Church of England backs women bishops

The Church of England’s ruling body has said that women bishops

should be allowed, paving the way for their ordination despite objections from

traditionalists.

Members of the Church’s national assembly, the General Synod,

rejected calls yesterday for further delays in the progress of a draft law

following a marathon 12-hour debating session.

Local Church of England assemblies will now consider a scheme where

women bishops would be able to make arrangements for objectors.

Providing most approve the idea, the legislation would return to

the General Synod in 2012 for further drafting and final approval.

“We have decided to send to the dioceses a number of suggestions,

proposals, by way of draft legislation about which the feelings of many people

in this hall are still very mixed,” said Rowan Williams, Archbishop of

Canterbury.

At the meeting in York, northern England, the head of the Church of

England conceded the issue was divisive, saying that “holding together” was

proving “desperately difficult”.

Christina Rees, a leading campaigner in favour of women bishops,

described the decision to press ahead with the legislation as a “wonderful

outcome”.

“In one sense I am not surprised but I am delighted, it is very,

very good news,” she said.

But the Reverend Prebendary David Houlding said: “The more this

goes on in this manner, the more it seems as if the door is shutting.

“The scope for remaining in the Church of England is getting more

and more narrow and the options are rapidly closing.”



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