Comments: Forward in Faith: The Ordination of the Bishop of Burnley

So the new Bishop of Burnley is, on this showing, starting out on the express basis that he is out of communion with his diocesan bishop, and out of communion with his archbishop.

And they go along with that by providing another bishop to preside at his consecration eucharist, because he won't take communion from his diocesan bishop or from his own archbishop.

That's odd.

Posted by badman at Tuesday, 3 February 2015 at 5:48pm GMT

This statement from Forward in Faith speaks of yesterday's consecration being about "sacramental and pastoral provision for us" and that the arrangements "contribute to enabling our priests and bishops to flourish".
But Philip North is now Bishop of Burnley, a bishop for the whole Diocese of Blackburn, so surely the consecration was about sacramental and pastoral provision for us, not Forward in Faith, and was primarily to enable our priests and bishops to flourish in this diocese. He is not a PEV. He is a bishop for me as a woman incumbent, he was not made a bishop for Forward in Faith, that is why I was there yesterday.

Posted by Nancy Goodrich at Tuesday, 3 February 2015 at 5:51pm GMT

A de facto third province is born and an evangelical one is also on the way. This is far more radical than the 1993 Act of Synod.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Tuesday, 3 February 2015 at 8:03pm GMT

Inside / outside
It was interesting as an outsider to be present for the long and rather chilly consecration of Fr Philip North as Bishop of Burnley. Chilly because there was no heating and it was freezing. Apart from heat I was hoping for bells, but there were none.
First of all, the service booklet clearly announced on its cover that Fr Philip was to be consecrated by Dr Sentamu and three other bishops. Just before the service, however, Dr Sentamu popped up in a pulpit and rambled on about why he would NOT be consecrating Philip. No mention of "taint" however. "The lady doth protest too much" sprang to my mind.
Some bishops present (+London, for example who appeared grim-faced throughout), did not lay hands on Rev Libby last week. He, and others in a similar position, were excluded for this one. And they looked excluded. All bishops - apart from the three chosen ones - had to keep their hands at a safe distance.
Visually, it painted a picture of two churches: the Real and the USED TO BE REAL. The huge majority of bishops, including +Sentamu appeared compromised - 2nd class - redundant.
Likewise at the Communion Service which followed: only +Chichester was allowed to consecrate, although the whole sanctuary area was flooded with women draped like medieval priests. If I had been inclined to receive communion, I would have had some reservations about its origin, in the same way as I scrutinise food labels these days.
The wording seemed to be basically modern Roman, although Cranmer's "Gather up the crumbs" was printed in the booklet but skipped by +Chichester. There was a glorious Mass setting and a French Tantum Ergo.
At the end, Philip, Libby and +Sentamu posed for a photograph at the West Door. A show of unity - obviously three friends. I do not presume to be a theologian, but for me, it told the lie of what had happened inside.

Posted by Wilfrid at Tuesday, 3 February 2015 at 8:10pm GMT

"a future female Archbishop of York could not be the principal consecrator of a traditional catholic bishop"

She could, if "traditional catholic" is seen in (holy!) light of Scripture, Tradition and REASON, as opposed to gender-essentialist fetishism. [And letting go of "having to refrain" POWER-OVER. Well, at least this statement didn't say "Bishop Libby {would} be forced to sit at the back"!]

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 3 February 2015 at 8:30pm GMT

This presupposition, made by Bishop Tony Robinson, on behalf of Forward in Faith clergy and laity, would seem to impose an embargo on future archiepiscipal leadership in the Church of England:

"Plainly, a future female Archbishop of York could not be the principal consecrator of a traditional catholic bishop. By delegating that ministry to the Bishop of Chichester, Archbishop Sentamu has ensured that there need be no difference between his role on this occasion and that of a future female archbishop. We hope that those who support the ordination of women as bishops will agree with us that any such distinction should be avoided."

As an Anglo-Catholic priest, in another (ACANZP) jurisdiction of the world-wide Anglican Communion, I question the 'catholicity' of an organisation in the Church that claims special ordination rights that are different from those of other Anglican clergy and bishops in Communion Churches.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 3 February 2015 at 9:21pm GMT

Many things I might say - but I am not sure how traditional catholic priests have been receiving the sacramental ministry of bishops for the last twenty years when they have often refused to take communion if the president is a bishop who has ordained women, who have invited their bishop to confirm candidates but asked them not to preside at communion and who have chosen not to join their Diocesan bishop for the Chrism Mass? Yet traditional bishops accepted the archbishops as chief consecrators. In 2013, the Bishop of Ebbsfleet and the Bishop of Tewkesbury were even consecrated in the same service. I fail to see what has altered theologically - or I fail to see any logic in it.

Posted by RosalindR at Tuesday, 3 February 2015 at 9:48pm GMT

I am so sad at the message the Church of England puts out to women.

A man in power says what is to happen without it seems consulting' and then suggests we should be silent if we disagree and rejoice. Hmmm...

Has this sort of consecration of a bishop ever happened like this before in the history of the church?

Presumably now we are in a church where some male priests will not recognise other male priests because they were ordained by a woman bishop, or by a bishop that has ordained a woman bishop. Best then pure male priests carry cards to prove they are untainted.

How can a woman priest who may be having a difficult time with, say, family issues, hormone imbalance, heavy periods... Go to these untainted bishops for pastoral care and support. Of course they can't - they will be seen as proving its wrong to ordain women.

The fact the Archbishop didn't celebrate rather shows many in he untainted group will not be receiving sacramental ministry - including Holy Communion - from bishops who take part in consecrating women.

And this is being a loyal Anglican?
And this is said to be traditional Catholic... The event at York was neither traditional nor Catholic.

Posted by Edna at Tuesday, 3 February 2015 at 11:27pm GMT

From the "human input" angle in a rite of consecration, is it only the laying on of hands which is necessary for validity? Is not a bishop who is present and in good standing with the hierarchy not a co-consecrator, even if (s)he does not lay hands on the bishop-designate but does intend the act of consecration? What is the Anglican theology on this point? And in default of 3 "acceptable" pairs of episcopal hands, how many are sufficient for validity and liceity?

Just an interested enquiry

Posted by Sister Mary at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 6:31am GMT

Seems to me that the Bishop of Chichester would make a splendid Archbishop and, by all accounts, conducted the proceedings with great dignity last Monday.
I remember Clive James writing in the Observer following the marriage of Charles and Diana that Archbishop Runcie brought "unction to the function".

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 8:51am GMT

"Presumably now we are in a church where some male priests will not recognise other male priests because they were ordained by a woman bishop, or by a bishop that has ordained a woman bishop. Best then pure male priests carry cards to prove they are untainted."
Some of us are now left wondering if the new Bishop of Burnley really is a bishop of the Church of England or a Bishop of a new break away sect, as neither the Archbishop of the province nor the diocesan bishop of the diocese in which he serves participated in the laying on of hands.

Posted by Paul Richardson at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 9:11am GMT

Sister Mary,

any sacrament needs matter, form and intention for validity. In ordination/consecration, the laying on of hands is the matter, the prayer of consecration the form, and the intention is to do what the Church does (i.e. to validly ordain/consecrate). Thus the laying on of hands is regarded as necessary, but not sufficient. Likewise, intention is necessary but without matter or form it is not sufficient. In point of fact, since in consecration the Church teaches the necessity of laying on of hands, it would appear that someone who does not lay on hands is ipso facto not intending to consecrate, so the scenario you suggest is impoossible.

CofE Canon Law, based here on the Canons of Nicaea, requires three bishops to consecrate, and this has been the pretty much universal practice of The Church. There have been rare times in history when consecration by two bishops has (allegedly) been performed, but they have always been controversial and not universally accepted. So in default of three bishops there is no consecration.

Posted by Bernard Randall at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 11:05am GMT

Father David,
an Archbishop who doesn't recognise the Ministry of the majority of the bishops and clergy in his own church? Why not, we might as well take this another step forward.
Personally, I think we should have a Roman Catholic Archbishop who believes that all the CoE orders are null and void. That would at least sort out the argument of taint.
Or maybe a Muslim Archbishop who doesn't recognise the validity of the Christian faith. Provided he could offer a good ceremony, that is.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 11:26am GMT

Cardinal Walter Kasper addressed the CofE Bishops in 2006. In the light of recent events and it is well worth re-reading his address to the Bishops, which notably quotes English Saints. The Roman Catholic Church was clearly signalling the consequences for any possibility of unity if women were to be made Bishops. I'm not sure that any of the manoeuvrings of Forward in Faith or the Society of ST Wilfrid are going to help them to claim that there is some special relationship with Rome.
There is also an interesting reference to the Council of Nicea requiring all the Bishops of a Province to take part in an Ordination of another Bishop. The provision for only 3 to do it seems to assume the others couldn't physically be present, rather than that they would be there and stand around with their hands in their pockets.

Posted by William S at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 11:54am GMT

I really do wonder whether the CofE as a whole and the The Society under the patronage of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda are going about things "in a way that maintains the highest possible degree of communion".

Posted by Alastair Newman at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 12:06pm GMT

By the same token, seems to me that Philip North would make an excellent Archbishop of York.

Posted by John at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 12:46pm GMT

If Paul Richardson is, in all seriousness, questioning the validly of the Bishop of Burnley's episcopal orders, then, in reality, he is questioning the validity of the episcopal orders of the three consecrating bishops - Chichester, Pontefract and Beverley? As Bernard Randall correctly points out - a valid consecration simply requires three consecrating bishops. Unless, of course, Paul you are also questioning decisions made at the Council of Nicea?

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 1:12pm GMT

I think Bishop Philip will need slightly more than two days of episcopal ministry under his belt before being considered to be sufficiently qualified to be Archbishop of York, but an excellent suggestion for the future nonetheless.
I well remember not so very long ago that if we had a Catholic Cantuar then we would have an Evangelical Ebor or vice versa. This assisted in keeping the Established Church well balanced. Presently we have two Evangelicals at both Canterbury and York.

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 1:35pm GMT

Bernard Randall

Thank you for your helpful answer (11.05am). Not being familiar with the rite, I had assumed that it included an anointing which provided the matter of the sacrament. My mistake.

Posted by Sister Mary at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 4:09pm GMT

Cardinal Walter Caspar's address to the CofE Bishops is worth reading. This text is included within it (referring to PEV's, but perhaps it could be seen to apply to more recent developments also). He said:

"Where mutual recognition and communion between bishops does not exist or no longer exists, where one can therefore no longer concelebrate the eucharist, then no church communion, at least no full church communion and thus no eucharistic communion can exist.

Arrangements like those I have referred to can only cover over the breach superficially; they can paper over the cracks, but they cannot heal the division; one can even go one step further and say that from the Catholic perspective they are the unspoken institutionalisation, manifestation and virtual legitimation of an existing schism."

Posted by Simon Dawson at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 5:05pm GMT

Fr David,
I have no doubt about the validity of Fr North's orders merely that with the Archbishop of the province and the diocesan bishop abstaining from laying on hands, along with all but the select few, I am left wondering if he is a Church of England bishop?

Posted by paul richardson at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 5:34pm GMT

Paul Richardson,
didn't the Archbishop simply delegate his authority, as he would if he was unable to be present?
That was one of the crucial parts of the women bishops legislation too, I seem to remember, that the bishops simply delegate their authority to a non-ordaining bishop, not that they don't even have it.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 6:34pm GMT

Paul Richardson raises a good point.

Is Bishop North now a bishop of the Church of England?

Or is he a bishop of the Society under the patronage of Saint Wilfrid and Saint Hilda?

Posted by Jeremy at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 7:53pm GMT

Bernard Randall: I don't think it is wholly true to say that three bishops are necessary, or there have always been three bishops. The succession can be validly conveyed by a single bishop, but the succession is seen as so fundamental that three are canonically required in case an issue arises as to the validity of the orders of one or two. I pray two pieces of evidence in aid - one a systematic process of conveying the Old Catholic succession into the English episcopate in the hope that this would eventually allow a Pope to lift the Roman Catholic view of orders in the Church of England, and second what I understand to be the practice of covertly consecrating bishops in persecuted lands with one bishop present (though two others would be on duty but not physically present).

The first reflects an Anglo-Catholic hope and understanding; the second, as I understand it, has been an occasional practice in the Roman Catholic Church.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 7:54pm GMT

I wonder if Bishop Philip will exercise gracious restraint and refrain from being the bishop making the annual visit to those congregations or exercising oversight of those congregations where he believes that the priest is actually a priest - sauce for the goose and all that

Posted by Vicki Zust at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 8:48pm GMT

In reply to Erika: no we did not agree these arrangements at Synod. It was not part of the package. In as much as it was discussed in the working party it was rejected. I have heard in recent days people complain that by acting in this way ++Sentamu has smuggled back in amendment 5:1c which we rejected a few years back or - worse - has led us into a Third Province. i don't imagine any of this was intended but consultation (not just with FinF) would have helped to tease this out.

Posted by Charles Read at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 10:10pm GMT

I can assure John that the Bishop of Burnley, with his undoubted qualities, cannot be a candidate for the archbishopric of York, whenever it is next vacant. When will these left field commentators wake up to the settled view of the church on women in ministry? As a former central member of the CNC I am certain that we will not see a non-ordainer nominated to a diocesan bishopric again. If asked by a diocesan bishop, I would advise that there should be no non-ordainer suffragan appointed from now on. None of this offends the Guiding Principles.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 10:58pm GMT

Wonder when the learned papers and articles will start appearing, dealing with an episcopate in crisis, a bifurcated episcopate in the C of E, fractured along gender lines? Theological reflection on all this ought to produce some very interesting theology, especially in the areas of ecumenism, feminist studies, and pastoral ministry.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Wednesday, 4 February 2015 at 11:10pm GMT

Two comments: To Mark Bennett, Old Catholics have been participating in Anglican Episcopal consecrations on an occasional basis for some decades. But then, that's in the colonies so it probably doesn't count in the CofE. (Quite seriously, in the 20s and 30s there was debate and questions about whether colonial bishops were "really' bishops if they moved to England.)

And second, when Cardinal Kaspar addressed the issue in question, he was blithely ignoring (as the CofE and the RC church usually do) the fact that there were already validly consecrated women bishops in several parts of the Anglican communion.

The CofE has to stop thinking it's all about them. The CofE on this, and other issues, is like a general whose army is marching off in a different direction without caring about his orders.


Posted by John Holding at Thursday, 5 February 2015 at 12:40am GMT

thank you.
That leaves me with the question of whether the Archbishop's actions were permissible within the boundaries of what had been agreed, although pushing them, or whether he actually did something Synod had expressly ruled out and which could therefore be challenged, at least in theory?

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 5 February 2015 at 9:03am GMT

Father David and Anthony Archer,

It was a joke.

Posted by John at Thursday, 5 February 2015 at 9:08am GMT

Does Anthony Archer realise that he has suggested the creation of a new "stained glass ceiling" with his recommendation that no "non-ordainer" be appointed suffragan or diocesan bishop in future?
By removing one perceived injustice by allowing women into the episcopate hasn't another injustice been suggested with a proposed veto on Traditionalists becoming Suffragans and Diocesans? If what Mr. Archer suggests becomes a reality then we shall have First and Second Class bishops - those that can become Diocesans and those who cannot. The General Synod and the two Archbishops could not have bequeathed to the Church a crazier jig-saw than this! Following the recent Hoo-Ha at York, it will be most interesting to see what arrangements are to be put in place for the Maidstone consecration of our new Token Conservative Evangelical bishop. If only three perceived to be pukka bishops are nominated to lay hands upon him will there be another outcry from certain TA commentators that he is not a "real" Church of England bishop?

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 5 February 2015 at 9:54am GMT

To John Holding, please do read what the Cardinal actually said. He was not "blithely ignoring", he explicitly recognised that...

"Three provinces within the Anglican Communion have already ordained women to the episcopate; several other provinces have authorized such ordinations, though none have taken place in the latter to this point. These developments already stand as a major obstacle in Anglican–Catholic relations. But the Catholic Church has always perceived the Church of England as playing a unique role in the Anglican Communion....."

Part III, paragraph 8 of

Posted by William S at Thursday, 5 February 2015 at 11:48am GMT

I wouldn't regard it as a 'stained glass ceiling' but that would of course be the result. In a church that is now gender blind in all three orders of ministry it cannot be realistic to introduce bishops who are unable to be in full communion, especially to the House of Bishops. 'Mutual flourishing' stems from the 'honoured place' thinking. Traditionalists with have their 'own' bishops. The PEV machinery, abhorred by some, has in fact served the church well and will clearly continue, including the new +Maidstone. That has been my criticism of the Burnley appointment. All eyes now on +Edmonton.

Posted by Anthony Archer at Thursday, 5 February 2015 at 12:29pm GMT

To Mark Bennett: this is very much an expression of the 'pipeline' theory of the apostolic succession. One might also argue that the three-bishop rule (as opposed to the three-parent rule) is not to ensure that any impurity in the genetic line is overcome, but to represent the collegiality of the ordination, and the incorporation of the new bishop into the hierarchy of the province. It is a symbol of the intercommunion and brotherhood (and now sibling-hood) of the episcopate. Old Catholic bishops (and others) are invited to participate for exactly the same reasons -- as a real and symbolic expression of intercommunion and interchangeability of ministers. The Bonn Accord of 1936 does not, I think, talk about Anglicans re-insuring themselves against Apostolicae Curae by grabbing someone else's pipeline. To do so is surely to miss the point of ordination and to accede to the theory behind Leo XIII's bull.

Posted by Simon Kershaw at Thursday, 5 February 2015 at 12:30pm GMT

We are assuming that the number of parishes that require alternative oversight is small, and can be administered by the PEV's. What if it isn't? How many Evo's passed resolutions? Will more Catholic parishes who previously had access to a Diocesan Catholic Bishop come forward? Only time will tell. So it may not be cast in stone that +Burnley and the forthcoming +Maidstone will be the last.

Posted by Henry Dee at Thursday, 5 February 2015 at 2:50pm GMT

The 'three bishop' convention also makes schismatic consecrations harder to achieve---

however the Church of /england has done a version of that all by itself now !

Posted by Laurie at Thursday, 5 February 2015 at 3:30pm GMT

I don't say I see no reason why 'traditionalists' should not be appointed outside, as it were, their own natural jurisdiction but I do think there can be reasonable reasons - to be weighed against the negative(s) - why they should sometimes be so appointed. One might be that they might be very good candidates in other respects; another might be that it's actually good for them - and for us - to be confronted with the difficulties - and the positivities of living out the contradictions. By most accounts, Martin Warner (certainly well liked and respected by many liberals) is proving a very good bishop, including in his relationships with women priests, and by most accounts Philip North was the same when he was a priest.

Posted by John at Thursday, 5 February 2015 at 4:41pm GMT

Simon Kershaw: I had a similar discussion on a previous thread some while ago. I am not trying to put my own view on the matter of succession. but to test the way that the catholic views of succession are being interpreted in the light of current circumstances. The views I have reflected are present in literature from the catholic tradition, so if people are trying to tell me what that tradition "is" that does need testing. The hope of reunion with Rome facilitated by incorporating the Old Catholic succession into English ordinations was at one time very strong in some circles based on the theory I outlined.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Thursday, 5 February 2015 at 6:53pm GMT

"The hope of reunion with Rome facilitated by incorporating the Old Catholic succession into English ordinations was at one time very strong in some circles based on the theory I outlined."

But only, Simon, as a Vatican face saver - so they could change their minds without changing their minds.

The matter is now incredibly more complex. The Vatican would need both to accept "branch theory", and change their minds on the ordination of women. Well, they could, but not for decades - it may take the eastern rite churches many decades. But they might.

In the meantime where do the traditionalist Anglican Catholics sit, both those in the "continuing churches" and those in the bubble of the CofE's "five principles"?

And what is the future for the traditionalist Anglicans? Will they assimilate into the RC mainstream? Will they slowly die out like the non-juring bishops? Will they continue indefinitely as a healthy and flourishing branch of the Anglican Communion?

I must confess my crystal ball is clouded.

Posted by Labarum at Friday, 6 February 2015 at 3:15pm GMT
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