"Bizarre, it's beyond bizarre," the bishops from ECUSA say. "Unfair, it's an insult to our Presiding Bishop," still others say.
How about trying to understand something about the church you propose to minister in before you go there? Such as: the Church of England is a STATE church, and so has requirements laid down for it by PARLIAMENT (for example: the 1967 Statute referred to at the top of the Application).
Since there is no law in force allowing a woman to officiate as a bishop in any church of the Church of England, Bishop Jefferts Schori had to apply for a license to officiate as a priest. That statute provides, in relevant part, as follows (bold emphasis added):
(1) If any overseas clergyman desires to officiate as priest or deacon in the province of Canterbury or York, he may apply to the Archbishop of the province in which he desires to officiate for written permission to do so.. . .(4) Any permission granted under this section shall be registered in the registry of the province.(5) An application for a permission under this section shall be made on a form approved by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.(6) It shall be an offence against the laws ecclesiastical, for which proceedings may be taken under the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963 for any overseas clergyman to officiate as priest or deacon in the province of Canterbury or York otherwise than in accordance with a permission granted under this section, and for any clergyman knowingly to allow such an offence to be committed in any church in his charge.
But they are not done with their complaints, even after they are shown the application form, and the law of the realm that requires it. "She should have been allowed to wear her mitre instead of being forced to carry it," they say. "Look -- others have been allowed to wear their mitres -- here's one of Bishop Griswold at Southwark -- here's one of Bishop Katherine at Salisbury Cathedral." And here's an account of a Canadian bishop who wore her mitre during the whole Communion service, with the Diocesan bishop standing right beside her, Mark Harris says.
To which I respond: look at the words of the statute, and of the form required pursuant to its terms. Do you see that word "officiate"? Bishop Griswold did not officiate (preside at the Communion) in Southwark -- nor did Bishop Tottenham of Toronto. They assisted, but they did not officiate. The same is true of Bishop Jefferts Schori at Salisbury before Lambeth in 2008 -- she preached at the service, but she did not officiate at the Eucharist. This was the first time she ever preached and presided in an English cathedral. (And hence, it was the first time that she ever had to fill out the form above and supply her proofs of ordination.)
If a visiting clergy does not preside at the Eucharist, but only assists, or preaches, then the position of the Legal Office of the Province of Canterbury has been that no license is required by the statute, and the Archbishop of Canterbury does not have to concern himself with the details of the ceremony, or with who wears what. But a license to officiate under the Archbishop of Canterbury is a license to perform an ecclesiastical function at a service within the Church of England's Canterbury Province, and neither the Archbishop nor Queen Elizabeth II has any legal power to license a woman to preside as bishop over a Eucharist anywhere within the Church of England. The Canons of the Church on this point are explicit (emphasis added):
Canon C2 (5): Nothing in this Canon shall make it lawful for a woman to be consecrated to the office of bishop.To have allowed Bishop Jefferts Schori to wear her mitre in the Cathedral would have made her indistinguishable in function, in celebrating the Eucharist, from a bishop of the Church of England -- especially as the post of the Bishop of Southwark, whose see is the Cathedral, is currently vacant. Not only would it have signified an authority in the Cathedral which she did not have and could not have, but it would have made Dean Slee and any other clergy participating liable for prosecution under Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure of 1963, as noted under subsection 6 of the Measure quoted above.
Canon C4B (1): A woman may be ordained to the office of priest if she otherwise satisfies the requirements of Canon C 4 as to the persons who may be ordained as priests.
Canon C8 (5): A minister who has been ordained priest or deacon –
(a) by an overseas bishop within the meaning of the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967;
. . .
may not minister in the province of Canterbury or York without the permission of the archbishop of the province in question under the said Measure . . .
[UPDATE 06/24/2010: People in ECUSA and the Church of England still do not grasp the distinction made by the Province's Legal Office between officiating (presiding) at the Eucharist and assisting another bishop who is the presider. Today the Church Times carried a story about the visit of another American female bishop to the Church of England, in which an unnamed "staff reporter" wrote:
It began when the US Presiding Bishop, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, was requested by Lambeth Palace not to wear her mitre during a service at Southwark Cathedral a fortnight ago. Dr Jefferts Schori described the ban as “bizarre — it is beyond bizarre”.
Since then, the “Mitregate” saga has refused to die down. Last week end, another woman bishop from the United States, the Bishop of El Camino Real, the Rt Revd Mary Grey-Reeves, presided at the eucharist in Gloucester Cathedral. She was in Glou cester with the Bishop of West Tanganyika, the Rt Revd Gerard Mpango. Bishop Grey-Reeves was permitted to wear her mitre.
The Bishop of Gloucester, Dr Michael Perham, who invited Bishop Grey-Reeves, said in an explanatory note that the law governing visiting bishops from overseas needed urgent revision. He had none the less applied for, and been granted, permission for Bishop Grey-Reeves to officiate, under the provisions of the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordina tion) Measure of 1967.But then, in the very next paragraph comes the decisive point (emphasis added):
Dr Perham writes: “The Measure makes no reference to what the bishop wears. . . On Sunday, when she stood at my side when I presided at the eucharist, and again when she preached at a Partnership Service later in the day, she did . . . wear her mitre.”
Thus not even the Bishop of Gloucester appreciates the difference. Since he himself was presiding over the Eucharist, as the diocesan bishop in his own cathedral, there was no need for him even to have applied for a license for the visiting bishop. That he did so may have demonstrated an abundance of caution. But it by no means points up any inconsistency in the treatment given to Bishop Jefferts Schori. At the service at which she presided, there was no diocesan bishop alongside her -- as noted above, the diocesan position is currently vacant. In Gloucester, they had no difficulty recognizing their own bishop; but in Southwark, the matter was entirely different. As I said earlier: to have allowed Bishop Jefferts Schori to wear the mitre and carry the crozier of a bishop in Southwark Cathedral would have conferred upon her an authority which she did not have, and could not have, in that Cathedral.
Sometimes details are inconsequential, and other times they are crucial. Neither the Province of Canterbury nor its Archbishop was guilty of the slightest offense or rudeness to ECUSA's Presiding Bishop -- after all, he could have simply declined to grant her a license to preside altogether. Then the Very Rev. Dean Slee would have had to officiate, and she could have flaunted her mitre up and down the aisle, for all the good will it would have earned her. I would suspect, given the churlish way in which she has refused to understand the terms under which she was licensed, that the Presiding Bishop may have presided over her last communion service in the Church of England for the time being -- at least, until Parliament authorizes a change in the law. In the meantime, it's The Ugly American all over again.]