Church of England to Discuss Women Bishops

The Church of England may open greater opportunities for leadership to its female priests, pending agreement by its general synod this week.

The 579-member General Synod began their meeting on Wednesday with a discussion on female bishops. The Church of England began ordaining women priests 11 years ago – a move that is still criticized by leaders in more conservative nations worldwide.

Conservatives in the Church of England have also been critical of the ordination of women’s priests, and have all the more opposed the idea of having women bishops – a position higher than priests. These opponents say since Christ’s apostles were all male, it is wrong for a woman to have authority over men spiritually.
However, the majority of Anglicans have been supportive of women priests and said it is illogical to continue preventing women from serving in the ministry to which they have been called.

The delegates on Wednesday will discuss the Rochester Report on the Church’s options regarding women bishops. The report discusses the changes that may follow if women bishops are allowed to serve, since some church officials say they cannot conscientiously accept women in that high of a role.

A vote on whether to further discuss the matter will be taken on the third day of the four-day synod. The General Synod is held every two years.