Church of England gives green light to women bishops

BY Talia Mindich  July 14, 2014 at 5:07 PM EST
YORK, ENGLAND - JULY 14:  Members of the Church of England's Synod vote on one of the motions during the session to discuss and vote on the consecration of women bishops on July 14, 2013 in York, England. The Synod contradicted tradition today and voted to give women the right to be bishops of the Church of England.  (Photo by Nigel Roddis - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

YORK, ENGLAND – JULY 14: Members of the Church of England’s Synod vote on one of the motions during the session to discuss and vote on the consecration of women bishops on July 14, 2013 in York, England. The Synod contradicted tradition today and voted to give women the right to be bishops of the Church of England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

After nearly five hours of debate, the Church of England approved legislation to allow women priests to be ordained as bishops.

The vote was the culmination of a long-running debate between traditionalist lay members, who have seen the change as contradicting the Bible, against those intent on modernizing centuries of tradition.

“Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases, disagreeing,” Archbishop Welby said in a statement issued by Lambeth Palace. “The challenge for us will be for the Church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds.”

In 2012, the previous vote on women bishops failed to garner the required two-thirds support within the General Synod, the Church’s governing body, despite the backing of the Houses of Bishops and Clergy.

Women bishops already hold office in the U.S., Australia, Canada and New Zealand.