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Church of England Officially Approves Female Bishops

The Church of England’s General Synod today reversed centuries of precedent and voted to allow women to be ordained as bishops.

The Guardian reports that the vote, the second one addressing the issue of women bishops since 2012, was widely expected to pass, “with a succession of former opponents announcing that they would accept the legislation even if they disagreed with it.”

While the Church of England already ordains female priests, the fight for female bishops has been a tough one, despite the congregation, Parliament, and even British leaders widely expressing their support for them. This opinion weighed heavily on the Synod as they convened at York University:

The bishop of Rochester, the Right Rev James Langstaff, warned the governing body of the consequences for the morale of the Church of England if the plan to introduce female bishops was defeated for the second time.

“The Church of England has spoken very clearly through the voting of the diocesan synods and we today have, I believe, a responsibility to show that we have listened,” he said.

“Wherever each of us stands on the spectrum of views, I want to suggest today that we have a responsibility to be guided, yes, by what we ourselves think, but also by what we assess to be the settled view of the great majority within the Church of England.”

Though the vote may have been inevitable, supporters of female bishops are worried that concessions made to the conservative elements of the Church may prevent women from assuming full authority over their congregations. However, the Church itself estimated that they would appoint a female bishop before the year ends.

In a statement, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said he was “delighted with today’s result.”

“My aim, and I believe the aim of the whole church, should be to be able to offer a place of welcome and growth for all. Today is a time of blessing and gift from God and thus of generosity. It is not winner take all, but in love a time for the family to move on together.”

Of course, there’s a Vine of the vote:

[h/t AP]
[Image via screenshot/Twitter]

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