Vatican, Jul. 8, 2008 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican has "regretfully" acknowledged a vote by the synod of the Church of England allowing the ordination of women as bishops.
The Church of England voted on July 7 to approve women bishops, sweeping aside a proposed compromise that would have provided a separate hierarchical structure for more conservative believers. Over 1,000 clerics of the Church of England have threatened to leave the Anglican communion if they are forced to acknowledge female bishops. Some Anglican bishops have reportedly spoken with Vatican officials about entering the Catholic Church.
In a statement released after the Anglican synod vote, the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity said that the Church of England was making "a break with the apostolic tradition maintained by all of the churches of the first millennium." That step, the statement continued, constitutes "a further obstacle to reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England."
Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, had warned Anglican leaders that the approval of female bishops would jeopardize dialogue "which had up until now borne fruit," the Vatican statement noted.
Cardinal Kasper delivered that warning in June 2006, when he spoke to the bishops of the Church of England at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The cardinal has been invited to address Anglican leaders once again when the Lambeth Conference convenes later this month.