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July 11th, 2010
02:10 PM ET

Women bishops vote threatens to split Church of England

The Church of England inched closer to allowing women bishops this weekend, with a vote that traditionalists warned could split the church.

The church's governing body narrowly rejected a measure that would allow parishes that oppose women bishops to have an additional male bishop.

The proposal, floated by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams (pictured) - the titular head of the Church of England - was an attempt to satisfy conservatives.

Campaigners for women bishops hailed the vote as a victory.

But traditionalists said the ballot "has made it very difficult for those who in conscience cannot accept the ministry for women priests and bishops."

The vote happened Saturday at the General Synod, the three-times-a-year meeting that sets policies for the Church of England.

Williams, who is also nominal head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, proposed the measure along with John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York.

The rejection of the compromise was greeted with a "slightly stunned silence," said the Rev. Miranda Threlfall-Holmes.

"Everyone was aware instantly of how close it was, [with] a slight gasp from everybody, thinking, 'Oh no, we only lost that by the skin of our teeth' or 'only passed that by the skin of our teeth,'" she said Sunday.

The Church of England is probably still a couple of years away from having women bishops. If this week's General Synod approves them, as expected, parishes across the church then have at least a year to consider the matter before a future General Synod casts a final vote on the issue.

Chris Sugden of the conservative Anglican Mainstream movement said the vote showed that conservatives were actually the majority.

"Although this group is portrayed as a minority, those who do not want a winner-take-all, scorched-earth policy, are a majority in Synod," he said.

He denied that the vote was about whether or not to ordain women bishops, saying the Church of England had already decided to go ahead with that.

Instead, Sugden said, the vote was about keeping the church together.

The failed compromise was so "that those who cannot accept women bishops can still be part of the Church of England," he said. "We believe in freedom of conscience, in religious freedom," he said of conservatives.

But he said a split was not inevitable, with two days to go before the General Synod concludes.

"Forty-eight hours is a long time in the life of a synod," he told CNN Sunday. "There is a lot of water to flow under the bridge. A lot of conversations are taking place."

The Catholic Group in Synod, another conservative group, suggested it would continue to fight against women bishops.

"The process in General Synod is not over and we would wish to be involved in the ongoing discussions as to a way forward that includes all loyal members of the Church of England," it said in a statement.

But a campaign called Women in the Church hailed the vote.

"We're tying hard not to use the word victory, but yes it is," said Sally Barnes, a Women in the Church representative.

"You can't have a church where we're all supposed to be one in Christ and then treat women as if it's the faulty half of creation," she told CNN Sunday.

"People don't need protecting against women, it's not a Christian concept. It's not how Christ treated women," she argued.

Under Church of England rules, for a measure like the one proposed by Williams and Sentamu to pass, it needed majority support from three different groups: bishops, priests and lay leaders.

Bishops and lay leaders backed the measure, but priests narrowly rejected it, meaning it failed.

The Anglican Communion - of which the Church of England is the British branch - is the world's third-largest Christian denomination, with about 77 million members worldwide.

It's facing serious strains over the ordination of women bishops and gay priests, and the Catholic Church has reached out to disaffected Anglicans, raising the possibility that conservatives could leave en masse.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Anglican • Britain • Christianity • Episcopal

soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Mamanomia

    So very well said, FCSB! 2000 plus years and we're waiting for equality...when we know by God's eternal clock..we always have been...

    July 12, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  2. Former Catholic School Boy

    Come on people. The bible was written by man. It did not fall from the sky. Sure there are some great life lessons in the bible. It is also riddled with bigotry and imperfections which is to be expected of anything man has his hand in. I do believe in a supreme being but I don't think that any person or religion knows what we are obviously not meant to know until we die. Good rule of thumb; treat EVERYONE with fairness, respect and dignity while you are here on earth. I think that will come back to you after this life.

    July 12, 2010 at 9:56 am |
    • Mom of 4

      Finally,someone who makes sense.I was beginning to think there were no real thinkers in the bunch.
      I teach my children to treat others the way they would like to be treated. I think that speaks volumes.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:20 am |
    • neoritter

      That doesn't mane you can't subscribe to a religion or a belief system. If we were to not follow any religion or any belief because it "may be wrong" than we'd have no progress whatsoever. That'd be like telling Galileo, "Hey you could be wrong. Don't bother holding to your theory."

      July 12, 2010 at 10:42 am |
    • Carl

      Ah, another realist. Good to know there area few out there. The people who seem to think that the books of the Bible were somehow exempt from the influence of the times delude themselves. Even the Adam and Eve legend has Eve as the first offender, and poor gullible Adam a victim of her temptations. Jewish society was strongly male-centric, and women were second, maybe thrid class "citizens at best. The same cultural influences that now push for inclusion of women in various ministries are the ones that "established" male supremacy in the clergy. The ONLY separator is time. I've read enough New Testament to have established my own opinion, that Jesus gave perfectly good examples that women were jsut as suited to ministry as men – the woman with the "alabaster jar of nard", the attentions of Martha to Jesus and Mary's corresponding complaints (or was it the other way around?) – more if one reads.

      In my opinion, the only reason the male bastion of the clergy holds the scriptural position that it does is to protect the power base, a very human trait for a very human group, and quite unChirstian – but I'm just sayin'

      July 12, 2010 at 11:17 am |
  3. Win

    In it's misguided attempt to be everything to everyone, the Episcopal Church has managed to drive away many cradle Episcopalians (like me) who are tired of the political correctness embodied by the left wing leadership in the Church. The Anglican community (of which the Episcopal Church is a member) retains the same beautiful liturgy with which I grew up loving. At the same time, it retains tradition and conservative values that the Episcopal Church threw out. I attend Catholic mass only because the liturgy is similar. The Catholic Church retains conservative values but there are some precepts that I disagree with and that is why I have not converted to Catholicism. I don't like the liturgy or music in some of the other religions available in the United States. The Anglican Church is the only place left for me.

    July 12, 2010 at 9:55 am |
    • Finch

      I think the Episcopal Church best symbolizes a church of inclusion not exclusion. By trying to include everyone–especially minorities–in the fullness of belief it better meets a higher standard of Christianity. I don't think these are new ideas, but hark back to the foundation of Christ's teaching: Love one another. It is a very difficult thing for most of us to do. Perhaps that is the reason you are no longer comfortable as a "cradle Episcopalian."

      July 12, 2010 at 10:13 am |
    • CatholicMom

      What are the precepts of the Catholic Church that you disagree with?

      July 12, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  4. Poodlehaircut

    ho-hum...these anglican churches will all be museums in 100 yrs...

    July 12, 2010 at 9:55 am |
    • cmc

      Fingers crossed that ALL churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. will be museums in 100 years.

      July 12, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  5. Mamanomia

    I applaud this success in every way...When one draws literal translations from the scriptures..one forgets that the God of the old testament allowed/maybe encouraged males with two/more wives or concubines...Then the new testament..faithfullness in marriage., monogamy..Whoa...this is the same God?...changing God's mind? Jesus preached, lived, taught...equality...it was too soon for men to get it...must be still the same...???

    July 12, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  6. Peter Pedro

    @CatholicMum, you've hit the nail on the head. Everyone wants to be their own authority. What feels or seems right to be is good for me. That is what is driving the world and Christiany away from God. Individuality that excludes others is not how God planned it. God's original plan is for us all to be a family, a kingdom, where is law and order, for that to be there must be a father, a leader who will be a source of authority and arbiter for all disputes. Trouble came into Christianity, with the rejection of the sole of authority given to the Church by Christ to Peter and via the Pope. When European monarchs rejected the Pope and formed their state-church, they in turn were rejected by their people, who formed governments of their own, the governments now have suppressed the churches and see no better than historical monuments, now the people without religion or spiritual guidance, will reject their government and there will be breakdown of law and order. Read the book by Hilary Bulloc.

    July 12, 2010 at 9:47 am |
  7. Ghenadi

    Leo when you misunderstand or misinterpret someone try at least not to put your words into your opponent's mouth. nobody is talking here abote "a second class people".
    the point of the argument above is: you either come to God and to the Bible on their terms or you don't come at all. God is not fiction or a whim of one's imagination if you don't play according to his rules you're out. if the Bible and God can be twisted as one wants then there is nothing solid in universe and life is not worth living because such things like ethics have no solid foundation. you cannot keep the building intact if you destroy the foundation; but that's what some Anglicans sadly are doing which will surely bring a very sad end and embarrassment to the whole community.

    July 12, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  8. Mark Walker

    The Anglican Communion needs to stop lying. THEY ARE NOT THE WORLDS 3RD LARGEST PROTESTANT CHURCH. I have been a member all my life. The real number of active anglicans is probably around 12 million and that is a maybe. The churches are like a third full here in the US and empty across europe.
    They always throw these huge numbers out and they are simply not true. At church we just laugh when they talk about all our members worlwide.

    July 12, 2010 at 9:38 am |
    • LookBothWays

      Mark wrote: "The Anglican Communion needs to stop lying. THEY ARE NOT THE WORLDS 3RD LARGEST PROTESTANT CHURCH. I have been a member all my life. The real number of active anglicans is probably around 12 million and that is a maybe. The churches are like a third full here in the US and empty across europe."

      Your ignorance of the numbers is astounding. Keep in mind that everywhere the British flag went, the Church followed. The Anglican faith is the single biggest Protestant church in all of Africa, It is quite well represented in the Australia and New Zeland nations as has a significant presence in Hong Kong and India. The failing of your own parish in the ministry of God's work is your own fault.

      The growth and position of Anglinicanism is Africa is huge. keep in mind that this is the home of both the forward thinking (Nobel Prize winning Archbishop Tutu) as well as the African Bishops who stone gays and women as "God work" while maintaining plural marriages and cozying up to African dictatorswith the blood of literaly millions of thier own flock on thier hands (Uganda, Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe)

      These are the very same bishops who maintain an ultra-conservative stance on the faith (which amazingly benifits them over the needs of thier flocks) and who continue to intefere in the Episcopal Church in the US. These are the same bishops who actualy engaged in a brawl at a recent Lambeth Conference that addressed gay bishops and the role of women in the wider Aglican Communion.

      He further wrote "They always throw these huge numbers out and they are simply not true. At church we just laugh when they talk about all our members worlwide."

      Please let me know the name and address of your parish, and I would be happy to explain this all to you during coffee hour after your next Mass. Those of us who stayed awake in Sunday School owe it to share our knowledge with our fellow Anglicans.

      July 12, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  9. Greg

    Its time for change. If the church splits, I hope the number of people who acknowledge equality is greater than those who do not.

    July 12, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  10. Peter Pedro

    @Leo the Bible is not just a book. It is the inspired of God, which is meant for all people of all time and age. All that was written was for us to learn. Nothing that has happened which was recorded in the Bible still continues to happen today. It is alive and not dead and does not need modern man to distorte it to suite his convenience. His Word is the same yesterday and today and for ever.

    July 12, 2010 at 9:36 am |
  11. CatholicMom

    Comments such as ‘you can't have a church where we're all supposed to be one in Christ and then treat women as if it's the faulty half of creation, or " people don't need protecting against women, it's not a Christian concept. It's not how Christ treated women," only show a misunderstanding of Scripture.

    Women should not feel ‘faulty’ or that they are kept out of the priesthood to protect people! Where does thinking like that come from?

    Are men going to eventually feel slighted by God because they cannot become pregnant and give birth to a baby? Women who see how gifted they are would not have thoughts about the priesthood for themselves. Jesus was not a woman, ….priests are standing in for Jesus Christ….Personna Christi. The Apostles referred to themselves as ‘Fathers’ to us.

    When people interpret the Bible and twist the verses, throw out Books, add/subtract words, etc., to suit their way of thinking is what has cause the Church to not be One in Christ; strange how men started down that slippery slope a few hundred years ago and now women want to hop on that bandwagon. Where is this all leading? Does everyone want to be her own Pope?

    July 12, 2010 at 9:27 am |
    • phoenix1920

      If one is truly called, it is not a choice that the woman herself has made. The true desire to become a member of the priesthood or a pastor is not borne within one's own human heart. This is a calling from God himself, where the Holy Spirit has called that person's name. If one does not answer and obey God through the Holy Spirit's calling , that person is engaging in sin by saying "My will, God, not yours." So if God has truly called a person into this field, be it woman or man, It is not for mankind to deny God what is His. We serve God's church and God has the authority to call who he sees to serve him in this capacity. How can one say say with authority that they know that God has not called a woman to be priest or church leader? As others have already addressed, even the Bible shows the fallacy in this. But a more well-known parable by Jesus are His words telling his followers that to determine false teachings from correct teachings, one must look to the fruit of the tree. A woman who submits her life completely to God and who pastors a church and tends to God's flock bears good fruit.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:24 am |
    • Grondahl

      @phoenix1920

      We may or may not be able to correctly guess God's Will at any given moment, but we know His Word, and we must not violate it. We are not in a position to question who God calls to do what job here on earth.

      July 12, 2010 at 11:09 am |
    • Reality

      CatholicMom,

      Before Jesus and the mythical Abraham and Moses, there were the Egyptians formulating various rules to live by.

      1580-1350 B.C

      "Hail to thee, great God, Lord of the Two Truths. I have come unto thee, my Lord, that thou mayest bring me to see thy beauty. I know thee, I know thy name, I know the names of the 42 Gods who are with thee in this broad hall of the Two Truths . . . Behold, I am come unto thee. I have brought thee truth; I have done away with sin for thee. I have not sinned against anyone. I have not mistreated people. I have not done evil instead of righteousness . . .
      I have not reviled the God.
      I have not laid violent hands on an orphan.
      I have not done what the God abominates . . .
      I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer.
      I have not caused anyone's suffering . . .
      I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste.
      I have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the palm; I have not encroached upon the fields.
      I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance.
      I have not taken milk from a child's mouth; I have not driven small cattle from their herbage...
      I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam against flowing water.
      I have not quenched a fire in its time . . .
      I have not kept cattle away from the God's property.
      I have not blocked the God at his processions. 5

      July 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
    • ybs

      "we know His Word, and we must not violate it. We are not in a position to question who God calls to do what job here on earth"

      Idiots always want to subjugate others in the name of god/religion!

      July 12, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Phoenix 1920,
      [Romans 10:14 "But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?"] We see that preachers are needed so people can hear in order to believe in God.

      Can just anyone preach? [2Corinthians 11:13 For such false apostles are deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.] Apostle means ‘one who is sent’. [Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach unless they be sent…] So someone needs to be SENT to preach………..what does that mean?

      We see what Jesus tells the Apostles…… In [John 20:21 Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."] All authority was given to Jesus by the Father and now He is giving this authority to the Apostles. ["And He appointed twelve, to be with Him, and to be sent out to preach..." Mark 3:14] So the ones who were SENT with authority by God are the Apostles and those in the line of succession with them. [ Acts 1:20]. ["So, if I brag a little too much about the authority which the Lord gave us, I'm not ashamed. The Lord gave us this authority to help you, not to hurt you." 2Corinthians 10:8]

      There were others directly SENT by the Lord in Luke 10:1. In Matthew 14:10 the word ‘pempo’ is used in verses where sent means NOT sent with the authority of God.

      Any preacher not of the line of succession going back to the Apostles will have a hard time proving they were SENT. Anyone can say, ‘God told me to!’ but that is not proof; history is full of people who justified their actions by bringing God into it by their own private words.

      What did the Lord do to the people who rebelled against Moses, when the people said, ‘Does the Lord not speak through us also?’ God has always spoken through one FATHER figure down through history, be it Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Peter and the successors of Peter who have the fullness of Truth.

      [Luke 10:16, Jesus said, "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."] This is Jesus talking to His Apostles.
      And so, if you reject the Catholic Church and Her teachings, and reject the Pope as Vicar of Christ, then you reject the Bible also. Yes, atheists, I know you will have to interject here, but this is for non-Catholics who want to be preachers, especially women. [If you are a Catholic woman and think you want to be a priest and think you should be able to be one, you are non-Catholic…] Well, ok, atheists, you are non-Catholic, too!
      We are all supposed to uphold the Truth and speak it when ever asked about our faith but we all do not need to be priests to do ‘our’ part.

      July 12, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • Reality

      CatholicMom,

      Looking outside the bible box, one finds that Luke 10:16 was probably not utttered by Jesus but was simply another embellishment by two of the authors of the NT. Keep in mind that contemporary NT experts have concluded that only 30% of the NT is authentic and of that most was borrowed from the Babylonians, Egyptians, OT/torah and the sayings of traveling Greek cynics. In a way then, your life does not revolve around Jesus but around the likes of Paul et al and the ancients and some Greek cynics.

      July 12, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  12. Clive

    Some mention of Henry VIII. Note that the Reformation was going on in Europe at that time. Although Henry took advantage of the situation, I believe it's inconceivable that the Church in England would have left Rome without the wider Reformation. The form of the Church of England is also interesting. Most Protestant churches have no bishops. In fact, it caused some trouble during the English Civial War when the Scottish 'covenanters' wanted it made explicit as a condition of their support for Parliament that no bishops would be inflicted on Scotland. It is also interesting that there were Gnostic women priests and may have been a Gnostic woman bishop, had Tertullian not introduced traditional mysogyny into the early Christian church.

    July 12, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  13. Peter Pedro

    I am completely amazed that the scripture and tradition of the apostles and Church fathers have thrown out of the window by the Anglican Church and now they put their opinions to vote. Very soon they will vote God out of their organisation which was created out of convenience for a king that was lustful after women. Watch the TV series The Tudors!!!

    July 12, 2010 at 9:03 am |
    • Finch

      Peter. You cannot seriously consider a TV series a good and legitmate basis for a real historical event. Can you?

      Henry's split from the Roman Church was based on theological differences much like the split between Rome and Luther (I don't want to get into a history lesson on the Church). Only popular belief ties the split solely to a search for proper heirs to the throne of England.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  14. Leo

    I'm just grateful that I'm not a part of any of those backwards, bogus, patriarchal religions. Clinging to books written thousands of years ago in order to decide who's a second-class citizen today? The idiocy is astounding. Would you like your doctors to train from 2000-year old texts? Come on, people. The "Bible" was not written to be eternal. It was written by people of THAT time, with their limited knowledge and broad prejudices.

    July 12, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  15. Ghenadi

    @Daniel: you not only misunderstood the point Gil T was making but misused your own false interpretation. the point was not drawn on allegedly close parallels between the two models but on some general principles underlying the OT priesthood system. unfortunately you failed to see that and used a red herring to take discussion in a different direction.
    Gil T clearly explained his point about the NT priesthood that everyone (all believers in Jesus Christ) are included in it but the church management (priests, pastors, etc.) is a different story although not completely disassociated from the former (i.e. example of the deaconess). the NT makes this distinction quite clear whatever our postmodern opponents may say.

    July 12, 2010 at 8:41 am |
    • Ellid

      Sorry, but there's no such thing as a "deaconess" in the Christian scriptures. Phoebe is a diakonos, in exactly the same position of leadership as a male church leader. Do a little research next time – it may open your eyes.

      July 12, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  16. Chris

    Daniel: Gil does have a very valid point though. It is so true today that many Christian denominations are going through upheaval because they think the church is a democracy when in fact it is a theocracy. Qualifications for a bishop are clear from the Scriptures. It would be great if the bible were brought back into the decision-making process.

    July 12, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  17. Daniel

    @ Gil T: The laws governing the Levite priesthood have no bearing on the organization of the Christian Church, which ceased to be a sect of Judaism a long time ago.

    July 12, 2010 at 5:14 am |
    • Wzrd1

      The tribe of Levi is completely untraceable after so many forced exiles of the Jews over the centuries. Hence, the majority of Rabbis are NOT of the tribe of Levi, hence those laws cannot be enforced.

      July 12, 2010 at 9:59 am |
    • Gil T

      @ Daniel
      Please review my post. I drew the principle from the Levitical priesthood. I neither suggest nor stated the Levitical priesthood or anything from the law is binding on the church. I whole-heartedly concur with your point.

      July 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  18. Reality

    Ironic, that the Church of England is getting split up by women since it was Henry VIII's problem with women that serves as the foundation of said church.

    July 11, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
    • Joe Green

      hush now, the elders don't like to be reminded of the past or truth.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  19. Gil T

    Women in the Church representative Sally Barnes articulates a view shallow on scripture and steeped on popular political correctness. The principal of the role of women in the New Testament church mirrors the Old Testament role of the priesthood. While all priests were Levites not all Levites were priests and each family group had clearly assigned duties. Being a priest was not license for a priest to do within the priests' duties what seemed right to him. Males, as well as females, from other tribes were not judged inferior because they had no part in the priesthood. It was per the commandment of God as delivered to Moses and Aaron.
    The priesthood of the church is ALL believers including male and female. However, the apostles' teaching on the role of men and women is clear. It's not a matter left for personal conscience or the influence of popular culture and, per Barnes, has nothing to do with protecting the church from women.
    It's all a moot point. It became that when scripture was removed from the table and opinions, good intentions, being politically correct and culturally relevant became the source of authority.

    July 11, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
    • Sir Craig

      It sounds like you don't approve, that if anyone is to be a leader in a church it needs to based on the laws as set down in a 2000+ year old book. I whole-heartedly agree: Let ALL the actions of a church, nay religion, follow the rules as set forth by the Old and New Testaments. Let us bring back stonings and burnings and sacrifices and slavery, because heaven forbid ANY church and its adherents should appear politically correct. [/sarcasm]

      Seriously, god botherers and their a la carte approach to their own religious texts give me a headache. Either educate yourselves on the utter ridiculousness of religion or help educate everyone else by adhering word-for-word to the "rules" as set forth in either your bible or koran. Fred Phelps and the rest of his inbred "klan" has been a wonderful educational tool in that regard.

      July 12, 2010 at 9:44 am |
    • Ellid

      Sorry, but neither Jesus nor the apostles said a word about women as priests (nor did Jesus ordain anyone as a priest *since he was not consciously founding a new religion*). If anything, the early Church was extraordinarily supportive of female religious leadership: Paul refers to Junia as "an apostle equal to myself," sent his letter to Rome in the care of Phoebe, the diakonos (leader/priest equivalent) of the church at Cenchraea, and praised Prisca, Lydia, and others for their hard work, leadership, preaching, and teaching.

      Women have been ordained in other Protestant denominations for decades (in the case of the Unitarians and Universalists, centuries). It's past time for the Anglicans to allow female bishops. Failure to do so is treating women no better than the Romans did, and haven't we supposedly advanced beyond that?

      July 12, 2010 at 9:48 am |
    • Ron

      Wow, someone who actually reads the Bible. God instructed women to 'keep silence' in the execution of the Lord's worship. Women leading in ANY part of scriptural worship flies directly in the face of God's commandment. Pride will send more people to their eternal damnation than all other sin combined. The arrogance of 'I know better than what the Bible says' is an insult to God which will be judged.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:10 am |
    • johnM

      I guess you're the only one privy to that piece of inphonymation about the commandments thing. And besides women are obviously inferior to men and therefore unworthy because god is male and don't like those unclean folks. The earth is flat and only six thousand years old and the pope is infallible (ask Galileo) and you're a bloody genius.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:22 am |
    • Grondahl

      @johnM

      Ron's reference to "keeping silent" comes from one of St. Paul's letters to Timothy regarding worship. Ron probably accepts the Bible to be the inerrant, inspired word of God, and as such, something coming from the pen of Paul is from the mouth of God. As such, it's a commandment, though not in the normally accepted Rules on a Tablet format.

      But I'm sure you knew that already.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • Veritas

      Ron, that is ONE passage taken out of context that was written to a specific people at a specific time for a specific purpose. If you look at the ministry of Jesus he treated women as EQUAL to men and never required them to "be silent." There were many female leaders in the early church. Also, Jack, "Please show where the LORD JESUS CHRIST said "A man is to rule over a woman." (St. Paul said something SIMILIAR but again, context.). As an Epscopalian (the American branch of the Anglican Communion) I can tell you that we have had women bishops for sometime now. In fact our Presiding bishop is a woman (the only female primate in the Anglican Communion) and we have done just fine.

      July 12, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • relians

      god was a murdering, slaving, lying jerk, glad he was just imaginary

      July 12, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • Bucek

      In Response to Gil T: It would seem to be irrelevant what Moses and Aaron thought about the preisthood since the Anglican Communion is a Christian church and Christ specifically said he was establishing a NEW covenant to replace the covenant between God and Moses. Furthermore, God did not give a command to Moses about the Preisthood and gender issues. Hebrew traditions and Jewish faith of 3600 years ago did not provide a Levitical role for women [probably because they did not have time to perform a lot of ritual sacriices because they were busy doing all those jobs that feed and clothe a family.]

      In your apostolic reference, perhaps you are thinking of Timothy 9-15 where Paul is making assertions about how he thinks women ought to have limited participation in the church because Eve is the one who fell to temptation in Eden. OF course, this is odd since apparently he disagrees with himself where he had previously taught [Romans 5.12-21] that "sin and death came to the world through one man's sin", "...so one man's [CHrist's] act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all." No gender nit-picking there!

      Of course, Paul never met Jesus CHrist and had no first hand knowledge of his teachings, and when Paul went to Rome to meet the remnant of disciples still living there 20 or 30 years after Christ's death, he had theological disputes with these first-hand teachers and disagreed with many of their teachings and left. So maybe those who want to quote Paul's letters ought to have a religion called "Paulian" rather than "Christian". I say that tongue-in-cheek, but I do suggest that Paul contradicts himself and it's hard to point to one of the conflicting teachings as being authoritative for Christians.

      Would it not be better to always look for guidance in what we know of Christ's own actions and teachings. He certainly never did anything to indicate he did not want women to learn his message and help spread it to the world. He openly welcomed women to the "conversations" in some disregard for Jewish custom of the times. Finally, we mere mortals are always tying ourselves in knots over minutiae and missing the big principle– Jesus said the only thing we need to know is that we need to love god and love each other– "On these 2 commandments hand all the law and the prophets. Matt.22.40"

      So quit relying on Jewish scriptures and Hebrew traditions to inform the CHristian church, and look to the simple message of Jesus on the only commandments that are important, and then the answer here is simple– if women are knowledgeable, capable teachers, welcome them to that role, love them for it, and keep the faith.

      July 12, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • ybs

      People seek comfort in horoscopes. So, don't expect people to pull their heads out of this pile of dung!

      Besides, where else one could subjugate others without repercussion?

      July 12, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  20. Thorrsman

    'Funny, but I believe I've heard quotes from the Archbishop of Canterbury that indicate that he does not believe in God. Odd that someone who does not believe is head of a church, even one like the Church of England, created to allow a king to get divorced from the queens who could not give him sons. (His knowledge of genetics was, of course, non-existant)

    July 11, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
    • jesus

      Did Archie say that? Got to give him props for honesty.

      July 12, 2010 at 9:41 am |
    • jason

      See it this way: He makes ALOT of money on his "job". Do you think it is even necessary to believe in God when you get such a big paycheck each month? Think of it. If all the churches worldwide would stop getting so much money for their "representatives", they all would be standing in line for another job. Not one of them would do their service for free.

      July 12, 2010 at 10:34 am |
    • desertKTV

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints does not pay anyone. From the president of the entire Church, all the way down to local representatives, people do the work that they do to server their fellow man and to serve God.

      Missionaries not only give up two years of their lives, but they also save up money so they can pay their own way while they are out in the field!

      Most of the high-up leadership in the Church organization has chosen to do that with their retirement, after years of saving to make retirement possible, like the rest of us.

      The Bishop of a Ward (sort of equivalent to the Pastor) usually has a full-time main-stream job, and does his Bishop work on the side.

      Service to God doesn't have to be about collecting money...

      July 12, 2010 at 11:15 am |
    • relians

      @ desertktv, that's because they all get to wear the mormon magic underwear

      July 12, 2010 at 11:30 am |
    • Jesus

      DesertKTV,m you have shown that religioous insanity doesn't mean that one has to make money off of the lunacy. The followers of Joey Smith, a man who was married to over 57 women at the same time, some as young as 14 years of age, and some a mother-daughter combo is your Mormon prophet. Among MANY ridiculous things, he said that the Native-Americans are a lost tribe of Israel. No wonder the Apache and Cherokee tribe members speak Yiddish and Hebrew.

      July 12, 2010 at 11:40 am |
    • StevieBoy

      DesertKTV – but, you failed to mention that the people that follow that faith are a bunch of naive nuts anyway! Of all religions, that's got to be one of the most far-fetched bunch of tales ever spun! SEEK REALITY!!

      July 12, 2010 at 11:53 am |
    • ybs

      All religions are one big pile of dung! The biggest dung is the people who could only do good in the name of god/religion!

      People seek comfort in horoscopes. So, don't expect people to pull their heads out of this pile!

      July 12, 2010 at 11:54 am |
    • John P

      So, you "believe you heard him say'? Well that's evidence enough for me.

      July 12, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • Thorrsman

      John P
      Perhaps, rather than a snide comment of no value, you should have been moved to research his words yourself.

      July 12, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.