Thinking Anglicans

Statement about the Forthcoming Consecrations from the Archbishop of York

Forthcoming Consecrations
Archbishop of York
Thursday 22nd January 2015

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu has today issued the following statement:

With great joy and thanksgiving the Church of England will, in the next two weeks, see the consecration of two fine priests, The Revd Libby Lane, and The Revd Philip North as bishops, respectively, of Stockport, in the Diocese of Chester, and of Burnley, in the Diocese of Blackburn. Nothing should be allowed to constrain our joy, our prayers and our thanksgiving, on either occasion….

Follow this link for the full text of the statement, including a version of the note sent earlier to Northern bishops, and a republication of GS Misc 1079.

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JeremyMalcolm DixonHenry DeeLabarumAnthony Archer Recent comment authors
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Tom Marshall
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Tom Marshall

At last! Would it not have saved an awful lot of hurt, misunderstanding, speculation and mud-slinging, if the Archbishop had made some kind of public statement when he wrote to the Northern bishops? Even if I don’t quite ‘get’ how he has reached this position, he could have avoided overshadowing these consecrations with controversy if he had been open about his intentions at an earlier stage. What a shocking example of leadership.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

‘Tagged with Anglican Communion.’

At least they admit it.

Father David
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Father David

A very wise statement from the Archbishop of York, refuting any pernicious nonsense concerning “taint” and putting the record straight with regard to the fact that it was the Archbishop himself who suggested the particular arrangements regarding Fr. Philip’s consecration. Further, I understand that the Bishop of Burnley will make all the necessary oaths of obedience to the Archbishop and that Ebor will present the episcopal ring, symbol of episcopal authority. I recall the deep symbolic significance of another occasion when Pope Paul VI presented his papal ring to Archbishop Ramsey in Rome. How high our hopes were in those… Read more »

DBD
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The levels of self-importance with which the whole thing reads are staggering. Being a Metropolitan must be a thing utterly inconceivable to us mortals.

DBD
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Also, this got my attention simultaneously with the news that all ordinands are to assent to the Five Guiding Principles. Goodness what a lot of assenting there is these days…

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Despite the ABY’s letters of explanation – as to the fact that he will not be principal consecrator at Fr. Philip North’s episcopal ordination – the very fact that he was one of the consecrators at other F.i.F. episcopal ordinations should have rendered his performing the same function at Fr.Philip’s episcopal ordination as being totally acceptable, both to himself and the Church whose authority he represents. To display a different sense of propriety in this new situation is to give evidence of an ecclesial inconsistency that does not augur well for the future credibility of the Church of England in… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

Wise my hat. I note the Archbishop, with a startling lack of modesty, is keen to label his own actions as wise. Time will tell. I think this is a disgraceful set of arrangements that will establish a most unhelpful precedent.

Andrew
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Andrew

The Church Times cites an FiF magazine which said that ‘a bishop, who has in the past ordained women, by that act, created an impairment of communion between him and bishops who did not ordain women’. So the choreography in the Minster acknowledges that that so-called impairment has been created.

If it feels like we’ve been here before, the language is remarkably similar to that used after the consecration of Gene Robinson when the alleged impairment was international.

Rod Gillis
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Rod Gillis

political gymnastics.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

And then there’s this bit, which caused me to laugh out loud:

’10. These arrangements are for prayer, not politics.’

Here the Archbishop of York is — to be kind — straining credibility.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

At last something Ex Cathedra! But, whilst I cannot deny that the current legislation gives ++Sentamu the right to make this decision, I still feel, with any due respect, that it is wholly misguided and will be highly damaging and divisive. The arguments against it are contained within the statement itself, where it points out that ++Sentamu has consecrated +Beverley and +Whitby in the past, despite having laid hands on many women priests. So what is different now to justify establishing this disastrous precedent? I have written to ++Justin to protest, and I urge others to do likewise in the… Read more »

ExRevd
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ExRevd

As a wiser person might have put it, what has been truly tainted in this whole shambles is love.

Peter
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Peter

I am trying very hard to understand this. I could understand if the Archbishop of York had quietly made arrangements for three traditionalist bishops to be involved in the consecration of Philip North. But for the Archbishop and over a dozen other bishops to be present and not take part in laying on of hands seems to me to suggest that somehow the new bishop is not welcomed by his brother and sister bishops, turning what should be a joyous ceremony into a terrible sign of exclusion, not ‘gracious restraint’.

Anne
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Anne

If it is true , as the Archbishop of York says, that”these arrangements were offered at my suggestion and not at Philip North’s request”, then the implication is that Philip North did not require this rather convoluted and controversial arrangement, which begs the question of why the Archbishop thought he needed to offer it. Either the Archbishop is trying to deflect attention away from Philip North by taking responsibility for the decision himself – which may be kindly meant, but muddies the waters – or he is imagining, and thereby creating, a problem where none really existed for Philip North.… Read more »

John
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John

Have to say, such is my general opinion of the moral calibre of our two leaders and such the confusions and obfuscations surrounding this issue in the protracted build-up, that I see no good reason to believe this statement.

Alastair Newman
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“I presided at the consecration of the Rt Revd Glyn Webster, Bishop of Beverley, a Provincial Episcopal Visitor serving traditionalist parishes across the Dioceses of the Province of York. I also presided at the Consecration of the present Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Revd Martin Warner, when he was made Bishop of Whitby. There were no objections on either of these occasions, despite the fact that I have been ordaining women to the priesthood since I first became Bishop for Stepney in 1996.” Like Malcolm Dixon up thread, I just don’t get this. Are we to assume that, yes, there… Read more »

Fr William
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Ebor wrote: ‘While they normally act as chief consecrator, and will continue to do so …’ I read this as Ebor being the chief consecrator in this case, so what’s the fuss about? The comment elsewhere that stopped me in my huffing and puffing was a remark that it is not the catholics who have provoked the formation of a new ‘sect’- they merely stand by the ‘old’ one.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

This is not mutual flourishing. It is at best separate flourishing, and more likely no flourishing of any kind. Although we are told who will not be laying on hands, we are not told specifically who will. Why the need for this continued ‘cloak and dagger’ approach? Are they (rightly) ashamed of it? My guess (posted weeks ago in an earlier thread) is that the three participants in this shameful piece of separatism will be +Chichester, +Beverley and +Pontefract, but what do I know? Another curiosity – ++Sentamu states that he discussed these arrangements with Philip North on 19th November,… Read more »

Charles Read
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Charles Read

William – ++Ebor is not going to be the chief consecrator for Philip North. That is what the problem is in part and also opens up the question of what ‘normally’ actually means in his statement.

James A
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James A

I suspect (re Malcolm Dixon’s question) that what has changed is the promulgation of the Canon making the consecration of women legal. This will be seen as creating a new ecclesial reality, I suspect. I, too, am struggling to ‘get it’ (those with greater theological and legal skill than me will get to grips with the minutiae no doubt). What I do ‘get’ is that the Archbishop of York came up with this proposal and thought he could keep it under wraps; was forced in to making a statement, only after media leaks, in which his frustration was barely concealed;… Read more »

Peter Owen
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Fr William

Read paragraph 5 under Arrangements: “The Archbishop will delegate to another bishop the authority to celebrate the Liturgy of Ordination and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.” This other bishop will be the chief consecrator (assisted by two other nominated bishops – paragraph 7). Paragraph 7 also makes clear that the Archbishop will not be laying hands on Fr North.

Laurence Cunnington
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Laurence Cunnington

“What I do ‘get’ is that the Archbishop of York came up with this proposal and thought he could keep it under wraps; was forced in to making a statement, only after media leaks, in which his frustration was barely concealed; and gives the impression that power rest with him alone, and there is no accountability to the wider body of Christ on which his decision impacts.” James A.

All of which is odd, given that – in everything else that happens within his Province – he has no power at all. None whatsoever.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

Does anyone know how many traditionalist parishes in the Diocese of Blackburn the new Bishop of Burnley will be ministering to?

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

Sorry, I was being lazy. The factual statement on the diocese issued by the vacancy-in-see committee in October 2012 notes that there are 226 parishes and 176 benefices. There are two suffragans, Lancaster and Burnley, and two archdeacons, which by comparison with larger dioceses (both in York and Canterbury) suggests fairly light senior clergy duties. Supporting the benefices, there were 144 stipendiary clergy/priests-in-charge, only 16 of whom were women. That must have improved since. More notable perhaps was the number of resolution parishes: A – 35; B – 63; and C – 12. Resolution C would be expected to be… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

Malcolm, my prophetic powers do not extend to identifying who the Chief Consecrator will be at Fr. Philip”s consecration a week on Monday but I very much doubt that it will be +Chichester as, although he was a former Northern suffragan, Bishop Warner in now firmly established in the Southern Province and doing a first rate job as Diocesan Bishop of Chichester. The obvious person to have been Chief Consecrator would have been Archbishop Sentamu’s predecessor but David Hope has sadly withdrawn from active ministry following the publication of the report concerning Robert Waddington. I think that you may well… Read more »

Paul Edelin
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Paul Edelin

@Anthony Archer When I wrote to all Diocesan Registrars on behalf of GRAS in 2008 there were apparently 4 parishes in the Diocese of Blackburn that had passed Resolutions A and B and had applied for “Resolution C” (i.e. petitioned to the diocesan bishop for Alternative Episcopal Oversight) Also 16 parishes had passed Resolution A and B 4 parishes had passed Resolution B: where Resolution A – re: a woman as the minister who presides at or celebrates the Holy Communion or pronounces the Absolution in the parish Resolution B – re: a woman as the incumbent or priest-in-charge of… Read more »

Neil Patterson
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Neil Patterson

According to the 2013 church Statistics, about 1/4 of Blackburn parishes were then Resolution B. One may assume some more who felt it unnecessary to sign up under the previous diocesan. I have posted on the more recent thread a different angle for anyone else with little to do today to read.

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

The point surely Anthony is that as Bishop of Burnley he is ministering to the whole diocese…the Bishop of Blackburn could have used a PEV if he needed a bishop to give sacramental care to ABC parishes. Does Blackurn have a area system? I think probably not.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

No need to wonder, James A. The Abp clearly doesn’t ‘get it’, and somebody needs to tell him ‘which way is up’. Furthermore, if your unconfirmed whisper turns out to be true, and the SSWSH bishops get to lay on hands as well, the whole thing will become a dissenting jamboree for the whole of the Northern Province and beyond, where dissenters get to celebrate their apartness, and thumb their noses at their proper Dioceses and Ordinaries. It has happened before (at Southwark in 2011), but I had hoped that the new settlement had put an end to such divisive… Read more »

Charles Read
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Charles Read

Partly in response to Anthony Archer – Philip is not a PEV. He will be ministering to all parishes in his episcopal area (don’t know if they divide that diocese into areas) – that is another element in this being a theologically incomprehensible way of proceeding.

Richard
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Richard

What on earth do Parliament and the ABC have to do with it? It is the Metropolitan’s decision as to who ordains bishops in his province and he has decided it won’t, on this occasion, be him.

Move along. Very little to see here.

Anthony Archer
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Anthony Archer

@ Charles Read
That is exactly my point. As a suffragan his ministry will potentially be across the whole diocese, or at least a part of it. However, with rather fewer traditionalist parishes than I had thought, there will presumably be many who will prefer the ministry of +Blackburn or +Lancaster. He should have been appointed as an additional PEV in the Northern Province in my opinion, whereupon the arrangements for his consecration would have raised not a hair. The whole episode raises questions of judgement.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

‘It is the Metropolitan’s decision as to who ordains bishops in his province.’

You think that Parliament could not change this, if it wanted to?

Absolute power, in this case, is being abused.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

Au contraire, Richard, there is a lot to see here, and it’s not a pretty sight. There is no doubt that ++Ebor has the right to determine who will consecrate Fr North, but the issue is how wisely he has exercised that right. The large number of posts in this and related threads shows the widespread outrage that the decision has caused, where it appears that to satisfy the wishes of a tiny minority, the feelings of the majority have been trampled on, and all women priests (and not a few men) insulted. The Abp’s statement is an example of… Read more »

Labarum
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Labarum

“As ++Sentamu was apparently acceptable as chief consecrator of +Beverley and the previous +Whitby, all that has changed since then is that he will tomorrow lay hands on the first woman bishop. What else is that but taint?”

Could it be that he is establishing a new set of working practices that will endure as the number of bishops acceptable to the whole CofE reduces, and will even service the appointment of a female archbishop?

Henry Dee
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Henry Dee

As a matter of interest, how many Resolution A,B and C ( I’ll refer to them as such for easy reference) parishes are there in the Chester diocese. Has any new parish passed the resolutions (or whatever term it is now) since the new Bishop of Stockport was announced? It will also be interesting in Blackburn diocese to see if new resolutions are passed if Fr Philip turns out to be a better bishop than the other two. Sometimes self interest beats principles.

Malcolm Dixon
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Malcolm Dixon

It could be, Labarum, that ++Sentamu is taking a far-sighted view in the way you describe, but I fear he is instead riding roughshod over what many in GS thought that they were voting for (as several GS members have attested in these pages).
In any case, ‘sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof’ and I see no justification at this very early stage for enshrining more division than is necessary in anticipation of future events that may not occur for many years.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

“Could it be that he is establishing a new set of working practices that will endure as the number of bishops acceptable to the whole CofE reduces[?]”

Let’s hope not. If that’s his intent, then he is willfully perpetuating the problem.