Many in the Church of England are celebrating today, following final approval of the legislation to permit women to be ordained as bishops.
While recognizing this, we deeply regret the further obstacle that this decision places in the path to the full, visible unity of the whole Church.
We do, however, welcome the provision that has been made in the House of Bishops’ Declaration. It recognizes that our theological convictions about ministry and ordination remain within the spectrum of Anglican teaching and tradition. It assures us that bishops will continue to be consecrated within the Church of England who can provide episcopal ministry that accords with those theological convictions. It makes provision for parishes to gain access to that episcopal ministry by passing resolutions.
This gives us confidence in our future as catholics who are called to live out our Christian vocation in the Church of England. For this we give thanks to God.
On behalf of the Council of Bishops
+ TONY PONTEFRACT
Rt Revd Tony Robinson
Bishop of Pontefract
14/07/2014 4:50 pm
The Catholic Church remains fully committed to its dialogue with the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. For the Catholic Church, the goal of ecumenical dialogue continues to be full visible ecclesial communion.
Such full ecclesial communion embraces full communion in the episcopal office. The decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate therefore sadly places a further obstacle on the path to this unity between us. Nevertheless we are committed to continuing our ecumenical dialogue, seeking deeper mutual understanding and practical cooperation wherever possible.
We note and appreciate the arrangement of pastoral provision, incorporated into the House of Bishops’ Declaration and the amending Canon passed by the General Synod, for those members of the Church of England who continue to hold to the historic understanding of the episcopate shared by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
At this difficult moment we affirm again the significant ecumenical progress which has been made in the decades since the Second Vatican Council and the development of firm and lasting friendships between our communities. We rejoice in these bonds of affection and will do all we can to strengthen them and seek together to witness to the Gospel in our society.
ARCHBISHOP BERNARD LONGLEYChairman of the Department for Dialogue and Unity
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales