Comments: Burnley consecration: media reports and blog comments

Only two bishops will lay hands on the candidate? I thought it required three. Is this the normal practice or were they only able to find two who were not tainted by their past practice?

Posted by Tom Downs at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 1:52pm GMT

There will be three. If you view the Archbishop's statement, there are separate references to the Archbishop delegating his role as chief consecrator, and his choice of two assistants.

[See paras 5 and 7 under arrangements.]

Posted by Peter Owen at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 2:01pm GMT

The Archbishop's account is both high-handed and ham-handed.

He can say it's not about taint -- but 'tain't necessarily so.

"Mutual flourishing" does not require creating a new, ultra-pure sect within the church. That's what this nonsense will lead to.

I hope some serious questions are asked soon in both Houses of Parliament.

Posted by Jeremy at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 2:02pm GMT

TA readers from overseas might like to know that this was the story at the top of the front page of The Times yesterday.
I know my American friends are constantly amazed that the happenings in the Church attracts such widespread media interest.

Reading the earlier threads one is left with the impression that this was a deal done behind closed doors some time ago. It may have been part of the negotiations that saw the vote go through in the English Synod. Fr North would not have to ask for that which had already been agreed.
One is left wondering if the secret protocol will be imposed on subsequent Primates as Issues was imposed on all bishops?

What was publicly rejected as the way forward is de facto to be accomplished. Something of a coup.

Ordinations are magic.
If one understands magic as this online dictionary defines:
"the power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces."
One wonders how a bishop could be orthodox in any shape or form without understand this.
But of course understanding Apostolic Succession as an unbroken drainpipe is more than fanciful!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 3:32pm GMT

The much vaunted Five Guiding Principles are getting an early outing, but as I have said on other TA threads the real underlying issue is that fact that this appointment is of a suffragan bishop. No amount of ecclesial gymnastics (personality and evident qualities apart) will enable a non-ordainer to be in full communion with his episcopal colleagues, and what kind of ministry is expected to clergy in the diocese, especially women clergy? Let's hope that, going forward, no currently serving diocesan bishop (including +Londin re the vacant see of Edmonton) nominates a traditionalist to be a suffragan or area bishop. That will show good judgement, will not offend the Five Guiding Principles and will prevent this nonsense being repeated (for a third time). The reasons for not dismantling the PEV machinery are clear. If the Northern Province needs a second PEV then resurrect the see of Hulme. Critics of this will say that this strategy will deny papabile traditionalists the opportunity to serve but that ignores the fact that the consecration of women to the episcopate is a game-changer. The mind of the Church is now settled on this matter.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 4:06pm GMT

The planned liturgical circus is an example of,
"Liturgy is politics dramatized." The C of E appears to be channeling Machiavelli, i.e. " Keep your Metropolitan close, but your patriarchal friends closer".

Posted by Rod Gillis at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 4:15pm GMT

@Martin Reynolds: I once heard apostolic succession referred to as a charismatic daisy-chain.

Posted by Daniel Berry, NYC at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 4:21pm GMT

Perhaps if those who are so vociferously objecting to the February 2nd consecration were to put themselves in Bishop Henderson's shoes they might see the reason for appointing a Traditionalist Anglo-Catholic to the Suffragan See of Burnley. I suspect that the Diocesan Bishop is not welcome in many of the parishes within the diocese of Blackburn, therefore in order to ensure full episcopal oversight throughout the entire diocese he made the wise decision to appoint the Traditionalist Fr. Philip North as one of his suffragan bishops.
The blame for this unholy mess is laid firmly at the feet of the General Synod for so disastrously departing from Scripture and Tradition.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 4:59pm GMT

The WB bishops legislation is intended to be the final legislation in this area. The CofE has made its decision once and for all. +Ebor is thus not responding to the situation as it is on the ground today but to the canonical reality of the CofE as it now exists. He is making arrangements for a consecration which cater not only for the present situation but also for the future. +Ebor is 65 and must retire in the next five years. His successor could be a woman. If that is so, there will be no need to revisit the issue of consecrations - what is being set up now will hold.

Posted by rose at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 5:07pm GMT

Just a whom is the Royal Mandate addressed?

Posted by Perry Butler at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 7:17pm GMT

You're wrong, Father David. The 'blame' etc. falls on those who do not conduct themselves with integrity. Sentamu is certainly suspect number 1 here. But so are you, because on TA it was you who first broached the possibility that Sentamu would not consecrate/celebrate. In any case, if you radically hold the view that the 'blame' lies with Synod for accepting women bishops, you should leave this church. No other course is open to you if you wish to maintain your moral credentials.

Posted by John at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 7:21pm GMT

"The blame for this unholy mess is laid firmly at the feet of the General Synod for so disastrously departing from Scripture and Tradition."

It is indeed an unholy mess, but one wonders how big the mess is? If this is an isolated incident, or one of a few, it remains unholy, but reflects only a small reaction to the wisdom and prayerful soul-searching of the Synod.

Formerly, bishops were burned right and left, but the church changed, moved on, and throve - until recently, when the unholy and unedifying spectacle of sex-obsessed reactionaries, coupled with the irrelevancy/boredom factor, contributed to the emptying of the pews. Female ordination may well pave the way back in for many.

Posted by Nathaniel Brown at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 7:23pm GMT

Well if this is the kind of liturgical choreography that the WB bishop's legislation requires, then, to quote Dickens' Mr. Bumble, "If the law supposes that, ...the law is a ass—a idiot".

Posted by Rod Gillis at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 7:30pm GMT

It still remains true that the Archbishop of York will not consecrate Philip North because 2 weeks before he will have consecrated a woman. To let someone else consecrate Philip North and ask all the other bishops to refrain as well sets up another line of Bishops not truly that of the Church of England.

Posted by Jean Mayland at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 8:05pm GMT

"The WB bishops legislation is intended to be the final legislation in this area. The CofE has made its decision once and for all."

Oh, really? You think people who weren't in this Synod will feel bound forever by its immutable decisions?

Just watch what happens when the new Synod takes over.

It's the idea that "what is being set up now will hold" that has most people up in arms.

Obviously this patchwork compromise (which I denounced at the time) was the best that the current Synod was capable of. But if Parliament doesn't step in, future Synods can, and should, do better.

Posted by Jeremy at Friday, 23 January 2015 at 8:08pm GMT

[Cross-posted to the Purgstall blog, where I'm far from confident it will actually be published there]

"That all the CofE bishops who happen to be male take part in this consecration, and ****Bishop Libby be forced**** to sit at the back?"

That opposition to ordination equality is *entirely* due to misogyny: Q.E.D.

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 24 January 2015 at 6:08am GMT

A thought which may change some minds in this increasingly bitter and repetitive multi-thread: Will the Rt Revd Libby Lane be present at the consecration on the 2nd Feb? If she is, then it is possible to see the non-laying of hands by most bishops and +Ebor quite differently. They will not only be deferring to Philip and his fellow-traditionalists' convictions, they will be standing apart in solidarity with her.
Furthermore, even if she isn't, this pattern could be replicated in the future, when a large proportion of the bishops can be expected to be female. And most strikingly of all, imagine the arrangements as described in +Ebor's letter with a woman Archbishop - perfectly possible, and all that grandiose assertion of metropoliticality rather important, but with a consecration and celebration still acceptable to the traditionalist being consecrated.
The real alternative in the long term is to force traditionalists to hold consecrations in, perhaps, St Nicholas, Fleetwood, and that is the very separation we are trying to avoid.

Posted by Neil Patterson at Saturday, 24 January 2015 at 7:33am GMT

Will Monday's novel innovation in' York Minster be followed by "a period of reception"?

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 24 January 2015 at 7:34am GMT

Lest my publication of JCF's comment on my (relatively modestly-read) blog go unmentioned on this (relatively well-read) blog, I thought I'd point out here that I publish all comments without hesistation. I am not afraid of hearing the views of people who disagree with me and, if you care to see the comment-rate on other posts, am actually quite gratified to get comments.

If I may, I would suggest that the tenor of this whole debate, and the likelihood of dialogue occurring at all, can be vastly improved if we drop the near-assumption (such as the one made here of me) that we are no longer willing to listen to each other. This whole situation emerged because General Synod members engaged in a listening process that challenged them to dare to move forward: to suggest that a new General Synod should overturn what was accomplished through what I am told (by people who are actually GS members) was Christian behaviour and godly conversation is, in my opinion, to reject that peaceable church that all of us want.

Posted by The Vicar of Purgstall at Sunday, 25 January 2015 at 1:47am GMT

The hymn below expresses a mindset that would be entirely appropriate to the touching moments for every bishop at an episcopal consecration ceremony. It surely emphasises that touching ought to be a normative process for every bishop present.

We reach out to touch the hem of Christ's robe,
his garment of wide spreading grace,
forgiven forgiving that we may become,
a touching a healing place.

Now we are the hem of his garment today,
his garment that spreads the world round;
to share the good news of his healing and love,
a place where his peace may be found.

And we are his garment of undying love,
his friends who will do and will dare,
"go out now" he tells us, to care for the world,
a touching and healing place.

The body of Christ, the children of God,
his channel of infinite grace,
transformed and transforming, our glory to be
a touching and healing place.

The words were written by Betty Barnes and set to music by Nigel Condry.
This hymn was sung at the memorial service for Betty Barnes held at St. Mary’s, Mortlake on Friday, 23rd January 2015.

Posted by Paul Edelin at Sunday, 25 January 2015 at 8:04am GMT

I observe that FinF has not issued a scathing press release about Libby Lane’s consecration of the kind that was issued when Pat Storey was consecrated as Bishop of Meath. Instead they have expressed good wishes and the assurance of prayers and some of them will be present on Monday. Within the limits of what they feel is possible I think the present leadership of FinF is trying to be both gracious and restrained, and at the risk of alienating some of their own more passionate adherents. This seems to me a significant and hopeful change and it would be a pity if it gets overlooked amid the inevitable controversy surrounding both consecrations.

Posted by Jane Charman at Sunday, 25 January 2015 at 11:17am GMT

'Gracious Restraint' as I understand it is the means whereby the Rt Rev John Sentamu is working within the guidelines of the new legislation which now requires mutual respect.
By refraining from laying hands on the future Bishop of Burnley, Philip North, he is surely respecting the wishes of the candidate who would not (as I understand it)wish to be touched by one who has laid hands on a woman in the course of the ordination ceremony.Incorrigible as it may seem,we are simply witnessing the new law in action. How else could it be done?
Helen Rawdon

Posted by Helen Rawdon at Monday, 26 January 2015 at 12:51am GMT I thanked The Vicar for said publication. No more cross-posting, promise! :-)

I must confess, all this talk of "gracious restraint" also grates, because of its history in the Aughts in TEC. At the 2006 General Convention, this concept was (essentially) imposed upon TEC, by the then-ABC, vis-a-vis ordaining another bishop-who-happened-to-be-gay (rescinded 3 years later, TBTG!). Coercion is coercion, and there's nothing "gracious" about it, IMO.

Posted by JCF at Monday, 26 January 2015 at 2:13am GMT

'By refraining from laying hands on the future Bishop of Burnley, Philip North, he is surely respecting the wishes of the candidate who would not (as I understand it) wish to be touched by one who has laid hands on a woman in the course of the ordination ceremony.'

While this may have been what traditional catholics thought in the past and for all I know some of them still do, it is not the position of the current leadership of FinF who would strongly deny any theology of ‘taint’. Unfortunately what they believe instead is so complex and technical that they have not been able to explain it in a way that people can grasp.

I’ve tried to persuade traditional catholic friends that the concept of ‘impaired communion’ which is the basis for their argument is an elaboration too far of their position and probably not worth the cost to them of trying to maintain it. People understand ‘sacramental assurance’ and realise that traditional catholics are not going to lay hands on Libby Lane or she on them. But ‘impaired communion’ does not make sense to people (and to those of us who care about that kind of thing it does not make sense ecclesiologically either). So people will continue to see ‘taint’ and that will undermine sympathy and support for traditional catholics in a way that could have been avoided.

Needless to say my traditional catholic friends disagree with me. The concept of ‘impaired communion’ is the way in which they have squared for themselves the difficult circle that allows them to remain within the Church of England and they continue to feel that consecration arrangements like the ones ABY has proposed are something they must have.

Posted by Jane Charman at Monday, 26 January 2015 at 9:21am GMT

Well our actions as a Church could be undergirded by doctrine/theology rather than pragmatism...We have a Doctrine Commission....have they been consulted about the theological integrity of the five principles and their congruence with ecumenical agreements on the nature of the episcopate we have signed with other Churches?

Posted by Perry Butler at Monday, 26 January 2015 at 10:22am GMT


Your comments have been very clarifying. I'm still fairly sure in my own mind that the thing has been badly handled by the ABP of York especially but others too and that elements of his wording are pretty disingenuous to the point of xxxxx. The actual result seems to me liveable with, because the traditionalists are having to suffer too. But here's a question: would your traditionalist friends ever take communion from bishops who had consecrated women priests/bishops? Does the phenomenon of women bishops mark a decisive boundary here? I agree entirely with you that the present FinF leadership is far more sophisticated and generous than its forebears (and that we see a similar difference between some traditionalist commentators on TA and others).

Posted by John at Monday, 26 January 2015 at 12:24pm GMT

I have looked today in “Together”, the online magazine of the Society of St Wilfrid and St Hilda, at the ‘Declaration’ which priests of the Society are enjoined to sign, so as to give ‘Sacramental Assurance’ to their followers. According to the two bullet points relevant to this present discussion, Society priests are to declare that they:

“• have been ordained by a male
bishop in the apostolic succession
of bishops at whose ordination
male bishops presided
• will themselves not receive or join
in the sacramental ministry of
women priests and bishops or
those whom they have ordained”

In the light of this, I remain completely mystified and perplexed (in spite of the helpful observations of Jane Charman this morning) as to how Dr Sentamu can possibly have persuaded himself that ‘gracious restraint’ should require him to propose arrangements which seem to support the much more extreme ultramontanist view that “valid” priests and bishops should never have had any sacramental connection at all with those (male bishops) who have themselves ordained and supported women in the priesthood.

If this was at Bishop (elect) North’s request, it should have been rejected as going way beyond what is reasonably required for the ‘traditionalist catholic’ camp to “flourish” within the CofE. If (as one post suggested) it was intended as some sort of ‘sop’ to prevent the new Bishop (Libby) Lane of Stockport from feeling left out of things, it was a seriously misguided one, setting a dreadfully divisive precedent for the future. If it was just the Archbishop’s own idea as to how these things should now be handled, it is difficult to see it as anything other than ill-judged, to the point of perversity.

Dear Lord, please help us to find a way out of this mess !

Posted by Papa Luna at Monday, 26 January 2015 at 3:09pm GMT

Jane, I was careful to add the qualifying phrase 'As I understand it' in case there is something I have overlooked or misconceived.
Yes FinF have re-invented themselves (Society of Wilfred and Hilda) and adjusted the language to be more suitably positive in preparation for the new inclusive legislation.
The Church of England has turned itself inside out to avoid excluding any of its members in the new legislative process....hence the clause on Mutual Respect. I still maintain that the ABY is honouring that requirement in standing down for the new Bishop of Burnley's consecration.I'm sure he would like to consecrate the new Bishop of Burnley in the usual way but would not wish to force his ministry against the candidate's wishes.
There are only two options here....dogma or democracy. All other democracies that I am aware of create their legislation around the wishes of the majority and the minority then have the choice to conform to the new law or consider their position. Because the C of E has attempted to include everyone, the working out of the new law is going to require a great deal of patience and graciousness on behalf of everyone.
I would sincerely love to hear a clear and logical explanation of your catholic friends' beliefs when it becomes available. In the meantime we must all prayerfully seek the best way forward.

Posted by Helen Rawdon at Monday, 26 January 2015 at 4:11pm GMT

Several people have expressed the view that the Abp of York has got this wrong. Do they also think that the Abp acted alone in coming to this decision -- or is it more likely that this is a joint position agreed with the Primate and Metropolitan of the southern province?

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Monday, 26 January 2015 at 4:33pm GMT

It's a good question, Simon, and I wish I knew the answer. I am waiting (but not holding my breath) for a reply to my complaint to the Primate of All England about what is to happen in the Northern Province next week.

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Monday, 26 January 2015 at 6:21pm GMT

John - yes, I do think traditional catholics think that the advent of women bishops marks a decisive boundary and that we are all now in a different set of relationships as a result. And they will often speak as though this is something that the whole Church of England now recognises and accepts, but that isn't the case at all.

Ecclesial communion is something that exists between churches not between members of churches. Members of churches may disagree with one another, to the extent of refusing to receive one another's ministries, but that does not mean that communion between them is impaired but something at a more relational level may be impaired for which 'communion' is not the right word.

Ecclesially there are four possibilities: either traditional catholics are in full communion with the Church of England, or they are in full communion with another church, or they are a separate church or they are a breakaway group. Since FinF's own answer to b,c, and d is 'no' then a is the only possibility. Traditional catholics are in full communion with the Church of England.

It is perfectly possible for an Archbishop to delegate presidency of the rite of consecration to another bishop as would happen in the case of a vacancy or illness, without this having any implications for communion. Statements from FinF about 'impaired communion' are not well founded theologically but perhaps we can understand that it is a manner of speaking which they have adopted to make sense of and give reassurance around some unwelcome new realities they are having to grapple with.

The real obstacle would be if the rest of the Church of England also adopted this manner of speaking or seemed to agree that we are now in a state of impaired communion as this would have knock on implications for those who receive the ministry of the new Bishop of Burnley and other traditional catholic bishops in future. That might then start to raise questions about whether people could safely receive THEIR ministry - leading to a new level of uncertainty and discomfort. As things stand there is no uncertainty and no reason why people should not receive the ministries of bishops Libby and Philip with confidence.

Posted by Jane Charman at Monday, 26 January 2015 at 6:50pm GMT

Thank you, Jane. I agree with you.

A few years ago, something called the 'Blackburn compromise' (or something like that) was proposed. (It meant that people who didn't accept the priesthood of the celebrant could take the elements as pre-consecrated by an acceptable priest.) I, low pragmatist that I am, supported it. very few others on either side did. Of course, my views are completely irrelevant, but why couldn't it now with profit be revived? Why wouldn't it allow everybody sometimes to share virtually the same Eucharist?

Posted by John at Monday, 26 January 2015 at 7:25pm GMT

I have no idea who Jane Charman is, but thank you, Jane, for injecting a voice of normality into the comments of TA - which is, for some, a place very difficult to recognise as Anglican or even Christian at times.

Posted by Tristan at Monday, 26 January 2015 at 7:33pm GMT

thank you for this. Do you mind a few more questions please?
Why does this state of impaired communion arise with women bishops, why did not arise to the same extent with women priests?
Why was it acceptable for an Archbishop who had ordained women to consecrate PEV bishops, but it is not acceptable for the same Archbishop to consecrate a conservative area bishop now that he as consecrated a woman bishop?

And if that state of Impaired Communion exists, how does it impact on the priests in charge of the new area bishops? Is he in Impaired Communion with his own women priests and male priests who have participated in the ordination of women?
And does that principle extend down to those congregants who have received the Sacrament from women priests and male priests who have participated in the ordination of women?

How will any of this work out in practice?
I find it so hard to understand how you can be an area bishop in this situation. The PEV system made much more sense, didn't it?

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 8:51am GMT

"Ecclesially there are four possibilities: either traditional catholics are in full communion with the Church of England, or they are in full communion with another church, or they are a separate church or they are a breakaway group. Since FinF's own answer to b,c, and d is 'no' then a is the only possibility. Traditional catholics are in full communion with the Church of England."

Jane, I completely agree with your statement above. The problem with the arrangements for the consecration of the bishop of Burnley next week is that the Archbishop's practical arrangements provide not for the answer "a" but either "c" or "d". The contrast could not be more striking - between a truly Catholic consecration with the participation of the Archbishop of the province and bishops representing the wider Church (of the CofE, the Anglican Communion and beyond with Old Catholics and Lutherans of the Porvoo Communion)and a consecration by a small group of bishops selected from and representing the practices and polity of a narrow section, rather than,the wider Church and excluding the provincial and diocesan of the See which is supposed to be served. General Synod, and FinF, both believe that the legislation allows for the hope of "a" - full communion. Sadly, the new bishop of Burnley will in effect be pushed into the realm of "c" or "d" whether he wishes it or not.

Posted by Paul Richardson at Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 9:49am GMT

'Sadly, the new bishop of Burnley will in effect be pushed into the realm of 'c' or 'd' whether he wishes or not'
Paul, and all who are committed to seeking true unity in the CoE, forgive me if I am overlooking something obvious here, but is it not a fact that the Rev. Philip North has chosen to belong to the
traditionalist group which cannot in conscience accept the leadership of women in the church. If it were that simple to arrange full communion for them, in every sense, I'm sure the legislation would have been arranged long ago. As it was it has taken considerable time to create something that, as virtually as possible, resembles full communion. However, surely this is the whole point that it is impossible to create genuine full communion whilst any of the traditionalists remain unable to accept the leadership of women in the CoE. Whilst Rev Philip North might have personally wished to conform with the symbolism of the laying on of hands by the ABY, most of the rest of his traditionalist colleagues, as I understand it, would not.(Consider this the end of my statement if I am mistaken here ). The point I am making is that there is no real point in creating a show of full unity on the day if that truly does not exist ( much as I and many long for it to be so )I don't know what is in the ABY's mind for taking this course of action but maybe he is saying....'this is the way it is'...'this is the way the whole thing works out in reality'....
I hope and pray that one day the CoE might be able to display that genuine, full, visible unity that we all yearn for and not some cosmetic simulation.The CoE needs to have a clear united voice as does the whole Christian Church in these modern days.

Posted by Helen Rawdon at Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 11:06am GMT

Paul Richardson makes a good point.

There was a time only recently when those who were bothered about these things would compare how many Old Catholics featured in someone's pedigree. Indeed, for many, the whole basis of sacramental assurance had the intervention of the Old Catholic bishops at heart. No longer, it seems.

As with dogs the decreasing number of bishops available will inevitably damage the breed and inbreeding, as we know, while preserving pure blood lines has deeper consequences.
I wonder if there will be the resources to keep a sort of Kennel Club register, perhaps that will be the only essential function of the Society?

The ordinations by CESA bishops in Southwark a while back point to a possible use of outsiders whose orders are recognised even though there is impaired communion. Some have talked of supplementary consecrations to ensure purity while others have discussed secret consecrations to preserve a larger pool of episcopal strands.
It is just the begining of a new chapter, and we can expect some interesting gymnastics over the next few decades.
One has to note that the election of Pope Francis has left the Ordinariate rather isolated and many now give the reasons for not joining this group that Francis is too much in the liberal mould!!
It seems that rather than the Society,patronised without their consent by Wilfred and Hilda, many English Anglo Catholics openly hanker for something akin to the Society of Pious X.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 11:55am GMT

Tristan - I'm a priest currently serving as Director of Ministry in the Diocese of Salisbury. I was a member of the steering committee which put together the legislation that enabled Bishop Libby to be consecrated yesterday. So I have sat close to these issues but blogging here in my personal capacity only and well aware that others may see things very differently.

Posted by Jane Charman at Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 3:10pm GMT


FinF would say that a state of 'impaired communion' existed within the College of Priests following the ordination of women priests, as priestly ministries were no longer fully interchangeable. The difficulty did not extend to the College of Bishops as there were no women bishops or men in whose consecration women had been involved. However, following the consecration of a woman bishop the state of 'impaired communion' extends to the whole College of Bishops too. So while it was ok for ABY to consecrate a traditionalist bishop before Monday he can now no longer do so.

People are finding this hard to understand because for the last 20 years traditional catholics themselves have not behaved as though it were the case. They behaved as though the ordination of women priests meant that they could not receive the ministry of the bishops who had ordained them either, although there was no ecclesiological reason except that they disagreed with what they had done, and were angry with them, and their leaders were encouraging them to act that out by cutting themselves off from them.

The creation of PEVs was intended as a pastoral provision for that part of the church that was hurting about this issue but it also caused great confusion by entrenching the idea that there was some reason why traditional catholics should not receive the ministry of ordinary bishops and this is the origin of the idea of 'taint'. The new leadership of FinF wants to get away from 'taint' and emphasise that present constraints are only about 'impaired communion' but they are finding it difficult to establish this retrospectively.

As for the impact on the ministry the new +Burnley will exercise, in one sense there isn't an issue. FinF no longer believes in 'taint' and the rest of the Church of England does not believe in 'impaired communion' - so there is no reason for people not to receive his ministry just as they would the ministry of any other bishop. The boot is rather on the other foot in that it is he who is setting limits on the ministry he is prepared to receive, and he who will be responsible for the pastoral impact that has on those he seeks to serve. So I am inclined to leave it to him to explain how he thinks it should work in practice.

Posted by Jane Charman at Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 3:28pm GMT

I appreciate that this is an English solution to an English problem, but the Archbishop's arrangements seem very Irish to me. It certainly appears to institutionalise schism.
@Tristan, TA correspondents are not angelic, but they usually seem pretty Anglican to me. Sometimes even Christian.

Posted by David Oxley at Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 4:43pm GMT

Jane Charman states that some FiF members were to be present at York yesterday. If so, this would be a welcome indication of a commitment of at least some of their number to mutual, rather than separate, flourishing. Can any TA readers confirm if this was the case and, if so were they lay or ordained?

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 4:52pm GMT

thank you!
So the problem is not impaired communion as such but interchangeability of ministry within every single layer of hierarchy?

But then it should still be possible for Fr North to be consecrated by the Archbishop of York because at that level, there would only be impaired communion if we had a female Archbishop?

Thank you for taking the time to explain this!
I do wonder how many conservative Anglo-Catholics actually understand their own theology and ecclesiology.
I have asked for explanations so many times and no-one explained what you just explained.
My latest Facebook post with precisely this question ran to 450 comments without anyone having mentioned interchangeability.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 6:07pm GMT

Re your reference to a ‘Blackburn compromise’:

According to my GRAS Spring 2010 newsletter, back in 2010 Blackburn clergy received invitations to celebrate a Chrism Eucharist - a Renewal of Commitment to the Ministry of Deacons and Priests and a Blessing of the Oils.

Apparently there was proposed a Eucharist for all on Maundy Thursday 1st April 2010 in Blackburn cathedral at which the Diocesan bishop would preside and the Suffragan Bishop of Lancaster would preach, with the Blessing of Oils and the Renewal of Ministerial Vows by the Diocesan Clergy.

But there was also to be a Chrism Eucharist on the preceding Tuesday at which the Diocesan bishop would be present and give the Blessing, and the Suffragan Bishop of Burnley would celebrate, preach and consecrate the oils, when MALE priests and deacons would be invited to renew their ordination vows before the Bishop at Burnley St Andrew.

I don’t know what happened but some Blackburn clergy back in 2010 thought that the only response to that alternative was to weep.

Does it make any sense at all to run a religious organisation as a duopoly, either at a special eucharist as above or at a forthcoming episcopal consecration? Is the Church of England in danger of becoming a laughing-stock and a byword for duplicity?

Posted by Paul Edelin at Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 6:58pm GMT

Life is short. Too much time can be taken up with relative trivialities. In the end I think people like Philip North and FinF generally are playing too hard ball for their own good. Over and over again FinF parishes turn out to be 'ghost' parishes, over and over again when much-loved FinF priests retire, their churches 'suddenly' (but it's not really sudden) discover they have no objections at all to women priests (or bishops). Even more than in the church at large (which is saying something), FinF priests and bishops are chiefs with vanishingly few Indians. They need to play a more realistic game. In a way I'm sorry to have to say this - and it goes strongly against my instinctive love of latitudinarian Anglicanism - but enough is enough.

Posted by John at Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 9:01pm GMT

Erika - there isn't a separate order of Archbishops but Archbishops are simply bishops in this equation. The good news is that there won't therefore be a new problem when a women becomes ABC or ABY!

Posted by Jane Charman at Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 11:12pm GMT

The comments following Bosco Peters Anglo Donatism article are well worth reading....esp that by Jesse

Posted by Perry Butler at Wednesday, 28 January 2015 at 7:52am GMT

Clarification seems to be growing. It seems to me that there are certain asymmetries in FinF positions which require them to make certain concessions (like, for example, accepting communion from non-FinF male priests, bishops and archbishops). These asymmetries include: (1)themselves giving communion to C of E people who do accept women priests/bishops, or indeed to any baptised Christian (a Cof E position, not an RC or Orthodox one - though, of course, frequently disregarded in practice by RC and Orthodox priests); (2) themselves giving communion to those of their own parishioners who do accept women priests; (3) being trained up in C of E institutions; and (4) claiming the right to be C of E bishops for priests and lay people who do accept women priests. Despite Paul Edelin above, I do think fudged concelebrations of the Eucharist would be a good way forward.

Posted by John at Wednesday, 28 January 2015 at 8:26pm GMT

" TA - which is, for some, a place very difficult to recognise as Anglican or even Christian at times"

I suppose the reminder that wingnutry is ever with us is always welcome, but I should be genuinely afraid to meet anyone who sincerely struggled to recognize the very tame liberalism of TA as Christian. That way lies Viciosity and the like, it seems to me.

Posted by Geoff at Thursday, 29 January 2015 at 6:04am GMT

A belated thank you, Jane!

Posted by Erika Baker at Friday, 30 January 2015 at 8:42am GMT
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