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ENGLAND: Bishop hints at legal action after vote on women bishops

ENGLAND: Bishop hints at legal action after vote on women bishops

By Michael Brown
Religious Intelligence

London: A traditionalist Anglican leader has strongly hinted at possible legal action if assets are "stolen" from Anglo-Catholics as a result of the divisive move by the General Synod over women bishops.

The spectre of protracted and costly litigation is held up by the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst, who leads Forward in Faith, the traditionalists' umbrella body.

Members of the organisation are smarting over what they see as a woeful lack of safeguards for them when women start donning mitres from about 2012. Bishop Broadhurst, in the wake of the synod's decision at York earlier this month, tells traditionalists in a message issued last Friday: "Most of the assets of the Church of England in terms of buildings, schools and other property either come from the pre-Reformation Catholic Church or as a direct result of the Tractarian and Catholic revival.

"This property is very much our heritage and inheritance and to suggest that many wish to steal it from us in a very unpleasant form of legalised theft would not be an understatement."

Bishop Broadhurst also refers dramatically in the message to what he calls "bullying" of traditionalists.

He declares: "It is quite apparent that we are being subjected to what I would call institutional bullying of a kind that, if it were found in the commercial world, would be the subject of serious litigation.

"The atmosphere and the approach of some of those opposed to us reveals that not only are they not very good Christians -- they are also not nice human beings." Bishop Broadhurst adds: "I know that many people will be looking at the legal implications lying behind both these matters."

His message reveals that a special "emergency" meeting of the Forward in Faith council was due to be held behind closed doors at Canterbury where the Lambeth Conference is now taking place -- this Monday.



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