I have been uncommonly quiet, as the observant amongst you may have noticed. This is because, mindful of Clement Attlee’s rebuke to Harold Laski, ‘A period of silence on your part would be welcome‘, I have been holding my breath.
The Measure on women bishops, which I (with the vast majority of the Church of England) hope against hope might be passed in the form agreed at the last meeting of General Synod, i.e. before the two unhelpful amendments, is due to come before General Synod in York from 6-10 July. The concerns expressed by Women And The Church are set out here. Today’s edition of the Church Times, has the following comment:
THE General Synod is in trouble. In ten days’ time, it is to consider giving final approval to the consecration of women bishops. In the normal run of things, this would be the stage for a general debate in which the participants return to first principles, examine whether the legislation does or does not fulfil their wishes, and vote accordingly. This debate looks increasingly unlikely to happen.
Women And The Church is now petitioning the House of Bishops through Change.org as follows:
The House of Bishops [of the Church of England]: Withdraw Clause 5(1)c
Please, if you agree that the amendment which formalises the establishment of two classes of bishop in the Church of England should be withdrawn, Sign the petition.
To paraphrase the poet Drayton:
Now at the last gasp of women bishops‘ latest breath,
When, its pulse failing, the Measure speechless lies,
When Faith is kneeling by its bed of death,
And Principle is closing up his eyes,
Now, if thou wouldst, when all have given it over,
From death to life thou might’st it yet recover.
As I write, the petition has reached 109 signatures. Will you please be the 110th signatory?