I understand the objections to women bishops because, as you know, at one time I held them myself. I have never understood the argument that Jesus chose only male disciples therefore all priests (and bishops) should be male. He only chose Hebrew-speaking Jewish men but the lobby for only appointing Hebrew-speaking Jewish male priests and bishops is not a strong one! But I do understand the problem some people have that the New Testament appears to teach that church leadership should be male. (I have no room here to say why I now believe the New Testament allows female church leadership. See http://www.christianteaching.org.uk/womensministryinthechurch.pdf).

Some of these folk can tolerate women priests in the next parish. But they can’t accept a woman bishop because she would have authority over them. This is not, for many of them, misogyny (hatred of women) but a sincerely held belief. The Church of England will have women bishops but the House of Laity of General Synod were, in my view, wrong to torpedo the archbishops’ proposals for procedures to respect the consciences of those who object. The final decision over women bishops has yet to be made and there is time to rectify the House of laity vote.

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