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Women bishop bid to pass key stage

Legislation introducing women bishops is set to pass a key stage in spite of protests from traditionalists in the Church of England.

The Church's national assembly, the General Synod, meeting in York, will resume debating the consecration 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.

The turmoil over the issue intensified on Saturday night after compromise proposals put by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu were narrowly rejected.

The failure of the archbishops' proposals to gain approval sparked calls on Sunday night for a new compromise to be reached over the issue.

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

The debate has centred on arrangements between female bishops and male bishops called in to minister to objectors.

More than 5,000 women have been ordained as priests in the Church of England since 1994 and the number of women training for the ministry is increasing.

If the legislation is cleared this week, a majority of the diocesan synods of the Church of England will have to approve the legislation and there would then be further consideration by the General Synod in 2012. The final stages would require a two-thirds majority in each of the three Houses of the General Synod - of bishops, clergy and laity.

The earliest possible date for a woman bishop to be appointed would be 2014.


From Belfast Telegraph