Catholic World News

Church of England approves women bishops

July 15, 2014

The General Synod of the Church of England has voted to permit the ordination of women bishops.

“Today is the completion of what was begun over 20 years ago with the ordination of women as priests,” said Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury. “I am delighted with today's result.”

“This is a watershed moment for the Church of England and a huge step forward in making our society fairer," added Nicholas Clegg, the deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom. “Allowing women to become bishops is another long overdue step towards gender equality in senior positions.”

Archbishop Bernard Longley, chairman of the Department for Dialogue and Unity of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said that the decision “sadly places a further obstacle on the path to this unity between us. Nevertheless we are committed to continuing our ecumenical dialogue, seeking deeper mutual understanding and practical cooperation wherever possible.”

Msgr. Keith Newton, the head of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walshingham, reacted to the news by inviting interested Anglicans to attend an "exploration day" in September. In different parts of the country, he explained, former Anglicans who have entered the Catholic Church will hold different events on September 6 to explain the purpose and function of the ordinariate.

Msgr. Newton said that the ordinariates, created by Pope Benedict XVI to reach out to Anglicans interested in the Catholic Church, represent "a prophetic and generous ecumenical gesture," allowing Anglicans to enter into communion with the Holy See while retaining their liturgical traditions. That gesture is particularly important today, he said, noting that the decision to appoint female bishops creates new difficulties for "those within the Church of England who still long for corporate unity with the Catholic and Orthodox churches."

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  • Posted by: geoffreysmith1 - Jul. 16, 2014 8:10 AM ET USA

    It's a great pity that Archbishop Longley still persists in this mistaken belief that ecumenical dialogue with the Anglicans may yet produce a wonderful and marvellous result in the form of an eventual union of the Catholic Church with the Anglican Ecclesial Community. One wonders how many more anti-biblical moves by the C of E are necessary before the bishops of the English hierarchy finally concede that an accommodation with outright heresy is just not possible.

  • Posted by: bruno - Jul. 15, 2014 7:58 PM ET USA

    Oddly, the Ordinariate is the only thing that will prevent the Anglican Church from becoming a footnote in history books of the future. In the rush to the bottom, the only measure of success is exceeding the abasement of those who have gone before.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jul. 15, 2014 7:08 PM ET USA

    We can continue to pretend that there is some chance of a reunion with the Anglicans, but the realistic stance is to pray for them to turn away from all the schismatic and heretical things they have done since Henry VIII and Cranmer. Only then. . .

  • Posted by: Defender - Jul. 15, 2014 11:18 AM ET USA

    Having an alternative baptism service with no mention of the devil and conducting services in jeans will also make their church more hip, too. Are we still going to keep talking about "ecumenical" stuff with these people or are we going to err and follow them? I wonder anymore.