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Church of England says no to women as bishops

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 21st, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Church of England has said no to female bishops, at least for now. Draft legislation that would have allowed women to become bishops was voted down by six votes in the synod.

LONDON, ENGLAND (Catholic Online) - Despite the support of the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, the legislation did not secure the required two-thirds vote in the three bodies of the church legislature.

Changes such as yesterday's proposal must be supported by a two-thirds majority of the House of the Laity, House of Clergy, and the House of Bishops. The combined houses are known as the General Synod.

The General Synod meets twice annually to debate and vote on matters such as this within the church.

Speaking in favor of the change, Welby said "The ministry of women priests has been powerful in all areas of the church except as part of the episcopacy. It's time to finish the job and vote for this measure. But also the Church of England needs to show how to develop the mission of the church in a way that demonstrates that we can manage diversity of view without division; diversity in amity, not diversity in enmity."

However conservative church members responded by saying it would erode traditional values of the church. Jane Patterson, from the Diocese of Sheffield said appointing woman as bishops would "promote the loss of conservative evangelical and traditional catholic ministry in the Church of England. I suggest that the church cannot afford this loss. . England cannot afford this loss if we are serious about sharing the Gospel with the nation."

The vote itself was very close. While the Houses of the Bishops and Clergy both voted in favor of allowing women to serve as bishops, the House of Laity voted against it - by six votes.

The failure of the motion has thrown the Church of England into crisis mode as the House of Bishops convenes an emergency session today to decide how to approach what they fear is a crisis. There are concerns that many members could leave the church following the result.

The measure can be brought up again at a later date. Meanwhile another crisis looms for the Church of England. The question of whether to permit gay weddings within the church is expected to come up for debate soon.

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