Church faces turmoil over plans for women bishops


John Broadhurst – Photo: David Rose

Traditionalist Anglicans have warned that new proposals to pave the way for women bishops would force them to leave the Church of England.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports:

In a move set to engulf the Church in a bitter row over the historic reform, legislation was published yesterday which will allow women clergy to enter the top ranks while giving almost no concessions to opponents.

While groups campaigning for female clerics to be treated equally expressed joy at the new plans, leading traditionalists reacted angrily to the development.

They claimed that the proposals were designed to “wipe out” those on the Anglo-Catholic and evangelical wings of the Church who do not believe it is in accordance with biblical teaching for women to be bishops.

The legislation, which would go before parliament if approved by the General Synod, could trigger a much larger defection of clergy to Rome than previously predicted. It follows a secret meeting held between the Vatican and three Anglican bishops last month.

The Rt Rev John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham and one of those involved with the talks in Rome, said Anglo-Catholics would be “incandescent” and would effectively be “forced out” of the Church of England.

“I think they have no choice but to leave,” he said.

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