English Bishops: No Women Need Apply

The General Synod of the Church of England has just rejected women bishops, following many years of debate.

Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, the Synod failed to affirm the idea. For some three-quarters of the delegates voted for the legislation; it didn’t receive the required two-thirds majority only in the House of Laity.

American Episcopalians should remember that the C of E includes sub-groups that are more radically conservative or liberal than our own factions. Thus there were female delegates who voted against women bishops because–believe it or not–the legislation seemed not to realize the different roles that the Bible supposedly ascribes to men and women. (This is the “headship” doctrine, according to which the man is the head of the woman as Christ is the head of the man and the church.)

Supporters of women bishops will be immensely saddened by the vote. And most Anglicans will despair that the wider English world will be able to regard this decision as anything other than the result of hidebound, misogynistic traditionalism. —J. Douglas Ousley


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