The Bishop of Wakefield has issued the following statement on behalf of the Council of Bishops of The Society.
We wish to express publicly our sympathy and concern for Bishop Philip and our understanding of the decision that he has felt compelled to take. The pressure on him over the past few weeks will have been enormous.
We share the disappointment of those of all persuasions in the Diocese of Sheffield and in the wider Church of England who were looking forward to his ministry as Bishop of Sheffield. It is a cause of great regret that the Church of England will not benefit from his leadership, and his advocacy for the poor and marginalised, as a diocesan bishop.
The implications of what has happened for the stability of the settlement that enabled women to become bishops in the Church of England, and also for the integrity of the whole process whereby the Church of England discerns that God is calling someone to a diocesan see, are a cause of grave concern.
As we enter more deeply into Lent, a period of prayer and self-examination, we call on all concerned to engage not in mutual recrimination but in a period of calm reflection about how our church can recover from this wound.
The Rt Revd Tony Robinson
Chairman of the Council of Bishops