The Church of England, already buffeted by worldwide Anglican battles over gay clergy, is heading for a showdown after a bitter debate over women bishops. The General Synod yesterday voted in London to support ordaining women bishops—and struck down any compromise that would have appeased traditionalists opposed to women in the hierarchy. Women already serve as bishops in Anglican churches in the US, Canada and Australia.
Those opposed to female bishops are threatening to break off from the Church of England. The bishop of Dover was nearly in tears after a speech in which he implored the pro-women lobby to show some generosity. "I feel ashamed," he said. "We have talked about wanting to give an honorable place for those who disagree, and we have turned down every realistic opportunity. And still we talk the talk of being inclusive."