The Most Rev Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham and Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Dialogue and Unity, has responded to the consecration of the Church of England’s first female bishop – Bishop Libby Lane of Stockport, a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Chester.
Archbishop Longley is co-Chair of ARCIC – the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission.
“On a personal level I pray for Bishop Libby Lane as she takes up the new ministry and responsibilities entrusted to her within the Anglican Diocese of Chester. As Bishop of Stockport she will be rightly welcomed by all her local ecumenical colleagues and friends and I am sure that her many pastoral gifts will be a source of blessing to the clergy and people she serves.
“Sadly, on an ecclesial level, Bishop Lane’s Consecration at York Minister serves to highlight one of the major challenges that Anglicans and Catholics in England face on the path towards full visible unity.
“The ordination of women to the episcopate presents a further obstacle to achieving that unity among us for which Our Lord prayed. Nevertheless, we remain committed to our dialogue with the Church of England and indeed with the Anglican Communion.
“I am sure that we shall reflect on the impact of this recent episcopal consecration at the English Anglican–Roman Catholic Committee and at the Anglican–Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC).
“We need to remember that Catholic bishops are already working ecumenically alongside Anglican women bishops in a number of Provinces of the Anglican Communion.
“In this context I am personally grateful for the contribution of Bishop Linda Nicholls, Area Bishop of Trent-Durham in the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, Canada as a member of the ARCIC III dialogue.”
Archbishop Bernard Longley
Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Dialogue and Unity