Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Vatican reacts to decision of Anglican Church to consecrate women bishops

The Telegraph reports on a negative reaction from the Vatican in response to the decision by the Anglican Church in England to consecrate women bishops.

"Officials said that the announcement was a "step backward" for reconciliation between the two faiths that split nearly 500 years ago.

The Pontifical Council for Christian Unity said it had learnt of the Church of England's decision "with regret", and warned that it would have "consequences for future dialogue, which until now has been very fruitful".

"This decision is a breach with the apostolic tradition maintained by all Churches from the first millennium, and for that reason it is a further obstacle for reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England."

Vatican insiders said that Pope Benedict had been kept fully informed of the proceedings at the Synod and his opposition to female clergy is well known.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has invited the council head Cardinal Walter Kasper to present the Roman Catholic Church's position at the next Lambeth Conference at the end of July."

The Church of England's ruling General Synod voted to consecrate women as bishops and approved drawing up a code of practice to reassure opponents.

A Church group will now draw up a draft of the code to put before the Synod next February.

However, it will not include safeguards demanded by traditionalists, such as allowing male "super-bishops" to cater for those opposing the change.

Liberals said such moves would have created a two-tier episcopacy.