A Nadir in Communion Relations


By A S Haley

Relations between ECUSA and the Anglican Communion have reached a nadir, propelled by the stubborn determination of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, egged on by her Chancellor, to stand her ground and defy the (thus-far private) requests made of her by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The latest developments are playing themselves out on different levels, both public and private. In public, Bishop Jefferts Schori strained the terms of her license to officiate as a priest at Southwark Cathedral last Sunday. Neither the Church of England nor its Archbishop of Canterbury had any canonical remit to license her to function as a bishop, because neither the Church nor Parliament has made the necessary canonical alterations required to allow women to be bishops in the Church. Thus when the Dean of Southwark, the Very Rev. Colin Slee, asked Lambeth for a license for Jefferts Schori to officiate at Sunday services, Lambeth made it very clear that she would be licensed only as a priest.
And how did Jefferts Schori return Lambeth’s gracious favor? By insisting — unlike any other priest in any church in the entire Anglican Communion — on processing down the aisle with a bishop’s mitre tucked under her arm. (The contrast to her predecessor could not make the point clearer: ECUSA’s male bishops may [if licensed] function fully in other churches of the Communion, while its female bishops may not.) Oh, she did not wear it on her head, all right, and she carried no crosier, but she made the point of her defiance plain. (Could it be that she is incensed that the bishop of Westminster, the Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, has invited his old friend Archbishop Robert W. Duncan to officiate in his diocese as a guest bishop, and to perform confirmation rites?)

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