Gummer says women priests pose a threat

IN A wide-ranging attack on the Church of England, John Gummer, the Minister of Agriculture and a member of the Church of England's General Synod, yesterday claimed that the ordination of women priests would stop opponents becoming bishops.

In an article in the Spectator, the weekly political magazine, Mr Gummer wrote that, if the Synod were to permit the ordination of women in November, 'bishops would, of course, still be allowed to deny the Virgin Birth, explain away the Miracles, or have doubts about the Resurrection.

'However, any reservations about the ordination of women would exclude them from the episcopacy forever. A man could be a a bishop, although he denies the beliefs the Church has taught everywhere, but banned if he doubts one belief the Church has never taught anywhere.'

Mr Gummer's claim that the proposed law would prevent opponents of women's ordination from becoming bishops is disputed by one of its main architects, Professor David McClean, chairman of the Synod's House of Laity. He said: 'He's wrong: There's nothing to stop the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev David Hope, from being the next Archbishop of Canterbury. What Gummer is saying is mischievous and untrue.'

The Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Rt Rev Jim Thompson, said: 'It's not true now that opponents of women priests are not made bishops and I don't think it will be true then.

'The only requirement of a bishop is that he is willing to be a bishop to all his people.

'Recent consecrations have shown the Church is not behaving as Mr Gummer says it will.'

Dr Thompson, a supporter of women's ordination who decided to start talking more on the subject after a vote in the House of Laity last week, suggested that the legislation may fail in November for want of a two-thirds majority.

He said: 'The opponents keep on talking about the costs of going ahead and the divisions that are going ahead and ignoring the loss, the haemorrhaging that is taking place because people cannot understand our delays in this matter. We spend all our time concentrating on the minority.

'It is time we stood up for the silent majority.'

However, a spokesman for the traditionalist Bishop of London, the Rt Rev David Hope, said that the bishop was not convinced the legislation would not exclude opponents of women priests from the Bench of Bishops.

Mr Gummer went on to accuse the Church of 'using Tesco-speak translations (of the Bible). At the very time when the Government is reintroducing Shakespeare in our schools, the Church of England continues to use the language of Jeffrey Archer.'

But his link between support for the ordination of women and doctrinal laxity infuriated some evangelicals. The Rev Pete Broadbent, vicar of Trinity St Michael's, Harrow, north-west London, said that 'a large majority of evangelicals who would call themselves orthodox support the ordination of women'.

'His article is a load of rubbish, if you ask me.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Franchise Operations Manager - Midlands or North West

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The position will be home based...

Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent publishing and...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Solution Architect - Contract

£500 - £600 per day: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Solution Architect is requir...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue