Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Women bishops in Wales - not yet

Last week The Church in Wales narrowly failed to vote in favour of women bishops.
You can read more in Ruth Gledhills's report here.

The vote got well over the required two-third’s majority in both the House of Laity (52 in favour, 19 against, 1 abstention) and the House of Bishops (5 in favour, none against, no abstentions). It was only in the House of Clergy that the vote failed, by a very small margin – (27 in favour, 18 against, 1 abstention).

Interestingly, some argued that the reason the vote went the way it did was because there was insufficient provision for those who disagree with women bishops. But Archbishop Barry Morgan and the six diocesan bishops had agreed to resist all attempts to include arrangements which would have discriminated against bishops who are women.

The Archbishop argued that “to appoint a bishop with jurisdiction for those opposed to the ordination of women... would be to sanction schism and for these theological reasons the bishops, as guardians of unity, could not give their support for such a measure.”

This may have implications for the process in the Church of England: how far do those in favour of women bishops make safeguards for those against this move, and how far is this actually legislating for an unworkable compromise, which would make it very difficult for those women who become bishops to exercise their ministry?

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