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LONDON: Reform Initial Response to 'Apostolic Constitution' Announcement

LONDON: REFORM Initial Response to 'Apostolic Constitution' announcement

Revd Rod Thomas, chairman of Reform, makes four points as an initial response to today's announcement from the Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster:

"Anglicans concerned about protecting the basic Christian faith need not go to Rome, because we now have the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA (UK)) which holds together those who want to stop the orthodox faith being eroded. We can remain Anglican. Furthermore, the FCA Primates have recognised that problems with episcopal oversight are arising here in the UK. They have expressed the hope that these will be solved locally , but if not, they are willing to step in."

"This development highlights the need for robust legislative provision to cater for those who cannot agree to women bishops, such as that recently suggested by the Revision Committee."

"If priests really are out of sympathy with the C of E's doctrine (as opposed to the battles we are having over women's ministry and sexuality), then perhaps it is better they make a clean break and go to Rome. However, when they do, they will have to accommodate themselves to Rome's top-down approach to church life, whereas the C of E has always stressed the importance of decision making at the level of the local church."

"It is illusory to pretend that this development is an outcome of ecumenical dialogue. It illustrates the difficulties the C of E faces and the need for stronger leadership, rather than the 'softly softly' approach so far taken to those holding liberal views who are splitting the church."

Revd Paul Dawson
Reform Media Officer



October 20, 2009

Reform chairman Rod Thomas today welcomed the 'change of heart' the Church of England General Synod Revision Committee has shown in its work on women in the episcopate.

The committee has proposed that certain functions would be transferred by statute from a female bishop to a male bishop who would minister to those who have theological objections to receiving episcopal ministry from a woman.

Rod Thomas said: "This could be what is needed to avert a split and preserve unity among people who differ on this issue. This proposal is much more robust than the previous suggestion that left the decision about such a transfer to a code of practice, and so we welcome this move.

"We believe that the introduction of women bishops is not supported by the Bible's teaching and we will continue to try to persuade the wider church of this. However we are grateful to the committee for its willingness to appreciate our concerns. While we will need to examine the details as they emerge, we are clear that statutory safeguards are needed in areas such as appointments and selection for ordination. This is the bare minimum for us to be assured that our ministry will be allowed to prosper in the Church of England in the future."


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