YORK, England, July 10 (UPI) -- The Church of England postponed a vote Monday on female bishops because of a dispute about safeguards for those who oppose women in the upper clerical ranks.
Those who support allowing women to become bishops said they could not vote for the legislation if the amendment was included, The Independent reported. Those who oppose female bishops said the language was not strong enough.
The debacle was an embarrassment for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the church and of its House of Bishops. The bishops drafted the amendment.
"When there is a reaction of real hurt and offense in the church at large, Christians and Christian pastors particularly cannot afford to ignore it," Williams told the general synod in York. "The bishops will be aware that they underrated the depth of that sense of hurt and offense. And if other bishops feel as I do they will need to examine themselves and feel appropriate penitence that they did not recognize how difficult that was going to be."
The church began ordaining women as priests in 1994. The general synod voted in 2005 to begin the process of considering consecrating female bishops.
Conservative evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics oppose female bishops.