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Church of England agrees on women bishops

Dec. 30, 2008 at 2:46 PM

LONDON, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- The bishops of the Church of England have agreed to admit women to their ranks in a compromise that also aims to accommodate traditionalists.

Under the plan, female bishops would be equal to their male colleagues, The Times of London reports. But the church would also have a class of subordinate "flying bishops" to serve parishes who do not accept women's ordination as priests.

Several churches within the worldwide Anglican communion ordain women, including the Episcopal Church in the United States, which began in the 1970s and now has a female presiding bishop. The Australian church recently consecrated its first women.

But the issue remains a divisive one, and experts on canon law expect legal fights if the General Synod approves the Church of England compromise. Female bishops would not be required to delegate their authority over conservative parishes to a traditionalist male bishop, but parishes would be able to wage a legal fight inside the church.

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