Julia Neuberger was talking sense on the World Tonight the other night. The issue of women bishops is not theological. Bishops are only administrative; if you can have women priests, you can have women bishops. God doesn’t talk about bishops, and neither does Christ. They come later. St Paul does talk of the structure of the church, but then he also says that clerical celibacy is a nonsense – this didn’t stop the Catholic Church. This pick-and-mix attitude to what is In The Bible and therefore To Be Followed and what isn’t is very irritating.
I find it outrageous that the C of E is getting away with such blatant misogyny and sex discrimination – no other employer would. The clergymen who defected to Rome would rather change their theology than be governed by a woman – they should have been unfrocked. The clergy who don’t want a female boss should examine their motives. Some of them are an exclusive sect of homosexual males who just don’t like women (except their mothers, or the BVM). Now, from my memory of the Bible, homosexuality is frowned upon, and, also from my memory of the Bible, Christ said something about not casting stones. Some of them are African clergy, stuck somewhere in the colonial, militant Christianity of the late 19th century. Their benighted brand of Christianity should be ignored – it’s most unchristian.
As for the women opposed to women bishops, there were of course many women opposed to the female franchise. I wonder how many WB opponents would give up their right to vote. I hope they see the error of their stupidity.
The bottom line is that the Church of England is in decline. It needs all the clergy it can get, so that there’s a good chance that some might be competent. This means opening all posts up to women. Presumably many male clerical opponents of WBs are worried that they will be shown up by better colleagues.
Addendum: I’ve now just read a great article by the fabulous, erudite and eloquent Diarmaid MacCulloch in yesterday’s Observer: