Comments: more from Southwark Cathedral

"Rowan Williams, Archbish of Canterbury, birthday boy (60 yesterday), who couldn't stop her preaching but said she could not wear the symbol of her office, or carry a bishop's crosier. Something to do with women bishops not yet being allowed in the C of E."

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 9:34am BST

That being the case I either would not have showed up or would have preached in street clothes. That indignity suggests not that she is a woman but that she is an invalidly consecrated bishop. Did ++Rowan really mean that? If so we in TEC might as well leave.

Posted by Aking at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 10:55am BST

There are times when it seems that TEC could have no better friend than the present Archbishop of Canterbury. His political astuteness is quite remarkable.

Also, methinks the Dean of Southwark Cathedral was making a veiled criticism here:
"I happened to be at Lambeth Palace on Friday where I collected the Archbishop’s licence for the Presiding Bishop to officiate, I have kept him informed at all times, I would not act without courtesy, nor he towards us."

"Towards us."

Get it?

The Dean's unspoken implication is that the Archbishop of Canterbury did act "without courtesy" -- towards another.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 12:41pm BST

Goran, Is this a fact? If so then where is Christian love and coutesy at Lambeth. I have listened to both audio tapes of her speech to Our Scottish Episcopal Synod, and her sermon at Southwark. Both full of Christian love, and a passion for mission to all God's children. She visited St Mary's Episcopal cathedral where I worship with my partner. The chaplain told us how very friendly and kind she was. We need more of her kind as Apostles in our church. Maybe this worries the ABC.
The Dean of Southwarks sermon at evensong on that day is well worth reading, and digesting.

Fr John (Scotland)

Posted by Fr John at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 3:55pm BST

More of the same, really. Optional titles for the story might include "British Primate pours crude oil on American bishop's sermon" or "British Primate washes up a tar ball on oceanographer American bishop's visit."
Not quite a full blown ecological disaster in this case but it further strains relations.

Posted by Dennis at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 5:04pm BST


No, absolutely not! That is what Williams, Wright, and all the others want. In fact, that is what they need--that is, for TEC to leave. Our leaving will free them up to pursue their other--as yet unnamed, but completely transparent--goals. All of these gestures on Williams' part are passive forms of aggression intended to push TEC and its concerns slowly out of view, under the rug, and to thereby dilute them.

If TEC genuinely believes in the legitimacy of its actions and its witness, it cannot allow pride to push it away. That would be to succumb to the manipulation. We must be savvier than that--wise as snakes, meek as doves and all that. That means staying at the table, and pressing the matter more deeply still, and to the point that the contradiction between ideals and practice in CofE becomes unbearably palpable. Where the facade being created is exposed for what it is.

What is at stake is the very integrity of the witness.Jesus did not go back to Nazareth where family and friends would look after him and pat him on the back for a job done well. No, he set his face toward Jerusalem.

Posted by jdd at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 5:06pm BST

Someone, perhaps Simon, would do the Communion a great favor by making sure that what Hugh Muir wrote in his Guardian article is true: i.e. that Rowan Williams did not permit the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church to wear her mitre or carry a crozier at Southwark Cathedral. I can only hope that Muir is wrong.

If, on the other hand, it is true, the implications of Rowan's action can hardly be underestimated. He would have insulted the only female Primate in the Anglican Communion. Indeed, he would have insulted women bishops, women clergy, and the Episcopal Church.

What next? Will Rowan will go to the Primates Meeting and support the movement to remove +Katherine?

I have been wondering since Sunday why +Katherine carried her mitre over her heart during the Mass at Southwark. Was it her silent and dignified protest on behalf of the dignity of women and the Church that elected her, and continues to thank God that we did so?

I pray that Muir is misinformed. If not, then Rowan has poured gasoline on the flames of those who want us to turn our backs on the Communion and he has, I think, irreparably damaged his personal relationship with our Church.

It is not the business of the Episcopal Church to tell the Church of England what to do. But here is my personal view. It is past time for moderates and progressives in the Church of England to put a stop to this.

Posted by karen macqueen+ at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 5:07pm BST

What a wonderful legacy Rowan Willams is creating for himself in the history books.


Posted by Carl Bell at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 5:37pm BST

From the PB's sermon:
"It’s hard work to get to the point where you’re able and willing to see the Lord of love in the odorous street person next to you in the pew. It can be just as hard to find him in the unwelcoming host."

That last sentence takes on much more meaning in light of the restrictions the ABC placed upon her visit.

I will take her over anyone in the "hair on fire" crowd any day.

Posted by Deacon Charlie Perrin at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 5:56pm BST

This was an outrageous offense to Presiding Bishop Katharine! It is shameful and unethical behavior to deny her the use of her crosier and mitre knowing that she is the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America. It carries serious implications about the moral fiber of the Archbishop of Canterbury. If Rowan Williams is so small in his behavior toward this remarkable woman, he is NOT the man I once thought he was. This behavior is unacceptable and I do not accept the lack of respect that he showed her. I now believe Rowan really does consider himself a sort of Anglican Pope and I would not be the least surprised if, in the future, as the seas become rougher in The Church of England that Rowan just might jump the Tiber and be "received" in the Roman Catholic Church with a special prelature. Joe (Benedict) Ratzinger has the authority to do something such as this and it would not surprise me if something like this happens. A "shepherd" representing Jesus does not display such discourteous and un-Christian behavior toward another shepherd or for another human being for the matter. Rowan owes Katharine a big apology for this humiliation. This speaks volumes as to the outright hostility that Rowan Williams is capable of. He truly needs to be removed of his position. He is not even pretending to act like a disciple of Christ. He is acting as an arrogant Roman Catholic "prince" of the Church instead of an Anglican bishop. Rowan and Joe Ratzinger have more in common that I thought. I think Bishop Katharine's showing up and preaching at events such as this will actually gain her respect and appreciation from the People of God, especially when they read about the petty and unkind tactics that Rowan Williams just exhibited.

Posted by Chris Smith at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 5:59pm BST

If the Archbishop did indeed stipulate that the Primate of the Episcopal Church could not preach in a bishop’s attire at Southwark, he needs to take a lesson in protocol from King Edward VII. As crown prince, the future king gave King Kalakaua of Hawaii precedence over the Crown Prince of Germany. To paraphrase Bertie’s response to Wilhelm’s objection, “Either the brute is a bishop, or she's a common or garden woman; and if the latter, what's she doing here?”

Posted by Steve Lusk at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 8:09pm BST

A quote from Williams’ one-time teacher seems apropos (a Scottish Episcopalian, no less):

"My own experience is Anglican; and it is almost a commonplace to remark that in practice the Anglican Communion, and especially the Church of England, is the least authoritarian of the Churches. Yet the ecclesiastical temper encourages its leaders, encourages also those who undertake the spiritual direction of its members, to allow the end to justify the means. 'It is expedient that one man should die for the people': in these words of Caiaphas we catch an indelible impression of the attitude of mind of the responsible ecclesiastic. They express the major premise of a great many practical syllogisms whose conclusion is always the same; that the individual shall be broken, or that his or her claims shall be disregarded," ("Authority and Freedom in the Church," in Donald MacKinnon, The Stripping of the Altars: The Gore Memorial Lecture delivered on 5 November 1968 in Westminster Abbey, and Other Papers and Essays [Collins; The Fontana Library, 1969], 53).

Elsewhere in the same lectures, he further comments: “"The end justifies the means': so Caiaphas, when he gave counsel, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people, 'that the whole nation perish not.' It is not enough to dismiss his argument as that of a hard Realpolitiker governed by raison d'etat, eager to preserve theocracy. The danger he foresaw was real enough, the threat to place and nation…At the heart of the Christian story we may see the opposition of Christ and Caiaphas: of the one who asked as a rhetorical question what shepherd, if he lost one sheep, would not leave the ninety and nine to seek it out; and the one who gave counsel that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. Whatever may survive the demythologization of the highly questionable myth of apostolic succession, empirical study of Church history reveals how often and at what depth of commitment the way of the Church has been that of Caiaphas rather than Christ...The word Establishment suggests inevitably, and particularly in the setting of Westminster Abbey, the constitutional position of the Church of England…[and] such a position is clearly incompatible with post-Constantinian realities and is widely recognized as being so…” (“Kenosis and Establishment” in The Stripping of the Altars, 26, 28-29, 29).

Would that the apple had not fallen so far.

Posted by jdd at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 9:11pm BST

In fairness to +Rowan, and without knowing the facts: here in Ireland it is customary for the bishop to only carry his staff in his diocese - so for us a visiting bishop would not do so, and no disrespect intended. But it's very hard to be a generous gracious host while getting knotted in red - or purple - tape.

Posted by faithful tadpole at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 9:23pm BST

She is in the best company - Bishop Gene Robinson was also refused the mitre, as have all women bishops who "formally" ask.

The pastoral staff rarely appeared outside the prelates own particular jurisdiction, or have things changed lately?

I thought it charming when I read Simon reporting that she carried her mitre - a lovely touch - other women priests at the celebration must have keenly felt the anticipation as she bore it in procession - almost as an offering!

I remember Mother Pattie who processed with her mitre and crozier carried before her - very swish!!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 9:43pm BST

Dear Friends,

I'm sorry if I hurt any feelings, but Archbishop Williams' tacky behavior is rendering him irrelevant. Most of us in the states consider his words and actions as trustworthy as Tony Hayward's or Pope Ratzinger's word and actions. He has forfeited his integrity.

Posted by The Rev. Randall Keeney at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 9:57pm BST

Chris - I beg to differ; Archbishop Rowan does not owe Bishop Katharine.

We don't yet have women bishops in the C of E and we won't have until we decide to have them. That means that she cannot exercise episcopal functions here, and taking part in a service whilst wearing a mitre is an episcopal function. ++Katharine is a graceful respecter of boundaries, as everything she's written makes clear, and Dean Colin Slee's elegant solution to this both observes and powerfully draws attention to the restrictions.

Even if we had women bishops she would not be carrying a crozier as it is not only a symbol of office but of the exercise of episcopal authority. Bishops should not normally carry croziers outside their own dioceses.


Posted by ordinary vicar at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 10:49pm BST

I guess the ABC must be under pressure about the present limits of the ministry of women within the CofE which might explain why the license Colin Slee obtained had various restrictions. However, not carrying a crozier is only the same restriction as would happen to any visiting bishop, of whatever sex. I think you'll find it is only the Diocesan Bishop carries the crozier within his jurisdiction - so possibly there is no need for people to get quite so worked up on this. But this would not apply to the mitre...

Posted by Neil at Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 11:04pm BST

I must say I don't know where this notion of the mitre signifying "orders" and the crozier "jurisdiction" came from, but it seems to be one of those liturgical urban myths like laying aside the maniple to preach or 39 cassock buttons for the Articles.

Posted by Geoff at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 12:00am BST

To the poster in this thread named "Ordinary Vicar": I can understand your point about a bishop not carrying a crosier outside of their own diocese, although in America when the Presiding Bishop visits the hundreds of small and large diocese, she does carry her crosier as The Presiding Bishop. Never-the-less, I do see your point about the crosier being identified only in a given jurisdiction. Where I disagree with you is that I believe the Archbishop of Canterbury owed Presiding Bishop Katharine the respect of her office as a prelate from another country whose traditions DO indeed consecrate WOMEN as bishops. This respect is owed her out of Christian charity as well as human decency. Rowan Williams owes Presiding Bishop Katharine a major apology for this un-Christ like and offensive behavior. It is highly undignified for an Archbishop of Canterbury to treat a woman bishop from a country whose traditions have consecrated women as bishops for several years, as a second class citizen. That is EXACTLY what he did by forbidding her to wear her mitre. This behavior is petty and arrogant, typical of something we see from Roman Catholic prelates all too often. This behavior by Rowan Williams is entirely unacceptable and therefore an apology is due to the Presiding Bishop Katharine.

Posted by Chris Smith at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 2:54am BST

With all due respect to visiting bishops respecting diocesan boundaries, ++KJS is not a diocesan, she is our Presiding Bishop and the Primate of our Province. In what world does another Anglican Province get to dictate what symbols of office are appropriate for a visiting Primate?

I would hope the next time Archbishop Williams visits someplace in The Episcopal Church that he is asked to carry his miter and wear no other symbols of his office as Primate, too. After all, he has no authority or jurisdiction here just as she has none there.

But, oh wait, this isn't really about any of that, is it?

Posted by Rodney at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 4:29am BST

Correct me if I'm wrong, but ++KJS does not usually carry a crozier, because as Presiding Bishop and Primate, she usually carries the Primatial Staff, a symbol of her office not her episcopal standing. She is entitled to carry the crozier of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, as it is her de iure jurisdiction, however the European crozier, I believe, is carried by the Bishop-in-Charge.

Anyway, pettiness for pettiness sake...

Someone from Lambeth should now write Rome telling them to forgo the Pope's (papal) white or (cardinal) red robes. A black or purple cassock should do when he comes visiting. The CoE has not approved either office... yet...


Posted by Thomas+ at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 6:13am BST

Gang, this is not new. She has visited England before and the rules are always the same. At least she presided, +Gene is never allowed more than to speak, and also not vested as a bishop.

No longer a bishop ordinary in the normal sense*, +Katharine does not carry a crozier, but a primatial staff. And that would be inappropriate in another primate's jurisdiction.

*She is the bishop ordinary for the US armed forces and of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, but she has two bishop suffragans who tend those flocks for her. Should she ever get around to boundary crossing, she too could be your bishop in an Episcopal Church near you in England!

Posted by David | Dah•veed | at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 6:14am BST

Neither mitre nor 'crozier' are mention in the BCP (1662). They are modern innovations in the life of the C of E -especially the mitre. Even today, not all bishops use one, in UK.

Posted by Pantycelyn at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 9:04am BST

Please, stop the anti Rowan rhetoric. I've seen a handful of foreign bishops (including the Primate of Brazil) at Southwark Cathedral and none of them have had mitre or crozier. It's not a snub, it's English canon law. As an American in London, the anguished cries of the Americans on this blog are absurd.

Posted by Justin at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 9:09am BST

remember Mother Pattie who processed with her mitre ... carried before her - very swish!!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 15 June 2010 at 9:43pm BST

So did the great, modest, John V Taylor (if my memory serves me right)...

Posted by Pantycelyn at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 9:09am BST

'Whatever may survive the demythologization of the highly questionable myth of apostolic succession,'

Well said. Needs saying again and again. Especially as its fruits are so dire (as we read in this thread, and thread after thread).

Posted by Pantycelyn at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 9:11am BST

"I must say I don't know where this notion of the mitre signifying "orders" and the crozier "jurisdiction" came from, but it seems to be one of those liturgical urban myths like laying aside the maniple to preach or 39 cassock buttons for the Articles."

I dunno - abbots and abbesses use croziers, and I thought that that was because of their "jurisdiction" over their monastic community.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 12:12pm BST

ordinary vicar is perfectly correct. In the mid 1980s there was an American woman priest temporarily on the staff at Lincoln Cathedral. IIRC it was just before the CofE had begun to ordain women at all, but had agreed to the ordination of women deacons. She was therefore permitted to officiate as a deacon only, as it was the highest order we had in common. It seems that this is the rule observed at Southwark.

Last year, Bishop Mary of El Camino Real preached at the Sunday Eucharist at Gloucester Cathedral. I believe that she wore the mitre as she entered and left, but she was not the President at the Eucharist (I think the diocesan bishop was). She did not carry a pastoral staff as she had no episcopal jurisdiction here.

It saddens me that some TEC correspondents assume an intended slight to Bishop Katherine. I don't for a minute believe it was. The present ruling was applied. It may be an ungenerous ruling (as I believe it is), but Reform or FiF would have been in the courts applying for injunctions if it hadn't.

I wonder whether a woman bishop has so far joined in the laying on of hands at an episcopal ordination in England?

Posted by cryptogram at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 12:24pm BST

Historical note: The Primatial Cross of TEC was given to Presiding Bishop Arthur Lichtenberger by the Bishop of South Florida, Henry Louttit, Sr., on the occasion of the consecration of two suffragans for that diocese [in the early 1960's]. I witnessed the occasion as a seminarian from that diocese. At the time there were those who considered it an ultra high church innovation. On the heels of Henry Knox Sherrill's presiding bishopric, it was a big deal - coupled with the PB wearing gold cope and mitre. It has been used by our PBs ever since.

Posted by Bob McCloskey at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 1:43pm BST

Dom Gregory Dix surmised that the miter originated from the Phrygian cap worn by deaconesses (look at the cap worn by French Revolutionaries or on old US silver dollars). Once an honorary grant to certain abbots, it have become universal for abbots in the West. (Headgear in the Eastern churches is too specialized a topic for me -- but I will point out that one website identified as churches in the Apostolic Succession being recognizable because their bishops wore funny hats). Croziers are generally a sign of jurisdiction (but there are no official rules for this that I know of anywhere in the Anglican Communion). When we had both our Bishop Visitor & our diocesan here for a major event, both carried croziers. Both were croziers normally used by our abbot, who on that day did not carry a crozier...

Posted by Prior Aelred at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 2:41pm BST

You know, I'm not upset about matters of style and etiquette. I'm not even all that concerned about "demythologizing apostolic succession," as I long ago came to see our orders as calls to vocational *functions*, not vocational *status.* That said, I think this does call us to be honest about what we mean and don't mean when we speak of bishops being ordained "for the whole Church," and perhaps even about the oft repeated statement that part of what marks a communion is mutual recognition of ministries. In North America we have that more effectively and more meaningfully (or at least more functionally) with the Lutherans than we do, clearly, with the Church of England, much less with the more extreme conservative Anglican provinces.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 3:18pm BST

Does the Archbishop of Canterbury carry his Metropolitical Cross in the United States?

Posted by Edgar Wallace at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 5:58pm BST

If we are stuck on the minutiae of episcopal insignia, I suppose the pectoral cross and ring would have been forbidden the Presiding Bishop too?

Posted by Fr Mark at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 8:03pm BST

I guess it is far too easy to infer a common sensical bad-trashy attitude from RW towards PB KJS, since after all, he continues to hold deeply bad-trashy attitudes or views of TEC as a province honestly dominated by a progressive Anglican believer majority. Another type of public shoddiness may stem from RWs consistent failure to take any effective (non-flat-earth) stand for Anglican big tents and/or Anglican progressive believers?

Ah, how whole, how pure are RWs motives, intentions?

RW surely makes automatic pilot claims every time he wants extra credit from queer folks for his allegedly believing in their 'innate human dignity' at the very same time he deliberately makes proper room for utterly awful flat earth things to be preached, definitively, about them.

RW wouldn't accept for himself the poor sorts of church life treatment he regularly dishes out to queer folks; and allows/encourages other church leaders-believers to apply in scapegoating queer folks, as well.

Women? Looks profoundly Ditto, to me, from across the pond. Petty, picky, legalistic to a fault, high church life caution rooted in deliberate traditionalistic church ignorance? From RW? What else is news? This is the same fellow who cannot take honest account of the same sex couple blessings, underground to CoE. His backside is stuck out in that very bare cold while he trashes queer folks and women bishops, happily.

Posted by drdanfee at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 8:43pm BST

I'm glad to hear from some English correspondents that the "no mitre" edict was not a slight at +KJS, but rather at any bishop from outside the UK. Seems to me a daft rule, but if rude, it is at least evenhandedly so.

As to croziers - it is my understanding (from former Canadian Primate Michael Peers) that a bishop may, from time to time, bear their crosier outside their diocese, but that the opening of the crook would be to the rear rather than the front. I suppose one would have to carry a Primatial / Metropolitical cross backward as well, but that would just look odd.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 10:54pm BST

It's true, the C of E does not permit women to officiate as bishops but only as priests, wherever they come from. This is particularly odd of course as the Lambeth Conference has twice been hosted in England with women present as bishops, and noone seems to deny they are actually bishops. The lack of hospitality in the C of E has been IMHO one of the saddest casualties of the long road towards the full ordination of women.

What I've never understood are two parallel processes: anyone ordained in a province which has female bishops usually has to submit their letters of ordination to show that they weren't ordained by a woman, and anyone who is ordained by a woman cannot be licensed as a deacon or priest in England. In the latter case, I've yet to hear an explanation of what might happen to such a person. Do they simply have no hope of a job? Do they get employed as a lay worker? Are they offered conditional reordination?

Then there's the fact that apparently some Swedish priests have slipped through the net via Porvoo because Lambeth forgot to check whether the ordaining bishop was a Swedish woman.

I couldn't care less about mitres and croziers, but when people who are brothers and sisters in Christ, who have been baptised, confirmed and ordained by bishops in the Anglican apostolic succession and those with whom we share full communion, are refused hospitality, I think we insult the gospel and betray Christ.

Posted by MrsBarlow at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 10:58pm BST

"In what world does another Anglican Province get to dictate what symbols of office are appropriate for a visiting Primate?"

In every province, should they choose it.

It arises out of the question of jurisdiction which is not an unimportant one, otherwise we would not all be so exercised about cross-border incursions, would we?


Posted by ordinary vicar at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 11:43pm BST

'(Dean Slee) said that "some Anglicans will decide to walk a separate path," but said that he believed Southwark "will walk the same path" as the Episcopal Church. "Their actions in recent months have been entirely in accord with the Anglican ways of generosity and breadth," he said. "They have tried to ensure everyone is recognized as a child of God. They have behaved entirely in accord with their canon laws and their freedom as an independent province of the church, not imposing or interfering with others with whom they disagree but proceeding steadily and openly themselves." ' - Episcopal Life on line -

Dean Slee is here proclaiming the Inclusive Gospel ethic of 'hospitality to strangers' - although Bishop Katharine ought be no stranger to anyone in the world-wide Anglican Communion. The proffered excuse for this act of inhospitality on the part of Lambeth Palace seems to have been on the basis of the absence of women bishops in the Church of England. However, other women bishops in other Provinces are obviously not 'persona non grata' in the UK. Take, for instance, my own Diocesan Bishop Victoria Matthews, who is a long-time colleague of bishop members of the ACO, in her involvement with the ongoing Windsor process. And she is a woman!

If one woman bishop in the Communion can be welcomed by Lambeth, why not another? So that excuse simply will not work. And as for asking for the ordinational provenance of a canonically affirmed bishop in TEC, which is an independent Church within the Communion, this really does sound petty, if not downright rude. No wonder there is dissatisfaction in the Communion about the high-handed treatment of Bishop Katharine.

One sincerely hopes that all this nonsense about the validity of women in ministry and leadership in the Church will be demolished at the next G.S. of the C.of E. in July - if only to keep up with the needs of the Gospel in this day and age.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 16 June 2010 at 11:56pm BST

It gets worse: reports from the Executive Council meeting are that there was pressure from Lambeth for our Presiding Bishop to offer up proof of her ordination to the three levels of ministry, which she (rightly) called "nonsense" and "bizarre."

Lambeth and Rowan know FULL WELL that she is properly ordained. And if our churches are still in communion (which I am beginning to doubt) then this sort of rude behavior is uncalled for because the rules of the CofE are to recognize that other national churches in the Anglican Communion are responsible for the validity of their own orders and leaders. If Rowan really believes that he needs to fact check her ordination like this then we have crossed the final line.

But I am just dying to hear Rowan's fawning defenders here come up with yet another excuse for this latest insult to the Episcopal Church.

And please don't tell us that this is demanded of every other foreign bishop and priest who celebrates or preaches in England. I know better. You do, too.

I'm sure that in the next couple of days we are going to hear of plenty of cases of visiting clergy not asked to hand over these documents. So let's rule out the "it wasn't meant as a slight against the Presiding Bishop or the Episcopal Church in the US." Let's just stipulate that it was an insult and was meant to be an insult. But go ahead, please defend this latest intentional insult.

Posted by Dennis at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 12:12am BST

I think perhaps it is time to accept that the Archbishop, by his actions, has broken communion with the Episcopal Church and move on.

Posted by Paul Davison at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 1:49am BST

"Neither mitre nor 'crozier' are mention in the BCP (1662)."

Oh, well, then - away with the marks of Popery! Back to the north end of the altar!


"They are modern innovations in the life of the C of E -especially the mitre."

No, their general disuse was the innovation. The CofE used them since early days until after the Reformation. And, I've read, their use did not completely die out even then. They were worn by the bishops at the coronatios of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Elizabeth I - and may have been worn at that of Charles I.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 1:54am BST

"It gets worse: reports from the Executive Council meeting are that there was pressure from Lambeth for our Presiding Bishop to offer up proof of her ordination to the three levels of ministry, which she (rightly) called "nonsense" and "bizarre.""

As absurd as all of that is, there is even an internal contradiction in Lambeth Palace's approach, namely:

If they were unable to license her to perform episcopal functions in England, and if they weren't going to permit her to wear episcopal insignia such as the mitre, why would they even care about obtaining "proof of ordination" at anything past priest, since that was the "highest" order in which they could recognize her at all?

Curiouser and curiouser...

Posted by David da Silva Cornell at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 2:07am BST

Actually, what I should have said is that *of course* the mitre is authorized by the BCP 1662 - in the Ornaments Rubric.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 2:22am BST

I am no defender of the ABC but as someone who did apply for and was granted permission to function sacramentally in England, I can say that I DID have to go through the same process asked of our PB. Except for the episcopal part, of course.

That is, I had to apply to the ABC's office, formally, for a license to function as a priest by filling out a form and submitting with the form copies of my "letters of orders," an English term for what we in the USA call ordination certificates.

I was living at the time in the Diocese of Ely and was told to do this by their Diocesan office. I was told that if I had been in the Province of York I would have gone through the Archbishop of York's office, but since I was in the Province of Canterbury, that is the Archbishop I had to apply to.

They blamed this on medieval canon law which has never been superseded.

The result was a lovely certificate, on fine paper, embossed with a cross and bearing the signature +Rowan, a document I value highly.

The folks at the Diocese of Ely that when I came back and applied again I could get permission from the Bishop of Ely, but the first time out I had to go through the office of the ABC.

I've been told by other American clergy that they went through the same process. So, while I must say, given the office held by our PB, the ABC might have waived this formal process as an act of courtesy, she was in essence asked to go through a standard procedure.

In a time when people are still looking for President Obama's birth certificate and most people in the Anglican Communion regard our PB as a laywoman, perhaps going through the motions was a way of heading off unpleasantness.

On the other hand, having accepted the validity of her ordinations, the ABC's asking her not to wear a sign of her episcopal office seems exceptionally precious and demeaning.

Posted by jnwall at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 2:32am BST

What did our previous primate wear in Southwark Cathedral when he presided 2006? Are there any photos of the procession out in Anglican Land?

Posted by William Henry Benefield at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 2:55am BST

Dennis: "But I am just dying to hear Rowan's fawning defenders here come up with yet another excuse for this latest insult to the Episcopal Church."

Yah Dennis! I have been reading some of these postings with amazement. Evidently, we are supposed to accept that a validly elected and consecrated bishop in a province in the Anglican Communion, and the Primate of her Church cannot preside and preach in England unless she forfeits the use of the emblems universally recognized in the Churches as designating a bishop.


1. It is supposed to be acceptable that this is done because the Church of England does not yet consecrate women as bishops. It is not acceptable. Does the CofE hold that +Katherine is not a bishop because they would not have consecrated a female bishop? This seems to be the case, if priests and deacons from other provinces have to present documentation showing that they were not ordained by women. +Katharine is a validly consecrated bishop in the American succession. Just because the CofE has not yet decided to consecrate women as bishops does not justify treating her as if she were not a bishop. Does the CofE maintain that women in another province of the Communion who have been consecrated as bishops in apostolic succession are not really bishops until the CofE decides that it will consecrate women to the episcopacy? Then, the CofE will treat all women in apostolic succession as actually bishops? What are you debating in the Synod? I did not think that the Synod was any longer debating if women can be bishops, but how and when to initiate the consecration of women in your Church? Am I wrong? If not, then what possible reason is there for treating +Katharine as if she is not a bishop? It's just not done in England?

Meanwhile, the ABC, who knows how scrupulously TEC adheres to canonical process when it comes to ordination, demands documents attesting to her ordination as deacon, priest, and bishop? If you saw the video of the consecration of the new bishops suffragan of Los Angeles, you saw how carefully each step of the process leading to the consecration of these women was attested to during the service, including the dates, places and ordaining bishops for orders of deacon and priest. And people are posting here defending these practices because evidently the ABC gets to be as high-handed and triumphalistic as Benedict. Perhaps some of you can understand why +Katharine's description of this as, "bizarre, beyond bizarre" would resonate so well in TEC.

2. In the famous words of Joan Rivers, "can we talk?" The reason for all of this deeply offensive behavior is because +Katharine is a woman. Am I supposed to believe that when the Primates of Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, and the other schismatics come to England to stir the pot they have to submit these documents to Lambeth? I don't believe it.

We in TEC will remain in the Communion for the sake of ministry and mission, especially to the poorest and most oppressed among us. More than half of them are women. Many of them are treated as second class by their Churches.

Posted by karen macqueen+ at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 3:20am BST

"In the week before her visit, the presiding bishop said, Lambeth pressured her office to provide evidence of her ordination to each order of ministry." - Episcopal Life Online

Until this point, I was content to merely focus on the hypocrisy of the Lambeth Curia and Rowan Williams regarding their lack of even-handedness regarding well know border crossing by Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria, and Kenya.

Matters of mires worn, or not, or croxiers/primatial staffs carried, or not, might be merely silly, as long as this was truly universally applied to visiting bishops.

But this shocking revelation goes way over the top in terms of unacceptable behavior on the part of a dishonorable segment of the CofE.

Unless it can be shown that Pope Rowan and his puppets (or are they puppeteers?) has demanded this of every visiting non-CofE Primate (in which case it would be merely stupid and arrogant), then it is something which requires calling out by every man and woman in the CofE who understands this violation of principles of collegiality, aside from being horribly rude and dishonorable.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 4:14am BST

I'm beginning to wonder if what we're seeing in Williams is panic. TEC won't be commanded, won't be bullied, and won't be mastered by a foreign bishop. Here comes the PB, which even Williams couldn't refuse without a major incident, and he hears squawking from his con-evo screen-from-the-world that she is coming to plant TEC missions. He's aware he'll lose most of his church if that happens - and what good will it do an archbishop to gain all the Global South and yet lose the soul of his own national church?

The frightened beast is bellowing and charging toward the ravine.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 5:37am BST

What tickled me , was the letter from the dissenting " conservative " Southwark clergy who cannot agree what the Bible has to say on the meaning of being born again, saved, the eucharist etc.

Francis Gardom should inspect what the other clergy do with the communion elements after their services!

They claim they are Biblically orthodox and Bishop Schori is not!

They make the rules for other people and bend them their own.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 6:25am BST

In her sermon, the PB said: “What makes us so afraid of the other? There’s something in our ancient genetic memory that ratchets up our state of arousal when we meet a stranger – it’s a survival mechanism that has kept our species alive for millennia by being wary about strangers.”

Isn’t it precisely this inborn fear that all religions seek to challenge? ….

Hindu – The narrow-minded ask, ‘Is this one of our tribe, or is he a stranger?’ But to those who are of a noble disposition, the whole world is but one family.

Muslim – O God, it is Thy word that mankind is a single nation, so all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Thy are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Jewish – Though divided into nations and races, yet are all men and women your children, drawing from you their life and being, commanded by you to obey your laws. Cause hatred and strife to vanish, that abiding peace may fill the earth and all humanity enjoy its blessing.

Christian – One is your Father and ye are all brethren .… God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that revereth Him is accepted of Him …. He hath made of one blood all the nations of the earth.

Buddhist – Even as a mother at the risk of her life would watch over her only child, so let us with boundless mind and goodwill survey the whole world.

Posted by Terence Dear at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 9:04am BST

William Henry Benefield asks "What did our previous primate wear in Southwark Cathedral when he presided 2006? Are there any photos of the procession out in Anglican Land?"

Scroll down this page
to find a cone-headed Griswold at Southwark.

Posted by Neel Smith at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 10:33am BST

Most of the reasons for this brouhaha have their root in the establishment, and the fact that much of the law which governs the CofE is statute law, law of the realm, not just of the Church. So until that law of the land catches up with the fact that women bishops exist (which will only happen when General Synod has passed the appropriate Measure) then a woman bishop has to be deemed not to exist, and therefore can only exercise the highest order recognised, ie that of priest. It's a mess, it's hurtful and it needs to be changed, but that is how it is at the moment. Mitres and pastoral staffs are tangential, but once understood that under English law, thus far there is no such thing as a woman bishop, it is at least possible to understand why Lambeth acted as it did. The Letters of Orders thing is a hangover from the Colonial Clergy Act, a late 19th century law, much of which was incorporated in a Measure of Synod 20 or 30 years ago. It needs a 21st century revision. But on transfer to a new diocese all English clergy have to submit their Letters of Orders to be registered, and there are still strict rules about who may be invited to officiate, though more honoured in the breach than the observance, I suspect.

I note that this Sunday coming, Bishop Mary of El Camino Real and Bishop Gerard of West Tanganyika will both be present in Gloucester Cathedral, Bp Gerard to preach at the Eucharist (Bp Mary preached last year). I will take careful note of what each wears, though as Bp Gerard's diocese has close links with Sydney, I suspect he won't have a mitre in his kitbag!

Posted by cryptogram at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 10:43am BST

I have to say I find this rigmarole absurd for a "one off" occasion,and it must be breached many times. When I was rector of Bloomsbury we had the wife of a West Indian bishop worshipping with us for an academic year and when her husband came for a visit I invited him to preside.. all I did was ask permission of my bishop. ( I rather got the impression that he thought I had been courteous in doing that). Sometimes I found a bishop sitting in the pews and if so usually invited him to come up and bless the congregation in his own language.I can recall a Norwegian, a Brazilian and a Japanese bishop. My congregation were always appreciative.. they saw it simply as part of our hospitality. Had Bishop KJS been in the congregation I would have done the same, not least as we had a few American Episcopalians worshipping with us regularly and many american visitors. The archbishops office has done itself no favours by being unnecessarily zealous.

Posted by Perry Butler at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 12:08pm BST

"but once understood that under English law, thus far there is no such thing as a woman bishop,"

Doesn't the law say that there is thus far no such thing as a woman bishop IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND?
Presumably, English law cannot say that such an exotic creature does not exist anywhere else.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 1:46pm BST


So you think +Mary El Camino Real will be without a rochet and chimere as well? After all, these items are also symbols of a bishop in the "lower" dioceses.

There is a photograph in my diocesan office of all the bishops mugging at the last Lambeth party, and there are women wearing purple/violet/magenta. Nobody stopped them on their color of choice. That's another reason to find this "mitregate" so silly and offensive.

Posted by evensongjunkie at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 3:31pm BST

Erika: English law in these matters is so insular that in its view if there can't be a woman bishop (yet!) in the CofE then one can't exist. So hurry up GS and get the thing rolling.

evensongjunkie: Last year I'm pretty sure she wore cope and mitre, but maybe they'll all dress down. But I do recall, almost 40 years ago, getting a Bishop of SW Virginia into a cope and mitre for the first time in his entire episcopal ministry, so maybe Bp Gerard will forsake the Sydney polyester suit for the trammells of popery.

Like Perry I have no time for this overly zealous application of the letter of the law, but it is right that some readers should understand that it isn't a matter of Rowan trying to be rude (which I can't believe of him) but of paperpushers in th offices at Lambeth or Westminster being at their most Sir Humphrey-like.

cryptogram (all lower case, please!)

Posted by cryptogram at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 5:16pm BST

I guess I should forsake my academic hood (so pretty in pink!) to wear at evensongs at my upcoming trip since my Masters in Vocal Performance wouldn't be recognized by any English university. You think I'm going to call John's and ask if Cleveland State University is legit? Yeah right.

Posted by evensongjunkie at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 5:17pm BST

But we can have kid bishops in English Cathedrals (have for centuries!!!)-

Posted by evensongjunkie at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 5:21pm BST

In December, 1944, my father (who left Grace Church, Hutchinson, Kansas when his Kansas National Guard unit had been activated before Christmas, 1940) was headquarters chaplain with the American 66th Division bivouacked near Dorchester, England. The local parson asked him to assist on Christmas. Before he could do so he was required to present himself to the bishop who wanted to see his certificates of ordination. Dad explained that he had not packed them in his knapsack before going overseas.

I share this story so that none of us imagines that our Presiding Bishop being asked for such documents was a new or peculiar requirement.

As we are two people separated by a common language, so we are two churches separated by common prayer.

Posted by Chip at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 7:19pm BST

Whether or not ++Katharine wore a mitre, it is her PRESENCE in the UK which has more significance. I am sure that more Cathedrals and most Parish Churches would welcome the privilege of hearing her preach and celebrate among them. ++Rowan might stop her wearing a hat, but he can't prevent the support and affection which UK Christian people feel towards her. Likewise, he can hardly stop the venom poured upon her by the likes of STAND FIRM. (or perhaps he agrees with them).

Posted by Rev Sidney Jensen at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 8:05pm BST

Honestly, you'd think that people trying to live by the teaching of Jesus would be a little less obsessed with who gets to wear what ornate ceremonial clothing. I understand that in the Church of South India they have none of this - just the pastoral staff. Roll on the day, I say.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 8:31pm BST

Within TEC there are restrictions on the "exercise of Episcopal functions" outside of a bishop's home diocese (it does require the consent of the local bishop). Is CofE law similar? If so, just what Episcopal function was the PB exercising? Did she ordain or confirm anyone while at Southwark? Presiding would seem to be the function of a priest. Preaching of course can be done by a layperson. Is it true that presiding and preaching while wearing a bishop's outfit (when one is a bishop back home) is contra CofE law?

Posted by andrewdb at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 9:09pm BST

evensongjunkie4 - you may joke about your hood, but it used to be in the statutes of Cambridge University that the academic dress of other universities could not be worn within a radius of two miles of St Mary's Church, except by graduates of Oxford or Dublin preaching a university sermon. One hopes things have changed, but cannot be over confident.

Posted by cryptogram at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 9:11pm BST

If you go to this page and scroll down just a little, you will see a photograph of the Archbishop of Canterbury processing at the Roman Catholic shrine at Lourdes wearing his mitre

and here you can see him last December processing into Copenhagen (Church of Denmark) Cathedral, wearing his mitre, where he is in a long line of bishops processing, and is in fact the only one wearing a mitre, though he certainly was not within his jurisdiction, nor even in a church with which he is (yet) in full communion. I do hope he had presented evidence of his ordination and formally requested permission of the Bishop of Copenhagen to wear his mitre...

Posted by Fr Mark at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 10:27pm BST

The Society of Mary's website shows the Archbishop of Canterbury at the RC Shrine at Lourdes even being permitted to wear his mitre in the presence of Cardinal Kasper, likewise mitred

Posted by Fr Mark at Thursday, 17 June 2010 at 10:32pm BST

From this side of the pond, it appears that there's a strain in British culture that tends toward pretending the rest of the world simply doesn't exist.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 12:54am BST

Fr. Mark's photo of Rowan Williams in mitre and cope at the Roman Catholic Shrine at Lourdes, adds more fuel to his hypocrisy and advances the possibility that he has made a deal with the Roman Pontiff that if things do not work out for him in Canterbury, perhaps he will find a very special place for in the Roman imperial system of the Catholic Church. Is there any proof of such a possibility? There is none. This scenario may never happen but if it does, it would not surprise me in the least. The Vatican bureaucrats are sneaky. Rowan seems to be very much "at home" with the Roman Catholic prelates at Lourdes. I'm all for ecumenical breakthroughs but after the last few months of Canterbury intrigues and misadventures of the self-appointed Pope Rowan the First, I no longer trust the man I once thought to be kind and filled with love for others. Now, I see him as a very human and fallible HUMAN being who may be just another Vatican pawn. Nothing would make me happier if he emerges as the kind, loving and progressive minded Rowan, but each new day only makes me doubt this outcome.

Posted by Chris Smith at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 1:11am BST

"Unless it can be shown that Pope Rowan and his puppets (or are they puppeteers?) has demanded this of every visiting non-CofE Primate (in which case it would be merely stupid and arrogant), then it is something which requires calling out by every man and woman in the CofE who understands this violation of principles of collegiality, aside from being horribly rude and dishonorable."

I believe that in English canon law (law?) a distinction is made between clergy from the Churches of Ireland and Wales, and the Episcopal Church of Scotland, and Anglican churches outside of the British Isles.

Posted by John (1) at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 1:40am BST

I agree and disagree with Tim Chesterton's comment. I don't know why bishops in any church need to wear the costume of the medieval overlord. Here in Canada I hoped that full communion with Lutherans might mean that Anglican bishops would catch the Lutheran mode of dress for bishops (little distinction between pastors and pastors who are bishops), which is less ostentatious. Sadly, it seems it may be going somewhat the other way. Having said that, mitregate is not about what bishops ought or ought not to wear. It is about attempting to humiliate the Presiding bishop and the Province she represents with a petty officiousness and entrenched sexism born of a parochial self-absorption. Next time the ABofC goes to Rome to visit the Pope, maybe he will be asked to wear a shirt and tie, since Williams' orders (all three of them) are considered null and void there.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 3:21am BST

All I know about this mitre/crozier thing is that when a visiting bishop from S. America came to our parish in the US he did not wear or carry either. When I asked where they were he simply stated, "not when visiting another diocese." He seems to understand something Katherine doesn't.

Posted by Rob+ at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 8:32am BST


'Petty officiousness': agreed, but I deny that it's aimed only at the PB. As several people have testified on this thread, all overseas clergy wishing to preside at the Eucharist in the C of E (but, interestingly, not if they just want to preach) have to go through the same application and proof of ordination rigmarole.

'Entrenched sexism': agreed, but many people in the C of E are trying to fix that right now.

'Parochial self-absorption': well, the C of E wouldn't be the only province in the Anglican Communion with the attitude, 'Look, it's about MY issue, stupid!'

Still, I stand by my comment. When this is reduced to an issue of who gets to wear certain articles of (rather ridiculous-looking) ornate ceremonial clothing, we simply confirm the watching world in its impression that we are both irrelevant and completely disconnected from the teaching and priorities of Jesus. We don't need Dawkins and Hitchens to discredit us; we do the job quite well for ourselves!

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 11:46am BST

Read the comment by Bishop/Lady Ann Tottenham, currently assistant bishop in the diocese of Niagara, on "Preludium" thread:

"For the record, I celebrated and preached at Southwark Cathedral on November 9, 2009 with the permission of the Powers-That-Be in the C.of E. in the presence of the Diocesan Bishop and fully vested including mitre. It was a public service to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood in the C. of E. The only restriction place on me was that I was not to "perform an episcopal function". As I was not planning either a confirmation or an ordination this was not a big deal, though the whole process was aggravating. To my mind this makes the insult offered to the Presiding Bishop even more gratuitous. +Ann"

Now let's see someone else write "no hypocrisy here".

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 12:25pm BST

Michty me, what a weird scenario. I appreciate that hats, robes etc are all charged with symbolism, but to those outside the church this must seem like trivia. I can't believe the the CofE legalists have made such a blunder - surely they could have expected this very public enforcement of rules to leave them with egg on their faces? Nil points for tactics!

Posted by Martin Ritchie at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 12:25pm BST

I think most of us on this thread would have to agree that the dress of a bishop does not affect the integrity of either the Church or the Bishop. After all, there are Archbishops in the Communion who can't even bother to adopt any usual form of ecclesiastical dress to address their Diocesan Synod Meetings (Abp. Jensen of Sydney typically wears collar and tie, and probably wouldn't know what a mitre was if one got up and bit him). Most of us Anglo-Catholics like to dress up, but its not what we value most in our ministry. I suspect that Bishop Katharine thinks the same.

However, what is at stake here is that fact that a Presiding Bishop of a Province of the Communion has been treated with less courtesy than might be expected of the host Province (Canterbury), which decreed that she may not wear her bishop's mitre at the Celebration of the Eucharist at Southwark Cathedral. This would not normally involve any problem about jurisdiction, as - someone has just pointed out - the ABC himself has more than once worn his mitre in a foreign jurisdiction - without being forbidden by his host Bishop, and without the need to check out his credentials.

What was really at stake here was the fact that Bishop Katharine represents a model of female jurisdiction in the Communion that threatens the status quo of the 'Old Boys Club' model episcopal authority in England. The fact that the ABC and the ABY are planning the presentation of a delaying amendment at the July Synod to the Ordination of Women Bishops Bill in the C.of E. indicates just where the difficulty lies - with the Leaders of the Church in England who are afraid of what the conservative anti-women's lobby will do if the bill passes. This is surely a sorry response to the real needs of the Church at this time in its history. Bishop Katharine represents an Anglicanism that is outstripping the Mother Church of England in its inclusive theology.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 12:45pm BST

"He seems to understand something Katharine doesn't"

And there I was thinking that she had understood and not worn her mitre.
We must have looked at different photos.

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 12:59pm BST

Rob+, I asked this before, but if you answered I didn't see it. Which Anglican body are you a priest of?

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 1:00pm BST

Tim, c'mon, read the comment from Bp. Ann Tottenham. There is, as there usually is, more to this story than meets the eye. This diplomatic blunder signals a growing attentiveness to rules within the context of a Communion that is already becoming a Covenant Communion ( say, could that mean we can calls ourselves the Anglican Coven?) So the CofE likes to ask visitors "papers please". But issuing a statement about not wearing a mitre--petty. Completely petty, sexist dribble. --bof!

Posted by Rod Gillis at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 3:35pm BST

Fr. Ron Smith, I think you mean "...exclusive theology." Easy mistake to make, but I get your point quite well.

Posted by evensongjunkie at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 3:56pm BST

Just out of interest, did KJS use the priestly "The Lord be with you", or the episcopal "Peace be with you" at the start of the service?

Posted by tommiaquinas at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 4:46pm BST

Well, this bit of truth revelation (particularly for posters who claim CofE universality of treatment to visiting foreign bishops), bears repeating:

"For the record, I celebrated and preached at Southwark Cathedral on November 9, 2009 with the permission of the Powers-That-Be in the C.of E. in the presence of the Diocesan Bishop and fully vested including mitre. It was a public service to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood in the C. of E. The only restriction place on me was that I was not to "perform an episcopal function". As I was not planning either a confirmation or an ordination this was not a big deal, though the whole process was aggravating. To my mind this makes the insult offered to the Presiding Bishop even more gratuitous. +Ann"

[Identified as assisting Bishop Ann Tottenham of the ACofC]

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 5:22pm BST

Colin Slee writes to me as follows:

Ann Tottenham presided and preached on Saturday November 9th 2002 (She has the date wrong).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 6:33pm BST

Interestingly, the subject of the "mitre" almost became a topic at Vatican II but it never made it to the table. Historically, it was believed the shape of the mitre was derived from the" tongue of fire" over the heads of the apostles, representing the Holy Spirit being with them. I can find no historical proof that this is actually a fact or if it is just another oral "tradition" passed down from century to century. Many Vatican II progressive bishops thought the jeweled and gold threaded mitre had become a "symbol of an imperial crown" and should be abandoned in favor of a plain white skull cap with perhaps a two inch small "tongue of fire" symbol on top. This was rejected, but for a period of about thirteen years, the Roman Catholic mitre underwent a modest facelift and became plain white with no design or a very simple design such as the fish symbol or lamb. It also became shorter.
This changed when John Paul II was elected as Supreme Pontiff. The mitre became taller and the elaborate and expensive jewel work reappeared. Joe Ratzinger has taken it a step further and returned to wearing the triumphalist mitre of previous popes before Vatican II. I can't find a great deal of historical information about the mitre so if anyone can enlighten or correct me on what I have reported here, I would find it helpful. Generally, I think all vestments are aids to make liturgical Eucharists or celebrations more beautiful and they play an important role in adding to worship but I also believe in the "less is more" ideas that Vatican II tried to establish by making vestments simpler and more humble in their appearance, as Christ did not dress in princely watered silk robes encrusted with jewels and threads of solid gold. I enjoy seeing a bishop with a plain staff or a primatial cross such as the one carried by Presiding Bishop Katharine. Symbols are important. As a Vatican II Catholic, I have attended some of the most beautiful contemporary liturgies at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco. We have a few progressive Catholic Churches in San Francisco where Vatican II liturgies have evolved into a beautiful art form where simplicity is central but where bits and pieces of traditions from other centuries come into play as a part of the whole. I think we steal many of the finer music parts of the liturgy from the Anglicans. We are all bound together in the many branches of Catholicism whether we admit it or not. So, we come full circle and back to the insulting action whereby The Archbishop of Canterbury tells the Presiding Bishop of the American Episcopal Church NOT to wear her mitre. He was wrong. This was sexist. He owes her an apology and some symbolic restitution. This needs to happen. Symbols are important.

Posted by Chris Smith at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 6:54pm BST

Rod, I'm sorry, but in a world where thousands of people die of starvation every day, it seems ludicrous to me that all this attention is being paid to who is and who is not allowed to wear a ridiculous looking hat. Was it Christlike for Lambeth to insist that the PB not wear it? Of course not. Is it Christlike for everyone on the other side to make such a fuss about it? Well, you may have your own opinion about that. Personally, Philippians 2:5-11 comes to mind.

This is a childish game about power and prestige. Meanwhile, the world looks on and, if it is at all familiar with the gospels, notes that Jesus apparently had no interest in the matter. Once again, the church is debating irrelevancies. Time to move on.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Friday, 18 June 2010 at 8:03pm BST

Tim is quite correct that the whole issue is ludicrous. Yes, the gratuitous insult to the +KJS is petty, and I understand why my American brothers and sisters are so annoyed. But at the end of the day, it is simply proof that +RDW is both petty and increasingly pathetic in his ever more desperate papal pretensions. So, lets just call Rowan a schlemiel and move on.

BTW, in case anyone is curious about the Bishop / Lady thing, Ann is the daughter of a UK peer and therefore is "The Lady Ann Tottenham."

Posted by Malcolm+ at Saturday, 19 June 2010 at 4:53am BST

No Tim, I'm sorry. The church and the social question is something I know about.I agree wholeheartedly with what you say about poverty. I'd go further and say that as a Canadian church we really have fallen down on the millennium goals.(TEC is out on front on those by comparison, have been from the get go). We are doing next to nothing with them. No argument there. However, mitregate is not just about wardrobe. It is shining a light on sexism and patriarchy, and how much it is entrenched in the church. Canada is not exempt from this by the way.Our bishop here doesn't celebrate Holy Communion in some of her parishes because the boys will get upset. This is widely known. Sexism has a solid link to poverty and a great many other issues. Don't minimize a disease by brushing off one of its signs and symptoms. Until we get our own house in order on issues like sexism, & bias against gay and lesbian people, we will have no credibility to lecture the outside world about social issues.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 19 June 2010 at 2:57pm BST

Malcolm posted "BTW, in case anyone is curious about the Bishop / Lady thing, Ann is the daughter of a UK peer and therefore is The Lady Ann Tottenham." Now there is a piece of crucial and relevant information. And you think mitregate is ludicrous?

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 19 June 2010 at 3:02pm BST

I'm something of an expert in forms of address, but I only raised Bishop Tottenham's title because someone earlier had made an obliqque reference to it. It is truly irrelevant to the story. It's also of note that she herself has never, to my knowledge, made an issue of the title. I only know about it because our former Primate, Michael Peers, refers to it in his reference work on the Anglican episcopate in Canada. Ruth Gledhill mentioned it in her blog yesterday.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Saturday, 19 June 2010 at 11:33pm BST

Rod, please. Cut Malcolm a break; he wasn't in any way suggesting anyone address her in that manner, but merely clarifying a point.

I prefer to thank Malcolm for the info, even if it is not substantive on the treatment of the PB by Rowan and his minions.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 12:54am BST

I think the dichotomy between caring about starving people and caring about relatively silly Church stuff is a false one.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 1:13am BST

Thanks Malcolm, its just that this kind of thing brings out my republican (small "r" Canadian republican)bias.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 1:56am BST

I'm very late to this party (spent week driving across the US of A!), haven't read the whole thread, someone may have said this already:

We have CLEARLY moved from Tragedy to Farce...

Lord have mercy!

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 6:33am BST

"Bishop Katharine represents an Anglicanism that is outstripping the Mother Church of England in its inclusive theology." - Father Ron Smith -

No, evensongjunkie, begging your pardon. I really did mean what I said (above)! the 'inclusive theology' bit belongs to 'Bishop Katharine represents an Anglicanism'.....(of inclusive theology) which outstrips the Mother Church of England.

Maybe the syntax was a bit circumlocutious. I'll try to do better next time. WE need to be clear in our intentions on this site.

Agape, Fr. Ron

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 12:04pm BST

Point taken Jerry, that was a bit of reactionary jab to Malcolm on my part, and my follow up comment about being a Canadian republican was qualified remorse on my part.However, I live for the day when my country will become a republic and cast off the last of its "Royal" this and that. I find it kind of precious. Notwithstanding, I'll put the knife back in my sock. ( : - Roderick "the wee" Gillis

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 12:27pm BST

Lovely pictures in the Mail on Sunday of Williams and Sentamu carrying the mitres - on their heads.

Posted by Pluralist at Sunday, 20 June 2010 at 4:38pm BST
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