THE possibility of women becoming priests in the Church of England moved a little nearer this week with the approval by the Church's general synod for the ordination of women as deacons,
At present, women may fulfil the role of deaconess, but this is a lay position. If women were ordained deacons they would be entitled to be called "the Reverend" and would be equal in status to male deacons.
The motion will now go to the 44 dioceses for further debate. If, as seems likely, they also agree to the measure. it will be debated again by the general synod in July 1985. If it again succeeds, it will be passed to the ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament. who will debate it in 1986.
Though a substantial minority are opposed to women deacons, 707 clerics, including 22 bishops, have supported women's ordination in an operi letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
• The immediate outlook for the Church of England is unsettled: it is a time for cool heads, says the anonymous writer of the preface to the 100th edition of the Church of England yearbook, published last week.
The writer said that at national level attention was focusing on the final report of the AnglicanRoman Catholic International Commission (Arcic). But in reference to last summer's celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of Keble's Oxford Assize sermon, which triggered off the Oxford Movement. the writer finds it "difficult to know at the end of it all : . where the Catholic movement in the Church of England now stands."