Monday, December 29, 2008

Bishops put forward as solution to Church of England row over women clergy

From the London Telegraph.

The priests, known as complementary bishops, will be allowed to hold church services including Holy Communion, conduct baptisms and consecrate burial grounds in parishes that do not want the controversial innovation of female bishops.

However the compromise move is unlikely to win over those who are strongly against the historic reform.

Complementary bishops must be male and must agree not to take part in ceremonies to make women priests or bishops. Parishes or individuals can "petition" to have a complementary bishop provide services and pastoral care for them if either they cannot accept women priests or bishops under any circumstances, or if they just do not want female clergy in their local churches.

The arrangements are described in a new Code of Practice drawn up by a Church committee, in order to prevent a mass exodus of Anglo-Catholic and conservative evangelical clergy and worshippers who believe that scripture and tradition hold that bishops must be male.
More than 500 clergy left the Church, with many converting to Rome because of its complete ban on female ministers, after the first women priests were ordained in 1994.

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