Friday, 11 April 2008

Anglican female bishop

Roger Herft is intending to consecrate Kay Goldsworthy as the first female Anglican bishop in Australia on May 22, 2008.

UPDATE: News now public.

My prediction is that this'll cause an irrevocable public split within the Anglican denomination in Australia.

UPDATE: ABC report here. Says Philip Aspinall: "Yes, there is a bit of a split, and sometimes it means that it's hard to get with each other on that matter, but on the whole we do get on and we talk to each other and pray together and all that sort of thing..."

A bit of a split? What is that?


Anonymous said...

May I ask why you think this will be the cause of the split? I ask as female priests did not cause a split [at least not formally]; is it because of the office of Bishop? Or do you think those opposed to women's ordination have just had enough and will split? Or something else? Just curious about the view from the inside.

Gordon Cheng said...

Ian, it's a political observation. The denomination can be held together in a piecemeal sort of way even when you have female priests operating. Those who don't like it just leave. But now you will have the door opened to female bishops exercising authority over churches that question their right to do this, and even the reality of their consecration. A church can't just pick itself up and move it to the next diocese.

So I think there will be an inevitable fall-out whereby parishes who don't want a female bishop will seek a friendly oversight from elsewhere. Maybe this could have been arrived at amicably pre all the TEC conflagration, but I doubt it will be at all amicable now.

As I say, it's a political observation not a theological one, and may be quite wrong.

Anonymous said...

The SMH is reporting it now. Were you the leak? :)

Thanks for you the explanation. It does make sense, but is still a terrible thing to consider -- I may've left the Anglican church, but I still hold great affection for it, and particularly for those within its walls. Splits, schisms and such are never pleasant [I'm in the Orthodox Church...I know them first hand], and are cause for much mourning.

Anonymous said...

It was on AAP

John Sandeman

nic jameson said...

having read your post just before i went to lunch i was further enlightened in the elevator on my way down - we have mini TV screens that show ads, weather and news tidbits. i was kind of surprised it made the cut actually, the usual focus is britney spears or nrl...

nic jameson said...

p.s. from the smh article:

'"The bishops agreed to make special provision in situations where the ministry of a woman bishop would not be welcome."

It is expected parishes that disagree with oversight from a female bishop would be able to receive some form of alternative oversight from a male bishop, either in the same region or a neighbouring diocese.'

Gordon Cheng said...

The bishops agreed to make special provision in situations

I'm thinkin' Maginot Line.

Anonymous said...

you are aware she is only an assistant bishop?

Gordon Cheng said...

Just a matter of time, though, isn't it?

The only barriers to deploying female bishops anywhere in Australia now will be administrative, and have to do with bishops keeping their word when faced with congregations that don't want women bishops.

It does occasionally happen that bishops don't keep their own rules.

Jereth said...

I saw this news today. I guess it shouldn't surprise anyone -- we've known since about last October that it was coming. Many people here expected Melbourne to be the first diocese to move ahead and ordain a female bishop. In fact, an Anglican minister who is a friend was saying just last weekend that our Archbishop was very keen to be the first to elevate a woman to bishop. Alas we've been beaten!!

It worries me that Perth has gone and done this just one or two days after the bishops had their meeting. It suggests to me that the move is political and symbolic, rather than being based upon sound biblical and pastoral principles; for instance, who possesses suitable qualities for the office, and what is best for the people.

I agree that this is a divisive development. Indeed, the very principle of "alternative episcopal oversight", should it become a reality (and I hope and pray it does), is an acknowledgment of an institutionally divided church.

However, I'm not convinced Gordo that there will be a large scale public split, at least not in the near future. Melbourne Anglicans seem determined not to make this a divisive issue, and even those of us who disagree with women's ordination on grounds of Scripture and Orthodoxy have shown that we are capable of exercising a great deal of patience and tolerance.

Some friends of mine are working on an essay which touches on women in the episcopate. When completed, it may appear on so watch that space.