TWO East Lancashire bishops ‘have not made a final decision’ on whether they will join the Roman Catholic Church over the ordination of women as bishops.

Bishop John Goddard said he and Bishop Nicholas Reade both remained opposed to the proposals by the Church of England.

But Bishop John, the Bishop of Burnley, said they would continue to work to find a 'solution and an understanding' on the issue ahead of the General Synod’s final decision early next year.

They and other traditionalists want concessions allowing them to call on a male alternative to a woman bishop.

However, the General Synod is pressing ahead with its plans.

This is believed to be the reason behind five bishops deciding to join the Catholic Church.

Previously Bishop Nicholas, the Bishop of Blackburn, said he did not see himself taking up the Pope's scheme, which allows disaffected Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church.

And today Bishop John said there would be no similar move from the two East Lancashire bishops - for now.

He said: “My own position is that we would not make a decision on our futures before there is a decision from the Synod.

“It is a difficult time for the Church now and our position is very clear.

"But we need to move forward in a mild and carefully thought-out way forward.

“The bishops that have left are good friends of mine and I understand what they have done but I will not be making a similar decision new.

“I am still working for an appropriate and honoured provision for those who are opposed to the ordination of women bishops.”

In 2008 Bishop Nicholas signed a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury in support of colleagues who were threatening to quit the church.

And in September last year Blackburn Cathedral reversed its policy of offering separate, ‘untainted’ communion bread to worshippers who did not want to receive it from its female priest.