"That this House ratifies the appointments of Bishops Arnold, Frame, Garnsworthy and Valentine on this Joint Committee." CARRIED
It was unanimousloy agreed that, in the future, the Primate should be free to act between meetings of the House of Bishops and report to the Bishops on actions which he has taken, and that it is not necessary to seek ratification.
Bishop Wyatt reviewed the present situation and outlined the steps required prior to the Ordination of Women to the priesthood. Bishop Valentine reported that the Task Force on the Ordination of Women will circulate study materials, to the House, and requested that the members be prepared for in-depth discussions at the December meeting. It was agreed that the Church-at-large should be informed of what the Bishops are doing now in the way of program and study, and that there will be further information following the meeting of the House in December.
"That this House asks the Chair to appoint a Task Force to prepare a report for distribution to all Bishops in advance of our December meeting, outlining the essential steps which would make possible implementation of the General Synod approval of the Principle of the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood, and that our December meeting accept and/or reverse this report for distribution to the whole Church. CARRIED
It was agreed that the report which is prepared for eventual presentation to General Synod should have appended a bibliography, and the Primate agreed to have circulated to the Bishops a list of appropriate study materials.
The Primate expressed appreciation to Bishop Wyatt for being present and assisting with various procedures. Bishop Wyatt, in thanking the Primate for this opportunity to visit the Canadian House of Bishops, suggested that the services of a process consultant might prove helpful, both to the Agenda Committee and at future meetings of the House.
"That we express our sincere appreciation to Bishop Wyatt for being present with us at this meeting of the House, and for his generous assistance." CARRIED
Bishop Sperry advised the House that his Diocese is making plans for the above commemoration. The precise date is September 3, 1978. The House was informed that the Post Office Department would not issue a commemorative stamp.
"That we pursue further the matter of having the Post Office issue a commemorative stamp on the basis of grounds suggested by our Archivist." CARRIED
Bishop Leonard Hatfield and the Rev. Christopher Carr were welcomed.
Bishop Hatfield reviewed the Report and addendum, noting changes which had been made in the light of suggestions made at the last meeting of the House.
The Primate shared a letter dated November, 1984, from Mr. Clyne Harradence, Vice-Chancellor of General Synod in which Mr. Harradence commended the Bishops for the high quality of the document.
In the discussion of the paper, further comments and suggestions were noted. Bishop Brown reported that there was some anger on the part of police officers regarding the Pastoral Letter because no concern was expressed for police and their families.
It was recognized that the current push for the return of the death penalty is, in part, due to an increasing concern for the victims of crime and their families, and justice for the victims must be seen to be done. It was noted that a National Committee to help the victims of crime and their families had been formed recently in Toronto.
Archbishop Scott reported on his recent meeting with Commissioner Yeomans of the National Correctional Services, and suggested that it might be useful to arrange for some private meetings with representatives from various police departments.
The implications of the reinstatement of the death penalty in relation to the Human Rights Code and the Charter of Rights were discussed. It was felt that, if capital punishment were reinstated, the justice system would uphold the statute if it were very clearly defined when capital punishment was called for.
It was noted that documentation is available through the office of the Rev. Donald Brown, Church House, and could be made available upon request.
Archbishop Scott spoke of the meeting which he had with leaders of other Churches and the Prime Minister where capital punishment was discussed. He reported that he stressed at the meeting that he was not expressing the opinion of the whole Canadian Anglican constituency.
That we authorize the release of this report to the Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, as revised in the light of discussion, for use at their discretion, as a study resource. CARRIED #4-2-85
It was agreed that the Pastoral Letter from the House of Bishops should be printed at the beginning of the paper, and that a preface, carefully prepared by the House, should be included.
Bishop Hollis reported that the subject of Bishops Continuing Education Seminars at the next meeting will deal with biological issues, rational suicide, etc. It was his opinion that four or five sessions would be necessary.
That Wednesday and Thursday mornings and afternoons be set aside for Continuing Education. CARRIED
Moved by Bishop Short, seconded by Archbishop Crabb,
That Wednesday evening be scheduled at the next meeting as a free evening. CARRIED
Bishop Pierce was unable to be with the Meeting to present a report on this subject. After some discussion the following resolution was passed.
"That the Archbishops be asked to take initiative to appoint a Task Force to investigate the relationship between the Canon Law on Discipline (Canon 19) and the requirements of civil law and provincial and federal civil rights regulations - and to report to this House as soon as possible." CARRIED
Bishop short, in presenting the revised paper on the Ordination of Women, suggested that this could be made generally available as a study paper.
Moved by: Bishop Stiff
Seconded by: Bishop Bothwell
That this House of Bishops approve this document on the Ordination of Women for release and circulation throughout the Church.
Moved by: Bishop Short
That this Motion be tabled until the rest of the debate has been heard. CARRIED
Moved by: Bishop Matthews
Seconded by: Bishop Read
That the Motion concerning the paper on the Ordination of Women be removed from the table
"That this House of Bishops approve this document on the Ordination of Women for release and circulation throughout the Church." CARRIED
(See Appendix B)
TO THE HOUSE OF BISHOPS
At the meeting in May 1974, Minutes page 15, a resolution was passed as follows:
"That this House ask the Chair to appoint a Task Force to prepare a report for distribution to all Bishops in advance of our December  meeting, outlining the essential steps which would make possible implementation of the General Synod approval of the Principle of the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood, and that our December meeting accept and/or revise this report for distribution to the whole Church."
The attached report is submitted as an attempt to respond to that motion.
The ORDINATION OF WOMEN TO THE PRIESTHOOD
A Pattern for Implementation
In voting to accept the principle of Ordination of Women to the Priesthood, the General Synod meeting in Regina in 1973 noted that "implementation (should) not take place until the House of Bishops has worked out a pattern for the Canadian Church that would include an educational process for the Church."
As we look with sympathetic concern at recent events in our sister church in the United States, we are profoundly aware that our own church must not, by intemperate action or obdurate inaction, complicate an already complex problem. We realize and we ask all the Church to realize that in this matter we are not dealing only with obscure concepts and erudite propositions. We are intricately involved with matters of gospel and ministry, of vocation and the gifts of the spirit, of responsibility and fulfillment, of tradition and authority and the contemporary responsibility to both. It seems that several separable issues in the Church of our time converge upon this particular issue, and from our action as a Church in resolving it will derive many significant determinatives for our subsequent shape and ministry.
The Question of Authority
It seems to us important first of all that both our Church at large and the General Synod in particular should face up to the problems of competence. We use the word "competence", of course, in the sense not of ability but of jurisdiction. We think it is at least worthy of the concern of the whole Church that some within the Church seriously and genuinely doubt that the General Synod can make the decision on such a matter of Faith and Order in the catholic church.
Others even doubt the possibility of priesting women.
We would be anxious that constitutional concerns should not be exploited by opponents of the Priesting of Women in order to delay it; but we draw to the Church's attention two significant occasions of anxiety. The first is the need for recognition that, in the subtleties of our system, real authority inheres in such entities as Diocesan and Provincial Synods, individual Bishops and the House of Bishops, and in the wider constituency of our membership. It is surely not an idle comment that real authority ultimately rests on the ability to engender respect for decisions. A Church which maintains an appearance of unity by a process of de facto excommunication must be called in question.
The second occasion of anxiety is that we should not be frightened into strange and unusual decision-making processes simply because we are confronted by a decision of considerable magnitude. Our Church has over many years evolved a system which has served it reasonably well.
For instance, with respect to the Ordination of women to the Diaconate, the matter was decided upon and authorized by the House of Bishops. However, in the matter of Priesting of women there are those who feel that this should be placed before General synod for ratification.
The question of "competence" extends also beyond the boundaries of our National Church. We cannot ignore the fact that part of our being as the Anglican Church of Canada inheres in our membership in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Whatever our feelings or decisions on a particular matter might be, we cannot pursue our national individuality indefinitely without incurring the risk of excommunicating ourselves. While the Anglican Consultative Council recognizes the right of each Province to legislate upon this matter, by the same token we must recognize the right of each Province to disassociate itself from any such decision.
This same principle, of course, applies to branches of the catholic church other than Anglican. We cannot allow ourselves to be deafened to the clear call of the Holy Spirit by the action of other parts of the Church, but we must be aware of the price of separation which may be demanded; and we must accept the limitation that our decision can in no way impose itself on others.
We hasten to reiterate that the General Synod has the right to express and opinion on any matter it chooses. It may even have the right to declare the truth as received by the body it constitutionally purports to represent. We are anxious though, as members of the General Synod, that we should not delude ourselves into thinking that The Truth, our perceptions of The Truth and the perceptions of others of The Truth are all the same thing.
An integral part, then, of the pattern of implementation would be a clear and perceived involvement of many levels of the decision-making in our Church such that, when definitive action is finally taken, it is seen not as a resented imposition but as a shared development growing out of the whole life and mind of the Church. We would wish, therefore, to make certain comments and suggestions about the matter of study as distinct form the subject for study.
The Question of Study
First of all, we once more draw to the attention of the Church resolutions of the House of Bishops passed at its meeting in May 1974. (Footnote 1) The substance of these is first of all that the responsibility for ongoing study belongs to the dioceses; as resources to that study we have endorsed the study guide prepared by the Diocese of Huron and have asked the General Synod Committee on Ministry to prepare and distribute a useful bibliography. Secondly, we have urged that the particular issue must be put into the contest of other issues which surround it. (Footnote 2)
One of the difficulties in pursuing the study is that of maintaining discernible categories of discussion. It is a frustrating and ultimately unproductive process to have, for instance, a serious proposition on a theological concept turned aside by an argument on sociological premises. In the same way, a biblical exegesis can be confronted unhelpfully by an argument on history.
It seems to be important that our people should submit themselves to the hard discipline of discussing this matter honestly, within the separable categories, if progress in mutual understanding is to take place. It is true, obviously, that at some point the outcome of a discussion in one category must be weighed along side the outcome of a discussion in another category. But as we attempt to reach out conclusions we should all make very sure that we honestly try to counter theological arguments with theology, historical arguments with history, sociological or biblical or ecclesiological arguments with arguments from the same discipline.
While we have stated that it is not our purpose in this report to pursue the particular arguments, we are anxious to insist that any discussion about the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood must be set within an attempt to reach new and deeper understandings about the whole matter of ministry. To this end the House of Bishops is committed to a study program taking particular note of the fact that there are already Ordained women in the Ministry of our Church. It is also our conviction that certain propositions within the Agreed Statement of the Anglican/Roman Catholic Churches on Ministry may be critically determinative for decisions in this matter.
Lastly, in the matter of study, we recall to the Church the danger of imagining that study and education are merely a matter of concepts and facts and theories. The General Synod resolution refers to "an educational process", and we think it is profoundly important that both in preparing and conducting any study, the many levels, other than intellectual, at which learning and change take place should be understood and provided for.
The Question of Collegiality
In looking at "The Question of Competence" we noted the role which both synods and bishops should play. It seems clear to us that any pattern of implementation must provide for a decision by the House of Bishops in which all of the bishops collegially concur. We can envisage the real possibility that a particular bishop would be unwilling to ordain women to the priesthood. We find it impossible to accept, however, a possibility that any bishop would refuse to acknowledge the propriety of another bishop's action or to accord the fullness of recognition to the Orders of a woman if they had been legitimately conferred. It is an internal problem, which the House of Bishops must confront, how such collegiality would be achieved. We are well aware that a very small minority on any matter may exploit collegiality as a weapon. Nevertheless, in attempting to describe a pattern of implementation, we are sure that this common mind must be achieved within the Canadian House of Bishops.
The Question of Acceptance
We have already referred to the "process" of education which involves many levels of human personhood as well as the intellect. We suggest that it is at these levels of emotion and assumption and corporate images that many of the problems of acceptance would exist. Many people who would think themselves entirely genuine in their intellectual acceptance of women in the priesthood, would find themselves unaccountably distressed in encountering a priest who happened to be a woman.
We have referred already, too, to a form of acceptance through the collegiality of the House of Bishops. It is true also for the other clergy and laity of the Church, in congregations and parishes and dioceses, that there will be some who find themselves unable to accept the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood.
We must realize too that "acceptance" in this matter is something other than a preference about hymns or a feeling for or against candles. We referred in our first section to the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood as a matter of Faith and Order. Acceptance or nonacceptance within the Church becomes a matter of deepest concern for those committed to the unity of the Church.
We think too that there are major implications of acceptance in the secular community surrounding the Church; we do not doubt indeed that the Church is significantly affected by the attitudes of contemporary society. It is important though that the faithful and prophetic decisions and actions of the Church should not depend on and be determined by the contemporary whims and mores of society. The stridencies of the fanatics of radicalism and reaction do not necessarily prove the right, least of all appropriate for the Church. The Church must be aware that there will be costs and benefits in our relationships with the secular world, and that these costs and benefits are to be assessed not merely in terms of individual pressure or fulfillment but in terms no less than the effectiveness of our Lord's ministry to the world.
We have already referred to the need to set our study into a wider context. It is clear that such a study must sooner or later extend to new theological insights about women and women in society, about the masculine and feminine principles in the images and assumptions of our society, and even the theological and mythological images which have developed about God.
The Question of Sacrifice
We have looked so far at possible impacts on various entities within the Church and some patterns for effective implementation. Most of these in large measure refer to preparatory action prior to actual implementation. We draw to the Church's prayerful attention the fact that particular sacrifice may be demanded of those women who are first ordained, if the decision is implemented. We are, in fact, suggesting that the process of implementation will in many ways need to be carried forward long after the first ordination, and that a large part of the price of implementation will be borne by those who are the pioneers.
We do not doubt that any candidates would be well prepared by prayer and thought and vocation willingly to accept the sacrifice. We would, never the less, urge the Church herself at every level of her life must make special provision to lend pastoral support to those of whom this particular sacrifice is required. We hasten to stress that this should not be seen as a subtly sexist action to continue an improper differentiation of women. It is always the responsibility of the Church to provide particular pastoral care for particular forms of need; our concern is that this particular need be provided for in particular ways. We would stress too that we are not alarmed by the fact or prospect of sacrifice. It is an integral part of the Christian life which every member will accept and rejoice in.
The Question of Deployment
Underlining several of the categories we have discussed is a question of thoroughgoing practicality. Ordination is concerned not only with being but also with function. If a person becomes a priest, it is the assumption of the Church that that person also will exercise the function of a priest. In any pattern of implementation, therefore, we must achieve the kind of realism in which a bishop who ordains her will also grant a jurisdiction; that a priest who shares in the laying-on-of-hands will also accept and work with her as a colleague; that a lay person who votes for the principle, will thankfully accept and support her ministry.
We discern a responsibility, too, for the Church to examine newly developing shapes of authority and accountability in the matter of deployment. Problems have already arisen because the Church often no longer has the sole determination of a priest's location or relocation. We note that the ordination of women may add a further dimension to this question. We do not suggest that such a problem should prevent or even delay implementation; we simply express the concern that the Church must move swiftly and skillfully to deal with new demands on deployment.
In all of this we have outlined areas of concern which we think it essential to include in any pattern of implementation.
It is our constant prayer, and we ask the same of the whole Church, that the Holy Spirit will guide us to a vision of His will for us and will grant us His strength to pursue and achieve it.
[Footnote 1.] "That this House regards further study of the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood as a Diocesan responsibility;
That this House endorses the Revised Diocese of Huron Study Guide on the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood as the Committee on Ministry has, and commends it to the Dioceses for wide study;
That this House asks the Committee on Ministry to prepare and distribute to Dioceses immediately a bibliography of study materials on the nature of priesthood as requested by General Synod Regina."
Minutes, House of Bishops, May 1974, page 15.
[Footnote 2.] "Before the Church decides to put into practice what General Synod in May 1973, accepted in principle, i.e., the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood, the House of Bishops calls for serious commitment by each Diocese to involve its constituents of each Order in initiating study, thought and prayer on issues surrounding this concern."