Wales

Women bishops: Archbishop of Wales hopes to ordain 'before very long'

  • 21 November 2012
  • From the section Wales
Dr Rowan Williams consoled after the failed vote on women bishops
Image caption Dr Rowan Williams, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, described the failed vote as a "deep personal sadness"

The Archbishop of Wales says he hopes to be able to ordain women bishops in the Church in Wales "before very long".

Dr Barry Morgan said a bill on the matter would be brought in next September.

However, even if backed, it would not be brought into force until pastoral provision had been put in place for those who are opposed, he added.

Earlier, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, a former Bishop of Oxford, called on the Church in Wales to take the lead.

Speaking to BBC Wales, Dr Morgan said: "My hope is that we will be able to ordain women as bishops in the Church in Wales, at least in principle, before very long.

"It'll be September next year that we'll bring the bill hopefully enabling women to be ordained as bishops.

"Even if we accept them in principle it can't come into force until there is some pastoral provision for those who are opposed."

Some members of the Church in Wales have voiced their opposition to women bishops.

Canon Peter Russell Jones, the Vicar of Conwy, said: "Within a family the role of the father is not interchangeable with that of the mother, so here the role of bishop should properly be discharged by a male.

"It's not right to view it as a mode of employment.

"The symbolism is far deeper than that."

A vote on the ordination of women bishops in Wales was defeated by just three votes in 2008.

The issue was opened up for discussion again in April when a paper was drawn up by the Bench of Bishops for its governing body.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth, former Bishop of Oxford and a leading theologian, said Welsh Anglican leaders should now "have a go again".

"I think it would be very interesting and salutary if the Church in Wales over the next year or two had women bishops and the Church of England didn't," said the peer, who is an honorary professor of theology at King's College London.

"It would be good to see the Church in Wales giving us a lead on this."

'Deeply dispiriting'

The ordination of women bishops in the Church of England was narrowly rejected by its ruling general synod on Tuesday.

Dr Rowan Williams, the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, described the failed vote as a "deep personal sadness".

And speaking on BBC Radio Wales, Lord Harries described that decision as "a disaster" for the Church of England.

"Personally, I find it deeply dispiriting and, more widely, it's highly damaging for the Church of England," he said.

"The overwhelming opinion in the Church of England is in favour of women being made bishops.

"42 out of the 44 dioceses are very, very strongly in favour. The bishops and clergy are very strongly in favour."

He said 'unrepresentative' lay members in the general synod had tipped the balance against women bishops.

"I think there is a particular lesson here for the Church in Wales," he added.

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