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Church of England prepares to vote on women bishops

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 20th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Church of England has already ordained women to ordained to the priesthood. The Church now prepares for an historic vote on opening the order of Bishops to the ordination of women. 

LONDON, ENGLAND (Catholic Online) - Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, the future Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Church of England, told reporters who were covering the announcement of his appointment to the post, "I will be voting in favor."

The historic vote takes place today. The Church's General Synod, its governing body, is meeting  in London.

The Anglican church in the United States is called the Episcopal Church. It has female bishops already with the appointment of the first woman to the post in Massachusetts in 1989. There are others in Nations outside of England as well.

However, the Archbishop of Canterbury has no say over what happens outside of England. Today's vote would open the post to women within England.

The appointment of a female bishop overseas has stirred controversy in England for more than twenty years. In the past decade, a growing, organized movement to appoint women as bishops has become more energetic and vocal.

While the majority of Church of England parishes across the country appear to be in favor of women as bishops, there is a strong minority which has opposed such a change. The Church of England estimates about three percent of parishes reject the ordination of women as bishops on biblical grounds as well as the longstanding tradition of the Church since the first centuries of Christian history to reserve the office to men. 

There is a growing concern that if the entire Church of England begins to consecrate women as Bishops, those parishes opposed to the change will leave the church.

In order for the decision to be made to formally approve the appointment of women as Bishops in the Church of England, a two-thirds majority of the Synod must vote in favor of the change.

Following this vote, the Church of England is expected to have another, more contentious matter at hand - whether or not to permit homosexual partnerships to be affirmed as marriages through a church ceremony.

Both of these matters are not only fomenting continued divisions within the Church of England, they are also adding to the growing interest among some mebers of the Church of England to consider coming into the full communion of the Catholic Church through Personal Ordinariates established by the Catholic Church.
 
Anglican, Episcopal and Church of England members who seek to continue in Christian orthodoxy, enter into full communion with the Catholic Church and maintain elements of their Anglican patrimony. In England, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has already been erected.

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