Wednesday 7 July 2010

ALCOHOL Statement

Press release from Affirming Liberal Catholic Order HOListically (ALCOHOL) 7th July 2010

Women and the Episcopate

ALCOHOL welcomes the Revision Committee Report of May 2010. It is a fair Code of Practice (COP). Women will be able to take their full place in the ministry.

After much consideration, that was the length of time it took to read, which was longer than usual, ALCOHOL rejects the Archbishops' amendments on the basis of them spreading the pain and adding confusion. A him and her bishop might be able to get on and hold hands, and tuck mitres under their arms, but if they don't then she might feel a bit second class while he gets on with the parishes where he wears his mitre on his head where she is not excluded yet can play no part and continues to tuck it under her arm.

The Archbishops would turn what is a fair COP into an unfair COP that doesn't exist anyway.

Having two classes of bishop would change irrevocably the Catholic nature of the episcopate in the Church in England, which will be satisfied anyway by having women introduced into the bishoprics.

On this occasion we like what Fulcrum have said from an apparently moderate Protestant view, where it claims without reservation that the Bible supports women's headship, which might be news for some Protestants. Neither Fulcrum nor ALCOHOL want parallel structures, and therefore nothing for GAFCON to exploit (which is probably why Fulcrum supports ALCOHOL's view on this). Still, we prefer to talk about existing Catholic order, but it is nice to have some agreement with those who otherwise do not agree with us about the inclusion of relationship active lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered clergy and bishops.

ALCOHOL does not support wrecking amendments that would make significant changes to what is the case. We do not support amendments that introduce extra dioceses as these also change the episcopate in a way that would introduce the hampering of the ministry of women at senior levels, something that so far has not taken place.

By preserving intact the authority of the diocesan bishop ALCOHOL can confirm that the Report makes no changes in the historic understanding of that office and of the episcopate more generally.

Those who disagree, who claim that there is a change, will find small corners to live in until they peter out and thus the Church in England will remain as broad as it ever was.

However, we in ALCOHOL are cautious that bishops' declarations might be general and sweeping, unlike now; and where a male ordaining only bishop hangs on the may not have to promote women - thus an existing diocese might become a parallel diocese for those who few who misleadingly call themselves Catholic when they are not like us.

Yes a PCC is the body to want a male only bishop for the time being, but legislation ought to demand that such PCCs hold a referendum that might cost a few bob and thus make them think again.

We in ALCOHOL do not recommend a statement of honesty: that the Church in England is making a change to the episcopate, that this is innovation, that it is a good innovation and a good change, but unfortunately excludes some who used to be included, and yet is transformative for the body of the Church like ALCOHOL is supposed to be in the Eucharistic celebration, but we wish to use instead the language of 'sameness as it ever was' as a sleight of hand to try to emphasise legitimacy and authority that would convince only those worst of wear from drink.

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