Associated Press
Jenny Standage, Secretary of WATCH
(Women and the
Church) holds a banner
outside a debate on Women Bishops.

Church of England Roiled by Decision to Allow Female Bishops

July 09, 2008 12:12 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The Vatican criticized the decision as a historic break from Church doctrine and said that it will further complicate relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.

30-Second Summary

The General Synod, the Anglican Church’s governing body, passed the resolution Monday night, ignoring traditionalists who say that Jesus wanted only men in Church leadership positions, reported CNN.

Reformists pointed to Anglicans in Canada, the United States and New Zealand, which already allow female bishops, in arguing that women in the church should be appointed to positions of power. But some traditionalists now say that they will leave the Anglican Church for the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican, which ruled in May that anyone ordaining female priests would be excommunicated, said in a statement Tuesday that the Anglican Church’s move in the opposite direction “is a rift to the apostolic tradition” of ordaining only men as bishops. It also expressed concern that the decision would affect relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, which have been strained over issues such as gay Anglican clergy but have been making an effort to hold dialogues in recent years, and is set to be a central topic of the Lambeth Conference, a decennial convention of Anglican and Episcopal bishops scheduled to start later this month.

“This decision will have consequences on the dialogue which had brought good fruits,” the statement said.

Reuters reported that the Church adopted compromise measures to appease traditionalists’ concerns over women being ordained as bishops. The Episcopal Church, the American branch of the Anglican Communion, has had a female bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, as its head since June 2006.

Headline Link: ‘Vatican “Regrets” Female Bishop Decision’

Related Topic: ‘Anglican, Episcopal Churches Wrestle with Role of Gays’

Reference: Protestantism and its many denominations


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines