Church granted Royal Assent for female priests: Andrew Brown looks at a compromise that has left discontent on both sides of the debate
Wednesday 10 November 1993
The Church's General Synod, meeting in London, spent most of the day debating the 'Act of Synod' which will provide a variety of safeguards for opponents of female priests, including three 'flying bishops' who can be guaranteed to have nothing to do with women as priests. Though this compromise was agreed by all but one member of the House of Bishops, it had been criticised by supporters of female priests, who claimed it would condemn them forever to a second-rate ministry and institutionalise division within the Church.
But the first attack on it in the debate came from an opponent of female priests, the Rev Martin Flatman, who last year became the first clergyman to announce that he would leave the Church of England and become a Roman Catholic in protest against the Synod's decision to ordain women.
However, Fr Flatman will not leave until the legislation has gone through all its stages. He remains a member of the General Synod until then. 'If you are going to stay in the Church of England, you must be a part of it,' he told fellow opponents.
'Either you are at one with your bishops or you are not. If the Catholic movement in the Church of England is going to end up in some sort of ghetto, then it is not worth it.
'If the bishops of the Church of England want to be reasonable, why don't they encourage us to become Roman Catholics?' Fr Flatman asked.
However, the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev David Hope, spoke for most opponents of female priests still in the Church of England when he threatened to ban female priests from his diocese (as the legislation allows) if the Act were not passed.
But it was clear that the Synod had been largely convinced by the arguments of the Archbishop of York, who proposed the Act.
The most ferocious onslaught came from the Rev Philip Crowe, principal of Salisbury and Wells Theological College, who had proposed an amendment which would demand that all candidates for ordination and promotion admit that women can be priests.
Quoting an article in yesterday's Independent, he said: 'The Act of Synod modifies what women's ordination means: it will not mean what men's ordination means. I do not want us to create so much space that we cease to be a church and become a vacuum.'
All the amendments were rejected, and the legislation is certain of success tomorrow.
By the end of October, 31 priests, six of them retired, had left the Church to become Roman Catholics in protest against the decision to ordain women, according to a survey of 38 of the 44 dioceses, the Synod was told by the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Rev Barry Rogerson.
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Israel-Gaza conflict: The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real
Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
Syria conflict: Syrian and Turkish Kurds unite to battle Isis threat - ‘We shoot them like sheep, but next day double the number return’
Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...
£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...
Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...