Church of England moves a step closer to accepting women bishops
Sunday 31 October 2004
Proposals that could see the first female Archbishop of Canterbury will be unveiled on Tuesday, as the Church of England reopens the decade-long controversy over the ordination of women priests.
A report by the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, is seen as a major step towards the appointment of female bishops, following the ordination of women a decade ago.
But the development has been resisted by both the Catholic and evangelical wings of the Church, with some opponents claiming God ordained that a man be at the head of every institution, including the family.
The Church is already grappling with the equally divisive arguments over the appointment of practising homosexuals to the priesthood. Earlier this month the Eames report called on sections of the American Church to repent for the decision to appoint Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, a move that caused resentment in other parts of the Anglican communion, notably in Africa.
The new report, which follows a three-year inquiry, is understood to make few recommendations, but supporters of women bishops are confident that victory is near, with a showdown expected at the next meeting of the Synod, the Church's governing council, in February.
The dioceses of Guildford, Worcester, Ripon and Leeds, Southwark and St Albans have already put forward motions in favour of women bishops.
Two women have so far risen to become cathedral deans: and the Very Rev June Osborne at Salisbury and Vivienne Faull at Leicester are regarded as front runners for a bishopric. Some other countries, notably the US, Canada and New Zealand, already have female bishops.
The report sets out a series of options for resolving the controversy, ranging from upholding the ban on women bishops, to lifting it without reservations. It takes in a series of compromises that include allowing women to be bishops, but not senior ones, and setting up a separate "province" for Anglicans who want nothing to do with female priests.
According to the traditionalist Forward in Faith group, which has been pressing for this separation, the ordination of women remains a critical issue. A prominent FiF member, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst, suffragan to the Bishop of Fulham, recently accused supporters of women bishops within the Church of resorting to "Stalinist" propaganda techniques to get their way.
Christina Rees, the head of the Women and the Church (Watch) campaign for female bishops, welcomed the forthcoming report. "This is another important stage on the way to the appointment of women bishops," she said.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of design...
£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...
£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is the UK's leading ...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: The Jenrick Group: Finance Manager/Manag...