Synod approves 'flying bishops': York meeting supports proposals to accommodate opponents of women's ordination

THE Synod of the Church of England yesterday approved overwhelmingly proposals for 'flying bishops' to tend parishes and priests who cannot accept ordained women.

It also backed plans for women priests in dioceses where the bishop is opposed to women's ordination to be ordained and licensed by bishops outside.

This will be passed in advance of the legislation to make women priests, which cleared its last serious parliamentary hurdle on Monday and will become law in February next year.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Habgood, told Synod: 'There has been much loose talk about cobbling together compromises, fudging the issues . . . (but) there are real and proper tensions in theology which may have to be really and properly reflected in Church life. The Church of England would be immeasurably impoverished if what those of us who sit in the middle refer to as extreme positions were to fall off.'

However, he warned that any attempt to enshrine opponents' rights in legislation would be divisive and time-consuming. All that opponents of women priests are now fighting for is that the 'flying bishops' should be full members of the Church's House of Bishops, with voting rights, and not just ordinary suffragans.

Not all the opposition came from Anglo-Catholics. Prebendary John Pearce, of London, representing conservative Evangelicals, said: 'Many of us do not need time to get used to the idea of women presbyters. The theological and scriptural objections to women in headship will remain to the end. The issue that concerns me and the 300 clergy I represent is whether there will be a place for us in 20 years time . . . We do not ask you to consider that you might be mistaken, but to have mercy on those you have defeated.'

Dr Phillip Crowe, the principal of Salisbury and Wells theological college, compared the ordination of women priests to the introduction of married priests in the 16th century. That too, he said, had been so controversial that Archbishop Thomas Cranmer had had to conceal his wife inside Lambeth Palace. But inside a generation, the reform had been fully accepted.

'Is it wise to create so much space for opponents that we end up with a yawning chasm where a church should be?' Dr Crowe asked. But he did not seriously argue against the compromise, concluding: 'If God is to be found in muddle, then in this act of Synod we may be very close to God indeed.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn