Church of England Votes to Ordain Women Bishops

The Church of England’s legislative body voted in support of ordaining women bishops yesterday while also approving measures to reassure more than 1000 traditionalist opponents who threatened to leave the church.

The six hour debate took place in the ancient cathedral city of York in northern England, where the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, made it clear he did not want the compromise between both sides of the debate to limit the authority of women bishops within the church. A national code of practice was agreed upon to pacify the most conservative wing, according to Reuters.

Women have been ordained priests since 1994 in the Church of England. Today, one in six of England’s parish priests are women, but they have been restricted from serving as bishops until yesterday, Reuters reports. According to The News Tribune, the ordaining of women bishops has been approved by 14 of the 38 Anglican provinces worldwide, but 10 have yet to appoint or elect one. The Episcopal Church in Scotland, America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, who are affiliated with the Anglican Communion have blazed the path for female bishops.

The Church in England is the mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has approximately 77 million followers.


Reuters 7/7/08; The News Tribune 7/8/08

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