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IRELAND’S ANGLICAN CHURCH VOTES TO GIVE WOMEN THE PRIESTHOOD

SHARE IRELAND’S ANGLICAN CHURCH VOTES TO GIVE WOMEN THE PRIESTHOOD

After 12 years of debate, leaders of Ireland's Anglican Church voted overwhelmingly in favor of ordaining women priests.

The clergy and laity gave their approval in separate votes in the church's General Synod session in Dublin on Tuesday. The motion must be approved by the whole synod Thursday.The measure requires a two-thirds majority but seems certain to succeed as that margin was secured in each of Tuesday's votes.

The clergy voted 129-59 and the laity 242-61 on a recommendation made by last year's synod. The figures were announced by the church's leader, Archbishop of Armagh Robert Eames, Primate of All Ireland.

The Church of Ireland has a total of 410,000 members in the Republic of Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland, where most of the Anglicans live.

The Roman Catholic church strongly rejects women priests and accounts for 70 percent of the 4.8 million citizens of both sections of Ireland, according to Anglican statisticians.

About 1,000 women have been ordained to the Anglican priesthood mostly in the United States, Canada and New Zealand.