Vote again on women bishops, Church of England urged
General Synod decision draws fire in Parliament
The Church of England should hold another vote on women bishops as soon as possible, its representative in the House of Commons said Thursday.
Legislation to permit women to become bishops was blocked in the church's governing General Synod on Tuesday, a result that has drawn harsh criticism in Parliament.
"This is not an issue which can in any way be parked for the next couple of years or so awaiting another round of synod elections," said Tony Baldry, a member of Parliament who is designated to speak for the church.
"There has to be an understanding that this is an issue that has to be resolved as soon as possible," he said in a Commons debate.
Church legislation to permit women to serve as bishops failed to win the necessary two-thirds majority among lay members of the General Synod. Church officials have said it could take five years to lay the ground for another vote, but Baldry said this should not be necessary.
"It is perfectly possible for a different and amended measure to be considered by General Synod," he said.
The church has been unable to find a formula which meets the objections of traditionalists who believe only men can be priests and bishops, without at the same time offending women by restricting their authority and status as bishops.
The Church of England is a product of government interference, established by King Henry VIII who appointed himself as head. The government still formally appoints the archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the church, and 26 bishops are allocated seats in the House of Lords.