Way clear for female Aussie bishops

Sept. 29, 2007 at 4:11 PM

SYDNEY, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- There's nothing in the Anglican church's constitution precluding female bishops in Australia and one could be named within the year, it was reported Saturday.

The Rev. Phillip Aspinall, primate of the Australian church, said, however, that while the Anglican Appellate Tribunal has found no impediments to the ordination of female bishops there are no current vacancies. It's been 16 years since Anglican leaders allowed women to be ordained as priests.

The topic of female bishops is sure to dominate discussion when the church's General Synod meets next month and the nation's 23 bishops will take up the matter when they meet in April, The Australian reported.

Aspinall acknowledges the ruling might provoke some parishioners to leave the church much as like happened in 1991 when the decision was made to ordain women. He said arrangements would be made for parishioners who oppose having a female Bishop in their diocese.

Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen warned the ruling could mean "difficulties around the church for decades to come".

"I trust that in their understandable enthusiasm they will give consideration to the needs of those who find themselves still in opposition," Jensen said.

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