April 29, 2008

Women bishops may fracture Anglican communion

by David Masters

A group commissioned by the Anglican General Synod to investigate the possibility of women being ordained as bishops in the Church of England has released its report this week.

The group, led by the Bishop of Manchester Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, came up with a number of options.

These include imposing legislation that allows women to become bishops without any restrictions, or giving a special ‘get-out-clause’ to parishes which are unable to accept having a women bishop, such as new dioceses or religious societies.

The first option risks igniting the anger of traditionalists, whilst the second option has been criticised because it would institutionalise religious sexism, and risks totally fracturing the Anglican communion.

McCulloch has said that the main issue is whether or not the church will be able to hold together the ‘breadth of theological views’ on women bishops.

The first female vicars were ordained in 1994. The earliest possible date for women bishops to be ordained has been set at 2014.

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