Yesterday, Sunday 13th July 2014, the current Archbishop Of Canterbury, Justin Welby, was very sanguine in a television interview that this time he was confident that the Church Of England, (C of E) would approve the creation of women Bishops in their Synod on the morrow, Monday 14th July 2014. Oh, and he kind of hoped, (with a big wide actor’s soppy smile) that he would see a female Archbishop in his lifetime. With the ‘modern’ dynamics of the male clergy, (and a few women members) relating to the promotion of women to relatively senior management in the C Of E, I can understand why the Archbishop reacted as he did. Who would openly admit in an important television programme, or, in any public forum that the odds for that happening, were weak. It would be a totally undiplomatic admission, which could lead to all sorts of uncontrolled internecine developments.
Welby is a supporter of women’s progression in his church family. The man has inherited and is working with, what has been for others, a poisoned chalice. Welby knows the subject is a potential minefield, which, to his credit, in the short time he has been top dog in the kennel, he has tackled and which, for now, he has managed to put under wraps.
Today, Monday 14th July 2014, it was announced, as Welby expected, that the C Of E has agreed to the ordination of women Bishops. As I am not conversant with the C Of E politics in any depth, I am not sure how Archbishop Welby has managed to reverse the narrow negative vote achieved two years ago in Synod on this same subject. Is the achievement as historic for the C of E as it sounds? There are bound to be terms and conditions – what might you call them…compromises -to placate the patriarchy. It is tempting to get onto a feminine, (not feminist) soap box about glass ceilings, about the beneficial role of women in our society not being adequately represented in many areas of life and in general, in the echelons of faiths in the world. To paraphrase… “One small step for women, that’s one giant leap forward for womankind…“