Saturday, July 08, 2006

"Theologically Justified"

Thus saith the General Synod of the Church of England on the ordination of women bishops. The motion to proceed passed the Synod earlier today, 288-119.

At their synod in York, the three "houses" of laity, priests and bishops each voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion that declared ordaining women bishops to be compatible with Church teaching.

"This means it is consonant with the faith," a spokesman for the synod said. But while the vote resolves the theological question, the Church must still amend its rules, a process that requires a two-thirds majority vote and could take years.

Opponents of woman bishops are holding out for compromise measures, like a proposal that would allow conservative parishes to secede from woman-run diocese.

The issue has been one of several that pit traditionalists against liberalisers within the world's 77-million-strong Anglican communion.

Most church leaders say that as long as women can be priests they deserve to be able to reach the top ranks.

"We are the only profession that doesn't have equality of opportunity," said Canon Patience Purchas, a retired church worker who has campaigned for women to be made bishops. "It's a waste of some very able women."

Rome's response is awaited. Of course, Cardinal Kasper has made no secret of the Holy See's stance leading up to today.

For more coverage, keep an eye on the running feed over at Thinking Anglicans.