After the surprising failure of the Church of England’s legislative assembly to ratify plans to allow women bishops, senior clerics worry England's state church could face government intervention.
Bitter divisions over the issue of gay marriage have long been considered the greatest potential threat to the unity of the Church of England, officially the country's state church and one with a role in lawmaking.
A week after the surprise failure of the church’s legislative assembly to ratify plans to allow women bishops – an issue that was widely expected to have been the outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury’s parting achievement – the mother church of the worldwide Anglican community is facing what an internal memo for senior clerics described as a “major constitutional crisis.”
That warning by the secretary general of the church’s General Synod, went on to say that the church must begin consecrating women bishops and endorsing them in 2015, when the synod has another opportunity to vote, or risk England’s Parliament taking the issue out of its hands, reported The Times newspaper.
If Parliament took over the issue, it would mark the first such intervention in the affairs of a divided church since 1874, when an act introduced by the Archbishop of Canterbury forbade certain practices undertaken at the time by Anglo-Catholic ritualists.