Ruth Gledhill is reporting in The Times that the Church of England plans to move ahead with women as bishops with equal authority to male bishops:
The Bishop of Manchester, the Right Rev Nigel McCulloch, will tell the synod at Church House, Westminster, London, that the revision process he is leading is not finished yet, and as a result the debate that was hoped for this month is delayed until July, when the synod meets in York.Emphasis added.
The historic decision, to be ratified by the synod in July, paves the way for women bishops to be consecrated as soon as 2012, once all parliamentary hurdles have been cleared.
Supporters of women voiced relief at the decision because it means that even where opponents opt for the ministry of the bishop delegated to look after them, there will be no alternative hierarchical structure of oversight that could make it appear as though the mother church of the Anglican Communion was being half-hearted about women bishops, or in any way doubting the integrity of their orders.
Christina Rees of Watch, which supports women bishops, said: “The measure will have aspects of delegation and I welcome that. They have broken through the sound barrier of trying to find something that would work for everyone. they have looked at a huge array of different options. Now they are back on the track that synod asked them to go down last year which is fairly simple legislation which will allow women bishops and which will have certain arrangements for those who are opposed.'
The Synod’s Catholic Group said it was “deeply disappointed and dismayed” by the Bishop of Manchester’s statement, which it was sent in advance yesterday. Spokesman Martin Dales, of the York diocese, said ... that Anglican Catholics on the synod would fight the legislation when it comes back to synod in July.
Gledhill has the statement the bishop of Manchester will make tomorrow. Paragraphs 16 and 19 are the meat of message:
16. This meant that after more than six months work we had rejected all the options which would have involved conferring some measure of jurisdiction on someone other than the diocesan bishop. The legislation that the Revision Committee sends back to the Synod will, therefore, be on the basis that any arrangements that are made for parishes with conscientious difficulties about women’s ordination will be by way of delegation from the diocesan bishops. That much is already clear.
19. Our aim is to issue this document, together with the revised draft legislation, so that Synod members have several weeks to consider it before July. Decisions on the amount of time to allow for the take note debate on our report and the Revision Stage that follows will be for the Business Committee but it has already signalled that it is prepared to make as much time available as is needed.