The new Bishop of Sheffield is to withdraw from the post after attacks from members of his new diocese over his view that women should not become priests. The Rt Revd Philip North, 50, is currently Bishop of Burnley, but had been promoted to the new role as a diocesan bishop and was due to take on the role later this year.
In a statement he said: "The news of my nomination has elicited a strong reaction within the diocese and some areas of the wider Church. "It is clear that the level of feeling is such that my arrival would be counter-productive in terms of the mission of the Church in South Yorkshire and that my leadership would not be acceptable to many." He added: "There is clearly much to be done on what it means to disagree well and to live with theological difference in the Church of England.This will be the second position he has withdrawn from in the face of loud opposition and personal attacks. Apparently the only things you can disagree with as an Anglican are the Trinity, the incarnation, the Virgin birth, the atonement, the miracles of Jesus, the historicity of New and Old Testament figures and events, and the resurrection of the dead. But not the ordination of women. This is sacred. So sad. The Church of England has given birth to some of the most profound choral pieces in Christianity, some of the most eloquent writings (think the Cranmer collects), and some of the most profound thinkers. . . but it has effectively killed off the faith itself. Christianity may live as a felicitous inconsistency within a moribund and lifeless structure that appeals to fewer and fewer people. Wonderful buildings and a great ceremonial cannot rescue a church that refuses to believe in the catholic and apostolic faith. Like Sweden next door, this tree is rotting from the top down.