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What possible argument is there against women being ordained as Bishops

(39 Posts)
Bumperlicious Wed 03-Nov-10 08:50:41

Just listening to a Bishop on radio 4 who likened the possible split in the Anglican church as like waiting for war in 1939 hmm

Anyway, I was wondering what the arguments are against woman as bishops. It's seems so anachronistic to be against it. Can anyone shed any light?

I've deliberately not posted in the Feminist section as I want to hear the anti-feminist reasoning.

Unprune Wed 03-Nov-10 09:28:50

Men are speshul. God said so and everything.
Ladies would just worry their heads about the vestments and if they looked good in a mitre, and anyway they need to go and have a nice lie down once a month which means they can't spend long periods of time being very clever.

DandyDan Wed 03-Nov-10 10:28:52

I would say some of the arguments are similar to those about male/female priests. Jesus was a man, who chose twelve male disciples: the succession of church authority therefore should descend with males taking that representative role.

Some would have no argument themselves about women bishops or priests but would claim that until the other major churches (from which Anglicanism is "descended") decide to have them - ie. the Roman Catholic church or the Orthodox - that the Anglican church doesn't have the authority to decide this issue on its own, or basically it puts an insoluble divison in the way of unity with those churches.

Sariah Wed 03-Nov-10 23:22:57

I know in my faith it is to do with the priesthood. The office of Bishop is a priesthood calling. All worthy male members hold the priesthood and any one of them could be called to be bishop. Boys can receive the priesthood from 12 and as they mature and stay worthy they progress through it. Both by dh and my ds hold it.

Women do not hold the priesthood. The priesthood is there to help the men be better people, husbands, fathers, friends etc... It is not about women not having it. Men and women are equal but different. There is nothing about the priesthood that I as a woman envy. I see it as a way to strengthen my dh so am happy with it as it makes him better.

Bumperlicious Thu 04-Nov-10 08:10:30

Saira are you a Mormon? What is there in your faith to support women? That still doesn't seem an adequate explanation as to why it is men only. It doesn't tell me why men are allowed a position of responsibility and not women.

MaryBS Thu 04-Nov-10 08:27:40

Its a particular issue at the moment, in that for those who accept only men can be priests, then if a woman bishop were to ordain a male priest, in their eyes, he would not be validly ordained. Whereas generally its fairly easy to tell the difference between a priest who is a woman and one who is a man!

Other arguments are that the role of priest is as representative for Christ, and hence as Christ is a man, it has to be a man (never mind if they're not Jewish). And that the C of E should not unilaterally make such changes, as it is something that affects all Christendom (read Roman Catholic Church), and so how would we ever be a united church. Also there is what is said in St Paul's letters about women being silent in church and being subject to man as the head of the household - which is generally the Evangelical argument against women in ministry.

Please note I am PRO-women bishops, but generally have a good understanding of the arguments, being an Anglican and Catholic (not Roman Catholic - although I used to be).

MaryBS Thu 04-Nov-10 08:28:13

(sorry, would like to say not all evangelicals are against women in ministry, just as not all AngloCatholics are)

fatlazymummy Thu 04-Nov-10 20:47:37

My Mum was horrified about the ordination of women priests and said that she couldn't accept it. To her priests were men. I think she had a hard time accepting Angela Rippon as a newsreader as well. I think she just looked up to men. She just thought that men were more important and intelligent than women.
This sort of belief system was part of the reason why I stopped going to Church ASAP.

MaryBS Thu 04-Nov-10 21:10:17

My mum doesn't agree with them either - she is RC though.

nickelbangBANGbang Sat 06-Nov-10 15:01:14

but women priests and things isn't traditional shock

that's the only argument I can see from the people I know who are against it.


the thing about make priests and bishops comes from a patriarchal society in the days when women just weren't allowed to do those things.

the argument really doesn't have place in the modern world.

but some people just can't see that.

MmeOrangeBlackandBlueberry Sat 06-Nov-10 15:04:15

I don't think there are particular arguments against women being made bishops.

The arguments are all to do with women becoming priests.

Once the church accepted women as priests, there was really no barrier to their becoming bishops.

If you are really interested in the topic from a conservative standpoint (not tradition based), look at this website:

weegiemum Sun 07-Nov-10 17:11:55

This is why we belong to a church that doesn't have bishops!

Am nice adn non-conformist!

MmeOrangeBlackandBlueberry Sun 07-Nov-10 21:06:43

Then you get into an Apostolic Succession argument.

I think, on balance, I would go with the bishops, but in an evangelical church.

MaMoTTaT Sun 07-Nov-10 21:15:37

Mary - I've also thought of Evangelical churches as being pro women priests.

Certainly all the ones I've ever been to have bee "for" rather than against.

Our church (CoE) would fall apart if you removed the women from the "positions of power" - there'd be no sermons, no music, no-one to do the accounts, no-one to look after the church etc etc grin

MaryBS Mon 08-Nov-10 08:16:38

Many Evo churches are MaMoTTaT, but some still believe in male headship. A fellow Reader did a placement in an Evangelical church and she wasn't allowed to preach. She was allowed to lead intercessions and take part in the knitting group though hmm.

AMumInScotland Mon 08-Nov-10 09:38:04

I've met both evangelicals and anglo-catholics on both sides of the argument - for evangelicals it tends to be the "headship" argument which makes some of them believe that women shouldn't be priests or bishops. For catholics it tends to be the "representing Christ", or the "unity between churches" argument.

And there is a difference between being in a church which just allows women priests, when your congregation can decide not to have one (so you can pretend it doesn't affect you), and one with women bishops who you can't avoid - as MaryBS pointed out earlier, a woman bishop could have ordained your (male) priest, and you'd need an entire "two-tier" system to allow individual churches to "opt out" of that.

MaMoTTaT Mon 08-Nov-10 09:40:40

I've obviously been to all the wrong evangelical churches grin

MaMoTTaT Mon 08-Nov-10 09:41:06

or actually on (extremely brief) reflection perhaps I've been to the right Evangelical churches wink

MaryBS Mon 08-Nov-10 10:05:22

I think you're right MaMoTTaT

nickelbangBANGbang Mon 08-Nov-10 12:41:41

as we're in an interregnum, we have to use our readers and church wardens for services (normally where there's no communion, though, cos reserved sacrament is annoying), and both of our church wardens are women.

there's one man in the congregation who hates women priests (doesn't come often, but walked out of a communion service when our female curate took one once), and he wanted to join our choir for advent - he probably won't stay once he finds out that one of the churchwardens will be leading the service.

with the church in the financial state it is, they can't afford to be picky about who is ordained or not.

sarah293 Mon 08-Nov-10 12:44:34

Message withdrawn

MaMoTTaT Mon 08-Nov-10 13:06:46

oh yes - our trainee reader (she'll be licensed in May next year smile) is a woman too.

One of the churches in our town had a vicar who was extremely anti-women priests. So much so that he would NEVER go to the Churches Together services in our church, or another one that also has a female vicar. Many of his congregation refused to come too

His absence was always very noticeable.....

They've got a new "pro-women" vicar now (male one though) and apparently most of the congregation are less bothered about the issue now

nickelbangBANGbang Mon 08-Nov-10 13:18:10

it drives me batty.

my old church in Nottingham is the same - they think they're all really high church grin

I thought about being a vicar when I was little. (i really did hero-worship our vicar!)
but women weren't allowed to be priests then, so that got put aside.

it would have been really useful now, to have been ordained, because we really, really, really need a priest!

MaMoTTaT Mon 08-Nov-10 13:21:36

ahhh you should have grown up in the Methodist church nickel.

My mum was a local preacher in the Methodist church, only thing that stopped her becoming a minister was her lack of English O level.

nickelbangBANGbang Mon 08-Nov-10 13:42:22

ah, well if i'd known that I would have converted!

(actually, I probably wouldn't- i liked the bells and smells and methodists were rather too puritan round my way...)

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