Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Monday, 18 January 2010

Key Church of England debate on female bishops delayed

Meeting of the general synod
The general synod will debate the issue when in meets in the summer

A key Church of England debate on female bishops has been delayed because of the amount of submissions received.

The subject will be debated by the Church's ruling general synod at York in July instead of London next month.

A legislative committee working on the issue for the Church has received more than 100 submissions.

The prospect of female bishops has been opposed by Anglican traditionalists, some of whom are considering an offer to join the Roman Catholic Church.

The Church of England has voted in favour of female bishops but has yet to work out how the legislation will be implemented.

General Synod secretary general William Fittall said the 19-member committee was dealing with "extraordinarily difficult" issues.

"We have said in the past that the synod was very unlikely to get to the final approval stage for the legislation before 2012, and that meant it was pretty unlikely that we would have the first women as bishop before 2014," he said.

None appointed

Earlier this month Scottish Anglican Canon Dr Alison Peden failed in her attempt to become the first female bishop of a major Church in the UK.

She had been on a shortlist of three for the role of bishop of Glasgow and Galloway in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The Church in Wales voted against the ordination of female bishops in April 2008.

They are permitted by the Church of Ireland, although none have been appointed.

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