.- A senior cleric in the Church of England has warned that he and as many as 800 other priests may join the Roman Catholic Church if the General Synod of the Anglican Communion approves women bishops.
Anglican Bishop Andrew Burnham of Ebbsfleet was the first to make this statement this past weekend, reports journalist Christopher Morgan. The General Synod decided yesterday to approve the access of women to the Anglican episcopate. The new policy was decided by 42 votes against six, after a three hour long debate.
The vote in favor means women’s ordination to the episcopate will be three years away.
Bishop Burnham said he would be forced to quit if Anglicans did not make the proper provision for opponents of women bishops and create a third “province” in addition to those of Canterbury and York.
This third province would have only male bishops. However, it seems that a majority of the House of Bishops would not support a third province despite warnings that proceeding with women’s ordination to the episcopate would endanger the unity of the church.
Geoffrey Kirk, national secretary of Forward in Faith, the main Anglo-Catholic group in the church, also stated that he would join the Catholic Church if women’s ordination to the episcopate were approved.
Bishop John Broadhurst of Fulham, who has been linked with plans to create an Anglican-style grouping within the Roman Catholic Church, also forecast that the Church of England would face an exodus if the third province were rejected.