Church of England debate demonstrates increasing gulf between Christians and secular society

The Reverend Jane Morris prays at St Gabriels Church in Cricklewood, north London Credit: Reuters

The secular world has never really understood the Church of England. The issue of women bishops could be the moment they give up trying.

In a thrusting world that celebrates public achievement and devours public debate, the public is astounded that Synod is working its way through a no-brainer of an agenda today and doing so agonisingly slowly, and with so much difficulty.

Many are watching with bewilderment bordering on contempt.

But that is to misunderstand the nature of the Church of England which celebrates compromise, embraces humility and struggles to keep all within their community involved.

But they will do so today at a huge cost to its public standing if this legislation fails.

Listening to the debate today, it is clear that the gulf between church and state is wide, as it is between Christians and the secular majority.

This isn't just because the values about women bishops and same sex marriage are so vastly different in so many ways, but because an organisation which celebrates compromise in a world that pursues absolutes stands increasingly alone.