CBNNews.com - After a lengthy debate, the governing board of the Church of England has voted to allow women to become bishops.
The General Synod decided Monday that the tradition of male-only bishops would be changed, despite threats from more than 1,300 clergy to leave over the issue.
Rowan Williams, The Archbishop of Canterbury, said he did not want to limit the role of women bishops in the church.
"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," he said.
Traditionalists in the church proposed that dioceses be created for parishes and clergy opposed to women being ordained as bishops.
Instead, the Synod approved a statutory national code of practice to accommodate them.
The Vatican said it "regretted" the vote and said the decision is a "further obstacle to reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England."
Advocates for women in the church ministry worry that a settlement would make women essentially second-class bishops.
Church of England officials say they doubt a woman will become a bishop within the next six years. The church has ordained women as priests since 2004.
Other Anglican churches around the world allow women to serve as bishops.
Sources: Associated Press, AFP