The General Synod, which is the national assembly of the church, voted overwhelmingly in favor of this historic measure.
Archibishop of Canterbury Justin Welby noted that this had been a processed that began more than 20 years ago when women were first ordained as priests. He said, "As delighted as I am for the outcome of this vote I am also mindful of those within the church for whom the result will be difficult and a cause of sorrow." he called for tolerance as well as love for those traditionalists who may disagree with the decision. [ABC News]
The Dean of Salisbury, the Very Reverend June Osborne, called it a "historic day" and told the BBC, "I don't think you can overstate the fact that the Church of England allowing women to take up the role of bishop is going to change the Church. I think it's going to change our society as well because it's one more step in accepting that women are really and truly equal in spiritual authority, as well as in leadership in society."
The Church of England separated from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th Century initially because of a dispute concerning the marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragorn. During the reign of Queen Mary I and King Philip, the church was restored to the church of Rome. But with the ascention of Queen Elizabeth I, and the passing of the Act of Supremacy in 1558, the Pope's authority was rejected. It is the largest denomination in Great Britain and has members in more than 160 countries. The reigning monarch, at this time Queen Elizabeth II, carries the title of Supreme Governor. The Archbishop of Canterbury, is formally appointed by the government and serves as the spiritual leader of the church.
In a statement, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said “This is a watershed moment for the Church of England and a huge step forward in making our society fairer. Allowing women to become bishops is another long overdue step towards gender equality in senior positions.” [New York Times]