Vote against women bishops keeps church on wrong path

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Commenting on the Church of England General Synod's failure to pass a measure allowing women to be bishops, Simon Barrow, co-director of the Christian thinktank Ekklesia, who is a former Church of England diocesan adviser, said:

"The failure to embrace a complete episcopal ministry will undoubtedly be seen inside and outside the Church of England as a further ecclesiastical betrayal of women. It is a very sad outcome to twenty years' worth of discussion, and keeps the Church on a wrong path, though it is most unlikely to be the end of the matter.

"The barriers to consecrating women bishops will undoubtedly be removed in the future, but the Church is causing itself great pain, and damage to all involved (especially women), by allowing an embattled minority to continue to thwart the process in the meantime.

"The attempt by opponents to embed an anti-women 'church within a church' inside the institution began with the well-intentioned but misguided accommodations of the Episcopal Ministry Act of Synod 1993 and its 'flying bishops'.

"This latest Synod vote is another sign suggesting that those who determinedly oppose women's ministry on principle will not be placated.

"On reflection proponents of change may perhaps need to recognise that it is a theological and practical mistake to confuse reconciliation with appeasement. The former depends upon a genuine change of heart, whereas the latter is a diplomatic policy aimed at avoiding conflict by making concessions to an aggressor.

"In some cases the conflict has to be worked through, though by peaceable means consistent with the Christian message."

* An anti-women 'church within a church' is unacceptable - http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17432