Women in Miters
Sessions, David, Newsweek
Byline: David Sessions
England votes on Female bishops.
The Church of England's governing body is likely to approve legislation that, after more than a decade of debate, will allow women to become bishops. But while church disputes--whether the Vatican's spat with American nuns or the U.S. Episcopal Church's bitter real-estate wars with its schismatic conservative congregations--are often fractious and furious, the outgoing archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has insisted on taking a pragmatic course that has kept the Church of England's heated battles over sexuality and gender at a more measured level.
When Williams began his term in office in 2003, the Anglican communion was reeling from a bitter if recently resolved war over female priests. Williams had supported that step and cautiously supported the next--the ordination of female bishops. But he insisted on concessions to the "conscience" of congregations that disagreed. The latest version of that legislation, on which the church's General Synod is scheduled to vote on Nov. 20, promises that requests for alternative male bishops will be treated with "respect." Williams campaigned for the new language, warning of "intensified internal conflict" if it failed.
Williams's centrist approach doesn't suit all of his parishioners. …