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Presiding Bishop

2009 March 31
by Gordon Reid

images-1Today I went to our Cathedral to a meeting for the priests of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, called by the presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori.

I am glad I went, because I wanted to hear what Bishop Schori had to say about the mess that ¬†our diocese is in at the moment. But I’m sorry to say, I came away none the wiser.

Bishop Schori began by getting us to sit in silence for five minutes, meditating on the Father’s words to Jesus at his Baptism: “Thou art my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. She said that was what God says to all of us all the time.

Well, I only had to think of my own sins to realize the fallacy in that. And then I thought about what a woman seeing her child snatched from her and burned in the furnaces of Auschwitz would think, if God said” Adolf, thou art my beloved son in whom I am well pleased”.

I am sure the presiding Bishop is well-meaning, though she came over as a cold fish. But her naivete about the deep divisions that exist in this diocese, and the little attempt to enquire about these divisions left me less than impressed with her grasp of reality.

Her grasp of canon law also seems deficient. She assumes that the appeal court of nine Bishops who have to review Bishop Bennison’s sentence will not alter this. One of the options open to them is to return Bishop Bennison to his position as Bishop of Pennsylvania. But an interim Bishop has already been appointed for three years. Would it not have been better to wait and see what the appeal court decides? Or does the Presiding Bishop have inside information about that decision? All in all, very unsatisfactory.

4 Responses leave one →
  1. ambly permalink
    March 31, 2009

    I am sorry to hear it was unsatisfactory. One keeps hoping she will speak with some clarity, but I wonder if she isn’t off in another world entirely? As you say, there are deep division both here and in the whole American church that cannot be dismissed by saying we are all “beloved sons” of God.

  2. John W. permalink
    March 31, 2009

    This is just one of many issues she has mishandled; I fear that the office of Presiding Bishop has become much to powerful since her election.

  3. Alicia permalink
    March 31, 2009

    I find this to be both sad and unsurprising. The Presiding Bishop has done little to try to end the division in the church and instead appears to assert her theology in the same vigorous ways of which she accuses others. It appears that she believes “you are my beloved son with whom I am well pleased as long as you agree with me.”

    I agree with John that the position of the Presiding Bishop has become too strong, especially for someone with such a short history in the church.

  4. John permalink
    April 2, 2009

    She appears to be more interested in leading a political action committee than a church. And, unfortunately, her political goals often have little to do with the gospel.

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