Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has begun a campaign to persuade Church of England General Synod members to back women bishops.
Dr Williams' outspoken comments in the Church Times newspaper prefigure the new women bishops legislation which returns to debate in the Church's governing body next month.
The archbishop retires from his position on 31 December 2012, and seems hopeful that his tenure, associated with continued grievances over sexuality and authority throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion. might also coincide with a decisive step forward over another issue which has also dragged on.
On his website, he writes: "My hope for next month’s debate is that it will tackle what is really before us, not what it is assumed or even suspected to mean; that it will give us grounds for trusting one another more rather than less; that it will be rooted in a serious theological engagement with what makes for the good of the Church and its mission, a serious attempt to be obedient to God’s leading – and, perhaps most soberingly, that it will not ignore the sense of urgency about resolving this that is felt inside and outside the Church, often with real pain and bewilderment.
"As a Synod, we are asked to act not only as a legislature but as a body that serves the Kingdom of God and takes a spiritual and pastoral responsibility for its actions. And I know that Synod members, myself among them, will be praying hard about what this entails."
The full Church Times article, 'Women Bishops: Enough Waiting', published on 19 October, can be read here: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/2654/