From the Age newspaper
Anglican bishop wants female replacement
An Anglican bishop has asked his diocese to appoint a woman to the position when he retires.
Bishop of Canberra-Goulburn George Browning has told his diocese’s annual parliament, or synod, in Goulburn he’d have no problem with being replaced by a woman when he steps down in three years’ time.
Now, what you need to know is that Browning, following a rejection of female Episcopacy at the last Australian General Synod, has already announced that he will ignore Church policy and most likely consecrate a woman as suffragan anyway.
“While much can change, I think it most likely that sometime in 2008 you will be meeting as an election synod to choose a new diocesan (bishop),” Bishop Browning said.
“I would hope that by then you will feel able to nominate a woman, if you believe such a person is right to lead you in the next phase of your life.”
So what the bishop of Canberra is doing here is encouraging the synod of his diocese to pursue a course of action contrary to orthodox belief – a position that has been upheld at the last 2 General Synods.
The Canberra-Goulburn diocese is a party to a question being investigated by the Anglican Church’s peak law body, the Appellate Tribunal, about whether it was legal to appoint a woman as a bishop.
The answer to which should be obvious because…
The church’s national parliament, the general synod, last year narrowly rejected a bill which would have allowed women as bishops.
But supporters of the move for women bishops are keen to see legislation go to the next general synod in 2007.
Despite it being rejected last time round, and the time before that.
The church allowed women to be ordained as deacons in 1985 and priests in 1992, but legislation has failed to gain a two-thirds majority in the three synod houses of laity, clergy and bishops at two successive synods.
Those who support the laws say it is unreasonable and contrary to the Bible to allow women to be deacons and priests but not bishops.
And, to be fair, they’ve got a point. None of the arguments really hold. More to the point, the same arguments that underly this issue, (i.e. what does the Bible say about gender roles?) are also in essence the same ones that underly the whole homosexual debate. Albeit that scripture has heavier proscriptions against the latter.
But opponents say it is contrary to the Bible.
Women bishops have been consecrated in the Anglican Church in the United States, New Zealand and Canada.
The church’s national leader, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, is on record supporting the ordination of women bishops, but expressed caution recently saying he needed to consider the unity of the church.
Of course he does. What’s interesting, however, is that liberals all over the Communion are pushing these boundaries to the limits. Perhaps they recognise their time is up.