Thinking Anglicans reports on the latest news on the "issue of vesture" AKA #mitregate:
At the recent General Synod in York, two Questions were asked about this. The full text of the Q and A is given below the fold. The questions were for written reply only, and in any event the block of questions in which they came was not reached before the end of the session, so there were no supplementary answers.
Readers will recall that the letter sent from Lambeth Palace referred to “The agreed approach of the English bishops…”
Incidentally, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is preaching tomorrow at St Paul’s Cathedral, at the 11.00 Choral Eucharist.
Q 78, Miss Rachel Beck (Lincoln) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q. Has any advice been issued recently to members of the House of Bishops, relating to the procedures for giving permission under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 to overseas clergy who wish to make short-term visits to England, and if so what was the reason for doing so? Will this advice or any further advice that may be issued be made public?
The Archbishop of Canterbury to reply:
A. No general advice has been issued recently to the House of Bishops on the procedures for obtaining permission under the Measure. The provincial registrars and staff in the Archbishops’ offices offer advice on those procedures to diocesan bishops and others, as required. Active consideration is being given to whether it would be desirable to issue fuller - and publicly available - guidance on the procedures under the Measure and associated issues.
Q 79, Miss Rachel Beck (Lincoln) to ask the Chairman of the House of Bishops:
Q. Does the House of Bishops have an ‘agreed approach’ to ‘the issue of vesture’ for women bishops from other Anglican provinces when preaching or officiating in England, and if so will this be made public?
The Archbishop of Canterbury to reply:
A. The House of Bishops has not considered the issue of vesture of female bishops from other Anglican provinces who preach or officiate in England. But a female “overseas bishop” can only be given permission under the Overseas and Other Clergy (Ministry and Ordination) Measure 1967 to officiate in England as a priest. By virtue of s. 1 of the 1967 Measure, a female “overseas bishop” with an archbishop’s permission to officiate as a priest is subject to the same obligations as a priest of the Church of England - including in relation to matters of vesture (for which provision is made in Canon B 8). The 1967 Measure has not been understood as applying to those whose ministry in England will be confined to preaching.
Read it all at Thinking Anglicans.
The terminology "issue of vesture" entered the Church of England lexicon in a Lambeth Palace email first posted at The Lead. That email from The Revd Canon Anthony Ball, The Archbishop of Canterbury's Chaplain, stated,
The agreed approach of the English bishops is that women bishops celebrating under these provisions should do so without the insignia of episcopal office so as to avoid possible misunderstandings.Note the contradiction. ABC's chaplain said the no mitre policy for overseas female bishops was a (previously unannounced) policy agreed to by all CoE bishops. The ABC says the policy is established in canon. Perhaps the contradiction can be resolved by those who take the position that a mitre is just a funny hat, and not a symbol of episcopacy. The chaplain then is saying women bishops can't wear mitres because some people think they're symbols of the episcopacy and might conclude the CoE is violating its policy that women bishops can only function as priests when in England and Wales.
More fundamentally, it's because the Anglican Communion lives with contradictions such as "once a bishop always a bishop, even if irregularly consecrated" but "women bishops cannot wear symbols that might be of their office" that we have a communion and not a church. Which begs the question: why push the Anglican Covenant?
Previous Episcopal Cafe coverage of #mitregatehere.