Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Church risks split as Synod votes to ordain women bishops


[The Independent] 8 Jul 2008--The Church of England was thrown into disarray last night after its ruling body, the General Synod, rejected a series of amendments by traditionalists opposed to the ordination of women bishops. These included a proposal to create so-called "superbishops" that would have allowed clergy who object to the idea of female bishops to opt out of being administered by them.

A motion reaffirming the Church's commitment to press ahead with the consecration of women bishops was passed late last night after more than six hours of passionate and, at times, bitter debate. The bishops voted in favour of bringing forward legislation to ordain women bishops by 28 to 12. The clergy voted in favour by 124 to 44 and the Laity by 111 to 68.

Virtually all the amendments put forward by traditionalists, which could have provided them with a variety of opt-out clauses, were struck down one by one. Their defeat raises the real possibility of schism within the Church, between those in favour of women bishops and an alliance of traditionalists, Anglo-Catholics and evangelicals who vehemently oppose the idea.

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