Comments: Church Times reports on Southwark episode

"Many believe that presiding at the eucharist is a priestly, not an episĀ­copal act..."

In the BCP of the Episcopal Church it states that it is the "Bishop's prerogative" to preside at the Eucharist. Presbyters preside at the Eucharist not because they are priests, but because they are acting as the bishop's surrogates.

Bishops preside at the Eucharist because they are bishops.

Posted by Deacon Charlie Perrin at Friday, 25 June 2010 at 12:58pm BST

Re: Deacon Charlie Perrin "In the BCP of the Episcopal Church it states that it is the "Bishop's prerogative" to preside at the Eucharist. Presbyters preside ...as the bishop's surrogates.Bishops preside at the Eucharist because they are bishops."

I'm no Dom Gregory Dix, but I suggest this analysis is really an hierarchical oversimplification. (The Canadian "Book of Alternative Services" notes that the bishop has the above noted prerogative when present as the chief liturgical officer). Bishops are bishops in part because they are numbered, as the BCP/BAS ordinal states, among "fellow presbyters". The preface to the Eucharist articulates a prerogative for the bishop to celebrate because of the role of episkope in overseeing a group of locals churches of which a particular Eucharistic community is a part. To claim that priests celebrate qua celebrant simply because they are "surrogates" of the episkope claims way too much in my opinion, tending collapse Eucharistic theology into the delineation of ordered ministry. I like Max Thurian's perspective when he comments on the ministry of presbyters : "It is as a pastor of the Christian community, surrounded by the faithful and with them, that [the pastor] performs this ministry of presiding at the Eucharist...." from "Priesthood and Ministry: Ecumenical Research"

Posted by Rod Gillis at Friday, 25 June 2010 at 2:51pm BST

Now here's a little problem. I was confirmed by Bp Penny when she was Bishop of Dunedin ten years ago. Does the Church of England officially recognise the validity of this sacrament, or - in the interests of ecclesiastical diplomacy - should I try to get a conditional anointing - just in case the first one doesn't apply in this jurisdiction?

Posted by rjb at Friday, 25 June 2010 at 3:13pm BST

Deacon Charlie is correct, it is the bishop's prerogative to celebrate Eucharist. However, it is not explicitly an episcopal act because it is not restricted to the episcopate like ordination or confirmation are. Looking at the addresses during the Examinations for Ordination--the job description of sorts for the different orders, esp. given lex orandi, lex credendi--the Eucharist is not mentioned for a bishop's ordination, but it is for a priest's.

The only way ++Katharine would have been acting in an episcopal act would be in ordaining or in confirming, neither of which she did, neither of which would have been appropriate in the first place.

Posted by Patrick Burrows at Friday, 25 June 2010 at 4:21pm BST

I wonder exactly which vigorous adherent of FiF or another no-women group would have brought legal charges against Lambeth and/or York for not scrupulously demeaning PB KJS during her visit?

Clearly, the subtext of the chaplain's reply hints that it was best to avoid those possibilities of legal charges, all round? Bizarre, indeed.

Posted by drdanfee at Friday, 25 June 2010 at 10:32pm BST

Now here's a little problem. I was confirmed by Bp Penny when she was Bishop of Dunedin ten years ago. Does the Church of England officially recognise the validity of this sacrament, or - in the interests of ecclesiastical diplomacy - should I try to get a conditional anointing - just in case the first one doesn't apply in this jurisdiction?

Posted by: rjb on Friday, 25 June 2010 at 3:13pm

No need to worry. Confirmation is not a sacrament in the Church of England, which has but two.

Posted by Pantycelyn at Friday, 25 June 2010 at 10:45pm BST

The South African Prayer Book puts it rather neatly. The rubric (quoted from memory, I'm afraid) says something like "in the absence of the bishop a priest may celebrate."

Posted by Nom de Plume at Friday, 25 June 2010 at 11:02pm BST

Nome De Plume noted "The South African Prayer Book puts it rather neatly. The rubric (quoted from memory, I'm afraid) says something like 'in the absence of the bishop a priest may celebrate.' "
Not to mention rather eccentrically, and ambiguously, if accurate.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 26 June 2010 at 12:21am BST

Regarding rgb's concern about the validity of her or his Confirmation at the Hands of Bishop Penny Jamieson in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand in Dunedin 10 years ago; she/he need have no worries about the validity of her/his rite of Confirmation, which was based on the validity of the canonical Sacrament of Baptism, presumably undertaken earlier.

In the NZ Anglican Church (and presumably in most other Provinces of the Anglican Communion) the Sacrament of Baptism bestows full membership of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church upon the recipient - requiring no further validation prior to the reception of any other Sacrament of the Church. It is important to note that even the Roman Catholic Church now recognizes the Anglican rite of Baptism as valid, sacramentally.

The rite of Confirmation is regarded, by Anglicans, as a further affirmation by the duly Baptized of their re-commitment to Christ. It does not replace the efficacy of their Baptism into Christ.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 26 June 2010 at 1:31am BST

But rgb might have to be conditionally reconfirmed if s/he wished to be ordained in the Church of England. Perhaps someone in Ministry Division might like to comment. I remember someone at my theological college (Lincoln) telling me that in the run up to ordination one of the most "spiky" ordinands (who has subsequently poped) was discovered not to have been validly baptised... which came as something of a shock to him!

Posted by Perry Butler at Saturday, 26 June 2010 at 3:10pm BST

As a young priest, I had a retired archbishop as my honorary assistant. In the congregation where he worshiped, we took turns presiding. Before each service, we would quickly review who was doing what that day. Inevitably it ended like this.

Malcolm+ - . . . And you'll do the blessing at the end.

+Fred - But you're the rector.

Malcolm+ - But you're a bishop.

+Fred - But you're the rector.

Malcolm+ - That's right, Fred. I'm the rector. You're a bishop, and you'll do the blessing at the end.

+Fred - [bow]

Posted by Malcolm+ at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 1:23am BST

Another slight to a woman which is totally unconnected to this thread ? Or is it ?

'The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a Jamaican-born vicar in one of the poorest parts of East London.'

Think of all the unreported snubs to women which hurt and alienate just as much.

Posted by Pantycelyn at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 1:07pm BST
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