Women allowed to become Bishops in England
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Last Updated: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 00:04
  
London: After much debate and controversy, the Church of England has decided to allow women to become Bishops in the next two years, but traditionalists who opposed the landmark decision say it will lead to many people leaving the church.

After the church's assembly passed the draft legislation, dioceses will now consider the draft, which would let individual Bishops allow alternative oversight for traditionalists within each diocese.

Church of England spokesman Lou Henderson said: "The decision to consecrate women as Bishops has been taken. Everybody recognised the importance of offering safeguards and assurances to those who find it very difficult (to accept women Bishops), but in the end Synod as a whole was not prepared to go as far as the traditionalists would have liked."

The decision marks a milestone for the governing General Synod, which has been debating the issue for years.

Traditionalist Anglicans opposed the move and sought to impose restrictions on the authority of female Bishops, but they were defeated narrowly at the meeting at York University.

Traditionalists, led by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York had proposed a structure that guaranteed more conservative parishes would be supervised by male Bishops and led by male priests but the ruling assembly rejected the proposal.

Bishop Broadhurst, who is the chairman of the Forward in Faith organisation, declined to say whether he would leave the Church of England.

But reports say many leading lights of the church were unhappy with the decision.

Broadhurst told the BBC: "My organisation has 1,000 priests and about 8,000 lay people in it. None of those priests are happy. Now people have to decide whether they will knuckle under - if they do, that is not a very happy situation for them or the Church - or whether they'll go, or whether they'll just defy it, and I can see that happening with many people."

The Reverend Fiona Weaver, an Anglican chaplain, urged traditionalists not to leave the Church of England, and said: "For me, it's about us learning to live together. And there are plenty of us. I have many friends who are clergy who are opposed to the ordination of women. But, on both camps, there are people at the extreme end who are quite vicious and for me it's very sad because they are behaving in a very unchristian way."

Rachel Weir of the pro-women bishops group Women and the Church, said it was a "momentous" decision.

She said many supporters of having women Bishops did not understand why it had taken so long for the Church of England to move ahead with ordaining them, but she said the reason for the delay was "to keep as many people on board as we can".

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 00:04


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