Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ephraim Radner: What Women Bishops Mean For Christian Unity

July 17, 2014

On July 14, 2014, the General Synod of the Church of England voted to permit women to be consecrated as bishops in their church. It followed a long, and sometimes bitter debate, and a vote in 2012 that barely fell short of the required two-thirds majority among lay representatives. Part of the decision—debated as to its enforceability—guarantees parochial opponents access to male priests and bishops.

For some, the decision was too late in coming. For others, though supportive of the concept, it is comes too early, putting another thorn in the bleeding flesh of the Anglican Communion and erecting a new barrier to reconciliation with Catholics and the Orthodox. For others, many of whom have already left the church, it is but one more sign of the inevitable slide of Anglicanism into a failed cultural accommodation with modernity’s egalitarian politics.

My own views are most sympathetic with those of the second group. Nonetheless, it should be acknowledged that the Church of England has labored hard and responsibly to reach this turning point, and, with whatever missteps, has done so in in sharp and positive contrast to several other Anglican churches around the globe. One may not accept the premises of Anglican polity, but in this case the polity has done its work with integrity according to its own self-understanding... Full essay


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