Church of England vote to allow women bishops could be derailed

July 3, 2012

(Members of the Church of England General Synod attend the opening at Church House in London February 6, 2012 . REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly )

A vote to allow women bishops in the Church of England looks set to be derailed by its own supporters, who say a last-minute concession to conservative opponents is a step too far.

Pro-women bishop campaigners want a final vote at the church’s General Synod, or parliament, on Monday to be delayed so the amendment can be sent back to the House of Bishops for reconsideration.

Before the amendment, future women bishops would have been obliged under a code of practice yet to be written to find a “suitable” alternative male bishop for dissenting parishes.

The amendment would go further, requiring them to find one who “shares the same theological convictions” as the dissenting parish.

Critics of the amendment say the change suggests a future woman bishop could not be trusted to appoint a suitable alternative male bishop for those parishes who request one.

Rachel Weir, chairwoman of WATCH, a group that campaigns for women bishops, said: “There is something deeply offensive about needing to put in something saying ‘well, we don’t trust you to do this so we’re going to make sure you do’ in the legislation. What that says is quite shocking really.”

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