The Church of England is facing a backlash from traditionalists and other branches of Christianity after it voted in favour of women becoming bishops.
The Anglican leadership backed the idea after hours of emotional debate in the English city of York.
In an attempted concession they agreed to create a code of practice to deal with opponents concerns.
But that was too little for some.
The traditionalists were angered by the Church’s rejection of their proposal to create so-called male “Super bishops”, who would outrank females.
The Church of England began ordaining women as priests 10 years ago. During the debate the Church’s top clergyman, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said restricting womens’ position within the hierarchy would amount to humiliation. “I am deeply unhappy with any scheme or any solution to this which ends up as it were structurally humiliating women who might be nominated to the episcopate.”
The vote could have fallout beyond Anglican ranks. The Vatican has spoken of its regret at the decision and said it would be a new obstacle to reconciliation with the Catholic Church.
And the Orthodox Church has also voiced its concern, saying it would inhibit “inter-Christian dialogue.”
But for the moment the Anglicans’ main worry is to prevent a walkout by some of its members.