Monday, 7 July 2008

Day of reckoning for Anglicans amid split over women bishops

The Church of England will today be plunged into one of the fiercest debates in its 400-year history as traditionalists go head-to-head with liberals over women bishops. Church leaders will attempt to avert new splits with a compromise plan for “super bishops” to minister to traditionalists who oppose women bishops.

Liberals will fiercely resist the plan, which is being seen as an attempt to appease traditionalists in order to get women bishops consecrated.

Campaigners for women's ordination will respond with an all-or-nothing proposal to consecrate women that includes no safeguards or concessions at all for opponents.

More than 1,300 clergy have threatened to walk out if the Church goes ahead with approving the consecration of women bishops without statutory provision to safeguard the traditionalists' place in the Church.

Women and liberals insist that they would rather not have women bishops at all than have a new, extra-geographical diocese legally established as a safe haven for Anglo-Catholics.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu, are understood to favour a compromise that would avoid an exodus of the Church's Catholic wing, but they do not want the consecration of women jettisoned altogether because of the difficulties in appeasing both sides. Read more
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