Multimedia coverage of the debate at the Church of England General Synod on the consecration of women bishops including video of Bishop Tom Wright’s contribution.


[display_podcast] This podcast made available from Vatican Radio

In this podcast Msgr Andrew Faley (assistant general secretary in charge of ecumenical and inter-religious relations at the Catholic bishops conference of England and Wales) reflects that while the Synod decision represents a significant setback to the goal of full visible unity between the churches, they may also bring a greater clarity to discussions between the two denominations. (VR)

Consecration of Women Bishops

The Church of England has moved one step closer to the consecration of women bishops during a highly charged debate at its General Synod meeting in the northern city of York this week.  A narrowly defeated vote in one of the Synod’s three houses of Bishops, Clergy and Laity means there will be few concessions made to traditionalists who have been strongly opposed to the move.

What is the General Synod

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The General Synod is the national assembly of the Church of England. It came into being in 1970 under the Synodical Government Measure 1969, replacing an earlier body known as the Church Assembly. It continues a tradition of synodical government which, in England, has its origins in the medieval period. It has powers in the following areas:

Legislation by Measure

To pass Measures which, if approved by resolution of each House of Parliament, receive Royal Assent and thereby become part of the law of England

Legislation by Canon

To legislate by Canon, subject to Royal Licence and Assent

Relations with other Churches

To regulate the Church of England’s relations with other churches and to make provisions for matters relating to worship and doctrine. It can make provision by Act of Synod, regulation or other instrument in cases where legislation by or under a Measure or Canon is not necessary

Liturgy and Doctrinal Assent

To approve, amend, continue or discontinue liturgies and make provision for any matter (except the publication of banns of marriage) to which rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer relate and to ensure that the forms of service contained in the Book of Common Prayer continue to be available for use in the Church of England. The Synod also decides the form in which ministers and officers of the Church of England are required to assent to the doctrine of the Church of England (the Declaration of Assent).


To consider any other matters of religious or public interest


To approve (or reject) the central church budget each year.