Church of England Lets Women Become Bishops

October 2, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. ordain /ɔrˈdeɪn/ (v.) – to officially authorize a person to become a priest
Example: A new priest is set to be ordained next month.

2. bishop /ˈbɪʃ əp/ (n.) – a priest who is in charge of all local churches in a certain area
Example: The bishop will meet all the priests under his supervision.

3. abstain /æbˈsteɪn/ (v.) – to refuse to do something
Example: Undecided members decided to abstain from voting.

4. traditionalist /trəˈdɪʃ(ə)nəlɪst/ (n.) – a person who thinks traditional practices and methods are better than the new ones
Example: Traditionalists strongly disagree on gay marriage.

5. contradict /ˌkɒn trəˈdɪkt/ (v.) – to go against something
Example: The priest received criticism because his words contradict his actions.


Read the text below.
After a majority vote from the houses of the General Synod, the Church of England has finally agreed to let women become bishops.

A total of 351 members from the three houses voted for the appointment of women as bishops while 72 voted against it. Of all the votes, only ten abstained.     

British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomes this historic event, highlighting the importance of equality in the church. In addition, Archbishop [AHRCH-BISH-uh p] of Canterbury [KAN-ter-ber-ee], Justin Welby, said that this event completes the process that began over two decades ago, when women were first allowed to be ordained as priests. However, Welby also shows concern to those against the decision who might find the move hard to accept.  

Traditionalists insist that allowing women to become bishops contradicts what the Bible teaches. They also added that the church should not let secular ethics mold its judgment.

This is indeed a sweet victory for the church after falling short of the required number of votes from its lay members two years ago. Since then, the church has been persuading its members to reconsider the issue. The growing pressure from the people has prompted most of the members to change their minds. The members said they no longer want to hinder what the majority wants to happen.

The Parliament still needs to officially approve the legislation. Nonetheless, the church hopes to have the first woman bishop by next year.     

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Are you in favor of the decision to allow women to become bishops? Why or why not?
·         What do you think are the advantages of having women as priests?

Discussion B

·         Is tradition important? Why or why not?
·         In your opinion, when is it appropriate to break traditions? Kindly explain your answer.

October 2, 2014