21 June 2014
Women Bishops in the Church of England
It is widely expected that the general synod of the Church of England, due to take place in York in July, will vote in favour of appointing women bishops. If this is the case, the first female episcopal appointment in the Church of England could be early in 2015. Female bishops already exist in several churches that are members of the Anglican Communion, but as the mother church of the Communion, the acceptance of women bishops in the Church of England would have particular significance for Anglican-Catholic relations. In the connection, it is interesting to note the remarks of Archbishop Welby in an interview that he gave following his recent visit to Rome. He said that "it was something that he would have to deal with" and that "it was a difficulty, rather than a serious blow to hopes of eventual unity". As far as I can discover, he did not go on to describe how he intends to deal with the difficulty, and I would not envy him the task. It would seem to me to be an intractable problem with no solution, and therefore more than a difficulty.