Church of England confirms support for women bishops, few concessions

|PIC1|The Church of England's General Synod voted on Monday to confirm its support for the ordination of women as bishops without offering much in the way of safeguards for objectors.

Synod had already agreed to the ordination of women bishops in principle but was voting on Monday night on legislation to confirm the process towards the first ordinations as well as possible concessions for Church members and clergy opposed to women bishops.

Members rejected proposals to create new dioceses for objectors and to appoint "super bishops" who would have offered alternative care for opponents.

Synod members voted at the York meeting to instead implement a voluntary national code to accommodate objectors. Bishops voted 28 to 12, clergy by 124 to 44 and the laity by 111 to 68.

The idea of "super bishops" had enjoyed the support of the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, meanwhile stressed to Synod his view that a "systematic marginalisation" of Anglo-Catholics would be wrong. He was quoted by The Times as describing traditionalists as a "necessary abrasion".

Church legislators will now get to work on drafting new legislation to turn the vote into reality, reports The Times. The ensuing document will be debated at next February's Synod in London before being passed over to dioceses for approval. A final vote is not likely to be taken for another two to three years.

The vote casts a shadow of uncertainty over ongoing efforts between the Church of England and the Vatican to achieve "full visible unity", already on the rocks on concessions to homosexual clergy in parts of the worldwide Anglican Communion.