Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What are the Clergy in Wales Thinking?

The vote for women Bishops in the Church in Wales failed:

...The bill, proposed by the Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan, was passed overwhelmingly by 52 votes to 19 by the laity.

But in the clergy it passed by a mere 27 votes to 18, leaving it three votes short of the two-thirds majority it needed to become canon law.

It fell after the amendment that would have offered alternative oversight for the clergy opponents also failed. Supporters of women bishops were reluctant to sanction what they regarded as institutionalised schism.

Dr Morgan admitted that had the amendment passed, the bill would probably have “sailed through”.

He said: “I am deeply disappointed, especially since it was lost with a very low margin in the house of clergy. Although the amendment could have saved the motion, many supporters of women bishops were reluctant to sanction them because they because they feared it might institutionalise schism.

“It was just three votes. The same thing happened over the ordination of women to the priesthood 11 years ago. That later went through at the second attempt. It is an issue that is not going to go away or be ignored. The Church in Wales will have to grapple with it. I am sad that we have to go through the whole process again"...
Prior to the vote, Dr. Morgan had this to say:

In an age when women have broken through the glass ceiling in most professions in Britain, it is strange that they still face discrimination in a church that believes there is "no male or female" in Christ. Women can become judges, surgeons, chief executives and heads of state, but in the Church in Wales - which waited until 1997 to ordain women as priests - they are as yet unable to become bishops.

I do not see how, having agreed to ordaining women to both the diaconate and priesthood, the church can logically exclude women from the episcopate. That is why I and my fellow bishops will be asking members of the church's legislative body today to vote in favour of a bill to allow women clerics to become bishops. It's a move that Anglican churches have made in other countries - Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and the US, though not yet England. I believe Wales is now willing to embrace this important change too...

...If the Church in Wales refuses today to ordain women to the episcopate, it will be in danger of giving the impression that: the maleness of Jesus is more important than his humanity; only men can really represent God and his church to the world; men are the really important members of the human race; the church does not value the gifts and talents of women; and the church is not interested in testing the vocation of women, or even willing to consider their suitability as bishops, because their gender has automatically debarred them from such consideration...
Yea, that about sums it up for me.

I was sponsored for ordination by a diocese that would not allow women in holy orders. I went to a seminary that would accept women students (and their tuition, of course) but would not allow women priests to function sacerdotally on their grounds (that is still their policy today). So, I've heard the arguments. But I've never heard one that made any sense to me.

So, can anyone enlighten me as to what the clergy in Wales were thinking? By what thought process is half the human race excluded from being allowed to wear a purple shirt and a pointy hat?


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