Archbishop of Canterbury urges General Synod not to stall women bishops plan




The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged the
General Synod of the Church of England not to stall the progress of
legislation to introduce women bishops.

Dr Rowan Williams
said the General Synod’s failure to back a last-ditch compromise that he
and the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu put forard at the weekend
was not the ”end of the road” in the process.

He said he wanted
the General Synod meeting in York to complete its deliberations over
women bishops before handing the legislation over for consideration by
the Church’s dioceses.

”It is very tempting at times of stress
and difficulty such as we have been through in the last couple of days
to think ‘drop it into the difficult basket’,” he told the General
Synod.

”I do not really think that is an option.”

Dr
Williams’ remarks came as the Church’s national assembly resumed debates
over the introduction of women bishops and how best to cater for
objectors.

Anglo-Catholics and conservative evangelicals who
object to women bishops have threatened to leave the Church after
claiming that current plans do not meet their demands.

But
campaigners in favour of women bishops said they were not prepared to
make further concessions.

Dr Williams said the House of Bishops
of the Church of England would ”set in hand” the necessary work
involved in producing a code of practice to be ready for debate at the
General Synod in 18 months’ time.

He said this would be the
moment when the legislation entered the ”final phase”.

”As the
votes on Saturday illustrated, we remain as a Synod, it seems,
committed by a majority to the desirability of seeing women as bishops
for the health and flourishing of the work of God’s Kingdom, of this
Church and this nation,” he said.

”We are also profoundly
committed by a majority in the Synod to a maximum generosity that can be
consistently and coherently exercised towards the consciences of
minorities and we have not yet cracked how to do that.”

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