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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee