After the disappointment of the way Jeffrey John has been treated (yet again) because of his sexuality, encouragement has come from the General Synod when it clearly voted (yet again) to ordain women as Bishops, and without any clauses which will undermine future women Bishops.
The significance of last weekend's votes are:
- that the Archbishops' attempt to introduce amendments that would undermine the authority of future women Bishops by giving too much away to those opposed to women's ministry, was voted out by clergy at General Synod
- that the final vote in favour of women Bishops, means that it can now go to Dioceses for approval before the final legislative vote in 2012.
While it is true that the process seems to be taking forever to push forward, the momentum is clearly gathering for a truly gender inclusive structure for ministry, even if inclusion irrespective of sexuality will take longer.
Once again, however, it is the House of Bishops who have been lagging behind the rest of the CofE in this move forward. The lectionary Gospel reading on Thursday this week was Matthew 11:25-27 in which Jesus rejoices that his truths have been hidden from the wise and learned, but revealed to simple people. It is perhaps not surprising then, when things that seem obvious to ordinary people cause so much angst the higher up you go in the church hierarchy! Increasingly, in my experience, this is the case in all questions of inclusion in the church.
So all in all, a much better week for the Church of England - but sadly, not for the Roman Catholic Church...
Faced with increasing pressure around the world relating to its totally (perhaps criminally) inadequate response to issue of child abuse in the church, it has released new rules relating to allegations of child abuse among the clergy. These rules do go further than before in requiring Bishops and church leaders to act in such cases, but critically they do not require automatic referral of such criminal allegations to the civil authorities (ie the police).
Yet at the very same time, the Roman Catholic Church also issued a statement on women's ordination, stating that anyone attempting to ordain a woman as a priest, is guilty of the 'gravest crime against the church'.
Of the 2 'crimes' under consideration, I know which I consider to be the worst.