After a controversial and very close voting process, The Church of England decided not to leave the Stone Age and finally allow women to serve as bishops, because it's only 2012, stop rushing them!
The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who retires at the end of 2012, and his successor, Bishop Justin Welby, were both hoping that they could finally convince the rest of the Church's governing body to act rationally and let women in. But their opponents convinced enough people that it was a bad idea to give ladies equal rights for reasons no one seems to be able to articulate.
According to the New York Times:
Passage of legislation to allow women to serve as bishops must be approved by two-thirds majorities in the synod's three houses: bishops, priests and laity. Synod members were voting on the latest compromise which calls for church leaders to "respect" the position of parishes that oppose female bishops - without saying exactly what "respect" means.
The vote was 132 in favor and 74 against. In separate votes, bishops voted 44-3 in favor with 2 abstentions, and clergy voted 148-45 in favor.
Ooh, getting a little sassy there, NYT! But seriously: what does "respect" mean? According to the Telegraph, Canon Simon Killwick, leader of one of the main Anglo-Catholic factions, said the current proposals were "not fit for purpose".
So basically, it means "don't play in our playground."
It might take five more years before the Church votes on the issue again.
Welby, who has worked as a negotiator in conflict zones, compared the loss to the Israel-Gaza conflict:
"As we talk at this very moment in places from Israel and Gaza to Goma in the Congo there is killing and suffering because difference cannot be dealt with. We are those, we Christians are those, who carry peace and grace as a treasure for the world. We must be those who live a better way, who carry that treasure visibly and distribute it lavishly."
The Bible does not list "Broing down" as the way to "live a better way," does it?