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33 women voted against female bishops

Nov. 27, 2012 at 12:19 AM

LONDON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Women who believe the Church of England should have female bishops have turned on the 33 women delegates to the General Synod who voted against the change.

The synod narrowly rejected allowing women to become bishops with 74 lay delegates in the majority. The church released a list Monday of how all delegates voted, The Daily Telegraph reported.

One group that overwhelmingly supported opening the bishops' ranks to women was the bishops themselves. Only three voted against and two abstained.

Most of the women who opposed the change are conservative evangelicals, the Telegraph said. They believe God has given men "headship" both within families and in the church.

"There is a massive inconsistency here -- how is that a woman who does not have enough 'authority' to become a priest themselves can get themselves on the General Synod and presumes to decide who can be a bishop? The absolute nonsense of it," said April Alexander.

But Susie Leafe, a leading opponent of female bishops, said she saw no inconsistency: "Headship is about taking responsibility for the spiritual direction of the Church through teaching God's word and I don't think that we are teaching God's word as we vote."

The vote has raised speculation that the Archbishops' Council might seek government intervention, the Telegraph said. While Parliament has refrained in recent decades from making policy for the established church, some Anglican leaders reportedly believe it could act if the church requested it to do so.

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