Nothing Controversial…

An interesting little announcement from Southwark Cathedral.


The central act of worship of the Christian Church instituted by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper in which we encounter God in word and sacrament. The Cathedral Choir leads the service with a variety of traditional and contemporary settings of the Mass, hymns and anthems. A Sunday School and Crèche are available during term times.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA, and the first woman primate in the Anglican Communion, will preach and preside. It is understood to be the first time she has preached and presided in a Cathedral in the UK.

Preacher: The Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop & Primate of the Episcopal Church of the USA
Psalms: 32
Hymns: See printed sheet
Setting: Messe solennelle (Vierne)
Anthems: Alleluia, I heard a voice (Weelkes)
Drop, drop, slow tears (Walton)


Of course, its perfectly legal for a woman to preside and preach in an English Church, but can anyone tell me what the legal ramifications are if the PB processes down the nave wearing a mitre? Just curious…

21 Comments on “Nothing Controversial…

    • The issue is whether, since we do not have women bishops, she can operate in any manner that suggests she is a bishop. So its a legal and a political issue (which I suspect is part of the point of Colin Slee inviting her).

      • Fair enough. And I certainly take your point about the intentional political meaning of the event.

        Do any of the Porvoo churches have women bishops? Have they ever preached or presided in English churches? Ditto other Anglican Communion churches with women bishops?

        Anyway, as long as KJS doesn't confirm or ordain anyone while she's here… or should I perhaps not put ideas in their heads? ;-)
        My recent post True apologetics: beauty, holiness and resurrection

      • She is a bishop in TEC though ( the Presiding Bishop.) She is fully recognised as such and TEC is a part of our Communion. Moreover, Synod has agreed that the Church of England will consecrate women bishops. Why on earth should it be a problem, or even controversial, in any respect?

  1. Since when do Anglicans celebrate Mass? Surely it's a dubious phrase to use, in the light of part of Article XXXI?

    "Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits."

    If it is actually a Mass, rather than a standard service with Eucharist badly labelled by Anglo-Catholics, then I'd find that far more controversial than KJS presiding.

    • One could argue that it's called "the Mass", but it's not actually the same kind of "Mass" as criticised (rightly) by the Articles.

      But then, Slee is one of those "catholics" who thinks he's a catholic but is absolutely nothing of the sort.

  2. Thw word 'mass' in the context simply refers to the musical setting of the Eucharist. Our texts are the same and composers write 'settings of the mass.'
    Peter, your comments about Colin Slee strike me as total 'ad hominem'. You like to use the world 'orthodox' but if you asked a member of the Orthodox Church if they perceived any Anglicans as orthodox, they would regard all of us as complete revisionists. So I think you'd need some better basis for saying the Dean of Southwark was 'nothing of the sort'.

      • No, I mean generally you like to use the word 'orthodox'. Your site is called 'An exercise in the fundamentals of Orthodoxy'. But no 'real' Orthodox Christian would recognise an Anglican as 'Orthodox'. I was drawing a parallel with the use of the word 'catholic' and your determination that Colin is not really catholic. You are not, by the same token, really orthodox. But 'Affirming Catholic' is a definite organisation – you might not like it but I think your comments about Colin are based more on the fact that you don't like what he stands for, and you've allowed it to become a little personal here.
        Hope you are doing better health wise Peter.

        • But interestingly, on the key presenting issue of this current crisis (sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman) all the churches you mentioned are united. You'll find that you are the unorthodox one here, not me.

          I'm quite clear what I mean by orthodoxy – there are enough clues on the site. I think you might be slightly confused though as to what I mean by orthodoxy, but that could be because you don't like what I stand for.

          And anyway, the issue was Slee's catholicity, not his orthodoxy.

          • Well you simply mean orthodox about one issue then. There is rather more to being Orthodox than that.
            Nontheless, your comments about Colin are very clearly ad hominem and you might want to de-personalise it.

            • Well you simply mean orthodox about one issue then.

              No I don't. *You* think I mean it about one issue only, but that is because you don't like what I stand for on that issue.

              Your comments about Colin are very clearly ad hominem

              No they are not. The issue is what Colin believes or doesn't believe and that is what is being discussed. To argue that someone's beliefs put them outside the bounds of "catholicity" when they claim to be catholic is not ad hominem.

              It is ad hominem to attack someone like you are doing, impuning my motives and character for raising the issue.

  3. I agree that there is a confusion over terms here.

    Speaking as an RC, I accept that one can be "catholic" without being "Catholic", just as one can be "orthodox" without being "Orthodox". But I think the problem is this: part of being "catholic" is placing oneself within the great tradition of the Christian faith. Revd Slee has rejected important parts of this tradition, thus making his claim to be a part of it somewhat suspect. Peter, though I disagree with his churchmanship and ecclesiology, is recognisably within the boundaries of the "faith once delivered to the saints", the Revd Slee less so.

    There's more to being a "catholic" Christian than enjoying dressing up for nice liturgies and keeping a crucifix on your desk.

  4. I am surprised that gender even comes to mind here.

    It means we are bringing another gospel into the church and must seriously think about Galatians 1:6-8 as it applies to ourselves.
    Katherine Jefferts-Schori denies the divinity of Christ and the resurrection –

    It means that we should warn all that they need to do all they can to prevent persons who do not have a missionary faith from being exposed to the Church of England, her parishes and her various programs. It means that we should inform our ecumenical partners that they must prevent their sheep from coming to our pastures, but that they can send those of strong faith to those amongst us who might be prepared to hear the words of Christ.

    Surely there are still many good, God-fearing individuals amongst us, but on an institutional level we are committing an atrocity and sowing spiritual death.

    There is no problem with persons denying Christ or the central teachings of the church. But when we bring church leaders into our churches who do so, it is time to read Galatians 1.

  5. Mouse spotted this news recently in the thoroughly riveting 'Bridge' newspaper – the Southwark Diocesan rag. Don't really see the issue, however. Mouse went to a carol service a few years ago at Southwark Cathedral where Cormac Murphy O'Connor preached. Don't think anyone would worry about legal ramifications since he is not recognised as a Bishop in the good old CofE. Having a 'guest preacher' at a service hardly brings legal issues when it happens thousands of times across the country every week amongst lay and ordained of other denominations. Seems to me, that we just have another guest preacher for this service – no biggie.

    • I think the issue is whether she behaves, or is treated, as though she is a bishop.

      And to be clear, when Gene Robinson preached at Putney, he did not preside.

  6. I should imagine that so long as she does not perform any sacramental episcopal function – which she wouldn't be allowed to do anyway – she is mereley acting as a priest. I think the etiquette with the Porvoo bishops is that, if an English (or Welsh) bishop attends the consecration of a woman in Sweden or wherever (as the representative of a province where consecration of females does not happen), they do not take part in the laying on of hands.

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