Church of England Votes Yes for Women Bishops

After years of opposition, the Church of England approved the consecration of women bishops in a historical vote.

BY: Genice Phillips

First Female Bishop in Australia - Kay Goldsworthy
 

After years of opposition, the Church of England approved the consecration of women bishops in a historical vote on Monday.

The General Synod, the legislative body of the Church, requires a two-third majority in the three governing houses: House of Bishops, House of Clergy and the House of Laity. After deliberating for five hours, 351 approvals were given to pass legislation, with 10 abstentions and 72 objections across the three houses.

Two years prior, the vote for women bishops failed in the House of Laity, needing six votes to pass among lay members.

Some were weary of the vote ending in defeat, given the divisive, ongoing issue of female clergy within the Church. Since 1992, women have been ordained as priests, but it has taken 22 years to see further progress in female leadership.

A central reason for discord has been, as traditionalists explained, theology. Opposition rooted in this thinking believes that the role of women in the Church is not in tune with the Bible.

Based on this vote, it appears the traditionalist voice is deadening as more religious institutions are shifting towards gender balance and unity.

Currently, one-third of the Church are composed of women clergy, but their roles vary across the world. Women serve as bishops in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, but in other countries, women are not ordained as priests.

The first female bishop is expected to be appointed in 2015.

 

(First image, Kay Goldsworthy, Australia's first Anglican bishop. Image courtesy of Paul Kane/Getty Images. Second image, courtesy of Ben Scicluna.)  


 

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