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ACNA College of Bishops Issue Solomonic Decision on Women's Ordination

ACNA College of Bishops Issue Solomonic Decision on Women's Ordination

NEWS ANALYSIS

By David W. Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
Sept. 10, 2017

In a decision that will not please everybody, but one that goes against the grain of progressive Anglican provinces like The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church of England, the Church in Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Australia and AOTEAROA; the Anglican Church in North America vetoed women bishops and women priests, but left open the door to those dioceses that still wish to ordain women.

"We agree that there is insufficient scriptural warrant to accept women's ordination to the priesthood as standard practice throughout the Province. However, we continue to acknowledge that individual dioceses have constitutional authority to ordain women to the priesthood," said the statement.

The College of Bishops unanimously agreed that women will never be consecrated as bishops in the Anglican Church in North America.

ACNA does allow women to be ordained to the Diaconate.

This decision flies in the face of a recent decision by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who oversaw the first women consecrated as bishops in the Church of England. Two weeks ago, the Anglican Church of Australia consecrated its first woman archbishop.

Internationally among the global Anglican Communion, it is a mixed bag.

There are four Anglican Communion jurisdictions that do not ordain any women to any order. They are: Central Africa, Melanesia, Papua New Guinea, and South-East Asia.

Two Anglican Communion jurisdictions do not ordain women priests. They are Nigeria and Pakistan. Most African provinces ordain women to the priesthood, with the exception of Rwanda and Nigeria.

One Anglican Communion jurisdiction that permits the ordination women priests, but hasn't done so yet is Burma.

Eleven Anglican Communion jurisdictions permit the consecration of women bishops, but haven't done so are: Bangladesh, Brazil, Central America, Japan, Mexico, North India, the Philippines, Scotland, the Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Ten Anglican Communion jurisdictions that have consecrated women bishops are: Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia, Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Southern Africa, South India, the United States, Wales and Cuba.

Ten Anglican Communion jurisdictions that have priests but do not permit the consecration of women bishops are: Burundi, Hong Kong, Indian Ocean, Jerusalem & the Middle East, Kenya, Korea, Rwanda, South America, West Africa and the West Indies.

Six Anglican Communion provincial and extra-provincial jurisdictions that have woman priests, but the canonical status of the consecration of women bishops is questionable and have no bishops are: Burma, Bermuda, Ceylon, the Falkland Islands, Spain and Portugal. It could not be ascertained if the Congo has women priests. They do not have or allow women bishops.

Overall, there is little evidence, theological arguments aside, that women priests or women bishops have successfully planted churches or made churches grow.

It should be further noted that the Roman Catholic Church does not ordain women to any order as expressed in the current Code of Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that "Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination." The Catholic Church teaches that this requirement is a matter of divine law and thus doctrinal. They also believe that women cannot be validly ordained as deacons.

The Orthodox Church precludes the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopacy. It is a matter of Holy Tradition, as well as a vision of ministry as something not limited to the ordained priesthood.

Alice Linsley, an American anthropologist and former Episcopal priest who renounced her orders after extensive biblical, theological and anthropological studies says the priesthood of women is informed by feminism and Process Theology, not by Scripture or sacred history.

Linsley believes the temptation is to create a designer church or to seek to reproduce the late great Episcopal Church. "No new ground can be won by facing backward. We have entered upon a great adventure as pioneers on a new frontier."

She observed that the wreckage of women's ordination can be seen in the same diocese that put forward Barbara Harris, the first African American female bishop; Geralyn Wolf, the first female bishop to have converted from Judaism; and Mary Glasspool, the first partnered lesbian bishop. "I knew them all...their perspectives on the priesthood were informed by feminism and Process Theology. Our paths diverged dramatically once I began to consider questions about the origin and nature of the priesthood from the perspective of anthropology."

"Catholic Anglicans have a special role to play in the revitalization of Anglicanism worldwide. We have a responsibility to oppose feminism, process theology, reductionism, fundamentalism, and iconoclasm," she said.

END

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