Archbishop Resists Alternative Bishop for Opponents of Female Ordination

LONDON – The Archbishop of Wales has reiterated his opposition to the appointment of an alternative bishop for members of the Church in Wales who cannot accept the ordination of women.

Dr. Barry Morgan was asked in a meeting of the governing body on Wednesday if the Church would revisit the issue of whether to appoint another Provincial Assistant Bishop after the retirement of the Rt. Rev. David Thomas last year. The Church's decision not to appoint a replacement was seen by some opponents of women's ordination to be an act of injustice.

Morgan said the appointment of an alternative bishop would create division in the Church.

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He told the governing body, which is meeting this week in Llandudno, that bishops of the Church in Wales would continue to offer pastoral and sacramental care to every member of the Church in Wales "without exception."

"We have also given an assurance that there is room in the Church in Wales for those who in conscience cannot accept the ordination of women," he said.

"However, we are not minded as bishops to perpetuate a system whereby conscientious objectors may avoid not only the ministry of ordained women but also the ministry of male bishops who have ordained them," he continued. "That leads in the end to fundamental division and a denial that things are other than they are – that we do live in a church that ordains both women and men."

"There is a difference between recognizing the fact that some individuals hold personal views that are at variance with what the Governing Body has decided about the ordination of women and reflecting those views in the structures of the church as if the Church in Wales as a whole had doubts about women's ordination and the bishops who ordained them," he emphasized.

"That to my mind would be a real act of injustice – to ordained women, bishops, indeed to the whole church."

Last summer, the Church of England's General Synod voted to confirm its support for the ordination of women as bishops and rejected proposals to create new dioceses for objectors and to appoint "super bishops" who would have offered alternative care for opponents.

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