Church of England Votes in Favor of Women Bishops

Church of England Votes in Favor of Women Bishops

“The Church of England has voted to allow women to enter its top ranks as bishops. The Church’s national assembly, known as the General Synod, approved the historic measure at its meeting in York in northern England Monday.” 

“A total of 351 members of the Synod’s three different houses voted in favor of the measure, while 72 voted against and 10 abstained.”

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‘Get with the Program’ — The Church of England Votes to Ordain Women Bishops

There is a very real sense in which Monday’s vote was inevitable. Once the church had decided to ordain women as priests, the elevation of women to bishop was only a matter of time. But the Church of England explicitly claims apostolic succession back to the earliest years of the church, traced through bishops. That is why virtually every major media outlet in Britain acknowledged, at least, that the vote reversed 2,000 years of Christian tradition. They also tended to note that the vote came after 20 years of controversy.

Evidently, 2,000 of years of tradition was no match for 20 years of controversy.

And much of that controversy was driven by cultural and political forces. Back in November 2012, when laity in the General Synod defeated a similar measure, Britain’s head of government pitched a fit. Prime Minister Cameron told Parliament that the Church of England needed “to get with the program.” He added, “You have to respect the individual institutions and the way they work, while giving them a sharp prod.” A sharp prod, indeed.

Cameron told Parliament, “I think it’s important for the Church of England to be a modern church in touch with society as it is today and this was a key step it needed to take.” There is the modern secular imperative with its teeth bared: Be a modern church in touch with society as it is today, or look out.