The Church of England’s General Synod voted last night to continue to reject the idea of women bishops. That is to say that two of the three houses (bishops and clergy) were quite clearly in favour while the third house (laity) fell narrowly short of the two-thirds majority required to carry the motion. Given how much weight the Church of England still puts on the role of professional clergy compared to laity, it beggars belief that a vast overall majority can be defeated by the lack of a handful more positive votes from lay members of the synod.
Perhaps it is ironic given that most of those voting against the change are probably from that parts of the church that are most demeaning about the role lay members can play in regular worship? Mind you, this is the same group who protest that “apostolic succession” would be broken by letting a woman take the role of a bishop, while seemingly quite happy to believe that it passed quite happily through events such as the rejection of papal authority and numerous primates standing by while other believers were murdered by fire. I know that was all a long time ago but, if you value tradition above all else, surely the path trodden through history has to mean something.
Had the vote gone the other way, I know there would have been a number of people feeling very wounded by the change but I warrant there are a far greater number baffled and bruised by the lack of it.