Anglican women bishops 'an obstacle to reconciliation with Catholic Church'

 News that the Church of England has voted in favour of women bishops has been met with concern by Anglican traditionalists and the Vatican. The Church of England General Synod voted in favour of ordaining women but the details over compromises are yet to be discussed. Following six hours of debate on Monday, which saw one bishop in tears, the Synod rejected both a 'super-bishops' proposal and the traditionalists' preferred option of new dioceses for objectors. Before the vote, 13,000 clergy, many retired, wrote to the archbishops of York and Canterbury saying they would leave if they were not accommodated. Christina Rees, a member of the General Synod and chair of Women and the Church, said: "I am absolutely confident that we can keep everyone in the church who wants to stay. There is one group who think even having one woman among the bishops somehow spoils the whole house of bishops." The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said: "We have regretfully learned the news of the Church of England vote that paves the way for the introduction of legislation which will lead to the ordaining of women to the episcopacy. "The Catholic position on the issue has been clearly expressed by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. Such a decision signifies a break with the apostolic tradition maintained by all of the Churches since the first millennium and is, therefore, a further obstacle to reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England. "This decision will have consequences on the future of dialogue, which had up until now borne fruit, as Cardinal Kasper clearly explained when on 5 June 2006 he spoke to all of the bishops of the Church of England at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. "The Cardinal has been invited once again to express the Catholic position at the next Lambeth Conference at the end of July". The Lambeth conference, a ten-yearly meeting, will take place from July 16 to August 4. Some traditional and evangelical groups in the Church of England have been struggling with the issue of women bishops as well as the CoE's changing policies on civil partnerships and homosexuality. At a meeting in Jerusalem in late June some Anglican leaders decided to stay in the worldwide Anglican Communion but form a separate council of bishops, the Global Anglican Future Conference. Many of those Church leaders are planning to boycott the Lambeth conference.

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