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Or at least they might not be allowed in the ranks of the bishops of the Church of England.

On Friday, July 4, the governing body of the Church of England will meet to decide whether to pass legislation that would allow female priests to become bishops. But today, the UK Times reported that “more than 1,300 clergy, including 11 serving bishops, have written to the archbishops of Canterbury and York to say that they will defect from the Church of England if women are consecrated bishops.”

What’s the big deal?

That body of clergy represents 10% of all active and retired priests and bishops in the Church of England. If all 10% actually left the church, the governing body would be left with a huge priest shortage. The priests themselves may be able to find new positions within the Roman Catholic Church, according to the Times.

The Church of England began ordaining women as priests in 1944, though the practice didn’t really take off until the late 20th century. So why such a backlash against female ordination?

Traditionalists (those who stick to the tradition of not allowing women to be ordained) often point to verses in The Bible like 1 Corinthians 14 or the entire book of 1 Timothy. Those who are for female ordination say God created man and woman in his image – equally – and that both can play an equal role in His church. For more arguments, click here.


Church of England: The official Christian church of England; followers are called Anglicans

Clergy: Church leaders

Priests: Leader of one church (parish), typically; they oversee rituals and teaching for that group

Bishops: Oversee multiple parishes; appoint priests; take care of administrative tasks that cross parishes

Ordain/Consecrate: To set someone apart as a church leader who can perform certain rituals/sacraments after they have performed the necessary actions to reach ordination (schooling, training, etc.).

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One Response to “Church of England Clergy Against Female Ordination”

  • [...] Tomorrow is the 90th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States. While women do have the right to vote, women still do not hold an equal place within the hierarchies of many of the world’s religions. Take, for example, the Church of England, which does not ordain women. [...]

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