Today two more groups in the Church of England have issued statements in reaction to yesterday's resignations.
The Catholic Group in General Synod has released the following statement:
The Catholic Group in General Synod is sorry to hear of the five bishops' intention to join the Anglican Ordinariate; we would like to thank them all for their ministry in the Church of England, and to assure them of our prayers and good wishes for their future. Bishops John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and David Silk have all been prominent members of the Catholic Group, and we thank them for their leadership of the Group in the past.
The Catholic Group remains determined to do all it can to ensure that the promises made by the Church of England to traditionalists at the time of the passing of legislation to permit the ordination of women to the priesthood are honoured by the General Synod as it now considers draft legislation to permit the consecration of women as bishops; significant amendment of the current draft will be required to enable this to happen.
We are heartened by the news that new appointments will be made for the Bishops of Ebbsfleet, Fulham and Richborough, and assure the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London of our prayers and good wishes at this time.
The Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod released this statement:
The announcement that the PEVs (Provincial Episcopal Visitors – known as flying bishops, since they have no dioceses and minister only to parishes which oppose ordination of women) are leaving to join the Ordinariate has not been a surprise.
Only 2.8% of parishes in the Church of England have opposed the ordination of women and requested the ministry of a flying bishop. These bishops are considered acceptable because they will not ordain women. This has been described as a “theology of Taint” which undermines the dignity of every woman and should hold no place within the Church.
The question arises as to whether there is any need to replace these bishops by new appointments. The General Synod of the Church of England, after lengthy consideration and debate has prepared legislation for the admission of women to the episcopate. The legislation does not envisage the use of PEVs. As their future is uncertain GRAS questions the wisdom of replacing these bishops for what could be a short duration.
Provision has been made within the legislation that will enable those opposed to have the ministry of a male priest or bishop. It is those in favour who have made concessions out of a spirit of generosity. As an interim measure the small number of parishes opposed to women’s ordination and episcopacy could be covered by existing bishops.
It is hoped, therefore that any future Episcopal appointment will be in keeping with the spirit of the legislation.
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