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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 November, 2004, 13:14 GMT
Head to head: Women bishops
The Church of England has published a report outlining several options for resolving the row over whether women can become bishops.

Two opposing voices outline their views: Women and the Church want women to be ordained as bishops, while Forward in Faith say it goes against scripture.

CHRISTINA REES, WOMEN AND THE CHURCH

Christina Rees from Women and the Church
There is only a very small number of male clergy who want to see women excluded
Christina Rees

This is a 300-page report and it spells out the options.

This report envisages that something will happen. We are pleased that something has been done [by the working party] and that the theological study has been done.

It is particularly encouraging to include the option of having women bishops.

I believe that that is where the bulk of the Church of England stands: that women should be appointed as bishops on the same basis as men are appointed bishops.

There shouldn't be any fuss about whether they are men or women, but just whether they are good bishops or not.

However, it is frustrating to work at the pace that working parties within the Church of England work at.

This has taken nearly four years, and inevitably there is now a tortuous wait between now and the next synod in February 2005.

It is inevitable that as we resolve this issue those who really don't want women as clergy will get more and more unhappy. They will have to decide if they want to stay or separate from the Church.

But no-one wants anyone to leave the church. There is only a very small number of male clergy who want to see women excluded.

STEPHEN PARKINSON, FORWARD IN FAITH

Bishop's cross
Forward in Faith says "many" Anglicans reject women bishops
This report demonstrates that the Rochester commission (headed by the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Dr Michael Nazir-Ali) agrees with us.

Having a third province is entirely within the Anglican Church, as there are plenty of provinces that have no women clergy and no women bishops - Papua New Guinea, lots in Africa, Wales - they all have no women bishops.

Many, many Anglicans won't accept women as clergy. We hope the synod sees the wisdom of giving to those people the space to continue to live their lives the way Anglicans have lived their lives up until the last 10 years.

Most of the Christian church worldwide does not have women priests or bishops.

Having a new province means that Anglicans on both sides of the argument get the best side of the deal. In the provinces of Canterbury and York women bishops would be welcomed and outside there they would not, but everybody would know that.

[This issue] is certainly coming to a head. We welcome the report and look forward to digesting its contents.



SEE ALSO:
Women priests: The first 10 years
10 Mar 04 |  Bristol/Somerset
Archbishop 'must grasp nettle'
23 Jul 02 |  UK News


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