The Anglican Church inches towards women Bishops – by John Redwood MP

Let me annoy some bloggers by raising this issue again. Some said I was not good at this subject. Others implied I had little right to comment. I am a child of the Anglican tradition. I have every right to comment on the Church’s future, as it remains the established Church whose deeds have to be reported to Parliament and in some cases approved by Parliament.

There are two concerns mentioned against the Synod’s decision to move towards women bishops. Some traditionalists are unhappy with women bishops, as they think it wrong. I am afraid they either have to live with the majority decision, or join a Church which has no women bishops. They did, after all, live reluctantly with the majority decison to have women priests. Some worry that others will join the Catholic Church, and see this as a needless weakening of the Anglican communion. It is true the Pope wishes to recruit from amongst those who do not like this development. It is not necessarily true that the Church would have more members if it deneid women access to the priesthood as a career.

The truth is the Anglican Church could lose people from the other wing if it did not make this change. The evangelical Churches are often dynamic and also looking to recruit. That is why it is best for the Church to make its own decision based on the merits of the case, and then to go out and be proud of what it has decided.

It might also conclude that just as the Pope has offered a home for Anglicans who do not like a feature of the Church of England, maybe the Anglican Church could think of some features of the recent practise of the Catholic Church that might lead Catholics to join the C of E. The traffic need not be all one way, especially if the Anglican Church has now made up its mind and can defend its decisions.

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