Block on women bishops is "perverse in the extreme"

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Surely we are preaching to the converted here.

The Church of England vote to deny women the opportunity to become bishops is perverse in the extreme.

How on earth, in this day and age, can a British institution fail to give equal rights and opportunities to more than half the population?

All but one of our panel is outraged at the decision, leading to one even questioning whether God deems us to be "second rate citizens".

It's the most terrible PR for an organisation struggling to fill the pews in its churches.

And it's so silly because most of its leaders – including the present and the incoming Archbishops of Canterbury – as well as the bulk of congregations, are in favour of women bishops.

And, following the argument that the flock trusts its leaders as the messengers of God, those lay people who put the cat among the pigeons with their regressive claptrap should toe the line on this issue too.

It seems to be based upon the notion that females shouldn't be able to tell men what to do.

The Church of England is founded upon age-old beliefs, laid down at a time when women did take a back seat role in life.


But, through the last century, women in this country have won the vote, become MPs, even a Prime Minister, and gradually worked their way up the career ladder to positions of authority in all sections of business and social life.

Even the head of the Church of England – the ultimate boss, save for God himself – is a woman.

In other countries, women are allowed to become Anglican bishops and a large proportion of those currently training for the priesthood in this country is female.

It's hypocritical to accept a woman – our Queen – as the top dog when others can take only the more lowly jobs.


Mind you, at least the Church of England has been talking about it – and it seems that there's no threat yet that the Pope (il Papa) will become a Mama.

Find out what the rest of Lou's Women think – and have your say – below.

Rotarian Elaine James, from Kidderminster, says: "How on earth are they getting away with this? We have rules in this country about equal opportunities and, when most companies are scared to death about breaching this law, the church seems to be completely exempt. A vote should not even have been necessary. The church obviously consider women as second rate citizens, which presumably means that God does too. Is the Church saying that the word of God can be better transmitted by men? Actually after this fiasco it makes me quite pleased that I'm not particularly religious."

Graduate Holly Dodd says: "For me, Synod's decision comes at a time when the ability of the church to represent modern values is already very much in question. Medieval doctrines like this only undermine many of its most important principles which truly are timeless, and opens the council up to criticism and, at worst, derision and scorn. I know that this decision doesn't represent the majority of the church, who are being held back by the small minority, but my worry is that it will only serve to alienate people further."

Jacqui Edwards, from Stourbridge, says: "If this was any other job then the employer (the church) could be taken to a tribunal for sexual discrimination and who in the Church of England truly believes that male bishops are the only sex that can offer spiritual and moral guidance to their followers? The General Synod of the Church of England needs to understand that to modernise the church they need to embrace the leadership qualities that bishops of both sexes could bring to the table and use this as a real PR opportunity. Instead now they will have probably alienated more people with their prejudiced decision making."

Web developer Julie Wilson says: "The Bible is open to interpretation but nowhere does it actually state, that women vicars are OK but bishops are not. Neither was invented when the gospels were written.There were of course many more than four gospels written but the church authorities in the 4th century decided to only include the four and tried to have all the other ones destroyed. Fortunately at the time copies of them were hidden.This includes Mary Magdalene's gospel which was found in 1896. How different would the church now be if it had been included in the new testament.? I hope this is not blasphemous."

Irina James, who recently moved from Stourbridge to Seoul in South Korea, says: "There we have it again.....The `old men's club` mentality. This decision of course is in part due to and a response, I believe, to massive opposition lobbying and threats of church officials, mainly from developing countries. The church wants to avoid the split between `new`and `old`worlds and ensure its own survival by sacrificing womens' equality. Is it fair? Is it democratic? I don't think so. Is it anachronistic? Yes, it certainly is. Is it counterproductive? I should hope so. Sisters in the cloth, take heart and follow it."

Llama Lady Chris Armstrong says:" I have no religious beliefs at all but in this day and age, who are the Synod that they can walk all over our laws in this country? Jesus (apparently) didn't discriminate against women so why are they being allowed to? Fewer and fewer people are believing in the church and religion these days and decisions like this are less likely to encourage them to attend religious services. I believe the church have shot themselves in the foot and will live to regret this decision. I also believe it will be quickly overturned within the next 12 months."

Zumba teacher Lou Thomas says: "I feel it is degrading to women that this question should need to be debated. It is completely unacceptable to discriminate against women in this way. Talk about out of touch. It's no surprise the church pews are empty."

Roman Catholic Sheena Hamilton, of Wombourne, says: "In the Bible it says that women should be the mother of souls and it's men who lead in the church. Christ had 12 apostles, all of which were men. We have got a role to play but not as leaders in the church."

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