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ENGLAND: WHY TEA WILL NOT SATISFY TRADITIONALISTS

WHY TEA WILL NOT SATISFY TRADITIONALISTS

By Roland W. Morant

The chief proposal of the House of Bishops' Guildford Group in its recent report on Women Bishops was to recommend the adoption of a scheme in the Church of England called Transferred Episcopal Arrangements. This scheme, now universally known by its acronym, TEA, is intended to provide an ecclesial framework for all traditionalists who are unwilling to accept the introduction of women bishops into the C. of E.

But before we look at this proposal in detail, we must ask what the existing schemes in force within the Church are, schemes which have been operating for a dozen or so years and which many would say have gone some way to meet the religious needs of orthodox people.

We must always keep in mind that these schemes were imposed by a liberal/revisionist majority on a minority which a few years earlier had represented the overwhelming bulk of membership of the Church of England of both clerical and lay persuasions. To many in the pro women priests lobby, a begrudging concession of things needed to keep most traditionalists within the Church marked the start of a period when frequent attempts were employed in parishes to undermine the position of traditionalists and weaken their resolve to hold on. More recently, calls have been made to dispense with the Act of Synod. As we shall see however, this weakening of resolve has not happened and the traditionalist position has in fact strengthened.

If victors' justice had not been imposed within the General Synod, given the extreme nature of the innovation to introduce women priests into a church claiming to be part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church, parishes might well have been invited to "petition in" to have women priests rather than to "petition out". But the former procedure was not legislated for and to have women priests was made the parochial norm..

The London Plan and the Act of Synod Essentially there are two such schemes, these covering the forty-three dioceses in England including the Isle of Man. One of these schemes, the London Plan, was devised slightly earlier than the other, the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod of 1993, and it is the London Plan that we shall briefly first describe.

Under the London Plan, originally devised for the diocese of London, the bishop of London retains his responsibility as ordinary, i.e. ultimate source of authority in the diocese. The Plan authorises the bishop of Fulham, a suffragan, to serve as an area bishop for petitioning parishes in the diocese. His clerical duties, given in "Consecrated Women?" (CW), are "to visit and enter those parishes and be responsible for confirmations, ordinations, presentation, institutions, licensings and permissions to officiate and the selection of candidates for ordination and such other episcopal duties as shall be assigned to him by the ordinary" (CW, p.193).

As we shall see, the Act of Synod (AS) provides a somewhat narrower remit for the needs of petitioning parishes, the diocesan bishop retaining his role as ordinary within his diocese. The purpose of the scheme outlined in the Act is to provide, as with the London Plan, extended episcopal oversight of petitioning parishes, "extended" in the sense that the oversight stems from the ordinary who at all times retains his jurisdictional authority.

In a preamble to the Act the General Synod regards it as desirable that everyone concerned in its working should ensure that "discernment of the righteousness or otherwise of the decision to ordain women to the priesthood should be as open a process as possible; the highest degree of communion should be maintained within each diocese; and the integrity of differing beliefs should be mutually recognised and respected" (AS, preamble, section a). The problem with this intention was that it has often not been realised, with many stories telling of unfair pressure being brought to bear on traditionalist parishes.

The Provincial Episcopal Visitor aka Flying Bishop "Appropriate arrangements" as they are termed are to be made for extended episcopal oversight at three levels - provincial, regional and diocesan - by using bishops who do not accept the notion of women priests and/or who will not carry out such ordinations themselves. The Act states that at provincial level three new suffragan bishops are to be consecrated, up to two for the province of Canterbury and one for the province of York. These three suffragans are to serve as additional stipendiary bishops respectively in the dioceses of Canterbury and York. But as provincial episcopal visitors (PEVs) as they are called in the Act,, they carry out provision of extended episcopal oversight which is made available throughout each province respectively

The precise appropriate arrangements to be carried out by the PEVs are not detailed with the precision that they are in the London Plan with respect to the duties of the bishop of Fulham. However, the Act determines two functions. One refers to the "extended pastoral care and sacramental ministry that are to be provided in petitioning parishes; the other is the requirement that each PEV "will act as spokesman and advisor for those who are opposed to the ordination of women to the priesthood and will assist the archbishops in monitoring the operation of this Act of Synod" (AS, para.5, sub-para.4).

Other appropriate arrangements are referred to at the levels of individual dioceses and regions (groups of dioceses in close proximity). In all these cases the arrangements are to be carried out, if not by PEVs, by other bishops of orthodox persuasion. According to local need, these may be diocesan bishops from neighbouring dioceses, stipendiary assistant bishops and suffragans.

Curiously enough, the matter of canonical obedience does not seem to have been of major concern to clergy in petitioning (aka Resolution C) parishes. In all cases where PEVs, and other bishops used for extended oversight, have been brought in for sacramental and pastoral purposes, traditionalist priests appear to have transferred obedience from their diocesan ordinaries without much difficulty. It is true that diocesans who are now all male, retain responsibility for administering the whole of their dioceses including their Resolution C parishes. But although according to the letter of the law absolute jurisdiction stays in the hands of the ordinary, the practice of "letting sleeping dogs lie" seems to have taken over and matters like canonical obedience appear to have been waived. Ordinaries so far do not seem to have insisted that priests and deacons in Resolution C parishes should make their oaths of obedience to them. Traditionalist clergy have come to accept wholeheartedly bishops whom they could trust for pastoral oversight, and that has resolved present problems and difficulties for the time being. Though most ordinaries, in the eyes of many traditionalists, have "impaired" themselves by ordaining women as priests and deacons - the bishop of London is a noteworthy exception - even this does not seem to have unduly disturbed traditionalist clergy in revisionist dioceses.

Parishes Petitioning for PEVs The procedure for petitioning by parishes is laid down in precise terms in the Act of Synod. The decision for invoking it is the responsibility of the parochial church council (PCC) which is authorised if it so wishes to seek the advice of the PEV. The Act states that at least four weeks notice must be given to all members of the council giving details of the date, place and time of the meeting when the motion proposing the resolution for petitioning will be considered. The meeting must be attended by at least one half of the members; and at least two-thirds must vote in favour of the resolution. If an incumbent is in post, he must signify that he is in favour, whether or not he attends the meeting.

On being presented with the petition which has observed the criteria laid down in the Act of Synod, the diocesan bishop shall make appropriate arrangements on behalf of the parish, that is bring into play the services of a PEV or other bishop (depending on the particular circumstances relating to whether the arrangements required are provincial, regional or diocesan). If as part of making these arrangements a diocesan wishes to meet the PCC after Resolution C has been passed, he is only permitted to confirm what arrangements would be acceptable to the council, not what would be acceptable to him.

The PCC must review the working of the arrangements at least in every five year period; and it has the power at any time to withdraw the petition, namely to revert to normal parochial status within the diocese.

Note that petitioning is weighted against individual parishes. A simple majority does not compel the diocesan bishop to take action (although he may), only a two-thirds majority of the PCC will do. Moreover, the council is obliged to review its position again within the five-year period, although the Act does not stipulate that there must be a revote on petitioning.

It will be remembered that the bishop of Fulham's remit was originally designed as a diocesan scheme for London. But when the Act of Synod came into force he acquired responsibility for regional arrangements covering the two dioceses of Rochester and Southwark which neighbour London. The petitioning procedures used in the three dioceses for which the bishop of Fulham is responsible, are essentially the same as for all the other dioceses.

How the Schemes have Worked out Having summarised the London Plan and the Act of Synod, we must ask how these schemes have worked out in practice. In Appendix 7 of the Guildford Report (GR) there is some useful tabular information to help us find out. The most recent table is for the Year 2004 (GR, Table for 2004, p.57). This shows that by far the most favoured level of arrangements made for petitioning parishes was the provincial using PEVs. Of the forty-four dioceses (now including the diocese of Europe) in the provinces of Canterbury and York, thirty-one used PEVs only. In addition there were another four dioceses which combined the use of provincial/PEV arrangements with their individual diocesan arrangements. The remaining nine dioceses divided between having regional arrangements and having their own arrangements.

The same Table shows that in 2004 there were 315 petitioning parishes representing 2.4% of the total number in England and Europe. As Guildford concedes, this figure "understates the underlying reality. This is because in some dioceses - for example Chichester - parishes have been able to receive what is to them acceptable oversight without petitioning under the Act of Synod" (GR, para.80, p.30). This underlying reality may well include another hundred , amounting to perhaps 400+ altogether.

We have not yet referred to the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993 which permits parishes to pass Resolutions A and B. The first of these if passed by a simple majority of the PCC prevents a woman from presiding at Holy Communion or pronouncing the Absolution in the parish. Resolution B disallows a woman from becoming incumbent , priest in charge or team vicar for the benefice.

The same Table for 2004 also gives details of Resolutions passed by PCCs. Thus in 2004, 810 parishes (6.1%) passed Resolution A and 1002 (7.6%) passed Resolution B. It is likely that a substantial but unknown number of these parishes passed both resolutions.

Appendix 7 of the Report also gives a comparable Table for 1999 (GR, p.56) of petitioning parishes, and parishes passing Resolutions A and B in that year. The relevant figures are as follows: These are that the number of petitioning parishes was 296 (2.2%); the number of Resolution A parishes was 836 (6.3%) and the number of Resolution B parishes, 980 (7.4%). We can see that during a four and a half year period there has been little change in these figures, other than a small increase in the number of petitioning parishes. What the figures overall do indicate, however, is that they have held up surprisingly well. The wish among revisionists that parishes opposed to the notion of women priests would wither away, has not been realised. The minority position has survived intact.

What we have to keep in mind is that the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure and the Act of Synod were passed by a General Synod with a two to one majority which was hostile to traditionalists and which was intended by revisionists to provide "terminal care" (as some would put it) for orthodox parishes. Had it not been for the ameliorating influence of the parliamentary Ecclesiastical Committee, the safeguards for traditionalists would have been far weaker and the minority would not have been able to consolidate their position in parishes during the last twelve years.

As it is, for possibly the first time for many years in the Church of England the bishop of Fulham and the three PEVs (not forgetting the other contributory traditionalist bishops) have been able to serve as real bishops, rather than as administrative figureheads or ecclesiastical managers which seems to be the lot of many of today's diocesan and suffragan bishops. Petitioning parishes and their priests have been able to develop strong pastoral and sacramental links with their bishops in a growing relationship based on trust and affection. The constituencies of these bishops must not be cast aside in the interests of yet another reorganisation, whether called TEA or anything else. A need to "ground the PEVs" as some news reports would have it, in order to enable the C. of E. to take on board women bishops by means of a TEA reorganisation, is a price that traditionalists must vehemently oppose.

In our review of the Act of Synod machinery, we should perhaps ask whether the four groupings of Resolution C parishes constitute at the present time "dioceses in waiting". It is true that they lack some of the attributes of a proper diocese - a clearly defined cohesive geographical area, a cathedral and episcopal seat, an administrative centre and secretariat and, most important of all, a bishop endowed with full jurisdictional powers.

But what they do have are - and this is something very positive which more than offsets what they lack - are pastorally and sacramentally orientated bishops who really do serve their people as Fathers in God. They care for their congregations and priests, and visit them regularly. So in these respects they do resemble dioceses-in waiting. The bishop of Ebbsfleet who works in thirteen dioceses of the Canterbury province, has gone some way in bringing some structural cohesion by calling his grouping of parishes an "apostolic district" or, more precisely, the See of Ebbsfleet with clerical and lay members on appropriate representative bodies. Such an organisation might well provide a blueprint for future traditionalist groupings within the women bishops era.

Full communion within a diocese requires that all people who are confirmed members of the Church, are qualified to receive communion from all bishops and priests. In the present situation there is however impaired communion. Traditionalists are not prepared to accept communion from women priests whom numerous people doubt are actually priests at all. Many are also not prepared to receive communion from bishops who participate in such ordinations, and indeed participate in the consecration of other bishops. In all these instances, sacramental assurance (discussed later in this paper) is said to be lacking. In the twelve year period in which two thousand or more women have been priested, the "pool" of bishops who have refrained from ordaining women and participating in the consecration of other bishops has steadily declined. Thus over this period, impaired communion has significantly got worse, leaving a reducing residue of orthodox bishops and priests unwilling to join in communion with those who have tainted themselves by departing from the traditions practised for many centuries. Impaired communion has had a profound effect on the PEVs' relationships with other (revisionist) bishops. Thus it can be argued that the PEVs and other traditionalist bishops as well as the Resolution C parishes now comprise the true remnant of the Church of England.

Because of the impaired communion that now permeates, dare one say, all the dioceses of the Church of England, the collegial relationship (discussed later) between a diocesan bishop and his clergy that was taken for granted until a generation ago, has been disrupted. For traditionalists, such collegiality is maintained on the one hand in the relationship that has been forged between a PEV and his priests and on the other between the PEVs themselves and other traditionalist bishops.

Arguably, these related issues of impaired communion, sacramental assurance and collegiality which have not been continuously at the centre of discussion during the PEV period, come to assume great significance in the light of the proposal to bring women into the episcopate. Having considered in some detail the existing schemes for addressing the needs of traditionalists, we shall now look at the proposals put forward by the House of Bishops' Guildford Group in anticipation of the consecration of women as bishops.

The TEA Scheme The Guildford Group first met in February 2005, and followed this up with nine more meetings during the same year. As things turned out, this was not a particularly long time and, as the Group itself conceded, the timescale was tight for its work. Pressure on the Group to complete its work was increased halfway through the year when an amendment (shown in italics below) was added to the substantive motion at the July meeting of the General Synod. The amended motion which was passed:-

"invited the House of Bishops .... to complete .... the assessment which it is making of the various options for achieving (the ordination of women to the episcopate), and ask that it give specific attention to the issues of canonical obedience and the universal validity of orders throughout the Church of England as it would affect clergy and laity who cannot accept the ordination of women to the episcopate on theological grounds." (GR, para.3, pp.3-4)

In dealing with these complex issues, not surprisingly the Guildford Group had great difficulty in getting to grips with matters especially those to which it had been directed in the Synod amendment. This is borne out in the Report which displays factual errors (e.g. over permeability), lack of understanding (e.g. over the meaning of a third province) and lack of clarity (e.g. in explaining how oaths of obedience may be made). The Group adopted a policy of not consulting outside interested parties extensively, and it has been pointed out (for instance by Paul Benfield in "New Directions" ND, Feb., 2006, p.4) that some of these problems might have been ironed out if more consultation had been done. Where it did put forward firm proposals, it raised as many queries over the workability of TEA as it found answers. The first impression on reading the Guildford Report is that TEA looked like the existing PEV scheme but raised a level, that is from "suffragan to ordinary" to "ordinary to archbishop". So we come to the question and ask how TEA is intended to work.

Why a New Scheme is Needed Our starting point has to be to ask why the existing PEV scheme would not work once women were ordained and appointed as diocesan ordinaries and area bishops (suffragans). In Anglican ecclesiology the diocesan bishop has always been recognised as the chief pastor and focus of unity. All jurisdictional, sacramental and pastoral authority stems from the ordinary and recognition of this is asked from suffragan bishops, priests and deacons. Moreover a suffragan only has such episcopal authority as would be given him or her by the ordinary. An oath would be required at each ordination, licensing and institution. Thus as traditionalists, suffragan bishops, other clergy and lay workers would be unable to take the oath of canonical obedience to a female diocesan ordinary. It is also unlikely that a traditionalist male area bishop who had taken the oath to a previous male ordinary, would be willing to continue to serve in a diocese where the new ordinary was female. Furthermore no priest or deacon ordained by a male or female suffragan in a diocese with a female ordinary could be recognised and accepted by traditionalists as validly ordained. Another group which could be affected by the introduction of a woman bishop is that of churchwardens. Any churchwarden who could not accept a woman diocesan would be unable to make the statutory declaration on entering office.

The Provincial Regional Bishop The Guildford Group have proposed a new type of bishop, the Provincial Regional Bishop (PRB), who would exercise pastoral and sacramental functions in dioceses where there were parishes opposed to women priest and bishops. He would be "provincial" because he would operate in one of the two provinces of Canterbury and York; and he would have, as the Report puts it, "regional, trans-diocesan oversight" (GR, Note 39, p.17) meaning, we assume, that he could be directed to work in any part of the province where there was a spiritual need.

Leaving aside the observation that the term "provincial regional bishop" is as cumbersome a title for a TEA bishop as "provincial episcopal visitor" is for a flying bishop, it is clear that the present scatter of A, B and C parishes across England would suggest that with the possible present exception of Hereford, a PRB would be needed for every diocese. In fact the requirement could well be greater than is suggested in the Table for 2004 (op. cit., Appendix 7, p.57) as many "non A, B or C" parishes currently au fait with women priests might find it much harder to accept women as bishops.

At this point in looking at TEA, we see that any close similarity between the work of a PRB and PEV ends. The latter does his job by extended episcopal oversight. The ordinary, while retaining ultimate authority within his diocese, delegates his sacramental and pastoral duties to the PEV who carries them out on his behalf. With TEA, the essence of the proposal is that the ordinary (male or female) "would request the archbishop .... to arrange for episcopal ministry to be provided, to those parishes that requested it, by a provincial regional bishop" (GR, para.42, p.18). In other words the ordinary would relinquish some of his or her powers and hand them over to the archbishop. In turn he (the archbishop) would delegate these duties to the PRB who would carry them out on his behalf. Because these duties would be executed beyond the authority of the ordinary, they are deemed to provide alternative episcopal oversight.

There is a particularly tricky problem which the Guildford Group failed to foresee. This relates to the two dioceses (sic) of Canterbury and York where each archbishop is both ordinary and metropolitan. He could not as ordinary ask himself as archbishop to make the necessary arrangements. Assuming then that petitions for TEA come from parishes in either of the two dioceses, to whom would the archbishop refer their requirement for episcopal (i.e. PRB) ministry? Unless the reference were made to another archbishop (with traditionalist credentials) in the Anglican Communion, a course of action that would raise a multitude of further jurisdictional problems, only two solutions seem to make sense. One would be for "special arrangements" to be made (as explained below under "The Female Archbishop Problem"). The other which traditionalists would prefer, would be for the reference to be made directly to the PRB himself, in which case he would have to have the full jurisdictional powers of an ordinary.

Immediately the new legislation came into force and the old legislation terminated, the need to identify and provide PRBs quickly would be relatively easy to accomplish. There are already candidates for these offices whose credentials are orthodox, not least the existing PEVs who because of their high quality of service under the Act of Synod, deserve to be invited first to fill such posts. The ordination of new candidates as PRBs would at first also not present an insuperable difficulty as each archbishop and every bishop in any ordaining ceremony would be male.

But later on it would not be acceptable to traditionalists were new ordinations of PRBs carried by an archbishop and his or her bishops who had been involved in the ordination of women bishops. It would therefore be essential for future ordinations of new PRBs and traditionalist priests and deacons to be effected by the existing PRBs (and other orthodox bishops still in post or who had retired). Martyn Jarrett says, "There must be a guarantee that any bishops provided for us must be able to ordain their successors. Anything less would be to construct a so-called solution that can only last a generation and raise doubts about the very assurances that are being made to us" (ND, March 2006, p.5). The Guildford Group fails to address this problem of steadily decreasing orthodox bishops, the ranks of whom will be gradually depleted through incoming women.

The Female Archbishop Problem Guildford addresses in some detail what would happen if an archbishop were a woman. It proposes that "special arrangements" should be made and that in order to bring about these arrangements the archbishop "could either nominate a diocesan bishop (male) in the province, or observe an established procedure for precedence" (GR, para.57, p.23). The Group suggests that a means already exists in the Canterbury province where the senior diocesans comprise an episcopal provincial chapter with an established order of precedence (see for further details op. cit., Note 50, p.23). Again the short to medium term problem here is that the pool of orthodox bishops from whom an archbishop's commissary could be selected and thus acceptable to traditionalists, would diminish rapidly to the point of non-existence. The only way that orthodoxy could be maintained would be by PRBs ordaining their successors.

The Functions of the PRB What would his duties and responsibilities be? According to the Report (op. cit., para.43, p.18), "he would be authorised to act in relation to pastoral care (including ministerial care), sacramental and disciplinary matters, to act on behalf of the diocesan in respect of patronage and other aspects of the role of the bishop in appointments, and in relation to ordinands". All this is well and good as far as it goes, as these duties and responsibilities mirror and expand those that the PEV is already doing.

But Guildford goes on to explore how the PRB would be expected to fit into a revisionist diocese for general administrative purposes, for instance in planning for mission or in faculty jurisdiction. The Group says that "the parish would continue to be subject to the normal diocesan structures and procedures" and "the (TEA) parishes concerned would thus remain for administrative purposes as part of the geographical diocese". Moreover, the PRB would "have the right of full consultation and voting participation in all matters relating to the pastoral reorganisation of such parishes" (GR., para.43, p.18).

There are two major problems with all of this which would make the splitting of episcopal functions unworkable. The first is that a PRB working in a particular diocese cannot be a member of the college of bishops comprising those other bishops (diocesan ordinary, suffragan bishops, assistant bishops etc.) working within that diocese who share in women's ordinations. He cannot safeguard the interests of TEA parishes if he has to sit round a table and be outvoted on any number of issues that might reduce his sacramental and pastoral care. This involvement by the PRB in the administrative work of a revisionist diocese would be quite unacceptable to traditionalists. At the very least the PRB must have an absolute rite of veto on all matters involving TEA parishes in the diocese. These parishes must be protected against "reorganisation" that could spell their end. Also, the PRB must have a veto over the right of private patrons to force a woman priest or male revisionist priest on a TEA parish.

The second problem is that it is impossible under canon law to differentiate between sacramental, pastoral and jurisdictional acts. If the PRB takes an oath of obedience to the archbishop (or his or her commissary) how can he obey the diocesan ordinary to whom he has taken no oath?

If there is any doubt about this, a list is given in "Consecrated Women?" of the many matters for which the canons specifically give decision making to the ordinary:-

"Approval of forms of worship; forms of service where alternative forms are authorised; approval of local Holy Days, dispensation from requirements to read Morning and Evening Prayer or celebrate Holy Communion in parish churches; guidance on admission to Holy Communion ; notorious offenders not to be admitted to Holy Communion; preaching in parish churches; baptism of such as are of riper years; confirmation; granting of common licences for Holy Matrimony; of the burial of the dead; of Holy Communion elsewhere than in consecrated buildings; of divine service in private chapels; of relations with other churches; ordination; ministers exercising their ministry; collation and presentation; churchwardens; readers; lay workers; alms; plays, concerts , etc. in churches; appointment of judge of the consistory court; appointment of registrar." (CW, Note 209, p.116). ( N.B. The number of the individual canons have been omitted.)

To distinguish within the above list between what the ordinary should be responsible for and what the PRB in the same diocese should be responsible for, is almost impossible. As Geoffrey Kirk writes in his on-line summary of a meeting that took place between representatives of Forward In Faith and the bishop of Guildford in January 2006, "Can a sustainable distinction usefully be made between sacramental acts (such as ordinations), juridical acts (such as clergy discipline) and administrative acts (such as the granting of faculties or the suspension of livings)?"

Those unable in conscience to take an oath of obedience to the ordinary would be unable to accept his or her authority, jurisdiction or action on any of these matters. The notion of extended episcopal oversight (i.e. where the authority comes directly from the ordinary), workable (just!) under the Act of Synod, would not be possible if the bishop were female or a revisionist male.

The reconvened FIF Legal Working Party (LWP) in its on-line response to Guildford, "TEA - a further examination", suggests that the Group is confused over whether jurisdiction or functions of an ordinary should be transferred to the PRB (LWP, 5th Apr., 2006, p.8). The Working Party takes the view that ordinary jurisdiction should be passed to the PRB. The latter therefore should have jurisdiction in respect of the matters listed in para.43 of the Report, not simply "be authorised to act".

Shared Episcopal Ministry The Guildford Group is quite enthusiastic in its advocacy of shared ministry by bishops. It suggests that some functions could be transferred from the ordinary via the archbishop to the PRB. This "would reflect a sense of shared jurisdiction". Thus "we would have a form of shared episcopal ministry between diocesan, the metropolitan and PRB" (GR, para.44, p.18). It might also be added that if the archbishop were female, the shared ministry would include a fourth member (namely the archbishop's commissary).

The general concept of TEA appears to be wanting at this stage of explanation, for as Kirk writes in his on-line summary, "Clearly shared jurisdiction is not transferred jurisdiction". And we have to ask where shared jurisdiction ends and transferred jurisdiction begins. The complicated scheme as mentioned above using three or four bishops indicates that it has not been thought through by Guildford with any rigor. So again we are back to the only workable solution which is to give full jurisdiction to the PRB.

Strangely enough, early in its Report Guildford ruled out the concept of the mixed episcopal team in which women could serve as suffragan bishops (GR, para.28, p.13). And yet a few pages later, the Group recommends a form of shared ministry which is tantamount to a type of episcopal team ministry. It is certain that no PRB would be prepared to serve in a team ministry of this kind, whether or not there was a female archbishop and whether or not there were women bishops in the province. No PRB could surely be a member of an episcopal college which included females or males who shared in the ordination of women bishops, priests and deacons.

The Oath of Canonical Obedience It is true that the Guildford Report has something to say on how and to whom TEA priests would be expected to make their oaths in dioceses with women ordinaries. But where the Report fails - and fails completely - is dealing with the problem of how a PRB himself could make the oath of obedience and to whom.

Guildford says that clergy in TEA parishes "would make oaths of canonical obedience to the archbishop through the PRB who would administer the oath and personally exercise this special jurisdiction" (GR, para.121, p 42). Paul Benfield writing in "New Directions" says that the phrase "through the PRB" needs explanation, "since an oath is either taken to the archbishop or it is not, irrespective of who administers the oath" (ND, Feb. 2006, p.5). Benfield also suggests (although the Guildford Group does not say so) that if the archbishop were a woman, then the oath would presumably be taken to her commissary "through the PRB" (op.cit p.5). In summary, we would now have the farcical situation of a priest in Diocese X taking an oath through the PRB, via the archbishop to her commissary!

To whom then would a PRB take his oath? Certainly not to a revisionist and/or woman archbishop, we must assume. Guildford has nothing to say on how to deal with this knotty problem. The only solution that really meets this situation would be for the group of PRBs to elect one of their number as "chief or presiding PRB" and for the members of this group to make their oaths to him.

The actual wording of the oath would cause problems. With reference to para.121 (p.42) of the Report, the FIF Legal Working Party criticises Guildford because "it seems not to understand that a priest could not take an oath to a bishop 'and his successors', when the possibility would exist that a successor might be a woman" (LWP, 5th Apr., p.9). All oaths, not just within TEA competencies, would have to be reframed to satisfy traditionalists' demands.

Collegiality The modern management concept of "team" seems to fit the idea of a clerical college, and "teamwork" the idea of collegiality. A priest serving in a diocese is said to be a member of the ordinary's presbyterial college. Accordingly, he is able to swear canonical obedience to the bishop, and in his own parish church he stands in the place of the bishop. A point taken up by John Hunwicke is that "in the Catholic tradition, the bishop exercises episcope (i.e. oversight) in and with his presbyterium" (ND, Feb. 2006, p.19). The diocesan however is (in our words) not a "one-man band". He acts corporately with all the members of his prebyterium.

This may well be the theory. Collegiality in practice has been very different. During the last two centuries if not longer presbyterial collegiality has more often than not been honoured in the breech. This has been due to the influence of clerical traditions (evangelicals, anglo-catholics etc.) which have drawn groups of priests in one direction or another into what for want of an expression may be thought of as "affiliate collegiality").

But with the coming of women priests any notion of presbyterial collegiality has demonstrably evaporated. Hunwicke maintains that the question is not so much as to whether the diocesan has ordained women. It is, more, whether he has ordained and licensed them to be members of his presbyterium. It is this that produces the impaired communion, that is, when a bishop has women members in his priestly community (ND, Feb. 2006, p.19). Traditionalist priests are unable to see themselves as belonging to a team of which the ordination credentials of some of the members (i.e. women priests) are dubious or non-existent.

It is suggested by the Guildford Group that the present London Plan might serve as a model for TEA at a provincial level (GR, para.41, p.17), a model developed in some detail in Appendix 1 of the Report. Where this model breaks down is in the deficiency of collegiality which would be evident in such an arrangement. The Guildford Group failed to recognise that episcopal collegiality without serious impairment in a London Plan situation would be impossible. Why is this?

Benfield (ND, Feb. 2006, p.5) says that the London Plan works at the present time because everybody can accept that the bishops in London being male are truly bishops and so there can be a collegial relationship between all of them. We might add that London Plan collegiality is good but not perfect as some of the other bishops do in fact ordain women. If a scheme based on the London Plan were introduced at the provincial level, when the archbishop's college received into its membership those (women) whose episcopal orders could not in conscience be received and respected by other bishops (PRBs), the archbishop himself (or herself) as the principal ordainer of bishops in the province might well become the chief perpetrator of impairment by his or her actions.

Similarly when we look at presbyteral collegiality within dioceses with female ordinaries, and dioceses where male ordinaries ordain women priests, collegiality in its widest sense would be ruptured and communion impaired..

We leave the last words on this subject to Geoffrey Kirk. He writes in his on-line summary:-

"It needs to be stressed (since it is a matter which the Guildford Group seems not to have grasped in all its implications) that this impairment of communion is structural and collegial. It relates to relationships within the colleges of priests and bishops, and not particularly to the gender of those involved. A male bishop or archbishop who acts collegially with women stands in the same relationship to those opposed as does the woman herself"

Permeability The term is used to describe the potential movement of parishes across the divide between dioceses in the Canterbury and York provinces on the one part and a new province on the other. In discussing the Forward In Faith proposal for a new province, the Guildford Group erroneously states that this FIF proposal denies that would be "room for permeable borders and mutual learning within a continuing process of reception and impaired but real communion" (GR, para.37, p.16). This is an unwelcome statement as it is entirely untrue. If "Consecrated Women?" is referred to (CW, p.144), the Forward In Faith position is clearly stated. It provides wording for two resolutions, one enabling a parish to enter the new province (if established), and the other enabling a petitioning parish to revert to a diocese in the Canterbury or York province.

Having corrected the record, we are now in a position to see that Permeability is one of the few areas of agreement between the Guildford Group and its traditionalist opponents. The Group believes that TEA "should continue to provide for a two-way valve between the two parts of the Church of England" (GR, para.97, p.34). That the Group accepts that "any parish whether or not it had previously passed a resolution, would be entitled .... to consider passing a motion" (op. cit., para.99, p.34) to opt in or opt out, is a matter of cautious optimism for traditionalists.

The Provisionality of Women's Ordination and Reception At the time of the Church of England's decision in 1992 to ordain women to the priesthood, it was widely recognised that this decision was highly contentious. There had never before been women priests and a great many (male) priests and lay people believed sincerely that the decision was wrong. To allay fears, it was agreed that no-one would be forced to accept women's sacramental ministry. This widespread view among many loyal Anglicans would be accepted as an honoured one which deserved respect by those who took a different view. It was a view that would be lasting and not one that would be forced out of existence by proponents of women's ordination.

The Church then proceeded with women's ordination on the understanding that the process would take place over a period of uncertain length. Called the period of reception, it was believed to be the time when God's will on the subject would be made known. As George Carey, then Archbishop of Canterbury, admitted at a public meeting in 1999, " .... We have always said and always believed that any step of this nature may be of the Holy Spirit but may not be of the Holy Spirit. Time will tell" (CW, Note 144, p.83).

During this period of reception the ordination of women as priests was to be regarded by the Church as provisional. Many people were saying that they did not known whether they were priests or not. At the end of the period, the decision to ordain women as priests would prove to be right or wrong. If the latter was shown to have been correct, then the Church could reverse its original decision and ordain no more women. Reversibility therefore was a distinct possibility. Why have things now changed so dramatically?

The decision taken in July 2005 by the General Synod to press on regardless and prepare for the ordination of women as bishops has proved to be the instrument of change. For the Church of England to embark on what for many must seem a highly uncertain journey leading towards the ordination of women as bishops while the acceptance of women as priests was still undetermined, may seem to a lot of people as at least a risky action and at most an irresponsible one.

The functions of a bishop who is an ordinary, are basically threefold. Firstly he is the head priest of his diocese. As such he fulfils the apostolic ministry of the Church. The act of consecration by fellow bishops enables him to acquire and use these new gifts. Besides representing Christ as Bridegroom of the Church to the people, the bishop represents his people before God. This is particularly apparent when he administers the Holy Sacraments himself and when he confers responsibility onto his priests to exercise the same sacramental functions. A second function of a bishop is to ordain priests and deacons, having ensured that they have lived godly lives and have been properly trained

To apply the concept of provisionality to a new bishop is unthinkable. He is the fount of sacramental life in his diocese. Geoffrey Rowell in "New Directions" quotes David Silk who asked during the 1992 debate on women priests, "Can there be anything provisional about a ministry on which depend the sacraments of the Church?" (ND, Jan., 2006, p.4). Such sacramental acts that a woman bishop carried out would be either valid or invalid. There could be nothing provisional about them. Such acts would strike home with especial force when involving the ordination of men and women as priests and deacons. Traditionalists would say that such ordinations by women bishops were totally inappropriate and invalid.

A third main function of a bishop is to be the focus of unity for all his churches within his diocese. He is called to guard the apostolic faith which he received at his ordination as bishop, to spread the Word to all who will hear it and in turn to pass the faith on to all that come after him. Linked to this, he has the heavy responsibility for guarding and maintaining the order of the Church and passing it on to his successors. It is also essential that Anglican bishops serve as instruments of unity and order beyond their own dioceses in the wider provincial and national church scene. A woman bishop could not fulfil such a function. As many priests and lay people in her diocese could not and would not accept her episcopal authority, she would be seen as a focus of disunity.

We can now see why the Act of Synod could not work with a women bishop and would have to be repealed. She would not be able to act as the fount of authority in the diocese. She would not be the focus of unity, nor could sacramental initiatives come from her. As ordinary, she would be unable to delegate extended care to a PEV (or assistant or retired orthodox bishop) for petitioning parishes as her authority would not be heeded nor recognised.

Sacramental Assurance and the Validity of Orders The bishop of Guildford in his Group's Report devotes a whole appendix to the meaning of Sacramental Assurance which he says "is the principle that where sacraments are concerned the Church is obliged to take the least doubtful course of action in order that there need be no doubt in the conscience of the faithful recipient that they are truly receiving the grace instrumental to that sacrament" (GR, Appendix 2, para.127, p.43).

If we apply this definition to the sacrament of ordination, for traditionalists the consecration of women as bishops would by no means involve the least doubtful course of action. Far from it, it would involve a very questionable course of action in which there was great doubt as to whether the new bishop really was a bishop at all. Furthermore, all subsequent actions of men and women ordained by her as priests and deacons would also be called into serious question. Put simply, traditionalists believe it to be inadmissible to ordain women as bishops, as much as it is to ordain them as priests and deacons; and opposition from traditionalists is certain to remain steadfast into the foreseeable future.

And this brings us to the ecumenical dimension. Martyn Jarrett observes, "We continue to believe that a unilateral move .... to ordain women to the episcopate, whatever the provision that might be made for those who oppose such an action, is wrong .... We heed the theological objections to such a move recently enunciated so clearly by the Roman Catholic response to the Rochester Report. We will continue in seeking to save the Church of England from such folly" (ND, March 2006, p.5). Jarrett is of course a PEV, the bishop of Beverley, and we would do well to heed his words.

The Guildford Group's terms of reference include an instruction to "give specific attention to .... the universal validity of orders" (GR, para.3, p.3). But while acknowledging the major problem of sacramental assurance to those opposed to women's ordination, the Guildford Report sidesteps the issue of the validity of orders and turns to an easier but related topic for it to deal with, that is sacramental intention. Guildford requests in effect a favour from those opposed to women bishops, priests and deacons. It asks that all should accept "the Church of England's intention, that all who are ordained according to its ordinals, are indeed intended (his italics) to be truly bishops, priests and deacons" and that "This should be upheld by all" (op. cit., Appendix 2, para.130, p.44). Passing over its tautological phrasing, we then find the Group concluding that this acquiescence "would leave room for the pastoral recognition of the reality that some are not able to recognise the actual ministry of women bishops including their ordinations".

No one doubts for one moment that the Church of England's ordination intentions correspond to its legal remit and that it has the power to ordain whomsoever it chooses. But as the FIF Legal Working Party states, "We do not accept that it is the common intention of those on both sides of the argument that those who are ordained .... are to be truly bishops, priests and deacons" (LWP, 5th Apr., p.7). If they lack the essential quality of maleness, they cannot be counted as priests or deacons.

As for "room to be permitted for pastoral recognition of the reality" of opposition to the ministry of women bishops, the Guildford statement is too vague and requires explaining. But whatever it means, it cannot affect the lack of sacramental assurance that opponents would see in women bishops. The universal validity of orders within the Church of England both for women subjected to such ordination ceremonies and for those men who acquiesce in such ceremonies is a matter which cannot be accepted by traditionalists.

Legislation Preparatory to TEA As ordination of women to the episcopate is a near certainty, it is clear that several primary ecclesiastical laws and canons (as well as statutory instruments) will have to be amended or replaced. The more important are:-

Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993 Ordination of Women (Financial Provision) Measure 1993 Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 Canon A4 Of the Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons Various other Canons.

The Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993 legislates for three important matters: 1. It provides for the ordination of women as priests, 2. it explicitly rules out women from being ordained as bishops and 3. it enables procedures to be adopted by parishes whereby the two resolutions, A and B, can be passed preventing women priests from ministering and/or holding office in them.

The relevant sub-section of the Measure debarring women bishops reads, "Nothing in this Measure shall make it lawful for a woman to be consecrated to the office of bishop" [1 (2)]. So why, people may ask, cannot this sub-section simply be deleted by a new one-clause measure (requiring, incidentally, a two-thirds majority in each of the three houses of the General Synod)?

In "Consecrated Women?" the difficulties of applying such a one-clause measure are explored (CW, pp.112-113). Some protection might come to Resolution A parishes (no presiding at Holy Communion, no Absolutions) not wanting women bishops to come into their churches and take services, given that these bishops may already be priests. But canon law states that a bishop must be able to fulfil all episcopal duties assigned to him or her (Canon 18, para.4). As statute law (the 1993 Measure) must prevail over canon law, there would be conflict and a woman bishop could not do her duties fully.

We have already seen why the Act of Synod 1993 would not work with female bishops. For such reasons Guildford proposes that both pieces of primary legislation be repealed and replaced by a new and overarching measure enabling women to be ordained as bishops and dealing with all the side-issues in the process. It should be kept in mind that the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure 1993 which Guildford wants to be repealed, enables women to become priests. Guildford however does not mention a need to re-legislate for this! John Hunwicke (ND, Jan., 2006, p.12) drew attention to the ongoing problem of Canon A4. Even though women have been ordained as priests for over twelve years, the canon was never in the meantime rewritten to state that acceptance of orders was not universally recognised throughout the Church of England. The precise wording of the canon says that all who "are lawfully made, ordained, or consecrated and (should) be accounted, both by themselves and others, to be truly bishops, priests or deacons". For traditionalists a large proportion of the clergy are not accounted as truly ordained. Hunwicke pointedly asks the House of Bishops, "What are you going to do about Canon A4?" Clearly with the impending ordination of women as bishops all of whom will not be accepted as such by traditionalists, its rewriting assumes a new urgency. And on a less important point, many of the other canons will need to be edited and redefined, if only to take care of the wording of genders, spouses etc.

The central feature of the new measure as stated in the Guildford Report, besides providing for women bishops is legislation for TEA. In particular the measure would make it explicit that all posts in the Church, clerical and otherwise, would be open equally to men and women. But where parishes have petitioned, women's priestly and episcopal ministry would not be exercised, and TEA would be activated (GR, para.99, p.34).

The Group also addresses the situation of the male diocesan who had made a declaration that he would not take part in the ordination of women bishops, priests and deacons. It thinks it unlikely, granted the present method of making episcopal appointments, that a woman would be appointed to him as suffragan. This may well be true, but a much more serious problem arises out of the licensing of male and female priests to his diocese and the resulting effect on presbyterial collegiality which would arise there from. The unvarying questions arise as to whether these female priests were actually priests, and whether the male priests if ordained by female bishops were also priests.

Does Guildford have anything to say about a code of practice? The precise details of "who would do what", in the interests of simplicity and flexibility according to the Group would best be embodied in standardised arrangements "agreed between the diocesan bishops and the archbishop". These would "possibly" be part of an enforceable code of practice (GR, para.42, p.18). As quoted, here the archbishop is referred to in the singular. Does this refer to the archbishop of Canterbury or does it mean that each of the two archbishops would make his own set of standardised arrangements? Clarification on this point is needed. If a code of practice is required, traditionalists would want reassurance that the code was absolutely watertight however TEA was finally determined.

Precisely how traditionalists could take their place as representatives of dioceses headed by PRBs in a future General Synod, is fully discussed in the final section of this paper, "What Traditionalists Want Instead of TEA".

TEA Petitioning Parishes We now come to the arrangements proposed by the Guildford Group enabling parishes to opt out of having female diocesan bishops and requesting in effect alternative episcopal oversight. From the perspective of a parish wishing to avail itself of such arrangements, it would petition in order to have a male bishop who could guarantee sacramental assurance, not, we add, any male bishop but one whose orthodox credentials were unsullied and who was not a revisionist. Such a bishop would also meet the biblical requirements of male headship.

The actual procedure would be as follows: The Guildford proposal is, "Any parish, whether or not it had previously passed a resolution, would be entitled, as soon as the legislation came into force, to give four weeks' notice and convene a special parochial church meeting to consider passing a motion" (GR, para.99, p.34). The Group, we judge rightly, must have resisted in the interests of permeability any proclivity to debar non-resolution parishes from petitioning.

The FIF Legal Working Party believes "that parishes currently under extended episcopal care .... should automatically enjoy the benefit of TEA provision" (LWP, 5th Apr., p.10). The fact that the Guildford Report does not recommend this may be construed as another example of its antipathy to the traditionalists' claims.

The notable departure from the procedure adopted for PEV parishes is that the PCC would cease to be the petitioning body. Now a broader-based body, the "special parochial church meeting" (SPCM), would consider the matter and have the authority to pass (or not pass) a motion on the petitioning resolution. Why the change? The broader-based body that would comprise the SPCM would almost certainly consist of all the lay people on the electoral roll of the parish. The grounds for allocating the petitioning decision to the SPCM were justified by Guildford in that "for a parish to request transfer of jurisdiction from the diocesan to another jurisdiction would be of such significance as to require the consent of SPCM" (GR, Note 58, p.34). At the same time the Group did admit that further discussion on whether the SPCM or PCC should take this decision was appropriate. Why it was felt that there is a need not to trust the PCC in making such a decision is not revealed by Guildford. It may be that the Group believed (Perish the thought!) that the broader-based body would be more compliant than activists on the PCC in blocking the two-thirds majority needed for a successful petition motion. Certainly if the hidden aim is to snuff out petitioning parishes, this must be viewed as a suitable way to expedite matters.

One difficulty of having a broader decision-making body lies with the lack of information on the subject that would be readily available to ordinary members of the congregation attending a "one-off" SPCM. In contrast members of the PCC, used to habitual council meetings, would have attended regularly, received briefing papers and on balance would have become more aware of the issues. Significantly Guildford makes no reference to the need for a PRB to have a responsibility in parishes as that of the PEV, that is to act as spokesman for and advisor to those who are opposed, and to assist in monitoring the arrangements.

The FIF Legal Working Party points outs that to remove petitioning from the PCC would "involve a major constitutional change in the government of the Church of England where, hitherto it has been the (PCC) which has been the central forum for decision making at parish level". The Working Party notes that when the General Synod in 1993 was debating the Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure, a proposal that there should be a SPCM for dealing with Resolutions A and B was rejected in favour of the PCC It also points out that the PCC already deals with far more serious matters than would be the case with TEA, such as closure of a church building (LWP, 5th Apr., p.8). The traditionalist view would certainly be that the PCC should continue to be responsible for petitioning.

In all other respects the proposed petitioning regulations would closely follow the existing PEV petitioning regulations laid down in the Act of Synod, viz.: Four weeks' notice would be given for the SPCM (although there is no indication of whether members of the electoral roll would receive individual written notification); the parish would be free to rescind a petitioning motion at any time; and there would be no time limit in the effect of a motion, although the parish would have to review it every five years and at every vacancy (GR, para.99, p.34).

The FIF Legal Working Party argues that if a petition must be reviewed every five years (rather than may be reviewed every five years), then all parishes in the Church of England should have to consider a petition every five years (LWP, 5th Apr., p.8).. Traditionalists would add that as the number of petitioning parishes may well increase, a review of petitioning should be made mandatory on all parishes.

It is clearly stated by Guildford that with the end of the present legislation, the existing process whereby parishes are able to pass Resolutions A and B, and to petition (via a Resolution C motion) for a PEV, would be terminated. So far so good, it might be thought. There are many parishes sitting on the fence, that with a change in procedure, might be obliged to decide where they stand on women's ordination, one way or the other. Had it not been for the entries that would have to be made on the form that parishes have to complete (see below), the whole concept of TEA as understood so far, suggests that parishes would be expected to choose between opting in or out.

But the procedure outlined under proposed new legislation suggests something quite different. The form requires a multiple-choice response. A parish would have to select from three choices on an "and/or" basis. "The parish would not accept a woman i. as the minister who presides or celebrates at Holy Communion or pronounces the Absolution in the parish, ii. as the incumbent of the parish, iii. as a bishop exercising jurisdiction in the diocese" (GR, para.113, p.41). If this form were included as part of the new measure, it would mean that a parish would have not three choices but seven (i.e. all three, any one of the three, i &ii, i & iii, and ii & iii). It does not require much imagination to see that with a choice of this type, TEA would be unworkable. Far better and simpler would it be for parishes to be given a simple resolution in which there is a simple choice between accepting women deacons, priests and bishops or not.

Having made this sevenfold selection, parishes would then be asked to choose between two types of TEA: The first is where a (male) diocesan failed to make a declaration that he would not take part in the ordination of women as priests and bishops; the other is where the bishop is a woman (GR, para.113, p.41). Unlike the previous multiple choice, this alternative is a practical one and should be retained as part of the petitioning form.

The Timing of New Legislation Some paragraphs are devoted by Guildford in the Report to what timing should be built into the new measure. It rejects what it calls the "big bang" approach. By this it means the period, probably of a few months, that could elapse during which parishes would be able to pass the new style petitioning resolution. On the appointed day at the end of this transitional period, the 1993 Measure and the Act of Synod would lapse and any existing A and B resolutions and PEV petitions would cease to have effect (GR, para.95, pp.33-34).

Quite sensibly, Guildford dismisses this strategy in the interests of maintaining goodwill and retaining permeability The Group therefore proposes that there should be a longer "sunset" period of say three years during which the existing resolutions and petitions could remain in force. This would require surely the existing PEVs to remain in post to minister to the "old" petitioning parishes. During this longer sunset period, all parishes in the Church of England would have the opportunity of passing a motion on the new petitioning resolution. For such parishes petitioning successfully, it would make sense for PEVs to act as PRBs.

As suggested earlier, the case can be made out that the new resolution should be framed in plain language in which a parish would make a simple declaration accepting women deacons, priests and bishops. If a woman were in post as incumbent, then a resolution ought not be entertained until after her resignation. If the incumbent were a man, then the resolution would require his endorsement.

Financial Provision The Guildford Group asks the question as to "whether some financial provision would be justified for those who are .... unable to accept the ordination of women bishops" (GR, para.110, p.36). It goes on to make the point that as "the Church is willing to go a long way to make space for those who cannot accept the full ministry of women", the necessity would be lessened except in a small number of cases of hardship where financial provision ought to be made available on the scale of the previous package.

A counter to this might be that a rejection by traditionalists of the intention to ordain women as bishops more than priests would increase rather than decrease the need for a series of financial entitlements. Until their demands have been fully met, pressure should be maintained for a financial package that would permit clergy opposing these ordination proposals to retire from full time ministry.

Third Province Matters Forward In Faith has developed in some detail a model for a new or additional province in "Consecrated Women?" in preparation for the impending debate on women bishops. In its Report, Guildford instead talks about a third (or free) province, a description which misrepresents the FIF position (LWP, p.2).

Since publication of the Report, realising that the picture conjured up by terms such as "third", "free", "new" and "alternative" when used to describe a province may have been counter-productive The FIF Legal Working Party suggests a more neutral-sounding epithet, the Alternative Jurisdiction (AJ) (LWP, Annexe 1, p.10).

Guildford rejected the "proposal" of a third or free province in favour of TEA. Paul Benfield pointed out (ND, Feb., 2006, p.4) that the Group actually misunderstands what "Consecrated Women?" said on the subject, that is that traditionalists wanted a province modelled on the Church in Wales which was geographically distinct and totally independent of the Church of England. But in "Consecrated Women?" it was made clear that traditionalists want a new province which would remain part of the Church of England. Given the scatter of PEV parishes and the likely scatter of future TEA parishes, there was never any doubt that the new province would not have a compact geographical identity. Nor would this be fixed for all time (LWP, p.2).

The integrity of the traditionalists' position can only be held in the Church, Forward In Faith argued, through the establishment of a new province. Only with this province can orders be truly validated, oaths of obedience properly made, presbyterial collegiality enjoyed and sacramental assurance fully achieved. What the leading circles in the Church fail to understand is that for many traditionalists, the bishops have with few exceptions already compromised their episcopal orders, and, when they join together in consecrating women bishops, they betray their catholic and historic heritage.

Dealing in turn with specific disadvantages associated with a third province, as Guildford calls this new or alternative province, one was the danger of "legislative schism" (GR, para.37, p.15). The FIF Legal Working Party comments that inbuilt schism resulting from the origin of the Church of England "would be compounded by those who seek to depart from the norms of the Church of England and the Church Catholic by ordaining women bishops" (LWP, 5th Apr., p.7). That this legislative schism could be a risk if the third province were made (as in Wales) a free province, is a possibility. But this has not been argued for by proponents of the new province. To anchor it within the existing Church of England so that its traditionalist integrity is preserved and that at the same time it remains recognisably part of the Church is surely not an impossible task for the reconvened Guildford Group to strive for.

Could a third province become "a competing provincial jurisdiction" (GR, para.39, p.16) which would counter the 1920 Lambeth Conference resolutions? We have to remember that many examples of provincial overlap exist throughout the world and have been so both before and after 1920. In any case, it may be said, the 1920 Resolution is now moribund. Many orthodox parishes are now casting loose from dioceses as in ECUSA and claiming oversight from other traditionalist bishops and archbishops. Traditionalists might decide to follow this route if a new province is not granted.

It is claimed by Guildford that it "would be fundamentally unhealthy to establish a province solely on the grounds of opposition to women bishops" (op. cit., para.39, p.16). For traditionalists, this is by no means the case. Many if not most traditionalists wish to separate themselves and their church-based activities from those of the revisionist majority who have departed from biblical and orthodox teaching on a whole range of issues, to name marriage, abortion, and same sex relationships as but just a few.

Might a third province become another "continuing Anglican church" (op. cit., para.39, p.16)? Here, the answer must only be in the positive if traditionalists were pushed out of the Church by an unbending majority and had nowhere to go. Responding to the suggestion that traditional Anglicans might find themselves in a ghetto were this to happen, Geoffrey Kirk pointed out on-line that "ghettoes are not created by their inhabitants but by the majority which enforces them". He went to say that if members of Forward In Faith sought a continuing church in the absence of a third province, then it would be open to them to create one or join one.

The FIF Legal Working Party makes the valid point that a continuing Anglican church would be one that had left the parent church (LWP, 5th Apr., p.4). Forward In Faith in "Consecrated Women?" never suggested that this should ever happen.

Guildford suggests that a third province would cater mainly for the needs of those in the catholic tradition of the Church and less for those (i.e. conservative evangelicals) concerned with the issues of headship. As headship is a biblical concept there seems to be no real reason why catholic Anglicans and conservative evangelicals cannot, at this late stage, come to an agreement that would permit both to share PRBs and any structures that came with them. The FIF Legal Working Party observes, "As long as those with episcopal oversight in the new province teach what has always been believed by all Christians everywhere and fashion their lives in accordance with the established teachings of the Church, they should be equally acceptable to those in both the catholic and evangelical traditions of the Church of England" (LWP, 5th Apr., p.4). Many would say that traditionalist of all traditions are ready and anxious to work together to achieve a fair settlement over women bishops

It is said by the Guildford Group that to administer a third province, "it would undoubtedly be more costly" (GR, para.39, p.16). Apart from the fact that the Group offers no evidence that that may be so, a new province need not necessarily be more expensive to run that many near bankrupt dioceses are today. A third province could have a single administrative centre for the three or four dioceses that might be established under PRBs. More, a third province could exist without costly cathedrals and cathedral staffs, relying on existing TEA churches as bishop's seats.

And lastly, Guildford argued that there is a political risk that "parliamentary approval might not be forthcoming" for a new provincial synod (GR, para.39, p. 17). We should note here that Benfield points out that that the Group acted in an unbalanced way in failing to suggest that parliamentary approval might equally have not been forthcoming for a single clause measure (albeit for different reasons) (ND, Feb. 2006, p.5).

A Summary of the Main Objections to TEA

1. Traditionalist bishops, priests and deacons will not make oaths of obedience to revisionist superiors.

2. Traditionalist bishops, priests and deacons will not join in acts of collegiality with other revisionists.

3. There can be no sacramental assurance with female bishops and priests, or with male bishops and priests ordained by female bishops.

4. Traditionalists, clerical and lay, will not belong to a province with a female archbishop or male revisionist archbishop.

5. Traditionalists, clerical and lay, will not belong to a diocese with a female bishop or male revisionist bishop.

6. All PRBs must have total jurisdiction over their parishes.

7. All PRBs must possess the right to ordain their successors

8. All PRBs must possess a veto over reorganisation matters affecting their jurisdictions in revisionist dioceses.

What Traditionalists Want Instead of TEA Compromise is not possible over the shortcomings of TEA say traditionalists. It will just not work. It would be impossible for them to meet the claims of revisionists halfway. Both sides agree that the ordination of women as bishops cannot be accepted as provisional. Their consecration is either valid or it is not. Traditionalists therefore have a straight choice. Either they accept the validity of women's episcopal orders or they do not. In either case everything else stems from such a decision. If women's episcopal orders are to be taken by them as invalid (as they do), then all men and women subsequently ordained by women bishops as priests or deacons are also invalid. Thus traditionalists unable to accept women's episcopal orders, have to reject the whole ordination package, and the lack of sacramental assurance that comes with it.

Turning now to the positive, traditionalists want something much better than TEA. If they are to be encouraged to retain any place in the Church of England the catholic credentials of which are totally compromised by the addition of women bishops, even more so by the addition of women archbishops at a later date, then the PRBs (which we will continue in the interest of clarity to call them) must be awarded full jurisdiction as ordinaries over their own dioceses. This is the absolute minimum that traditionalists are prepared to accept. Nothing else is going to solve all the attendant problems, especially making oaths of obedience and engaging in collegiality.

If the dominant part of the Church of England wishes to hold on to its traditionalist and largely catholic Anglican element and avoid the weakening that would undoubtedly be the outcome of separation, then it must be prepared to make a concession of this magnitude. Nothing else will suffice to traditionalists. In return, it may be argued, traditionalists will have to abandon the notion of an additional province detached from Canterbury and York, with all the risks of total independence that such a province might portend. It is here that a quid pro quo must be struck: autonomous dioceses for traditionalists balanced by a solemn commitment to stay within the Church of England as now constituted.

For such a deal to be agreed, initial PRBs must have the right to ordain their successors. Unless this is granted, the new PRB-dioceses will rapidly become revisionist dioceses. Allowing for an absolute minimum of three (ideally four) episcopal consecrators including a head consecrator, to ordain a new PRB, traditionalists must call for powers that will permit PRBs to elect their chief or presiding bishop.

The PRB-dioceses will then be able take their place alongside the other dioceses of the Church of England, not as dioceses of the two provinces of Canterbury and York, but as free-standing associated dioceses within an Alternative Jurisdiction (AJ) [as suggested by the FIF Legal Working Party (LWP, p.10)]). whose PRBs would make oaths of obedience not to an appropriate archbishop but to the presiding PRB.

PRB-dioceses would send their elected representatives to the General Synod in the normal manner, and these representatives would take their place with other members of Synod in executing the normal business of that body. The crucial defining power for traditionalists would be that the PRBs would possess powers enabling them to dissociate their dioceses en bloc from any General Synod motions regarded by them as prejudicial to matters of faith, doctrine or tradition. This last would be interpreted broadly to cover any business that might be seen as legislating disadvantageously against the interests of the PRB dioceses.

How could this work out in practice? The FIF Legal Working Party has tackled the difficulty of how representatives of PRB-dioceses could take their place as a minority for the foreseeable in the General Synod and yet work constructively with the other members. As this matter is of the greatest importance, the Working Party's proposals are explained here in some detail.

Its solution is that "the role of the current legislative committee of the General Synod be enlarged by the new measure to give it the power to make proposals to General Synod for the adaptation of draft measures, statutory instruments, canons and other quasi-legislation such as acts of synod, codes of practice etc" (LWP, p.10). (By "new measure" above, the Working Party means the enabling legislation that would have to be passed to ordain women bishops and meet the ecclesial needs of traditionalists.)

We now assume that the new measure has been passed and is operative, and that further legislation can therefore be processed through the reconstituted General Synod. The Working Party proposes that following the revision stage for any further piece of legislation in full synod, the legislative committee would meet, having had added to it for this business an equal number of members from the PRB-dioceses constituting the AJ. Using the precedent employed for passing legislation applicable to the Channel Islands, the Working Party proposes that the legislative committee would then draft "an SI incorporating the amendments necessary for the legislation to operate" in PRB-dioceses.

At the same time as this legislation went before "the General Synod for final approval, the draft SI would also be considered and passed". The Working Party says that there would also be a need to have a provision in the new measure (see above) giving "additional power to the legislative committee requiring the General Synod to give approval to the SI before the final approval motion for the new legislation" was voted on. "If the SI was not approved, the new measure would provide that the final approval motion could not be put" (LWP, p.10). This of course would block any attempt from the floor of the General Synod to kill SI amendments protecting the interests of PRB-dioceses. A somewhat similar procedure would be used for dealing with draft canons.

The Working Party also outlines another procedure in General Synod which would be used for dealing with doctrinal issues. It proposes that the PRBs and AJ representatives should have the power (also conferred in the new measure) "to add to any relevant motion a rider to the effect that 'the change of doctrine is unacceptable to the AJ and will not be adopted by the AJ'" (LWP, p.10).

Although there are one or two matters that need tightening up to make the Working Party's proposals watertight (for instance a need to give AJ representatives on the legislative committee a veto on decisions that might compromise amendments designed to operate in PRB-dioceses), these proposals could well enable traditionalists to work constructively within the General Synod.

To co-ordinate the joint administration of the PRB-dioceses both internally and in relation to General Synod business, the association of PRB-dioceses forming the Alternative Jurisdiction, would assemble as a house under the chairmanship of the presiding PRB. A single secretariat with a chief lay officer would be responsible for day-to-day administration of the four PRB-dioceses.

Postscript In retrospect the Guildford Report may be seen as having been written by revisionists for revisionists - not for traditionalists. There must have been always a temptation for a revisionist majority to dictate terms to an orthodox minority and so it has proved. The Guildford Group was put together as a small working party which did not have enough time or resources, in terms of imputs from outside interested parties, to do a proper job. Accordingly it did not attempt to consult except marginally. Certainly it did not consult the orthodox constituency for which it had been formed, that is to find a place whereby traditionalists could stay in the Church of England. As a result the Report was not properly thought out, as illustrated by many gaps in its proposals, factual inaccuracies and incoherent explanations. If the reconstituted Group takes to heart all the criticisms aimed at TEA, it is more than likely that it will find the task of meeting problems associated with, say, sacramental assurance, validity of orders and oaths of obedience, impossible to solve. If so, TEA is dead.

Unless the General Synod forces the traditional entity to accept an imposed structure with all that that upheaval might bring about, then the only way forward must be to award them their own dioceses, their own bishops and their own degree of structural autonomy within the Church. It would be a tragedy if through its own obduracy the revisionist majority were instrumental in destroying the catholic Anglican tradition in the Church.

--Roland W. Morant is a cradle Anglican who has spent his professional life as a teacher, and latterly as a principal lecturer in education in a college of higher education, training students as teachers and running in-service degree courses.

END

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