England (Reuters) – The Church of England moved a step closer on Monday to ordaining women as bishops, but deep divisions remained which could threaten their consecration or lead to a split between liberals and traditionalists.
The General Synod, or parliament, voted in favor of giving equal status to male and female bishops at the end of two days of debate in York, northern England, against the wishes of traditionalists and evangelicals.
They had called for safeguards such as new dioceses with all-male bishops, or the creation of a special class of bishop. Instead, the synod backed the draft legislation which would give women the authority to make local arrangements for objectors if necessary after referring to a statutory code of practice.
Same-sex marriages and the ordination of women and homosexual men as bishops are the most divisive issues facing the Anglican Communion, which has 77 million members worldwide.