Women bishop decision makes church look ‘silly and irrelevant’

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The decision not to allow women to become bishops has made the Church of England look “even more irrelevant, silly and outdated”, according to local clergy.

The Rev Rosamund Seal, vicar of Holbeach, says she has only come across one or two people during her whole career who have been against women in the clergy and believes the decision will affect the church’s standing in the eyes of the world, its credibility and the good work it does.

She said: “When I heard the result of the vote I couldn’t believe it. I was angry for about five minutes and now I just feel huge regret that we are going to have to go through all this again.

“I am not concerned for my own progression in the church as I am too old, but I am upset for my younger, hugely talented colleagues and I think it will not do us any good as the world at large will think the church is even more irrelevant.

“My 17-year-old son summed it up when he said the decision was ‘utterly stupid’.

“It is inevitable that it will happen in the end, but we have got to waste the time, energy and money debating this all again when we have more important things we should be concentrating on.”

The Rev John Bennett, vicar of Spalding’s St Mary and St Nicolas, said, like most people, he was “really disappointed” by the outcome, which reflected the desire by a minority to carry on looking for ways of appeasing the traditionalists who would refuse to acknowledge the authority of a woman bishop.

He said: “Even if you do read the Bible like that our social structure has moved on since then and this decision just makes us look more outdated.

“The Church of England doesn’t do anything in a hurry, and that gives us strength of continuity but at times it makes us look silly when we take a decision not to do something that 95 per cent of us want.”