BREAKING NEWS
Three people killed in restaurant fire in Waimate, South Canterbury ... Read more
Close

Anglican head wants women bishops

Last updated 05:00 09/07/2013
Women Bishops
BIAZ RATNER/Reuters
REFORMER: The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, right, says the Church of England 'must have a revolution'.

Relevant offers

Europe

Mobsters accused of using code to help mafia boss evade capture Moroccan dies trying to reach Spain in suitcase Spectacular crane accident crushes homes Giant inflatable Minion causes traffic chaos after landing on Dublin street Greek stocks plunge 16pc as market reopens after debt crisis shutdown Former British PM Edward Heath investigated over child sex claims amid claims of cover-up Helicopter plunges to earth in dramatic airshow crash footage Saudi Arabian king leaves France after holiday controversy Family secret 'led to Jack the Ripper' Members of Osama Bin Laden's family killed in plane crash

The Church of England must follow through on plans to ordain women bishops, its spiritual head says, as talks on the issue that have divided the church are set to re-open.

In his first address to its national assembly, the General Synod, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the Church must adapt to a changing society in which congregation numbers are falling in many increasingly secular countries.

"Let's be clear, pretending that nothing has changed is absurd and impossible. In times of revolution we too in the Church of England must have a revolution," said Welby, a former oil executive who was named successor to Rowan Williams as the head of the Anglican church in late 2012.

In November, reforms to allow women bishops fell at the final hurdle. Despite receiving support from 73 per cent of Synod members, a vote narrowly failed to attain the necessary two-thirds majority in one of the Synod's three houses.

Bespectacled and with his dog-collared clerical shirt rolled up to the elbows, Welby told the Synod at the University of York that the Church must get rid of its "baggage" after it came under sharp criticism in November for failing to push through gender reforms.

"If we say we will ordain women as priests and bishops, we must do so in exactly the same way as we ordain men," he said.

On Monday, the Synod will take the first tentative steps to restart talks on the issue, but the full process will take around two years, meaning female bishops would not be permitted in the Church until 2015 at the earliest.

The archbishop looked to placate reformists as well as conservative factions, talking about healing the mistrust in the Church and not directly mentioning the issue of women bishops until over halfway through his speech.

While he is supportive of female bishops, Welby has opposed bills for gay marriage, with the first civil ceremonies in England and Wales set to be carried out in the spring next year. But he said he was "appalled" by homophobic behaviour.

"We may or may not like it, but we must accept that there is a revolution in the area of sexuality," he said.

A positive debate on Monday on the issue of women bishops would be a boost for Welby, as he looks to make his mark as the spiritual head of the 80 million-member Anglican church.

The Church approved the ordination of women priests in 1992, but delayed making them bishops because of opposition within its previously all-male clergy. Bishops play a key role in many Christian churches where only they can ordain new clergy.

Ad Feedback


- Reuters

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content