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WALES: Ordination to be denied candidates who do not accept Women's Ordination

WALES: Ordination to be denied candidates who do not accept Women's Ordination

By David W. Virtue, DD
March 22, 2019

A proposal is being put forward at the Church in Wales governing body, calling for ordination to be denied to candidates who do not accept the ordination of women.

A Private Member's Motion by the Ven. Peggy Jackson is now before the Church's governing body, following the consecration of two women bishops, arguing that all bishops, consonant with previous undertakings, agree not to hold in future separate ordination services for any candidate, on the grounds of the candidates' views on gender.

It calls on the Bench of Bishops to resile (abandon a position or a course of action) from paragraph 5 of the Explanatory Note to their 2014 Code of Practice, and cease to ordain those who, refusing the sacramental ministry of women, expect to rely upon the conscience clauses of the Code.

This motion asks the Governing Body to celebrate the progress made by the Church in Wales since 2014, to develop and benefit from the gifts of ordained women across the province, particularly evident in the fact that the latest two bishops to be consecrated in Wales have both been women.

By permitting some candidates to distance themselves from ordination services which include women, it appears to offer respect to views which question the validity of women's orders, and it undermines the affirmation and support that all clergy, women and men, have the right to assume from their diocesan bishop. It fails to uphold the second Principle of the Code, that "Anyone who ministers within the Church in Wales must be prepared to accept that the Church in Wales has reached a clear decision on the matter".

As things now stand, the Code acknowledges that the Church is still in a period of reception, and therefore the church cannot exclude from consideration for ordination those who, in conscience, cannot receive the sacramental ministry of women in Holy Orders.

The mutual flourishing of all members of the Church in Wales cannot be assured while this remains the case. And as long as women are unable, because of these factors, to realize their full potential in ministry, the whole Church is suffering, through the loss of the gifts (and sometimes of the people) who could otherwise be contributing so much to its growth.

An Anglo-Catholic observer noted, "It is the last nail in their coffin, and will open the door to new jurisdictions taking their place."


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