Church of England okays women bishops

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The Church England has voted to allow women priests to be ordained as bishops, overturning centuries tradition in a church that has been deeply divided over the issue.

After almost five hours debate, the Synod, the governing body the Church England, approved on Monday the proposal to allow women to take senior roles in the Church.

Ahead of the vote, Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the world’ 80 million Anglicans, said the public would find it “almost incomprehensible” the Synod fail to support the move.

The vote comes two years after similar legislation failed to reach a two-thirds majority among the Synod’ lay members, despite approval from bishops and clergy.

The long-running debate pitted reformers, keen to a more modern and egalitarian image of the church as it struggles falling congregations in many increasingly secular countries, against a minority of conservatives see the change as contradicting the Bible.

The issue of female clergy has divided Anglicanism globally.

Women serve as bishops in the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand but Anglican in many developing countries do not even ordain them as priests.


Traditionalists opposed

“I think we look ridiculous. God has been calling us on this road for a long time and we need to on it,” Meg Gilley, a female clergy at the Durham Diocese in England, told Al Jazeera.

The Church approved the ordination of women priests in 1992, but delayed making them bishops because of opposition within its previously all-male clergy.

Traditionalists within the church, however, opposed the move to ordain female bishops, claiming that their argument is based on theology.

“In principle the bible teaches that and women were created equal but different,” Susie Leafe, of Reform, told Al Jazeera. “God has different roles for us in the church in the chrch , and so for me bishop represents a role that is designed for .”

The Church of England is part of the Anglican Communion, which has the largest Christian denomination in Britain and a presence in more than 160 countries. (Aljazeera)