The WATCH has issued a statement regarding the Clause 5 amendments made by the House of Bishops. It says that it is consulting on the matter but expresses concerns about, "the problems with process; the unforeseen legal effects; the institution of a permanent state of ‘reception’ for women; the consequences of qualifying ‘maleness’ and including taint on the face of the Measure. " It has also issued a "For and against" paper to help people understand the range of views and reactions to the amendments and is consulting its members further.
Jean Mayland has written a letter to Times (exerpt only) outlining the concerns that these amendments enshrine in law a theology of taint. If parishes can (effectively) choose bishops that not only hold their theological convictions but also who have never been ordained by a woman bishop, or ordained by a man ordained by a woman bishop (multiply ad infinitum), this will create the concept of a "pure blood" priesthood untainted by contact with woman. The consequences of this are potentially divisive for the whole church and also would be difficult to manage. Priests and bishops might require a pedigree certificate confirming that there is no "taint" anywhere down the line!
The Rev’d Rachel Weir, Chair of WATCH said:
“We have not found anyone who thinks the Clause 5 amendment is helpful in substance. The Church Times poll currently shows 68% people consider it will not improve the chances of the legislation passing in July. This is a very serious situation and we need to consult more widely before deciding our response.”