Church of England delays women bishops vote
The Church’s General Synod voted to send back to their current bishops for further consideration an amendment allowing dissenting parishes to choose their male bishop as their leader if a woman is named to head their diocese.
That put off a final vote on the draft legislation, which most Church of England dioceses have already approved, until the Church’s next synod, or parliament, in November.
Along with the question of same-sex marriages, the consecration of women as bishops is among the most divisive issues facing the world’s 77 million Anglicans.
Women already serve as bishops in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States but the Church of England, the mother church for the worldwide Anglican Communion, has been mired in a dispute between reformers and traditionalists.
The thought of voting for the amendment, which campaigners for women bishops said would enshrine discrimination against women in law and reduce them to “second-class bishops”, was too much for many reform-minded delegates.
It was a bittersweet moment for supporters who have battled more than 10 years to see women don the mitre, the bishop’s hat that signifies the authority to ordain priests, head dioceses and claim a link back to the original Twelve Apostles.
“Leaving here with unfinished business will feel like an anti-climax,” the Bishop of Dover, Trevor Willmott, said, when proposing the adjournment.
“But there are worse things than unfinished business. To leave here having driven this legislative process over the cliff would be the worst of all outcomes.” [more]