THE Church of England synod has poured cold water on hopes for the introduction of women bishops after 12 years of debate.
The shock vote plunged the Church into turmoil and threatens to widen the chasm between reformers and traditionalists.
A vigil by supporters of women bishops was held on the steps of Church House and many were in tears after the result. It could be 2015 before a new vote on the matter reaches the synod, the Church’s national assembly, because of rules on repeated voting.
Speaking to the assembly, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said the church now has a “lot of explaining to do” and appears “willfully blind” to the priorities of wider society.
Some MPs have raised questions about whether the synod’s position is discriminatory. Prime minister David Cameron said he would “look closely” at the issue and expressed his own personal regret at the Church’s decision, adding the synod should “get on with it” and approve women bishops.
In Prime Minister’s questions, Labour MP Diana Johnson asked for a statement from the Church’s representative in Parliament explaining the implication of “continuing discrimination of having only men eligible to sit in the House of Lords as bishops”. Speaker John Bercow said backbenchers with concerns should approach Equalities Minister Maria Miller, who could make a statement to the Commons.
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