November 21, 2012

The Queen is the supreme governor of the Church of England, but...

... its General Synod just voted against permitting women to serve as bishops.
It has been 36 years since the General Synod declared it had no fundamental objection to ordaining women as priests, and 18 years since the first women were ordained. But that change never won universal acceptance in the church, with a determined minority arguing that that the move was contrary to the Bible.

That group, affirming what it sees as the Biblical idea of male “headship,” has demanded special arrangements to shield it from supervision by female bishops.
Don't worry. Being inconsistent is perfectly consistent with the Bible.

78 comments:

Hagar said...

and since you are not an Anglican, it is not any of your beeswax.

phx said...

I agree with Hagar. It's THEIR problem.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KenK said...

Hey Althouse. Feel free to start your own fucking religion if you need to but leave the CoE alone.

Ann Althouse said...

1. You don't know that I'm not Anglican.

2. Outsiders to groups can care about discrimination within groups.

3. I'm interested in the way the human mind works and hence in inconsistency.

4. The topic of the Queen is political... though it does involve the UK and I'm not UKtian.

rcommal said...

I'm pretty sure Althouse has attended at least an Episcopal Church in her time... .

---

What is it about posts on religion that appears so often to bring out the immediate...annoyance, or whatever in people? It's the dangdest thing.

EDH said...

but... its General Synod just voted against permitting women to serve as bishops.

Hey, they don't call it an archbishopric for nuthin'.

rcommal said...

I'm thinking about that church trip when Althouse was pregnant with--John, probably? Involving a bus and smoking.

McTriumph said...

Culture is culture is culture.

As a ICWT, I can tell you many gender changes have happened in The Church, but if the bag lady nuns in the media got their way, they would be the only ones in the pews at Sunday Mass.

Sam Hall said...

The CoE, a church started so a king could marry his mistress.

Peter said...

I would guess that many of us in the USA see an Established Church (however deprecated) as more risible than exclusion of women from a priesthood.

Baron Zemo said...

My dear lady the problem of any religion should be the sole concern of those who believe.

We would not interfere with Musselman if they refuse the shell fish.

It is not our place.

Baron Zemo said...

The thing is rcommal that people who believe don't like it when people who don't attack religion or religious practices.

Thus the sparks fly.

Hagar said...

In American terms, either is a 1st Amendment question.

As for philosophy, it seems religions and politics works better the more splendidly irrational in practice.

rcommal said...

Baron Zemo: Yeah, OK, but even the ECUSA teaches the "turn the other cheek" thing. ; )

----

(I am a cradle Episcopalian [rare-ish breed, today] and the granddaughter of cradle CofE Anglicans going back to the split, so I hope no one is going to get all shirty about that little quip of mine. But, whatever!)

gerry said...

A sacrament, to be valid, must use proper substance as its outward sign. A woman is the not the proper substance, according to the sacrament as instituted by Christ.

This is not a political issue. It is a religious one.

Freder Frederson said...

You don't know that I'm not Anglican.

I do. Because if you were Anglican, you would know the difference between the worldwide Anglican community and the Church of England. You would also know that the American Anglican Church (aka Episcopal Church) has been ordaining women as bishops for quite some time. In fact, the current Presiding Bishop of the American Episcopal Church (roughly, but not exactly the U.S. equivalent of the Archbishop of Canterbury) is a woman (and has been since 2006).

So what exactly is your point as it relates to the American Anglican community?

Baron Zemo said...

Politics and religion is where most of our conflicts begin.

However most of us take our religion a lot more seriously.

Unless of course you are someone like Joe Biden.

Baron Zemo said...

Plus when you let women get involved in picking leaders you end up with Barack Hussein Obama. Just sayn'

X said...

wait, you're telling me an organization with Prince Charles as the CEO in waiting has hierarchical issues?

traditionalguy said...

So they need the permission of a devine right queen to decide if a woman can rise to governance level. She must govern them.

Rusty said...

" I am the Queen of England!
I like to sing and dance!
And if you do not like it,
I'll punch you in the pants!"

Not the Queen.
Mind you.
But some other chap.
Harry.


What?
This thread was supposed to be serious?

Hagar said...

St. Paul had it right!

hombre said...

Presumably, this move by the CoE was provoked by voting patterns in the US which called into question the judgment of women in the English-speaking world.

edutcher said...

Sorry, Ann, but, considering what's given you chills lately, maybe you ought to let this one pass.

Given the CoE's conduct generally the past few decades, I'm not sure why they'd suddenly decide to draw the line at women bishops, but who am I to say...

Paddy O said...

the American Anglican Church (aka Episcopal Church)

These aren't actually equivalent anymore, as there is an Anglican Church in America movement (ACNA, conservative in theology), which is actually more concerned with the global Anglican movement and more in line with its approaches.

The Episcopal church thumbs its nose as the global communion, and the global communion has not responded favorably.

Scott said...

"In fact, the current Presiding Bishop of the American Episcopal Church (roughly, but not exactly the U.S. equivalent of the Archbishop of Canterbury) is a woman (and has been since 2006)."

In fact, the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori was a woman before 2006 as well.

The Anglican Communion is not like the Roman Catholic Church in that the Archbishop of Cantebury is not a Pope. There is collegiality among the bishops, but there is no significant political power that flows down from the Archbishop. A bishop's dioocese is pretty much self-contained.

gerry said...


In fact, the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori was a woman before 2006 as well.


A well-timed chuckle! Thank you!

Michael said...

The Anglican Communion, an offshoot of the Roman Catholic Church, has been on the slippery slope for quite some time; giving a little here and a lot there. Most amusing of all is the fact that all the little brown and black people they troubled to convert in the 19th century down there in their African backwaters actually believed what they were taught!! They took it to heart that the Bible said what it said. And now here they come being all un-nuanced and doctrinaire and voting against the very PC things that matter most to the CofE which has become a wing of the far left in the UK. HAHAHA.

There is no "discrimination" in having a two thousand year rule of male bishops. The "discrimination" is in having none at all as to rules, traditions and doctrine.

But make no mistake. This is the fruit of the success of 19th century evangelism biting the CofE in its politically correct backside: by little brown and black people.

I have a foot in Rome and a foot in Canterbury so I watch these events with perspective and amusement.

shiloh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Renee said...

Church of England created for the sake to divorce the Queen...


Well...

What did we expect?

I wonder what Saint Thomas More would say?


gerry said...

The Anglican Communion, an offshoot of the Roman Catholic Church, has been on the slippery slope for quite some time

That's what happens when a church loses Apostolic Succession.

Scott said...

The Anglican Communion never lost the apostolic succession (which is probably a myth anyway). There are just women in it now.

Ann Althouse said...

Hagar said... "and since you are not an Anglican, it is not any of your beeswax."

I said: "You don't know that I'm not Anglican."

Freder said: "I do. Because if you were Anglican, you would know the difference between the worldwide Anglican community and the Church of England.... So what exactly is your point as it relates to the American Anglican community?"

My point is I was responding to Hagar who seems to be trying to define the scope of the beeswax around here. The inference should be, the beeswax around here is defined by the Queen around here, which is me, and I'll say what I see fit on the subjects I see fit, and one of my biggest Queen-Bee points is interestingness, including concision and humor. So step up. Mind the beeswax.

shiloh said...

Althouse, let your beeswax be fruitful and multiply!

Happy Thanksgiving :)

Valentine Smith said...

Women don't have a Bishop to spank, hence they cannot be Bishops. Makes perfect sense.

rcommal said...

My point is I was responding to Hagar who seems to be trying to define the scope of the beeswax around here. The inference should be, the beeswax around here is defined by the Queen around here, which is me, and I'll say what I see fit on the subjects I see fit, and one of my biggest Queen-Bee points is interestingness, including concision and humor. So step up. Mind the beeswax.

This may be one of the Queen Bee's whacking best comments ever in her own comments section.

rcommal said...

**whacks knee**

Beeswax. Bee's whacks!

I saw what you did there.

Heh heh. Heh heh.

edutcher said...

She's on a roll, it seems.

Seeing Red said...

--Don't worry. Being inconsistent is perfectly consistent with the Bible. --


Or humanity.

Bender said...

the beeswax around here is defined by the Queen around here

And if what is involved is something that is not wax and not made by bees, it is still beeswax if she says so because truth is subject to the arbitrary dictates of a Queen who knows little about either bees or wax.

Erika said...

That is indeed interesting, and surprising.

Erika said...

But I hate that talk of "discrimination" in the church. The church doesn't work that way. The church answers to, and is organized on the principles of, a radically different authority than the Modern American Grievance Industry which relies on "discrimination" as its bread and butter.

Bender said...

There once was a man not very well versed in the law who demanded "I want to be the Queen law professor!" And there were many who said to deny him that would be discriminatory.

And so this man was given a classroom and a bunch of students. Someone poked her head in one day to see how the class was going and she saw everyone sitting around watching TV and playing video games. She asked, "excuse me sir, but what are you doing" He responded, "Don't call me sir, I am a Queen, and I am teaching the law." She retorted, "but you are neither a Queen -- you can't be, you are a man -- and what you are doing is not law." "How dare you! How dare you impose your bigoted beliefs on me and deny me choice. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. I AM the Queen law professor!"

rcommal said...

Not quite 1993.

Methadras said...

The Bishop!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDnE-5lD7w8

K in Colorado said...

In this case, there were three houses voting: Bishops, Clergy, and Laity. It failed only in Laity, and only by less than a handful of votes. There were two factions in the No vote of the Laity. The first were those conservatives that wanted more protection for those opposed to women bishops, while the second was composed of those that thought there should be no protection at all (if a woman is ordained as a bishop, she IS a bishop, and there should be no distinction made at all between male and female bishops). So, the extremes on both sides voted no, and defeated the measure (for now).

Bender said...

Of course, the very idea of putting doctrine and theology to a vote is deny the existence of both.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

There are lots of things women shouldn't be allowed to do, and the same is true for men. What's the big deal?

rcommal said...

NOT intended as snark:

Bender, wasn't voting involved at, for example, the Council of Nicaea? This is not my area of expertise by any means, and I could be seriously misremembering. (It's been a long, long, long time since I read into that aspect of church history.) But that was the first question that jumped to mind when I read your comment.

karrde said...

@Sam Hall,
The CoE, a church started so a king could marry his mistress.

Well, the history of the CoE is complicated by the fact that this royal-marriage business was part of its founding.

But it had to keep some portion of the tradition of Christianity alive.

The question of the status of women as ministers is one that the Catholics, Orthodox, and Coptic churches have all weighed in on. Generally, those churches are stricter than Protestant churches on that subject.

And the CofE is the most-traditional among the Protestant churches, because it doesn't have its roots in a doctrinal split with Rome...but you already mentioned that.

K in Colorado said...

But voting on such things is the Anglican (Episcopalian) way. Being an Episcopalian, I can comment on that. Our General Convention is just as political as the Congress, and can play the same word games to avoid problems with certain parts of our Constitution and Canons. Case in point, the latest General Convention that met this summer voted to allow "provisional" rites for same sex blessings. The original wording was "trial", but "trial" rites need 2/3 vote to pass to modify the Book of Common Prayer, not a simple majority, so the "trial" was changed to "provisional" to get it passed.

Problem is, there are no such things as "provisional" rites. My only comment is that if you are going to do something, be honest about it and don't play word games. Just like Louisiana, where "gambling" is banned by state constitution. There is no gambling in the state, but there is something called "gaming" which goes on in casinos, with blackjack, slot machines, and so on.

Rusty said...

This reminds me of a Monte Python skit.
Concerning an Anglican bishop and a hand grenade.
Thereby combining two threads in one.

Is that a hand grenade in your pocket,
Or are you the bishop of Kent?

Guimo said...

Law school professor Althouse has too much free time on her hands. But then I repeat myself.

gerry said...

The Anglican Communion never lost the apostolic succession

Thomas Cranmer cut the cord centuries ago.

EMD said...

General Synod is so much lamer a villain than General Zod.

jille said...

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." -Emerson

gutless said...

To the priestess set I say, (insert Nelson Muntz laugh here).

gutless said...

To the priestess set I say, (insert Nelson Muntz laugh here).

ken in sc said...

The Episcopal diocese in southeastern South Carolina is currently in rebellion against the national church over the gay marriage issue. The diocese has declared that no members or leaders are subject to orders or instructions from the national church. In return, the national church has announced that the presiding bishop is no longer authorized to administer any sacraments. This announcement is being ignored. In addition, there are a number of Anglican churches in South Carolina who already do not recognize the Episcopal hierarchy. They claim loyalty to bishops in other countries, Nigeria being one of them.

Interestingly, the colonial province of South Carolina was originally organized by the COE. The coastal areas were divided into parishes. The vestrymen were elected by the congregation and they were responsible for collecting local taxes, and all local government functions; roads, bridges, hospitals, and so forth. Charleston was called the Holy City because of it's many churches. The back country was divided into districts because there were not enough Anglicans there to form a parish. They were mostly Presbyterians and got short thrift from the colonial government.

Baron Zemo said...

Africa is the new heart of Christianity.

I think we might get a black pope sooner rather than later.

And that would be a great thing.

I have met several priests from Nigeria, Togo, Camaroon and Gabon in the past few years and they were without exception holy and worthy men who anyone would be proud to call their spiritual leaders.

Baron Zemo said...

Actually I can't wait to get a black pope.

I bet they will be a lot more serious about the Church and it's doctrines.

I can't wait to hear what pretend Catholics like the Kennedys, Biden and Pelosi will say when a militant black pope calls them to account.

That is going to be fun. Yessiree!

gerry said...

They were mostly Presbyterians and got short thrift from the colonial government.

As it should be. ;)

Sam L. said...

Live & let live. To each his own. Celebrate Diversity!

(Get over it.)

Fr Martin Fox said...

Baron:

Not that it matters, but I wonder if we haven't already had a "black pope"?

In the ancient world, were the races segregated the way we might imagine? I'd like to know.

What we do know is that several popes were from Africa--north Africa of course--and some we don't know. They weren't all Romans, let alone Italians; it's many centuries before the Italians dominate.

Also, remember that nationalism is a modern concept.

That excursion into history aside, I agree it may happen before too long that one of the sub-Saharan African prelates is elevated to the chair of Peter. What I wonder about is whether the next conclave will be interested in such "history making"? They may want to be boring--i.e., stay with an Italian. The way the Catholic hierarchy thinks, there's plenty of time to make history.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Just to be clear: I know very well that to be north African, then or now, doesn't mean you're "black." But it doesn't mean you're not. And I am betting it didn't in ancient times, either.

Baron Zemo said...

I don't know Father. The Church is alive and thriving in Africa. It would be very exciting and quite fitting that we have a current day black pope.

There might have been one back in the day. I think we had enough guinea's. Let's get someone who will read the riot act. Just sayn'

Strelnikov said...

I'm sure Elizabeth isn't interested in the job.

AmericanWoman said...

Anne - You better believe the topic of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement is of political relevance to all of us today. Shakespeare wrote all about it as a closet Catholic (yes folks - he was not an uneducated lad who knew little Greek or Latin - rather- he was an avid resistor to the fascist Elizabethan Oath of Supremacy and awful consequences if anyone would be "outed" as a Catholic).

Learn. Google it. Get with the current times - and read a little Shakespeare through an entirely new lens.

The totalitarian effort to control people's religion in England during Shakespeare's times is why we have a United States of America.

And even though Catholics were not welcome in America (it was the Anglicans or their Puritan derivatives that fled her in the 1600's)for a long time.....they were the resistance party - the anarchists - the Occupy Folks - all along.

I say they still are but that's just my humble POV.

AmericanWoman said...

For anyone interested in the Lancastrian theory of Shakespeare authorship (yes folks - we have a club :-) -

Just start Googling the question "Was Shakespeare a Catholic".

Learn a lot - it's an amazingly interesting hobby to .....well me and a couple of folks I email regularly in Germany, France, England and Italy.

reformed trucker said...

Bender @ 9:51 a.m.

This.

reformed trucker said...

Women are not to be behind the pulpit, nor elders, nor deacons. How you "feel" really doesn't mean crap, Ann.

And if you insist on playing junior theologian, you might want to familiarize yourself with the subject. Read 1 Tim. 3:1-13.

If you need more references let me know, but I'm sure you won't even read the above.

If wishes were horses, then beggars could ride...

Ralph L said...

The totalitarian effort to control people's religion in England during Shakespeare's times is why we have a United States of America
DamnYankee.
Virginia was founded for profit and had an established church until Independence.

And the CofE is the most-traditional among the Protestant churches, because it doesn't have its roots in a doctrinal split with Rome
Not with Henry VIII, but his son Edward VI and the Martyr Cramner went relatively Protestant, but not wholy hog. In media res (or something like that) was a motto of the Church.

wyo sis said...

As my children say "Neener, Neener Beeswax."
I have no idea what it means, but it has an "up yours" vibe.

AmericanWoman said...

Ralph L. - "in media res' simply means in the middle of things. Shakespeare's times were in the denoument or resolution of the dramatic arc that had Catholic heads on stakes all along the London Bridge and Catholic recusants being drawn and quartered in the public square.

Just Google the life of S. Edmund Campion to have a small clue as to the Hitler like facism under the Elizabthan ruls of England when Shakepseare wrote.

Shakespeare actually lives still- sadly not so much in American colleges now (actually - much more in Africa) for a VERY, VERY GOOD REASON.

He lives because he dramatized more than anyone other than Sophocles with the Oedipus Trilogy (most notably Antigone)2,300 years ago or more... our current struggles with religion and state affairs.


AmericanWoman said...

Michael - I loved your assessment of the COE.

As a Catholic feminist (yes, we do exist) I just have to accept that my ancient Church which has survived for centuries just hasn't yet gotten the memo about women being priests and I am just fine with that.

My time in this church is a speck compared to the time my church has survived.

Ad I kind of like the whole continuity thing. It makes me see I am a part of something so much bigger - and constant - and consistent (Thank you St. Augustine) than me or my times.

Jim in St Louis said...

Fr Fox is spot on to remind us of early church history- I think the other comments that trace the split back to the Tudor reformation are neglecting the earlier history of the English church.

The Primacy of Rome was never really accepted up north. Charlemagne recognized the superior intellect of the English theologians, even back as far as Constantine the independence of the church in England was acknowledged. Power grab by the See of Rome IMHO.

Apostolic Succession- sure you bet, but it does not over ride the church militant as a community making these decisions.

The role of women in the church is exactly what it should be- most congregations of whatever denomination are majority female. They have the power and always have.

I'm thinking that Althouse sees this as a issue of feminism in her own personal definition- (don't ask). But this is not oppression or power struggle. This is just humans trying to get closer to whatever the heck it is that we are supposed to be doing.

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