ON THE eve of a critical vote on the creation of women bishops in the Church of England, a senior figure has warned he and hundreds of priests will quit if the move is approved.
Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet, this weekend becomes the first leading churchman to state that he would be likely to defect to the Roman Catholic Church.
The General Synod will tomorrow be asked to vote on the first stage of the process for “removing the legal obstacles to the ordination of women to the episcopate”. A vote in favour will set in train church legislation that may take three years.
“A woman bishop wouldn’t be a bishop because a bishop is someone whose ministry is acceptable through the ages to all other bishops,” said Burnham. “A Church of England with women bishops would no longer have a united episcopate. Bishops would no longer be what they say they are. I would have to leave.”
He said he would be forced to quit if Anglicans did not make proper provision for opponents of women bishops, and indicated that he believed 800 priests would follow suit. [Source]
I just don’t understand the problem here. Once you have abandoned scripture and apostolic tradition enable to ordain women as priests – what is to prevent the view that women’s episcopal ordination would also be valid? It seems to me that originally the women as priests and not as bishops was a compromise solution and that its only goal was to prevent more people from leaving. Just what theological, scriptural or quote from the Church Fathers could you use to split those hairs in the first place? Surely those who stayed in the Anglican Church because they didn’t ordain women bishops at that time knew that eventually that day would come. Though I guess we all blind ourselves to consequence when they become uncomfortable for us.
Though in some ways an Anglican church that continues down this path does more for Anglican to Catholic conversions than just about anything we have done apologetically. A hundred years ago the branch theory could be bought without too much contradiction. Now the branch theory applies to Anglicanism itself since it keeps splitting off with new branches, such as provinces. As in this case some want a third province in addition to Canterbury and York that would only have male bishops.
In a related note. Welcome home Al Kimmel of Pontifications who was received into full communion with the Catholic Church a month ago.