Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Women Bishops Day 2

It's looking just a bit more cheerful than it did - don't necessarily believe what you read in the papers. I went into the Chamber yesterday morning determined to do two things - vote against Clause 2 of the Measure (You can see what that means in this post) and at the end of the Revision Stage move a procedural motion to send the whole Measure back for further revision, on the grounds that it seemed to me that as it was it simply did not deliver what it was designed for. I ended up doing neither of these things. What happened? An exercise of leadership and a little bit of grace. It's like this...

When the archbishops pitched their amendment to us on Saturday, they did so as just another amendment. "Here it is, folks," they said. "It's not a loyalty test, it's another idea that we are offering alongside these others." It fell, but only three priests would have needed to change their minds for it to pass. Perhaps they didn't want to be seen to bully us, but there is a difference between bullying and leadership. This morning, the Archbishop addressed us again, and this time he told us what he wanted. He told us that, flawed as it may be, we had now to send the Measure to the dioceses - we owed it to them now to let them respond. This meant that he did not want Clause 2 to be left out of the measure, and he did not want anybody moving procedural motions to delay the process. So that was me told, then. Then it came to the debate on Clause 2 of the measure, and person after person stood up - people whom I would have expected to say 'what's the point with this Clause now, it doesn't do the job, let's get rid of it' - and instead insisted that it should stay part. How, then, could I possibly vote against it?

And so it went on throughout the day. The media have - of course - not presented it this way, but the situation at the end of yesterday was not as desperate as it had seemed after Saturday. More on this in due course, as I try to write up what has happened in more detail, but we need to remember that the process is not over yet.

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