So much for reconciliation and real ecumenism. The C of E has officially decided to ape the secular culture's superficial ideas of feminism (all about power), and reject its roots with the Catholic/Orthodox churches and Scripture itself. Instead of seeking wisdom from the sources, the C of E will now fade away into time.
I cannot imagine a church shepherded by old women with a large and dynamic sheepfold.
We'll see how quickly the C of E declines... Sad.
The Anglo-Catholics have now been totally alienated, and as Thompson notes below, it would be foolish for them to stay.
Read it and weep.
A couple of hours ago, the Church of England decisively severed itself from its Catholic roots. By voting to ordain women bishops without significant safeguards for traditionalists, it reasserted its identity as a Protestant Church. Whether it will be a liberal or conservative Protestant denomination remains to be seen. But any hope of unity with Rome and the Orthodox has gone forever.
I'm not sorry. From the moment the C of E voted to ordain women priests in 1992, it cut itself off from the Catholic mainstream. But unexpectedly generous safeguards allowed traditionalists to cordon themselves off from the rest of the Church, persuading themselves that they, rather than the main body, preserved its true Catholic identity.
This was always a delusion, and now it is truly unsustainable. The General Synod tonight made a commonsense decision. If you have women priests, you must have women bishops - indeed, I remember Dr David Hope, then Bishop of London, telling me that the Church should in theory have started with women bishops and then moved on to priests. [Good point.]
What the Anglo-Catholics have lost tonight is their standing in the Church of England. They are no longer honoured traditionalists who have been allowed to preserve an (almost) watertight communion of their own, nurtured by powerful bishops who sustain their sacramental purity.
From now on, they will be the C of E's granny in the attic, whose eccentricities are tolerated only at family get-togethers. If, that is, they are silly enough to stay.
What a painful debate this was. This time round, in contrast to 1992, the Synod knew it was demolishing a wing of the building, and there was preciously little triumphalism. Dr Rowan Williams seemed especially crushed: he had argued - reluctantly - for tight safeguards for traditionalists, but the assembly ignored his advice. That doesn't bode well for Lambeth.
Here's what Rowan Williams said before the vote
Well, I guess we'll see when and how and if traditional/orthodox C of E bishops will break with Canterbury.