John Adams is the editor of parenting website Dadbloguk.com. He has accepted an invitation from Lay Anglicana to leave the safety zone of parenting and write a guest post about the recent Synod vote about women bishops.
Like many, I watched with disbelief when Synod voted against women bishops the other day. I believe there’s compelling evidence in Romans that women held senior positions in the early Church. If women were considered good enough 2,000 years ago, why not now?
As I got thinking about the vote, something blindingly obvious struck me. Oddly it was something I haven’t seen mentioned by any commentators. My argument is thus; by the very nature of her role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, is Queen Elizabeth II not a female bishop in all but name? Let me be brave and state that if you accept my argument, last week’s vote was completely redundant.
Stick with me here for a second. As Supreme Governor, Queen Elizabeth has the power to appoint bishops. Okay, okay, so she does it on the advice of the Prime Minister but the fact remains that the Church’s male bishops have all been appointed by a woman since 1952.
You can, of course, take this argument back much, much further. The first female leader of the Church of England was Henry VIII’s daughter Queen Mary I who took on the role in 1553 and she was followed by Henry’s other daughter Elizabeth I in 1559.
The power and influence of the monarch on the CofE may have ebbed and flowed over the years. The fact remains that women have held the most senior position on and off for almost 500 years.
I may be mistaken, but I don’t ever recall the Laity questioning the authority of the monarch. If the laity accepts the authority of both male and female monarchs, and the monarch appoints bishops, how can the Laity vote against female bishops? I shall leave you with that thought.
John Adams, www.dadbloguk.com