The Church of England has released a new plan for reform measures that allow women to serve as bishops, beginning as early as 2015. This comes after similar legislation, which actually has the majority of the church’s support, just barely failed to garner enough votes last November. And when I say just barely, I mean by only four.
Although the reform will have to go through a complicated and lengthy approval process over the next two years, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
And of course, there are some adamant dissenters. According to Reuters:
The issue pits reformers, keen to project a more modern and egalitarian image of the church as it struggles with falling congregations in many increasingly secular countries, against a minority of conservatives who see the change as contradicting the Bible.
Traditionalist church leaders in developing countries especially oppose the reform, and similarly criticized the Church’s decision to allow celibate gay bishops last January.
Most real change is slow, especially when it comes to religious reform. The point, though, is that there is indeed change. The Church of England has the chance to transform, if only slowly, into a faith-based institution that promotes equality. Perhaps it will encourage Catholic and Orthodox churches to someday follow suit.