Woman Bishop soon, says head of Church of England

Woman Bishop soon, says head of Church of England

A proposal is under active consideration for appointing a woman Bishop as part of the Church's efforts to empower women but it will take at least two years, Head of Church of England and Anglican Church, Archbishop Rowan Williams told PTI.

"The Protestant Church is presently engaged in educating lay persons and the male (priests) dominated congregation to accept a woman Bishop as reality. But it is going to happen very soon," Williams, who was here recently in connection with the 40th anniversary of the Church of North India, said.

Asked about cases of abuse of women and children involving priests, the Archbishop said it has brought disrepute to the church and the community. "We have evolved a mechanism where such accusations are taken seriously. The church extends full co-operation to the law enforcing authorities if offences are registered with police. We have a code of conduct for them (priests) and we strictly follow it," he said.

Also, we have a national officer who handles such abuses and each and every case is taken to a logical end. Periodically, checks are carried out in case of pending cases and we ensure no pendency, the head of the protestant Church said.

About attacks on Christians and churches in the country, Williams said, "We are worried over incidents reported in the past. It is not only in India but elsewhere like Pakistan, we send our team to report back the factual positions. Besides this, the Church of England take this through diplomatic channels and concerned Governments are conveyed the reaction."

On gay and lesbian priests, the Archbishop said Anglican Church was against the ordination of such persons including homosexuals in the clergy. Asked about the French government's decision to impose a ban on burqa (veil), the Archbishop said, "Governments have many better things to do. This issue must be left to the leaders of religious communities."

On relations with Catholic Church, Archbishop said, "We arrange exchange visits with Vatican and are in regular touch on important international issues. In mid September, Pope Benedict had visited London and it was a fruitful one."

Asked about his views on the Ayodhya verdict, he said, "We were relieved to notice no post violence or anger from either sides and everything is quiet here. Good religion can only help overcome terrorism in the present context."