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What Does Religion Have to Say about Female Ordination

by Brendan Kenny

In late November, the General Synod of the Church of England voted on whether or not women could be ordained as bishops. Although women have been ordained as ministers in the Church of England since 1994, the movement towards female bishops has been met with more resistance. In regard to the November vote, the General Synod denied female bishops once again. In order for the measure to pass, two-thirds of the General Synod must vote yes, so although the vote was strongly in favor of female bishops, 324-122, it wasn't enough. Luckily, the growing support does show that female bishops in the Church of England should be a reality someday. With that in mind, let's take a look at how other religions view female ordination, from Roman Catholicism to the Universal Life Church.

Roman Catholic Church: The Roman Catholic Church has maintained that only baptized men can be ordained as priests. It is part of canon law. In fact, if a priest tries to ordain a woman, both, he and the woman will be automatically excommunicated.

Protestant Denominations: Because there are so many denominations in Protestantism, each has a different set of rules regarding female ordination. More than half of all denominations support female ordination in some form, and nearly a third of all students in seminary school are female.

Mormons: Although females may have at one point been able to serve as church leaders, they are formally not allowed to be ordained today.

Islam: In some schools, women can be imams. Imams act as spiritual leaders who lead a congregation in salat.

Hinduism: Hindu priests can be either male or female. The two types of Hindu priests are purohits and pujaris.

Buddhism: Females are ordained as Bhikkhunis, which is a female order of monks and nuns. There has been some controversy over the ordination process and disciplines required as Bhikkhunis must undergo a stricter ordination process and have more disciplines than their male counterparts.

Universal Life Church: Because the Universal Life Church believes in equality of all people from all faiths, women are certainly allowed to be ordained through the church. Anyone who wants to stand up for what they believe in can be ordained through the ULC.

As you can see, some of the world's major religions are certainly divided when it comes to female ordination. How do you feel about this? Do you think the Church of England was wrong in not allowing female bishops?

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The above guest post is published based on the premise that it will be helpful and informative. The opinions made within it are those of the author and not of The links you may find within this post do not necessarily imply our recommendation or endorsement of the views expressed within them.


Pond says:

The Church of England as well as any other church or religion should finally allow females to be ordained as priests. We have done so much in terms of gender equality in todays modern society, I don't see why religion should be an exception.

sunny says:

Thanks so much for the comment Pond. I couldn't agree with you more.

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