Female Bishops Comment: A momentous decision but one which could have have serious implications for CofE.
Release Date 17 November 2014
Professor Helen Parish, an expert in the history of the Church and priesthood from the University of Reading, examimes the Church of England formally approving plans for women bishops.
"This is a momentous decision for the Church of England - one that was 40 years in the making as it was in 1976 when the General Synod passed the first 'women priesthood' motion. Southwell and Nottingham diocese, along with Gloucester, Oxford and Newcastle, are all in the frame to welcome the Church of England's first female bishop, who could be ordained next year.
"But obviously the decision, to put it mildly, will not please all and could have serious implications for CofE.
"Providing alternative structures of authority for those who object to female bishops has been read as a diminution of their role and office - and that has not been well received by those who argue for the equality of men and women in the Church.
"An inability to accommodate and reassure opponents of women bishops could ultimately prove to be equally divisive. This could re-open the kind of debates and conflicts which saw some CofE members begin to feel more at home in the Roman Catholic church in the aftermath of the decision to ordain women in the first place.
"For those who reject the authority of women bishops, the position of priests ordained by those women becomes problematic. And any decision to positively discriminate in favour of women in the appointment of new bishops is likely to be unpopular."