Church paves way for women priests

The General Synod of the Church of England yesterday issued legislation allowing women to be ordained as priests - a move which opponents claimed would cost the church pounds 100m in compensation to clergy who would resign over the issue. Church House put the cost at less than one-third that figure.

The first ordinations are due to take place in Bristol Cathedral on 12 March and arrangements are being made for women priests to celebrate communion for the first time the next day.