The archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is preparing to drive through legislation to allow women bishops even if it is rejected by the church's governing body, the General Synod.
The synod is poised to vote again on the vexed plan next week but senior sources have told the Guardian that should the move be blocked again, there are now options being considered to force the change on the church.
Options under consideration include an immediate dissolution of the synod so that fresh elections could produce a sufficient majority by November, or even a move by the bishops in the House of Lords to introduce the legislation without synodical approval.
The dramatic intervention would be designed to pre-empt any attempts, which are already being threatened by parliament, to remove the church's exemption from equality legislation.
"It's quite clear that there absolutely is a plan C which the archbishops have prepared," said one source. He explained that the plan is being called plan C because the present legislation is itself plan B, prepared after the dramatic failure of earlier legislation in 2012 which left the church in shock and led to direct threats of parliamentary intervention.anglican ] [ archbishop ] [ canterbury ] [ church ] [ uk ]