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The see of Whitby and women bishops

04 January 2013


From the Revd Janet Fife
Sir, - The people of Cleveland might not have been so frustrated at the appointment of a third traditionalist as Bishop of Whitby ( News and Letters, 21/28 December), had adequate provision been made for women priests in the archdeaconry.

As it is, we have been required to undergo ministry review by bishops who do not accept the validity of our orders, and are supposed to receive pastoral care from a man who does not recognise who we truly are. When the Bishop visits to install a new female incumbent, or to conduct a confirmation, the parishioners know that he does not regard their priest's sacraments as valid. Inevitably, either their incumbent's authority, or the Bishop's, is weakened. Often it is the Bishop whose spiritual authority is diminished in these circumstances.

It surprises me that this situation has been tolerated for so long. I should have thought that if the powers that be were not motivated to rectify it by a sense of fair play, then expediency might have moved them to make better provision for women clergy.

6 Windy Hill Lane, Marske by the Sea
Redcar TS11 7BN

From Canon Roger Clifton
Sir, - Canon Andrew Hawes complains of "deliberate, wilful and unchristian rejection" ( Letters, 21/28 December). So now he knows how women and gays feel.

7 Bathwick Street
Bath BA2 6NX

From the Revd Jeffrey Daly
Sir, - It is well known that Homer nods, but it is regrettable that a letter from an Archbishop's office refers to a priest as neither Mr nor Fr, but Revd ("Revd North"). May Crockford be more fully read, learned, and inwardly digested.

3 Shotel Close
York YO30 5FY

From the Revd Peter Norman
Sir, - I have almost come to dread opening the Church Times to read what the Church of England can come up with next. Now I read of the unseemly haste to bring back legislation to the General Synod regarding women bishops ( News, 14 December).

Does the House of Bishops really think it can produce something satisfactory in such a short period of time, having failed over so many years? And, if the Bishops and other Synod members believe that the Holy Spirit works through the Synod, then presumably the Spirit has failed to persuade those who voted against. Should the Synod, therefore, debate a vote of no confidence in the Spirit rather than conduct a witch-hunt against the chairman of the House of Laity?

Perhaps we should debate a vote of no confidence in the House of Bishops (with a few notable exceptions) for failing to provide a consistent and coherent theology of priesthood, marriage, and homosexuality, and, indeed, to defend the faith of the apostles which has been entrusted to it.

The Vicarage, Torrington Road
Winkleigh, Devon EX19 8HR

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