Comments: update on #mitregate

"The 1967 Measure has not been understood as applying to those whose ministry in England will be confined to preaching. " Unbelievable nit-picking. Interesting to see what happens tomorrow at St Paul's.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 6:31pm BST

"Active consideration is being given to whether it would be desirable to issue fuller - and publicly available - guidance on the procedures under the Measure and associated issues."

Wow! They are 'thinking about' issuing fuller and public guidelines. I guess that replaces the sketchy and hidden guidelines that let someone say "Gotcha!" What a concept.


Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 7:39pm BST

With that kind of inspired and visionary leadership, is it really any wonder that Canterbury and York could not persuade a majority of the clergy to follow their proposed "compromise" on women bishops?

Posted by Neel Smtih at Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 9:03pm BST

Neel Smith "With that kind of inspired and visionary leadership, is it really any wonder that Canterbury and York could not persuade a majority of the clergy to follow their proposed "compromise" on women bishops?"

Quite. More importantly, though, such an inward-looking and petty-minded mindset is also not much good at reaching out to the great mass of English people beyond the church doors, and one can see exactly why that is from this whole silly story.

Posted by Fr Mark at Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 9:30pm BST

Don't worry be happy. Apparently neither Canterbury nor York was present and/or involved in the recent Mitre-Gate episode; nor do they seem concerned about it. Somebody else must have written letters and/or released public media statements in Canterbury's name without actually involving him. The tone makes all this clear, in typical foggy Canterburgensian fashion?

Meanwhile, perhaps clear guidelines should be published, and all should be able to read them who care to know. PS all this is a matter of UK Laws, so really the common sense implication is that it is all Parliament's Doing.

I should have figured all that out in the first place, along with PB KJS and everybody who thinks she is a real, live Anglican bishop.

The tone does resonate ever so deeply - sounds yet again, just exactly like Rowan Williams prizing himself for being that sort of Anglican who deeply respects queer folks human dignity and who abhors any sort of prejudice or violence targeting queer folks; and who of course, cannot ever speak or bear witness as if he ever happened to know any real, live queer folks.

Same old, same old. Queer folks are hot buttons, though entirely theoretical. Ditto, women bishops? This is our global exemplar who is leading us all so righteously to a global Covenant Promised Land, o'er-flowing with milk and honey in every global Anglican peaceful vein.

Posted by drdanfee at Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 9:39pm BST

Are answers to questions available on the General Synod website? I can't even find the questions listed or linked, but maybe I'm looking in the wrong place.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 9:43pm BST

Mark
No, the answers are not yet online. The answers were however all made available on paper to the press at the time.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 9:57pm BST

'Incidentally, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is preaching tomorrow at St Paul’s Cathedral, at the 11.00 Choral Eucharist.'

Rather worryingly the St Paul's website does not mention this at first sight; it simply has 'July Orchestral Eucharists', without the usual 'All welcome'. Further investigation via the Music downloads for services does reveal her intended presence as a preacher, so I hope the absence of the 'all welcome' is simply an oversight...

Posted by chenier1 at Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 11:13pm BST

Just to say, Lapinbizarre, the situation with Bishop Katharine is very different tomorrow at St Paul's. No Bishop wears a mitre to preach at St Paul's. Bishop Katharine will be treated exactly the same as every other Bishop who preaches here. Exactly the same. A mitre would have been appropriate had she been celebrating - but she was invited to preach. I will be celebrating the Eucharist.

Posted by Giles Fraser at Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 11:23pm BST

"But a female 'overseas bishop' can only be given permission under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 to officiate in England as a priest. By virtue of s. 1 of the 1967 Measure, a female 'overseas bishop' with an archbishop’s permission to officiate as a priest is subject to the same obligations as a priest of the Church of England - including in relation to matters of vesture (for which provision is made in Canon B 8)."

Could someone please post section 1 of the 1967 Measure? I seriously doubt that it makes explicit provision for female overseas bishops, or distinguishes between male and female bishops. The text of Canon B 8 would also be helpful, in order to try to understand what the archbishop is saying.

Speaking of unsustainable distinctions . . . why is it that a female bishop can wear a mitre if she is preaching, but not if she is celebrating?

Posted by Jeremy at Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 11:35pm BST

Do other primates get to wear their mitres when performing the same functions as KJS whilst visiting England?

Posted by bobinswpa at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 3:35am BST

Canon (Rev/Dr/??) Giles,
But won't you process? And if you process, as the highest ranking (?) member of the clergy, won't she be last in the procession? And won't she get to wear a mitre then? (And doesn't she properly give the blessing at the end of the service, no matter who is celebrating?) Or are all of these practices limited to the Episcopal Church in the US?
Cheers,
Scot

Posted by Scot Peterson at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 8:54am BST

And our BCP has a rubric that says a Bishop if present [say, in the congregation or as preacher] pronounces the absolution after the general confessiion. [my prayer book not to hand - cansomeone else quote this?]Is this the case in England also?

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 11:33am BST

Jeremy

The Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 is online here:

http://tinyurl.com/3yjssv4

And the canons are here:

http://www.cofe.anglican.org/about/churchlawlegis/canons/

Posted by Peter Owen at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 12:29pm BST

In the congregation ......?

But it is a fair question to ask who presides ....

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 1:45pm BST

Cynthia - 1662 BCP has

"Then shall the Priest (or the Bishop, being present,) stand up and turning himself to the people, pronounce this Absolution"

and later

"Then the Priest (or Bishop if he be present) shall let them depart with this Blessing."

The first refers to "the" Bishop, not 'any' bishop or 'a' bishop. There are also male pronouns in both texts, which may be significant in interpretation.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 1:58pm BST

Simon

Thank you for the heads up; it was a great service with some inspiring prayers, wonderful music -Mozart's Mass in C minor- and an excellent sermon.

The Order of Service simply refers to the President, who was presumably Giles Fraser; the only person named in it is

'The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church of the USA'

as preaching the sermon. The congregation was very diverse, and very young; the chap sitting next to me took notes during the sermon because, as he told me afterwards, he liked it so much!

Posted by chenier1 at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 2:40pm BST

Cynthia

The American 1979 BCP has "The Bishop when present, or the Priest, stands and says" before the absolution in the Eucharist (pages 320 and 353).

As Mark writes, the 1662 BCP has "Then shall the Priest (or the Bishop, being present,) stand up, and turning himself to the people, pronounce this Absolution".

I note that both of these have "the Bishop" and not "a bishop". I understand that to mean the diocesan bishop (or his suffragan) but not a visiting bishop from another diocese.

There is no significance to the use of "he" and "himself" in 1662 as that was the only possibility then.

Common Worship allocates the absolution to "the president" (modern language Communion) or "the priest" (traditional language). There is a prefatory note to say that "When the bishop is present, he normally presides over the whole service."

Posted by Peter Owen at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 2:47pm BST

Peter wrote: 'There is no significance to the use of "he" and "himself" in 1662 as that was the only possibility then.'

Actually there may be. The 1992 Measure explicitly states (section 9)

'In any Canon, order, rule or regulation relating to priests, words importing the masculine gender include the feminine, unless the contrary intention appears.'

But that does not apply to any masculine words that refer to bishops. The draft Measure does include similar words which also apply to bishops. So, the use of the masculine in the 1662 book in reference to a bishop probably should be regarded as significant.

Simon K

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 5:12pm BST

Thanks for the explanation of the St Paul's situation, which seems fair, Canon Fraser. The reply to General Synod broadly regarding the 1967 Measure and visiting bishops still strikes me as nitpicking.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 5:40pm BST

Oh for goodness' sake! Why can't you just accept that the Church of England doesn't officially and legally recognise women bishops *YET*? It will do by 2014, I'm sure, and then women bishops from other Provinces will be able to wear their mitres, celebrate the Eucharist and pronounce blessings to their hearts' content. But for now, according to the law of the Church, which is the law of the land, we don't recognise women bishops. Deal with it!

Posted by Fr James at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 6:13pm BST

"But for now, according to the law of the Church, which is the law of the land, we don't recognise women bishops. Deal with it!"

Certainly, but there is that little detail that +KJS is the Primate of our church and ++Canterbury's equal in rank (as far as we are concerned).

Posted by Counterlight at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 8:50pm BST

"+KJS is the Primate of our church"

Indeed she is, but she doesn't wear a mitre or carry a crosier by virtue of her status as Primate, but because she is a bishop in TEC.

All this quibbling about being allowed to wear a mitre, or walk at the back of a procession, or pronounce the blessing or celebrate the eucharist simply because she is present at the service is moot. The CofE doesn't recognise women bishops, ergo women cannot function as bishops in any church of the CofE.

Posted by Fr James at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 10:43pm BST

Don't see much nitpicking about what the bishop of Rome will be wearing in a few weeks' time, Fr. James.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 10:55pm BST

And there's also the point that visiting female bishops have been be-mitred in the past without any problems; this present kerfuffle appears to have been a direct result of the ill-judged effort by Lambeth Palace in specifically pointing, in notes to the press release on the AB's Pentecostal Letter, to the election and consecration of Mary Glasspool.

The unfortunate fact is that Rowan Williams will never be able to assuage the demands of the fundamentalists; they have no interest in sitting at a common table. As far as they are concerned the feast is for them, and for them alone, though if they can stick somebody else with the bill then they will.

At some point that will finally dawn on him; until then, however, those of us with a somewhat more realistic view of how this is perceived by our fellow citizens will carry on doing our best to explain that the Church of England is not, in itself, homophobic, xenophobic and mysogynistic. It's just that the people making the most noise are...


Posted by chenier1 at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 11:01pm BST

"Why can't you just accept that the Church of England doesn't officially and legally recognise women bishops *YET*?"

Wouldn't it make more sense for the CofE to accept that just because it doesn't have women bishops, it doesn't mean that women bishops don't exist? Surely there's a way for you to safeguard your own legislative process without pretending that you are the *ONLY* Anglican Church on the planet. Besides being an incredibly arrogant posture, from the POV of an outsider, the current practice is simply contrary to reality.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 11:11pm BST

"But for now, according to the law of the Church, which is the law of the land, we don't recognise women bishops. Deal with it!"

Actually, Fr. James, it isn't that the C of E does not recognize women bishops; it is that it does not permit them to exercise episcopal functions within its jurisdiction. That's an important distinction.

There are plenty of photos of "overseas female bishops" in mitre, or in rochet and chimere, or with pectoral cross, on English territory, being addressed as Rt. Rev. or (in the case of our Presiding Bishop) Most Rev., etc etc.

In other words, the C of E recognizes that female bishops exist within the Anglican Communion, and it until recently has treated them as bishops at least in terms of "vesture" and dignity, even while denying them the right to function sacramentally as bishops.

So when you say "we don't recognise women bishops," you actually have and do, except for the recent stupidity and pettiness of #mitregate, which contradicts that history.

Deal with it.

Posted by David da Silva Cornell at Monday, 26 July 2010 at 12:40am BST

Thanks, Peter Owen, for those links.

The 1967 Measure defines "bishop" without reference to gender. The 1967 Measure also uses the term "clergyman" but presumably no one would argue that the Measure does not extend to female priests as well as male priests.

The relevant portion of the 1967 Measure seems to be this:

4. Performance of episcopal functions by overseas bishops.
— (1) An overseas bishop or a bishop consecrated in a Church not in Communion with the Church of England whose Orders are recognised and accepted by the Church of England may, on the request and by the commission in writing of the bishop of a diocese in the province of Canterbury or York, and with the consent and licence in writing of the Archbishop of the province, ordain persons and perform other episcopal functions in that diocese.
(2) For the purpose of this Measure any person ordained priest or deacon by a bishop acting on such request and by such commission as aforesaid shall be deemed to have been ordained by the bishop making the request and issuing the commission and not by the bishop acting as aforesaid.
(3) If any overseas bishop performs any episcopal functions in a diocese in the province of Canterbury or York, otherwise than in accordance with this section, he shall be guilty of an offence against the laws ecclesiastical for which proceedings may be taken under the M3 Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963.
Annotations:
Marginal Citations
M3 1963 No. 1.

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:56am BST

I went and looked at Canon B8. There is no rational way to claim that this canon prevents a female overseas bishop wearing a mitre. The answer given by Cantuar is categorically false.

Also, James mis-states the facts. According to the law of the Church and the law of the Land, the Church of England does not HAVE women bishops. Both civil and canon law are silent on their existence outwith the CofE.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Monday, 26 July 2010 at 2:02am BST

No Malcolm, you mis-state the facts. We may recognise that other provinces have women bishops, but the fact that we don't have them in our church yet means that we cannot allow one of your women bishops to function as a bishop in our churches, because it wouldn't make any sense. All the talk on here about making KJS walk at the back of a procession or say the parts of the service specifically reserved for the bishop - it's impossible because she cannot function legally as a bishop.

David mentions only surface details like mitres, rochets, and pectoral crosses - that's fine because they're nothing to do with actual function! But history is not full of examples of women bishops functioning as bishops here, is it? The ABC wears his purple cassock and pectoral cross when visiting the Pope, doesn't he? It's the same thing. The Pope recognises that Rowan is a bishop in his own church, but cannot let him function as a bishop in RC churches.

Posted by Fr James at Monday, 26 July 2010 at 8:36am BST

Fr James

As Michael Perham, Bishop of Gloucester, noted

'However, with all the present tensions in the Communion and with some people prepared to use legal processes to challenge bishops and others who do not follow the letter of the law, the Archbishop’s office has thought it best to ensure that the rule is strictly adhered to. Thus I have sought and obtained permission for Bishop Mary for preside at the Eucharist in Gloucester Cathedral.'

He went on to say:

'The triangular partnership that draws the dioceses of Western Tanganyika, El Camino Real and Gloucester into a companion relationship emerged from the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops. There has never been any doubt within our dioceses that the three bishops are equally bishops of the Anglican Communion and not for a moment would we have treated one bishop differently from the others. We recognise and honour the ministry of all.'

Clearly the Bishop of Gloucester has managed to grasp the distinction between Anglicanism and the Roman Catholic Church which seems to be eluding you; of course Rowan Williams cannot preside in a Roman Catholic Church because he is not a Roman Catholic.

Anglican bishops in the Anglican Communion are also not Roman Catholics; they are, however, Anglican bishops in the Anglican Communion.

The attempt by malcontents to try and destroy the fruits of that triangular partnership, denigrating both the Rt. Revd. Gerard Mpango and the Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves in the process, does not look like the action of people who care about the well being of the Church. Quite the contrary; it looks as if all they care about is their narcissistic obsession with their own feelings and their own desires.

May I remind you, once again, that, if we are to attempt the evangelising task enjoined upon us by the ABs in their article in the Independent some weeks ago, we need to be able to point to the expression of the Gospel of Love in our lives.

The sort of petty spitefulness displayed in mitregate really isn't helping...

Posted by chenier1 at Monday, 26 July 2010 at 11:43am BST

Fr James: "The ABC wears his purple cassock and pectoral cross when visiting the Pope, doesn't he? It's the same thing. The Pope recognises that Rowan is a bishop in his own church, but cannot let him function as a bishop in RC churches."

No, Rowan goes further than that. As I posted when we were all so exercised about mitres a month or so ago, here is Abp Rowan wearing mitre next to Cardinal Kasper at the Roman Catholic shrine at Lourdes, actually in the grotto, viz, in an RC Church setting when the RC Church does not recognise him to be a bishop (or even a priest, actually) http://www.societyofmary.net/lourdes2008.htm .

Likewise, here is Abp Rowan in the same garb when appearing in choir at Copenhagen's Church of Denmark Cathedral last December http://www.act-intl.org/news.php?uid=790 . Although the Church of Denmark probably does recognise him to be a bishop, it is (still) not yet in communion with the C of E, and Abp Rowan was making something of a statement by dressing as he did (in the presence of the Queen of Denmark and all the Government): none of the many other bishops present wore a mitre (in the photo, he is processing next to the Church of Denmark Bishop of Greenland, for example). On that occasion, Abp Rowan was in the same situation as Presiding Bp Katherine last weekend: the preacher at a non-Eucharistic service in someone else's cathedral.

So, your statement is not correct: the Primate of All England behaves in one way when visiting foreign churches, even when they do not recognise his orders, yet expects visiting primates to do differently when in his jurisdiction. Can you not see why that looks rather rude and arrogant? It looks as if the attitude is merely that the C of E trumps everyone else. It is surely just plain bad manners.

Wouldn't good manners be to let visiting dignitaries of whatever sort wear whatever they are accustomed to doing, rather than pettifogging over-officious regulation, of the sort that, thankfully, has died out in the rest of British life.

When I was an undergraduate, non-Oxbridge graduates were forbidden to wear their academic clothes at Oxford: this has now changed (though some of them may well come from fairly dodgy institutions, for all anyone knows) as an extension of politeness. Isn't it the same principle?

Posted by Fr Mark at Monday, 26 July 2010 at 12:04pm BST

Fr James is correct -- the position of the C of E doesn't make any sense -- bishops who happen to be women cannot function in the C of E (nor can priests [men or women] who have been ordained by bishops who happen to be women) -- BUT as soon as bishops (who happen to be women) ARE consecrated (or appointed by the Crown [or something]) THEN are sacraments become retroactively valid.

Posted by Prior Aelred at Monday, 26 July 2010 at 12:18pm BST

And further to my comment about the the Partnership of the Dioceses of El Camino Real, Gloucester and Western Tanganyika, I see there is a joint letter from the bishops to Rowan Williams:

http://www.edecr.org/sitefiles/file/newsdocs/NEWS-Ltr2ArchbpREpartnDio-20100622.pdf

which goes to the heart of these issues...

Posted by chenier1 at Monday, 26 July 2010 at 12:59pm BST

Seems to me that the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church qualifies as an "overseas bishop" under the 1967 Measure and therefore could perform episcopal functions in England by "commission."

Unless one defines the term "overseas bishop" to mean men only.

The 1967 Measure seems to make the term depend on whether the person is a bishop in the Anglican Communion:

6.
Interpretation.
— (1) In this Measure, unless the context otherwise requires—
. . .
“overseas bishop” means a bishop of the Church of England or a Church in Communion with the Church of England having a diocese or office elsewhere than in the province of Canterbury, the province of York, Ireland, Wales or Scotland, and “overseas diocese” means the diocese of an overseas bishop;

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:32pm BST

Fr James, you undermine your own argument.

"The ABC wears his purple cassock and pectoral cross when visiting the Pope, doesn't he? It's the same thing. The Pope recognises that Rowan is a bishop in his own church, but cannot let him function as a bishop in RC churches."

Precisely, and when the ABC visits Westminster Cathedral he is presumably not told to remove his mitre, or that he can't wear one in the first place. The dignity (and existence) of his office as a bishop in his own church is respected by the RCs, even if he won't be permitted to say Mass at the altar of that cathedral, and even though the Rs don't in fact recognize his orders as valid *at all*, not even as a deacon. In RC eyes, he's still just a layman -- albeit in a mitre and cope and carrying a crozier.

And, prior to #mitregate, that's de facto how "overseas female bishops" were in effect treated by the C of E on its territory, except they were treated even better, because the C of E is in communion with those overseas Anglican churches and generally recognizes their orders, neither of whereas the C of E and the RCC are not in communion and the RCs don't recognize *any* Anglican orders.

I.e., no sacramental functioning on C of E territory as a bishop, only as a priest -- but women bishops were nonetheless heretofore treated in dignity and "externals" as a bishop.

Your claims crumble before the facts, Father.

Posted by David da Silva Cornell at Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:34pm BST

"....but cannot let him function as a bishop in RC churches." Sure he can, Fr James. But he won't.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:59pm BST

I"ve noted in the past that the Act of Parliament which allowed the bestowal of the episcopate on the Americans (White and Provoost) specifically stated that neither they nor anyone they ordained or consecrated would ever be allowed to exercise any ministry in English dominions. Does anyone know when this "law of the land" was explicitly amended -- or did the 1967 Measure effectively accomplish that? I'm virtually positive US bishops have functioned as such in England prior to 1967. Was there a predecessor Measure? Help from an English historian or canonist would be welcome.
Tobias+

Posted by Tobias Haller at Monday, 26 July 2010 at 3:32pm BST

Why do (some) American anglicans refuse to take on board the simple fact that on the whole the Church of England does not understand itself as Anglican, and certainly doesn't see itself as part of an "Anglican Church" capable of making decisions binding on the C of E?

The fact that many Anglican churches have ordained women to the episcopate is essentially irrelevant to the position here: in the Church of England women bishops quite simply don't exist whatever the barrack room lawyers are trying to tell us the Prayer Book really meant to say, and moreover they can't exist unless and until Parliament approves a change in the law of the land.

In the interim, while it continues to be consistent to be a loyal member of the Church of England and to believe that it is impossible for there to be women bishops, then surely it's right that those (of us, I add!) who are in favour of the ordination of women to the episcopate should not try to pre-empt due process by allowing or encouraging bishops of other churches (especially anglican ones) who are women to function as bishops in the Church of England. After all, it may turn out (as of course we hope it won't), that after mature discernment the C of E decides that women are incapable of episcopal ordination after all; until that's decided we shouldn't tamper any more with the sacramental integrity of our Church.

As to any equivalence between the ABC and the Presiding Bishop: can you be serious? Surely the extraordinary fuss being generated by Americans over a very local English issue highlights the total asymmetry. Can anyone imagine there being a similar fuss if the the diocese of Springfield Illinois (say) said Rowan couldn't wear his high hat in their churches? If we even gave it a moment's thought we'd roll about in the aisles.

Posted by american piskie at Monday, 26 July 2010 at 5:14pm BST

"bishops who happen to be women cannot function in the C of E (nor can priests [men or women] who have been ordained by bishops who happen to be women) -- BUT as soon as bishops (who happen to be women) ARE consecrated (or appointed by the Crown [or something]) THEN are sacraments become retroactively valid."

This is all very picturesque ("Oh, look, honey - a solipsistic Church!"), but it's a hell of a way to run a railroad.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Monday, 26 July 2010 at 7:23pm BST

Actually, James, I'm spot on. The FACT is that the CofE does not HAVE women bishops. The CofE acknowledges that there are woman bishops elsewhere in the Communion, so it is not a case of not RECOGNIZING woman bishops.

While the restriction that a female bishop would not be allowed to perform episcopal functions at present in the CofE is theologically bunkum, it is at least comprehensible bunkum.

The silly attempt to impose regulations about haberdashery, by contrast, are merely the childish antics of little boys who have no manners.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 5:38am BST

Malcolm, it's also legal bunkum.

The Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church is, by definition, an "overseas bishop."

Like any other overseas bishop, she could perform episcopal functions in England if given the metropolitan's permission to do so.

Please see the passages quoted above.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 11:06am BST

I do not think it is true that ministers ordained by women cannot celebrate sacraments in England.

No C of E body has said this as far as I know. How would anyone know, anyway... It would be unworkable.

Posted by Pantycelyn at Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 11:25am BST

"How would anyone know, anyway... It would be unworkable."

From the ordination certificates that the clergyperson has to present in order to get a license?

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 4:41pm BST

Jeremy, I agree that it is also legal bunkum, even though that wasn't really my point.

But given that there are actually no regulations about the wearing or not wearing of mitres, any suggestion that Dr. Jefferts Schori could not wear one because the CofE has no female bishops isn't so much bunkum as a blatant lie.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 10:34pm BST

Sometimes women choose to do extraordinary things - things which are not legally required of them - in order to observe protocols, or to avoid causing problems. Sometimes they are asked to do such things, when they would rather do something else. More often than most people realise, women are asked to do things which would never be asked of men.

Such actions often go unnoticed and unacknowledged. But they can be prophetic - maybe here is a bishop saying that Christ is more important than what she wears on a particular occasion.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Thursday, 29 July 2010 at 9:56pm BST

When the Rt Revd Christina Odenberg, Bishop of Lund, celebrated in Llandaff Cathedral in 2007 she functioned and dressed as a priest, graciously respecting the hospitality of the Church in Wales - no petulant carrying of mitre. Maybe this "mitre gate" (which has gone on long enough) has more to do with celebrity and not enough to think about, which in today's CofE and TEC is no surprise.

Posted by David Hathaway at Saturday, 31 July 2010 at 12:55pm BST

David Hathaway: "Maybe this "mitre gate" (which has gone on long enough) has more to do with celebrity and not enough to think about,"

No, David, it has to do with whether we show an expansive, warm and inviting model of church to a world in need of the all-embracing love of God; or whether we peddle a model that is to do with small-minded rule-obsessed excluding narrowness. That is quite an important attitude for the Church to get right, isn't it, because there is a whole approach to theology and personhood being reflected in it?

As I demonstrated above, the point is that the Abp of Canterbury dresses just however it pleaseth him when attending other people's churches; but the C of E demonstrates narrow legalism to an nit-picking degree of small-mindedness when it comes to the case of, for example, the Presiding Bishop's visits. It is the lack of reciprocity that is the problem.

I think a Scandinavian bishop visiting the UK should wear whatever he/she would normally wear at home, just as the Abp of Canterbury does when visiting Scandinavia (cf the photo of him in Copenhagen through the link I posted above). Likewise with visiting Orthodox, RC, Muslim, Jewish etc clergy in Anglican churches: the respectful thing to do is not to attempt to regulate their dress for them. It matters how we welcome other people into our churches, be they from other Christian churches or not.

Posted by Fr Mark at Saturday, 31 July 2010 at 6:07pm BST

"no petulant carrying of mitre"

I think it bizarre that critics of the Presiding Bishop think that she should not only have complied with the Archbishop of Canterbury's request that she not act as bishop but that she should have gone further and pretended that she wasn't a bishop at all. I've even seen people complain about the fact that she wore a bishop's shirt under her alb.

The whole episode shows a strange concern for appearance over substance, as if pretending that female bishops don't exist makes it so.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Sunday, 1 August 2010 at 3:56am BST
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