Women Bishops: Bleak outlook, says opponent

Preb.Rod ThomasBy Madeleine Davis, Church Times


WHILE it might be “difficult for anyone to claim outright victory”, the way forward to women bishops mapped out by the House of Bishops, looked like “outright defeat”, the chairman of Reform, the conservative Evangelical network, Prebendary Rod Thomas, said on Tuesday.


“We had asked for a clear legislative basis for us to be able to flourish in the Church, and that has been denied us,” said Prebendary Thomas. “We had asked for greater security and assurance about our futures, but we are being given much less than we currently have. We had asked for a way round the knotty problem of bishops’ delegating authority, and instead we are now going to be required to make an oath of canonical obedience of the sort that, if you believe in male headship, for many will be impossible.”


Prebendary Thomas said that he recognised “some benefits” in the option set out by the House of Bishops, including “recognition of the need a for national system and a proper means for adjudicating disputes”. But he argued that “by starting the ball rolling with option one [of the four put forward by the working group] it is going to be very difficult indeed to build in the caveats that might be needed to enable us to take a vow of canonical obedience, and difficult to create a legislative basis for greater assurance. So we think the outlook under these proposals is really rather bleak.”


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