Australian Court Considers Issue of Women Bishops

Article excerpt

Sydney

The Australian church's highest court is deciding whether women can become bishops, leading to tensions between some evangelical groups and those who say they want a more inclusive church.

Early in April, the church's Appellate Tribunal began sitting to consider whether the constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia contains any barriers to women becoming bishops.

The case for women bishops was led by academic Muriel Porter and is supported by a group of dioceses including Melbourne and Canberra-Goulbourn. The Sydney diocese, one of the most influential in Australia, is strongly opposed to such a change.

Ms. Porter has argued that equality between women and men as bishops is essential to the credibility of females in ministry.

"To say that women can be priests, but not bishops, is to make women second-class priests," Ms. Porter told Ecumenical News International. "If we believe that God created men and women completely equal then that should be reflected in the ministry of priests."

The Anglican Church League, a group leading opposition to the approval of women bishops, warned that such a change would fracture relationships between congregations. …