CoE Traditionalist Bishops Hold Fast

A small group standing firm against modernism.

“…no bishop will lay hands on him who has previously laid hands on a woman bishop or priest.”

Well, you could view it in that embattled way. Or you could take Fr North’s own view, that the Church of England has committed, as it moves to consecrate women bishops, also to work to make the traditionalist Anglo-Catholics and the Headship Evangelists flourish within its life. Fr North is a well respected priest throughout the CofE. Here is what he himself has said:

Let us be fearless in grabbing hold of the invitation the Church has given us to flourish. The five principles… assure us that we remain within the spectrum of the teaching and tradition of the Anglican Communion. Now we need to inhabit it boldly and fearlessly. Now we need the imagination and the courage to make it work.

Here is the reference:

I certainly wish him, and the other remnants, well.


As you may well know, Fr North turned down a bishopric a few years ago because he believed that his traditionalist views meant he could not perform one essential task of a bishop: being a centre of unity. He has, one might say, taken the risk now that underlying the overwhelming decision of the CofE on how it should proceed in the matter of women bishops are principles of mutual flourishing which enable him to don his mitre reasonably confidently. Yes, let’s wish him well.

So he was that one. I did not recall the name.

One can always hope.


I liked Fr. North’s emphasis on standing with the poor, evangelism and spiritual renewal. But I think the “embattled” view is probably the more accurate view of his situation. He can, and will, reach out to individuals and lead all to conversion, and perhaps some to consider the priesthood. Conversion and priesthood are individual responses, initially. But these responses are eventually activated, not just within the larger Body of Christ but in a specific denomination.

In the West, part of the problems in society are a result of growing doctrinal confusion within churches, some more than others, which causes weakening spiritual life in Christians, less evangelism, and weak response by Christians to growing secularism. The better a bishop Fr. North is, the more he will attract young (currently) orthodox Christians to remain within the C of E, rather than going to another church. His influence on those individuals will be beneficial, at least for now, but by keeping them in the C of E, they will get other influences besides his. I’m sure he will cooperate with the larger structures of traditional RC or evangelical churches in his region to affirm basic truths in the Public Square, but he can’t cooperate with them nearly as well as he could if he joined one of them. Some of the young Anglicans who rightly look up to him are the types of people who otherwise may have considered joining those traditional denominations.

That seems to me a very fair line of argument, although we should not overlook the fact that Fr North is presumably in the Church of England because he is an Anglican, not because he is a misplaced something else. And while I understand what you are saying from a Catholic point of view, an Anglican might take it that what you are arguing for is a further splintering of the English Church. Sometimes I think the point is missed that a national church has particular strength if it can embrace a broad range of Christian practice given that, as I am sure you agree, the Church Catholic is weaker for splitting each segment of understanding into its own denomination.

It should go without saying that I, and others on CAF, should pray for Fr. North in his ministry.

Father North is coming up to be our bishop. I am attending his consecration with my vicar on Candlemas Day. We have been praying for him very regularly since it was announced that he would be appointed. I am pleased that he is standing firm on this issue. He will be coming to preach at our church next month, too.

Are you aware of Anglicanorum coetibus?

Looks like you got a good one.


A church wherein you have two parties accepting two different lines of succession seems to me like a church that is naturally splitting into two churches, which are related to each other, but only in communion. I mean, if you’re going to have conservative Bishops ordain conservative Bishops and Liberal Bishops ordain Liberal Bishops, do you have one church or two churches?

I wonder though, that perhaps real test for the traditionalists, will be when inevitably there is a Bishop of Canterbury who is a woman or a man who was ordained by a woman. Will that be the final straw?

I think they passed what they said would be their “final straw” several rounds back. In the TEC, traditionalists must be on their hundredth “final straw”.

The all too frequent situation for the in situ traditionalists is the one hundredth iteration of “I tell you, Chauncey, they change one more thing in this church…”.


The reality is much messier and more difficult than simply upping sticks and getting out for a lot of people.

So it is. Hence, just one more thing.



I will pray for his success. If you want, start a thread in 6 months about what kinds of things he is doing. Just from what I read of what he has written, he sounds very intriguing - commitment to the poor, evangelism, vocations to the priesthood, spiritual renewal - but also realistic to the challenges facing him in the Church and society.

To be honest, when I first saw the title of this thread - CofE Traditionalist Bishops Hold Fast - I thought it had a different meaning, i. e. “Fast” being a noun. That’s not a bad idea either.

I reached my final straw 6 1/2 years ago. It is very hard to leave something that has been part of your life and identity for over half a century.

This may be of interest. Here the Archbishop of York explains how the arrangements for Fr North’s consecration follow naturally from the principles on which the admission of women to the office of bishop have been agreed:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit