The House of Bishops of the General Synod of the Church of England is scheduled to meet in private session next week to review the draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordinartion of Women) Measure debated by General Synod at its February 2012 session.
On May 21 and 22 the bishops will respond to the motion adopted by the February meeting of General Synod that the House of Bishops review the safeguards for those, who for theological reasons, are not able to receive the ministry of women bishops.
The synod asked that in their revision, the House of Bishops not amend the draft Measure "substantially.”
If amendments are made by the bishops, the Measure will be reviewed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the two prolocutors of the House of Clergy and the chairman and vice-chairman of the House of Laity to determine if the amendments alter the “substance of the proposals embodied” in the legislation. If they find that substantial changes have been made, the amended Measure will be returned to the Church of England’s 44 dioceses for approval.
If they find the amendments do not substantially alter the Measure, it will be presented for final approval requiring a two-thirds majority by each House of synod at its July meeting. If approved, the legislation would then go to Parliament for consideration by the Ecclesiastical Committee and each House of Parliament
While 42 dioceses have backed the legislation by a simple majority of their diocesan synods, and enjoys strong support among the bishops and clergy, a two-thirds majority may not be achieved among the laity. Concerns over inadequate safeguards for conservatives may see the Measure defeated, prompting the issue to be set aside for the remainder of the life of the current synod.