Saturday, July 5, 2008

Church of England must go ahead with plans to create women bishops, says senior clergyman

A senior bishop urged the Church of England yesterday to ignore warnings that allowing women to become bishops would ‘shatter the unity of the Church’ – and to plough ahead with the historic reform.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, told the General Synod in York that there were ‘hard choices’ to be made.

But he warned it would be a ‘sad day’ and ‘dangerous’ if members delayed establishing equality in the top ranks.

More than 1,300 clergy have written to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, to say they may quit if the Synod votes to create women bishops tomorrow.

Three senior bishops – the Bishops of Chester, Blackburn and Europe – have written a separate private letter to Dr Williams arguing that ‘clearly the ordination of women as bishops would divide the Church even more fundamentally than the ordination of women as priests’.

During yesterday’s debate, Prudence Dailey, of the Oxford diocese, said: ‘It feels as if a brick has been dropped on a plate-glass window from a great height.

‘This isn’t a clean schism. It’s a shattering.’


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