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Concerns over archbishop’s accolades for Katharine Jefferts Schori: The Church of England Newspaper, February 14, 2014 March 20, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, The Episcopal Church.
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The Archbishop of Canterbury has applauded the news that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA, the Most. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, is to be awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity by the University of Oxford.

However, the fulsome praise offered by the archbishop has pained conservatives, who see his commendation of her “intellect and compassion” to be a slap in the face to traditionalists.

On 6 Feb 2014 the University announced that Bishop Jefferts Schori would be one of six people awarded an honorary degree at Encaenia, the University’s annual honorary degree ceremony, on 25 June 2014.

In a statement from Lambeth Palace released later that day, Archbishop Welby said he was “delighted” by the news.

He went on to say: “This award, richly deserved, reaffirms Bishop Katharine’s remarkable gifts of intellect and compassion, which she has dedicated to the service of Christ. Prior to becoming ordained, Bishop Katharine pursued a career in oceanography, and her enduring deep commitment to the environment has evolved into a profound dedication to stewardship of our planet and humankind, especially in relieving poverty and extending the love and hospitality of Christ to those on the edges of society. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said of Bishop Katharine, “In her version of reality, everything is sacred except sin.” It must be noted, too, that Bishop Katharine’s achievements serve – and will continue to serve – as a powerful model for women seeking to pursue their vocations in the church.”

Commentators questioned the wisdom of the archbishop’s penning such a statement, fearing it would alienate the overseas church and conservatives in the UK and US. However, in a post on Facebook defending Archbishop Welby’s actions, Bishop Pete Broadbent dismissed concerns that the statement reflected a shift in favor of the revisionist wing of the church by the archbishop.

“Lots of us here think that [Katharine Jefferts Schori] is thoroughly bad news for the gospel, but you’re not going to get the ABC to slag her off in a press release. It just ain’t that simple. You can’t really stick out a release saying “Congrats, but…” Most congratulatory things smarm it up a bit. You might think ABC shouldn’t have said congrats at all (knowing that Oxford have been put up to this), but once you go down the line of doing official congrats, you have to be nice. Cos that’s how Brits do it,” he explained.

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