Letter: No bar on bishops

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The Independent Online
Sir: If the women priests legislation now before the General Synod will deny 'opponents any hope of advancement to the bench of bishops' (leading article, 13 July), it would indeed be sad. It does not. The facts are:

1. The legislation imposes no such bar, either expressly or by implication. On the contrary it contains a provision protecting bishops (and others) from any complaints under the sex discrimination laws in this field, a provision with no time limit.

2. A bishop elected after the enactment of the legislation would not be able to exclude its effect from his diocese; but he would be under no obligation himself to ordain or license a woman priest.

3. The issue has been before the Church of England for a decade. Despite well-publicised fears, this has not prevented the appointment of bishops opposed to the priestly ordination of women. I see no reason why this policy should be changed in any way by the passage of the legislation.

Yours faithfully,


Chairman, House of Laity

General Synod of the

Church of England


14 July