Church of England faces backlash over rejecting women bishops

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RNS photo courtesy Durham Cathedral

RNS photo courtesy Durham Cathedral

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CANTERBURY, England (RNS) The Church of England is facing a grave constitutional crisis as a result of last week’s failure to allow women bishops. Church leaders are urging a suspension of the rules to allow a second vote, as members of Parliament say they'll move to force the church to abide by civil anti-discrimination laws. By Trevor Grundy.


    I’m totally for women becoming bishops and was schocked when i heard the result of the vote, but how dare government feel it has the right to force the CofE into this decision? Is that not discriminating against one group because they’re discriminating against another? And i will not believe that, in the same circumstances, the government would try this kind of thing on the Islamic faith, or any other UK-minority religion. If the state must remain secular-which is a different topic i have different views on-then the state must leave religion alone if government (and the people) expect religion to leave the government alone.
    Looking forward to responses to this

  • Tom Downs

    JC, you are forgetting that the Church of England is the established church and that it’s top bishops are by their ordination made government leaders; the C of E has a unique position among all religious groups and English institutions. 26 bishops by virtue of their office sit in the House of Lords. The General Synod was voting on canons that would then be presented to Parliament and made into English law. With its favored position of power the C of E accepts special responsibilities. This failure to pass those canons puts the Church of England out of step with government policy relative to the role of women and is an embarassment to the government. It is a Constitutional crisis that the church and government both want to solve quickly.

  • Oliver NIcholson

    The legislation to bring about woman bishops failed not because of outright opposition to the principle but because there was insufficient provision for those who believe that a woman can no more be a priest or bishop than a man can give birth to a baby. You may not like such people (and in the past few months the various women’s ordination pressure groups have been very shrill in their hatred), but theirs is an integrity which has been promised respect in the Church and simple generosity would allow such people room to practise their faith. Put frankly, the House of Laity seems to have been motivated by a sense of Fair Play. How do I know all this ? Because I have read the explanation of one of those who voted against (even though personally in favour of woman bishops):
    A “liberal” member of Synod explains his “no” vote on women bishops | Anglican Ink
    I voted for women priests in 1992 and I am in principle keen that we should have
    women bishops in the Church of England. But I voted against the Measure being proposed for final approval yesterday. I had two main reasons for voting no.