Fissure over women bishops deepens in Church of England


Jenna Lyle reports:

The faultline running through the Church of England over women bishops has widened after the Bishop of Fulham’s departure to Rome and the outcome of elections to the Church of England General Synod.

Opponents of women bishops say they have gained ground in the General Synod and estimate that 66 clergy (32.10%) and 77 laity (35.46%) will vote down draft legislation on women bishops unless it is amended to include more provisions for those who in conscience cannot accept women in the episcopate.

Rod Thomas, of orthodox Anglican group Reform said: “Only 34% is needed to block this when it returns from the dioceses. For the first time, it can and will be blocked by both fully elected houses.

“In the clergy only a further 1.81% is needed, and that’s just one person. There are 21 new evangelicals on this new synod, and one out of a possible 58 undecided is a given!”

He said the outcome of the elections suggested that the Bishop of Fulham, John Broadhurst, had been “too early” in making his decision to join an ordinariate in the Roman Catholic Church.

His view is shared by the Catholic Group in the Church of England, which said it deeply regretted Bishop Broadhurst’s decision to leave the Anglican fold.

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