Archbishop Williams: Church of England is wilfully blind and losing credibility
The Archbishop of Canterbury accused his Church of England of being willfully blind to the attitudes of modern British society on Wednesday after it voted ‘no’ to women bishops, a triumph for its traditionalist minority.
After more than 10 years of divisive debate, the General Synod, the Church legislature, failed to pass the measure on Tuesday evening by just six votes despite the fact that 42 of the Church’s 44 dioceses had earlier approved it.
Women have served as priests in the Church for over 20 years, but Tuesday’s vote effectively denied them access to the upper echelons of the hierarchy for several more years to come.
This is at odds with the much of British society, where gender equality is seen as a given right. Newspaper commentaries on Wednesday portrayed the Church as seriously out of step and in danger of becoming irrelevant.
“It seems as if we are willfully blind to some of the trends and priorities of … wider society,” Archbishop Rowan Williams said in a speech to the Synod still meeting after the vote.
“We have some explaining to do. We have as a result of yesterday undoubtedly lost a measure of credibility in our society.”