Rowan to Katharine: don't wear your mitre in England
The Guardian reports:
Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the US church and the first woman ever to lead an Anglican province, preached at Southwark Cathedral last weekend despite muted hisses of disapproval by conservative evangelicals. But close observers would have seen there was something missing: no mitre on her head. Who could be responsible? Step forward, Rowan Williams, Archbish of Canterbury, birthday boy (60 yesterday), who couldn't stop her preaching but said she could not wear the symbol of her office, or carry a bishop's crosier. Something to do with women bishops not yet being allowed in the C of E. A bit petty, some say, as Jefferts Schori is indeed a bishop and head of her national church – but in any event, she carried the mitre. And the subject for her sermon: God welcomes everyone, regardless of dress or condition.
UPDATE, I should add if true, petty, indeed. Also stupid. Let us count the ways:
1) Not wearing the hat doesn't mean you're not a bishop If the Archbishop really thinks that somehow not wearing a mitre reduces the authority of a bishop, well, that's just sad. Personally, if I were a bishop, I'd welcome the excuse not to wear the thing which, frankly, makes anyone look quite silly.
2) Way to win over the womenfolk! Because this move says to me that the ABC is nothing but a mouther of platitudes about inclusion.
3) More publicity for the PB's visit Had the ABC merely done nothing, the PB would have preached and carried on. As it is, the PB preached, and the message of her sermon is repeated yet again today.
4) He managed to please absolutely no one The PB still preached which would displease evangelicals, who hate her liberalism, and traditionalists, who don't believe she should have any authority at all. But he still managed to annoy liberals by the way she was treated. And the lack of hospitality would embarrass almost anyone.
5) Good job making yourself look like a jerk! Didn't he ever read that part about heaping coals of fire on someone's head? The PB managed to miss the coals and the ridiculous mitre too.
The Archbishop confuses me greatly. I really have no idea why he does these things.
The Presiding Bishop's sermon ended this way:
Those who know the deep acceptance and love that come with healing and forgiveness can lose the defensive veneer that wants to shut out other sinners. They discover that covering their hair or hiding their tears or hoarding their rich perfume isn't the way that the beloved act, even if it makes others nervous. Eventually it may even cure the anxious of their own fear by drawing them toward a seat at that heavenly banquet. There's room for us all at this table, there are tears of welcome and a kiss for the wanderer, and the sweet smell of home.
I wish the Archbishop had been there to hear it.
[image by Adrian Worsfold at Pluralist Speaks]