Skip to comments.Church of England votes to make women bishops
Posted on 07/08/2006 6:25:05 PM PDT by sionnsar
The Church of England voted on Saturday to ordain women as bishops, a major liberalising step in a faith that has also faced schism over homosexuality, although it could be years before the first woman bishop is named.
The church has ordained women as priests for a decade and one in six parish priests is now a woman. But the church maintained what critics called a "stained-glass ceiling" that prevented women from rising to the rank of bishop.
At their synod in York, the three "houses" of laity, priests and bishops each voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion that declared ordaining women bishops to be compatible with Church teaching.
"This means it is consonant with the faith," a spokesman for the synod said. But while the vote resolves the theological question, the Church must still amend its rules, a process that requires a two-thirds majority vote and could take years.
Opponents of woman bishops are holding out for compromise measures, like a proposal that would allow conservative parishes to secede from woman-run diocese.
The issue has been one of several that pit traditionalists against liberalisers within the world's 77-million-strong Anglican communion.
Most church leaders say that as long as women can be priests they deserve to be able to reach the top ranks.
"We are the only profession that doesn't have equality of opportunity," said Canon Patience Purchas, a retired church worker who has campaigned for women to be made bishops. "It's a waste of some very able women."
But conservatives say that the 12 apostles of Jesus were all men and there is no precedent for women as bishops.
"The bible insists that both at home and in the Church there are differences between the role of men and women," said Rod Thomas, spokesman for the Evangelical group Reform.
"They are equal in every respect in terms of status and salvation, but their roles are supposed to be carried out differently."
He said opponents were resigned to the likelihood that women would become bishops, but were hoping further debate would accommodate parishes that reject the change.
But many supporters of women bishops say they would rather wait a few more years than agree to such a compromise.
"You can't have a church where people are allowed not to recognise the authority of some bishops," said Purchas. "The church needs another division like a hole in the head."
Anglicans in Canada, the United States and New Zealand already have women bishops. But other Anglican churches in the developing world do not allow women to become priests.
The Church of England has special status among Anglican churches because its head, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is also spiritual leader of the Anglican communion worldwide. Were a woman to become archbishop, other churches might quit.
The divide between conservative and liberal Anglicans has already threatened to split the communion over homosexuality, since the U.S. church named an openly gay bishop and Canadian priests began blessing same sex marriages, legal there.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has proposed a two-tier communion in which more liberal churches would have a separate status from those that are more orthodox.
Well, I guess the COE is now dead as is Anglicanism worldwide. Christendom must now find a new root from which to spring for mother England has given in.
For a brief moment I thought perhaps we were on the mend. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Not at all. Drop England, Canada and the U.S. from the worldwide Anglican Communion and you've lost (let's be generous) 4 million out of 77 million.
There goes the prayer that the Church of England would one-day come back to Rome. As far as any "ecumenical" discussions go, this step is a deal breaker for a number of reasons. It is really sad, but not surprising.
In light of what TEC has been doing lately, one would have thought CofE would have taken note -- but this is an unpleasant development and bodes ill for the continuance of the worldwide Anglican Communion as we once knew it. The liberals have wrecked it all,, as Rudyard Kipling so accurately predicted.
"But conservatives say that the 12 apostles of Jesus were all men and there is no precedent for women as bishops."
I count 14, not twelce
Who was the other one? There's Paul and the other 12, counting the one who hung himself. The last one would be...?
If you're counting the two men who won the disciple lottery about the time of Pentecost those do not count. They were not APOSTLES.
Matthias, chosen to replace Judas was an apostle as well.
You're right. I did not think he was an apostle, but the Bible says "he was numbered with the eleven apostles."
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