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
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
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
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
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
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