"CHUCKING out" the minority who disagree with women bishops is
"just not Christian", the Archbishop of Canterbury says in an
interview, published today.
He rebuts the accusation by Diana Johnson MP that the
women-bishops working group "lacks a sense of urgency for change".
The Labour MP introduced a Ten-minute Bill into the House of
Commons on Wednesday of last week which would amend the law to
allow women to become bishops in the Church of England (News,
Interviewed for this paper, Archbishop Welby says that he
appreciated what Ms Johnson was doing. "But she's wrong. There's a
great deal of urgency. . . She obviously thinks that we're not
going quickly enough; I think we're working extremely hard on it
and as well as we can. We want to get this done."
The Archbishop refuses to be drawn on what sort of package he
would like to see brought before the General Synod in July, saying
that he does not wish to prejudge the outcome of the working
If the Church of England were a political party, the situation
would be more straightforward, he says, "because we'd have passed
the Measure by a majority and chucked out everyone who disagreed
with us - nice and simple.
"It's just not Christian. It's not what we do. We're bound
together by a common baptism through the work of the Holy Spirit,
and I don't think we should have the liberty of saying to people:
'This is how it's going to be, and that's just too bad if you don't
He says that holding facilitated discussions behind closed doors
with different factions of the Synod has provided "safe spaces
where people can say what they think and listen to each other, and
it not all be observed".
Elsewhere in the interview, Archbishop Welby, who describes
himself as a conservative Evangelical, expresses sympathy with a
suggestion by the Primates of Nigeria and Kenya that the Archbishop
of Canterbury should no longer chair the Primates' Meeting (News,
27 April 2012).
"I think I very much understand what they're saying. We have to
find a way for the structures of the Communion over time to reflect
the realities of our commonality in the grace of God, and ensure
that they are not simply driven by the imperial accident of
"All structures need to change from time to time, to reflect
changes in history, in culture, in experience. . . . They always
have done in the Anglican Communion. I'm sure that, over time, the
structures will continue to flex and adapt."