to get rid of one of the few 'proper provisions' that has been in place and (actually) holding us together. You may imagine how this feels. I have also seen close up the lack of 'respect' for PCCs shown by the current hierarchy, which often shows little understanding for the conservative position.

    Be all that as it may, the aim of conservatives and traditionalists at the present time is, I think it would be fair to say, only to sink this legislation, not all legislation. My personal hope is that we will go 'back to the drawing board', but I am quite content for something better to emerge.

  7. thanks for sharing..