The following Press Release was issued by GRAS in October and demonstrates quite clearly that if the legislation is passed for women to be consecrated as Bishops, Catholics will no longer be welcome as part of the Church of England by the supporters of GRAS. But this is nothing new; it has always been the case that Catholics are neither wanted nor will be able to continue as ordinands; they will be required to assert that which no true Catholic believes that women can be both priests or bishops if GRAS obtains its objectives.
THE GRAS PRESS RELEASE
The l993 Act of Synod should be rescinded as a precondition of new legislation.
A single enabling Measure to give clarity and affirmation to women’s full and equal status in all three orders of ministry. The legislation must be unconditional, with no discriminatory provisions.
A Code of Practice designed to recognise that there are essential elements of trust which need to be restored. The integrity and authority of the episcopate must be restored through the assignment of trust in each diocesan bishop, who should be responsible for provisions judged to be right for any in his or her care.
A commitment that, since the Church has accepted the principle of the orders of women as priests and bishops, in future all those being ordained should openly accept those orders as valid in accordance with the existing ecclesiastical rule (Canon A4).
The statement shows very clearly that a Code of Practice, to quote that old cliché, is not fit for purpose. The Bishops Amended clause (5) 1(c) has inserted the word “respect” and it now reads that the Code should cover "the selection of male bishops and male priests in a manner which respects the grounds on which Parochial Church Councils issue Letters of Request under section 3". The only way a Bishop’s decision can be challenged under this legislation will be by means of a Judicial Review which most parishes won’t be able to afford.
GRAS states that “the integrity………..of the episcopate must be restored through the assignment of trust in each diocesan bishop”. It is a sad but well acknowledged fact that some of our Bishops have done everything they can to undo Resolutions passed under the Act of Synod when parishes have become vacant and this despite the fact that it was against the ethos of the Act of Synod for them to do so. Where was the “integrity” in that. Are they going to change their ways now? I doubt it. Of course not every bishop has acted in this way but some have and I suspect that in the future, unless there is water tight legal protection they will not hesitate to do so again. The present legislation is not fit for purpose and must be defeated.