July 7, 2008
Woman Bishops Approved for Church of England
UK Anglicans unclear on accommodation for traditionalists who oppose ordination of women.
Leaders in the worldwide Anglican Communion (numbering up to 70 million) were anxiously awaiting today's vote in York on the ordination of women bishops.
Read the BBC report here
A large number of traditionalists left the 26 million-member Church of England back in 1994 after the church's ruling synod approved the ordination of women to the priesthood. The other shoe has now dropped with the synod's approval of women bishops.
In recent days, there have been persistent reports than hundreds of Anglican/COE clergy were prepared to bolt from their parishes and presumably migrate to Roman Catholicism. That may still happen. It all depends on the level of accommodation that the synod offers.
Of course, these events are a precursor to the once per decade Lambeth Conference, which opens in Canterbury on the campus of the University of Kent next week.
Many Anglican women leaders may press for limited accommodation since they believe this kind of action is discriminatory against their ministry and creates a de facto two-tier system for clergy.
The UK Press Association reports:
The synod members voted to approve work on a national statutory code to accommodate those within the Church who object to women bishops.
The synod rejected compromise proposals for new "super bishops" to cater for objectors - and also their preferred option of creating new dioceses.
The decision to go ahead with work on the code came after more than six hours of debate by the General Synod which saw extraordinary scenes, with one bishop in tears as he spoke of being "ashamed" of the Church of England.
The Rt Rev Stephen Venner, Bishop of Dover, who is in favour of women bishops said: "I have to say, Synod, for the first time in my life, I feel ashamed.
"We have talked for hours about wanting to give an honourable place to those who disagree.
"We have been given opportunities for both views to flourish. We have turned down every, almost every realistic opportunity for those who are opposed to flourish."
Since the format at the Lambeth event will be geared toward conversation, not debate, amendment, and passage of resolutions, it is also murky whether women's ordination will be subject to significant discussion at all. Conservatives are not in unity of women's ordination. But I can't find a single truly conservative woman bishop in the entire Communion. Can you?