Tag Archives: Bishop Philip North

Ex opere operato?

I think it is a matter of regret that Bishop Philip North felt constrained to withdraw his nomination as Bishop of Sheffield, but I feel that, like others in his position, he is the victim of a deep inconsistency in the approach that the Church of England has adopted to the question of women’s eligibility for ordained ministry. Bishop North is reported to hold the view that ‘Canonically ordained means a priest is a priest is a priest and a bishop is a bishop is a bishop.’ In the light of that, it is difficult to infer what he means by his next sentence, ‘The issue is not purely sacramental or about validity’(http://www.sheffield.anglican.org/news/tuesday-7-february-2017-doncaster-minster). Furthermore, according to the same source, Bishop North has ordained more women than men as deacons. If the laying on of hands and the invocation of the Holy spirit is efficacious for the ordination of women as deacons (and presumably also for the episcopal ordination of Bishop North and that of other bishops who share his views), why not for ordination of women as priests and consecration as bishops, given that the key element in all three rites (the laying on of hands and the invocation of the Holy spirit) is identical, save for the insertion of the word deacon, priest or bishop as appropriate?