A Sophia Network member asked her year 10 group at Chase Community School in North London to research and write about whether women should be allowed to be bishops or not. These two articles have been chosen, as they help us to understand what young women think about this issue. The Church of England synod is meeting over the next few days and will discuss this important issue. Well done to Yasemin, Jade, Beth and Ellie for their contributions on this issue.
Should Women Be Bishops? Thoughts from Ellie.
Now that the Church of England is voting on whether or not women should be bishops, I believe the pros and cons on if this is a good thing should be discussed. The last vote was held on November 2012 and the result rejected women from becoming bishops. Considering the next vote is coming up soon the opinions of different people will soon be valid in deciding if laws should be kept or changed.
In my opinion, women should definitely be allowed to be bishops. Despite being a Catholic and attending a Catholic church, I strongly believe that women should be allowed to be bishops, as women are just as capable and just as important as men. Without women, life wouldn’t be able to be created and if women can form a life they should be able to pursue any job they want without being told that ‘they aren’t allowed’. The reasons given for women not being allowed to become bishops are invalid and incomprehensible in my opinion. They have no understandable reason or argument. For example, the fact that the lead roles in the Bible are played by men should not affect the status a woman can hold in a church today.
A Catholic’s view on this issue is that women should not even be allowed to be priests, let alone bishops. They believe that men and women should have equal roles in society and women should be allowed to study and teach theology however they cannot have the same rights as men in the church. Also, women cannot bless the bread at communion; they can only give it out. The reason that is given is because all Jesus’ disciples were men and the priests today should be an accurate representation of them. The Bible quote "He blessed the bread and broke it” (Mark 14.22), has made Catholics believe that only men can take on this role and it should not be done by women.
However, modern Protestant Christians are in support of women priests and bishops. They accept and teach that men and women are equal in all ways. They believe this because in the Bible it is said that men and women were created at the same time and equally. In the Bible, Paul said “In Christ, there is no difference between … male and female … you are all one in Christ” which has given them the view that Christ would not want women to be treated any differently than men. Also, in the Bible Jesus treated all women as equals, plus there is much evidence that women were priests and bishops in early day churches.
Should Women Be Bishops? Thoughts from Yasemin, Jade and Beth
In November 2012, the house of Laity voted on having woman bishops, sadly it failed to gain the needed 2/3 of the votes. Almost 20 years ago, the Church of England decided that woman could become priests, now we are asking, why they cannot be bishops?
The previous Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said the church had ‘lost a measure of credibility’ after the November 2012 refusal. Some people still have traditional views about how church should be run; such as men take services and women do the cleaning in church. However, these views have been called into light by female priests saying this is sexist and wrong; they now are encouraging other woman to step out of these roles and take inspiration from influential women such as Jessica Ennis.
Some women in the church said that after the November 2012 vote that they were ‘very encouraged by the tone of the debate’. Genesis 1:27 ‘both Adam and Eve were made in God’s image’ meaning men and women were both created as equal in God’s image. It also says in the Bible that a number of women take on roles beyond the role of wife and mother, such as Deborah the leader and Priscilla the teacher, this shows that women can rise above traditional roles and can do the jobs typically done by men.
Jesus challenged many cultural stereotypes of women; for example in John 4:9 he spoke and taught the woman at the well. He had no sexist views so why should we? If we strive to be holy and close to God, why ignore things that Jesus wouldn’t?
A thought to leave you with Galatians 3:28 ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’