The Church of England is preparing to vote on Monday on whether to allow women to be ordained as Bishops.
Should the vote find in favour of female ordination to the high office, it will mark the end of a tradition of male domination that stretches back not only to the founding of the Church, but through the history of Catholicism and even back to the all-male selection of the apostles by Christ.
The faith's leaders are to begin their deliberations on Friday, with the debate over whether to end the institution’s ingrained sexual inequality proving highly contentious.
The General Synod of the Church of England is to vote on Monday
Female ordination to the role of priests was sanctioned 18 years ago, and the general view within the church hierarchy is that female ordination to office of bishopry should follow.
However, to pass the motion, the General Synod will require a majority vote of two-thirds, and traditionalist within the Synod could scupper any prospective agreement.
Those opposed have employed a theological argument that states that women cannot properly preside over Holy Communion, or, as bishops, would not have the spiritual authority to ordain male priests.
Passages in the Bible that point to the authority of men over women have also been used to bolster the position of those opposed to what is being seen by some as a too much of a "progressive move" for the church.
One way forward could be for the passing of legislation to allow female bishops, however with amendments that allows for more “traditional” parishes to opt for a male bishop over a female.
However, this compromise has itself proved controversial, with opponents highlighting the further schism this will cause within the church between parishes that accept women and those that see themselves as more “spiritually pure”.
Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, Reverend Jennie Hogan said it is essential that the Church votes in favour of the allowing women to be ordained as bishops.
“The church has already decided that women should take up Holy orders – women can already be deacons and priests… so it only makes sense that women can become Bishops.”
Hogan, herself a priest in the Church of England, maintains the debate isn’t one about justice or rights for women. “It’s a much more a historical precedent that’s at stake here. We [the UK] are not just a country on our own – the Church of England has very strong connections with the Roman Catholic Church, so it really is setting a precedent”.
“Having said that, since the Church was established nearly 2,000 years ago, thank God there has been a lot of change since then,” she adds.
“We now know that women aren’t a lower species from men, that women are made in God’s image just as much as men are.”
“The opposition people often use, which seem to be absurd, is that Jesus was a man, so how can a woman represent Jesus at the alter? Given that half the people in the world are women, if Jesus is saying that only men can be like him, women should just give up being Christians.“
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