Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports in the Sunday Telegraph that:
…At a confidential meeting, bishops narrowly voted to proceed with the historic reforms and to resist pressure to create separate dioceses free of women clergy.
The decision will dismay hundreds of priests who could defect to the Roman Catholic Church, which refuses to ordain women. It was taken at a meeting of about 50 members of the House of Bishops, at a hotel in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, last week, and has set the stage for a showdown with traditionalists when the General Synod, the Church’s parliament, is next convened, in July.
During the meeting, the bishops were deeply divided over ways of solving the issue, which has engulfed the Church in bitter debate for decades. Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, argued that making women bishops could exclude from the Church those opposed to the idea, unless proper provisions were made for them.
He acknowledged that creating new dioceses which were only for men could create further division within the Church, but said that the move would honour promises made to traditionalists when women were first made priests, in the early 1990s.
Following the debate, the bishops decided to endorse legislation – which will now be voted on at the Synod – that would end special arrangements for clergy who are not prepared to accept female priests, including “flying” bishops, senior clergy who operate across different dioceses, ministering to those opposed to women priests.
Instead, the bishops opted for a Synod motion that asks for respect for opponents of women bishops, but does not make provisions for them.
The motion makes clear that a significant minority disagrees with this approach.
The move means that it is now highly unlikely that new dioceses will be created for opponents of women bishops…
Read the whole article headlined Church of England faces exodus over women bishop reforms.
To remind you of what the options offered by the Manchester Report are, see this summary by Dave Walker or alternatively, read the earlier article here:
Report on Women as Bishops to which links to html copies of several more annexes have been added today.
The full text of the main body of the report is available here.
In light of the above report, the following annexes of the report may be of interest:
Annex D, Measure 2 – Draft Bishops (Consecration of Women) Measure (No 2) or here is the PDF original.