From the Archbishops’ letter it is clear that they are committed to the principles within the Declaration, subject to “a number of specific concerns in the Church about its operation…[some of which]..”relate to whether the nomination itself, and the procedure leading up to it, were in accordance with the Declaration”, i.e. points (a) to (e) in the letter.
Having agreed in Synod a procedure for dispute resolution, the Archbishops would have been subject to criticism from other quarters had this not been initiated. This provides a means of taking the issue “off-line” for an initial review by an independent party who has been fully versed in the associated issues since his appointment in 2014. Nevertheless, at its conclusion the review must be followed up by decisive action in relation to the general issues surrounding the Bishops ‘Declaration, and to the appointment to the See of Sheffield without cannot proceed without such clarification.
It seems likely that Sir Philip’s findings will be known in advance of the York General Synod, 7-11 July, and a debate seems inevitable. However, should any changes to the Regulations be proposed, it is unlikely that these would be debated until a later Synod; this would reopen aspects of the debate which took place in the lead up to the Bishops’ Declaration in 2014. As noted above, any revision to the Regulation would require two-thirds support in each of the Houses of General Synod.