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November 20th, 2012
04:38 PM ET

Church of England rejects female bishops by six votes

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)– After decades of debate, the Church of England formally voted down draft legislation that would have allowed women to become bishops.

Debate on the draft legislation Tuesday spanned seven hours and saw more than 100 people voice support or opposition for the draft legislation.

At its General Synod meeting, despite the ardent support of the incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, the measure failed to secure a two-thirds majority in all of the three voting bodies of the church, the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity.

At the General Synod, elected church leaders, both laity and clergy, meet at least twice annually to decide on everything from the governing rules of the church to worship practices to budgets.

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"The ministry of women priests," Welby, the current Bishop of Durham and archbishop-designate, told the Synod, "has been powerful in all areas of the church except as part of the episcopacy."

"It is time to finish the job and vote for this measure. But also the Church of England needs to show how to develop the mission of the church in a way that demonstrates that we can manage diversity of view without division; diversity in amity, not diversity in enmity," he said, according to a copy of his statement posted on the church's website.

During the debate, Jane Pattison, from the Diocese of Sheffield, voiced opposition to the measure, according to the Episcopal News Service. She told the assembly that it would “promote the loss of conservative evangelical and traditional catholic ministry in the Church of England. I suggest that the church cannot afford this loss. … England cannot afford this loss if we are serious about sharing the Gospel with the nation.”

In the Church of England women have been able to serve as priests since the early 1990s.  The draft legislation would have continued that service by "enabling a woman to be consecrated to the office of the bishop if she otherwise satisfies the requirements of Canon Law as to the persons who may be consecrated as bishops."

Had the measure passed, canon law for the church would also have been amended to allow for female bishops and the General Synod would have then had to send that on formally to the Queen of England as a "Petition to the Crown" for her to grant "Royal Assent and License" to make the change to the church canon.

Queen Elizabeth is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.  The two archbishops of the church, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, along with 24 other bishops, have seats in Parliament in the House of Lords.  The Church of England is part of the global Anglican Communion.  The Church of England says 1.7 million people take part each month in services and four in 10 people in Brittain say they belong to the church.

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Before the results of the vote were read to the assembly, the members and the gallery were reminded by Archbishop of  York John Sentamu of "the long-standing custom of receiving the results of votes on controversial matters in silence."

The legislation titled "Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordination of Women) Measure" received broad support by the House of Bishops with 44 votes for, three against and two abstentions. The House of Clergy was similarly supportive with 148 in favor and 45 against. Both votes cleared the needed two-thirds majority.  But the 132 for and 74 against vote in the House of Laity came up six votes shy needed for the measure to pass.

The Bishop of Bristol said in a statement the vote was disastrous.

"Whilst I have never believed it necessary for anyone to leave the church on the basis of the measure before us today, others clearly took another view," the Rt. Rev. Mike Hill said in a statement posted by the Diocese of Bristol.

“It will be very difficult for those of us who have supported the ordination of women bishops to process our disappointment in the days ahead. My prayers are with the many people who are hurting, particularly women in our churches and those within and outside the church who are bemused and disillusioned by such a failure," Hill said.

The House of Bishops of the Church of England will hold an emergency session to consider the consequences of the vote on Wednesday morning according to a statement by the Church of England.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Anglican • Belief • Christianity • Women

soundoff (451 Responses)
  1. 200 TON HAMMER

    Deuteronomy chapter 28:15~68 Deals with the great transatlantic slavery and spiritual Egypt in the west look at the big monument in the nation capital the tall spiritual monument building thats from first physical Egypt in africa then you also have two citys one name Alexandria and Memphis that's spiritual connection too the physical real city's of first Egypt in Africa

    November 21, 2012 at 4:08 am |
    • 200 TON HAMMER

      The difference between a Hamite and Shemite is this Hamite sold the Shemite people's into slavery between 1511 too 1808 too po

      November 21, 2012 at 4:14 am |
  2. Kevin F

    Hey boy toyz! Give me your digits and I will give u a ring. We can hook up and I will make it a fling. I will rock dat coq and play with your sack..when u spray all dat goo I won’t give u any flack! I slurp it all down and make your head spin…I guzzle that salty stuff with a grin!! Fill me up…Solo cup!!

    November 21, 2012 at 3:36 am |
  3. Robert

    I wanna jig-abooo with a big ol tool. I see that size and it makes me drool! I grab ahold and ram it into my rear…he slams my fat rump and it brings out a tear! Now I be sore but its all good…cuz I be a flamer and keep searchin da hood!!!

    November 21, 2012 at 3:31 am |
  4. Robert

    Psalm 2 and Revelation13 and Revelation 21

    November 21, 2012 at 3:12 am |
  5. Kevin F

    I luv to pump da plump rumps of many chumps with my tiny stump!! Any jeeg-a-boooz wanna hook up? Slip me your meaty sausages and I will schlobbb dat knob!! Boyeeee!

    November 21, 2012 at 2:52 am |
  6. Jane

    Sorry I meant @oh

    November 21, 2012 at 2:12 am |
  7. Nathan

    good.

    November 21, 2012 at 2:00 am |
  8. Kevin F

    God has told us that times have changed. I hereby submit John Mills, Immanuel Kant, John Rawls, Hobbs, Locke and even Aristotle for prophet status. If God is seen in moral terms as everything "Good" and "Just" in the world then God really is everywhere and we humans are truly made in His image (as moral beings, but who are not perfect). God cannot be a being because it is not possible for a being knows everything to have such a thing as choice. "Good" and "Just" do not make choices. To be a being with free will we must have choice. God, being God, can never make the choice to be anything other than God.

    November 21, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • Kevin F

      For God is good and surrounds himself with love of all fellow human beings. Now I have sinned cuz I have been but -slammin my buddy in da keister! I also polish his tool with my drool....forgive me father cuz I be a sinner!! Don't send me to that evil place.....my freewill is being guided by fairies and ho-mos!!

      November 21, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • noodles doodles and toodles

      There is no "free will".
      1. You are 100 % constrained to acting according to your your own memory,knows, and what is possible, according to the laws of science.
      2. We are not 100% conscious to the elements which go into making a "choice", at the time it is done. (Neuro-science has proven this).
      3. Therefore it's a fallacy. So sad. Too bad.

      November 21, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • End Religion

      Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
      who was very rarely stable.
      Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
      who could think you under the table.
      David Hume could out consume
      Schopenhauer and Hegel,
      And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
      who was just as sloshed as Schlegel.

      There's nothing Nietzsche couldn't teach ya
      'bout the raisin' of the wrist.
      Socrates himself was permanently pissed.

      John Stuart Mill, of his own free will,
      after half a pint of shandy was particularly ill.
      Plato, they say, could stick it away,
      'alf a crate of whiskey every day!
      Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle,
      and Hobbes was fond of his dram.
      And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart:
      "I drink, therefore I am."

      Yes, Socrates himself is particularly missed;
      A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he's pissed.

      November 21, 2012 at 2:51 am |
  9. Atheist

    Funny, The supreme governor of Church of England is The Queen.

    November 21, 2012 at 1:41 am |
  10. Chinaman

    Atheists are so hateful and full of bitter lol. But I digress as I have a question to ask; what are the atheists opinion on shiva kamini?

    November 21, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Chinaman

      Ahhhh.soooo! I iz a cheeenk! Any dinks out there? I got stuck with de smallest peter...why did god give us slant-eyes such a tiny wang?? Not sure, but why can you also blindfold us with dental floss? I know of another floss that I wear....bu t floss!! A stringy dinky g-string bikini bottom gets da dudes all horneee!! Ahhhh....me so horneee....for a dudes donger!!

      November 21, 2012 at 2:32 am |
  11. It's just me

    I have something terrible to tell you. We are already dead. This is the thing they call hell Sorry.

    November 21, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • true

      Being surrounded by Christians is pretty much hell.

      November 21, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • Al Christian

      The Catholic Church defines Hell as a state of being, freely chosen by the recipient, of eternal separation from God and Heaven.

      November 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  12. *frank*

    Half the beliefs of Christians come from Paul,
    who was pretty much identical to a Taliban mullah..........
    the other half come from Moses,
    who was pretty much identical to Hitler............
    GREAT fucking religion ya got there, Christian idiots!
    oh no, it's all about love! Jesus is love!
    Riiiiiiiiiiiiight!
    lol just lol!

    November 21, 2012 at 1:35 am |
  13. Bob Smith

    This is good. This is very, very good.

    November 21, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  14. Aceldama

    I am a lay preacher in our church and know what I am talking about. I read the Bible every day and feel I know far more about the Bible than any other contributor to this site. The Bible contains things that God has commanded us to do and the way to behave but, because of political correctness, many people say that certain parts of the Bible do not apply to them. They say it was written for different times and do not apply in the year 2012 but they are absolutely wrong. Only God can tell us whether the passages in the Bible are no longer applicable and He hasn’t done that. Therefore, the verses in the Bible that dictate a woman’s place must be adhered to. A woman has no place in the clergy, let alone a bishop. That is not just my view – it is Gods’.

    November 21, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Apple Bush

      The bible does not apply to me.

      November 21, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • tallulah13

      Actually, until you have proof that your god exists, the opinion belongs to you and your church.

      November 21, 2012 at 1:23 am |
    • Jane

      Tallulah,

      I asked you this last night but you ignored me. What do you do for a living? I'm just curious since I see you have posted comments on almost all articles and at all hours of the day. I don't try to sound mean, I'm merely just curious. I'll start, I work in the insurance industry doing underwriting.

      Please let me know as I'm quite curious. Thanks.

      November 21, 2012 at 1:39 am |
    • Scott715

      Thanks for admitting that the bible was written by bronze-age bigots. I suppose you follow the rules for slave owneship as well!

      November 21, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • Kevin F

      God has told us that times have changed. I hereby submit John Mills, Immanuel Kant, John Rawls, Hobbs, Locke and even Aristotle for prophet status. If God is seen in moral terms as everything "Good" and "Just" in the world then God really is everywhere and we humans are truly made in His image (as moral beings, but who are not perfect). God cannot be a being because it is not be possible for a being knows everything to have such a thing as choice. "Good" and "Just" do not make choices. To be a being with free will we must have choose. God, being God, can never make the choice to be anything other than God.

      November 21, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • oh look, it's herbie/chad/just sayin/etc etc etc etc

      Wow you're so smart and sly!
      Not.............

      November 21, 2012 at 1:55 am |
    • oh look, it's herbie/chad/just sayin/etc etc etc etc

      *Jane, that is

      November 21, 2012 at 1:56 am |
    • Jane

      @jane – i'm not any of those you claim, however it was a nice try I suppose. I was just asking a question, no need to get all defensive. Hint; when you act defensive, angry, and shout one line insults (like 99% of atheists on this blog), it only proves your intellectual immaturity coupled with willful ignorance and an inability to think critically.

      Cheerio mate.

      November 21, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • Jane

      @oh look*

      Typo, sorry

      November 21, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • End Religion

      Jane, please cite sources for your assertions.

      November 21, 2012 at 3:04 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      " Only God can tell us whether the passages in the Bible are no longer applicable and He hasn’t done that."

      This is far from the truth as it was MEN, mere mortals, who wrote and edited the bible. Men have already told you what passages are applicable. you follow men, not god.

      November 21, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  15. Apple Bush

    The Old Testament sells fear and guilt. The New Testament is a good code of ethics, created by poets and philosophers. But the message is never practiced. Fairy Tales build churches.

    November 21, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  16. Apple Bush

    Heaven is a place in Hell.

    A place where Angels and Demons dwell.

    The bell rings, the Devil Swings and on God’s throne he begins to dwell.

    Looking through space and time the duality of the immortals shine.

    The singing begins and the song is one of the infinite.

    Universes are sung, galaxies too.

    Star and planet, me and you.

    But we can hear the singing not.

    For we are here on this planet caught.

    The web we weave to cry and deceive.

    Robs us of our own immortal lot.

    November 21, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  17. Angel Moronic

    Is it written somewhere: It is easier for a camel to go thru a hole than a bishop can ?

    November 21, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  18. Apple Bush

    Christians, you cannot discuss with any seriousness the concept that there is one true god untill you address the problem of infinite regress.

    If humans were the best I could do, I'd be hiding too.

    November 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Mike

      You may want to clarify your issue of infinite regress, as it likely is not directly related to the subject matter on this story (women not being eligible to be bishops in Church of England).

      November 21, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Apple Bush

      No, I don't want to Mike, but thanks for asking.

      November 21, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • noodles doodles and toodles

      God is omnipotent. She made a race of machine-like universe makers, (which of course, being omnipotent, she can do).
      One of them made the universe.
      Now have a nice holiday, and don't worry about it.

      November 21, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Kevin F

      God has told us that times have changed. I hereby submit John Mills, Immanuel Kant, John Rawls, Hobbs, Locke and even Aristotle for prophet status. If God is seen in moral terms as everything "Good" and "Just" in the world then God really is everywhere and we humans are truly made in His image (as moral beings, but who are not perfect). God cannot be a being because it is not possible for a being that knows everything to have such a thing as choice. "Good" and "Just" do not make choices. To be a being with free will we must have choice. God, being God, can never make the choice to be anything other than God.

      November 21, 2012 at 1:50 am |
  19. Robert

    "if she otherwise satisfies the requirements of Canon Law as to the persons who may be consecrated as bishops" => if Canon Law refers to the Bible, then I guess the word "otherwise" refers to excepting the Canon requirement of being a "man". If the argument is that the Bible should conform to our "educated" beliefs, then I guess that is illuminating. On the other hand, if they are holding fast to the Bible, then it is silly to appoint women as overseers whose job it will be to protect the Bible when they don't meet the requirements they are supposed to be defending.

    November 20, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Al Christian

      Oh Robert! Stop being logical and reasonable! You're confusing the others.

      November 21, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • realbuckyball

      There were no "bishops" in the Bible. The office of priest was given to hereditary Levites, in the OT. So if THAT'S your standard, then they must all be Levites. If not, and as they say, Christians are released from the law, then it doesn't apply. The early Christians had a woman in Rome who was granted "apostolic" status. So I guess they didn't have any problem with it. They ELECTED their "presbyters". The PEOPLE in the congregations should elect whomever they chose.

      November 21, 2012 at 12:40 am |
  20. tallulah13

    No surprise. This is exactly the sort of thing one would expect from true followers of that famous misogynist, Saul of Tarsus. Jesus didn't seem to have a problem with women preaching his word, but christianity has very little to do with Christ.

    November 20, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Al Christian

      tallulah13 - Help me understand - Where in the New Testament does Jesus talk about women preaching his word? Have you actually read the scriptures or did you read "Lamb's Tales."

      November 21, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • tallulah13

      Jesus taught, traveled with, and took the support of women. Women were not forbidden to speak in church until Paul decreed it so, in the books of Corinthians and Timothy.

      November 21, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Since the first Christians were Jews and women were not allowed to teach in Synagogue, I'd say any early churches that permitted women as teachers were aberrant which led to Paul's correction.

      November 21, 2012 at 2:15 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.