(Church Times) Sir Philip Mawer: Chrism masses do not breach principles

Alternative chrism masses for those who cannot accept women bishops are a consequence rather than a cause of division in the Church, and do not breach the principles in the House of Bishops’ Declaration on women bishops, an independent review has concluded.

The adjudication by Sir Philip Mawer, who was appointed by the Archbishops to consider grievances from those who are concerned that the principles are not being adhered to, was published last Friday. It followed a letter to him from Hilary Cotton, who chairs Women and the Church (WATCH), in April.

She argued that there was “no sacramental need” for the masses, which are presided over by bishops of the Society under the patronage of St Wilfrid and St Hilda, since chrism masses were already held in each diocese. Alternative masses were “a cause of much pain to clergy women and their supportive male colleagues, and an expression of division within the dioceses”.

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3 comments on “(Church Times) Sir Philip Mawer: Chrism masses do not breach principles

  1. Terry Tee says:

    I think I am right in saying that chrism Masses are a comparatively recent innovation in the Church of England and imported from the Roman Catholic Church, of which you know I am a member myself. I am a bit bewildered at the claim that they are divisive when men-only chrism Masses are held. Surely substantial numbers of clergy in every Church of England diocese would never take part? Evangelicals, Prayer Book traditionalists, Sea of Faith type liberals – surely these would never participate in such a liturgy and indeed would reject the very word Mass. Why then is it more divisive if there is a separate liturgy for tradition-minded Anglo-Catholics?

  2. Terry Tee says:

    Forgive me a second bite at the cherry. Thinking about it further, I realised that those Church of England clergy of whom I am speaking ie those who would never participate in a Chrism Mass, would not only disagree with the word Mass but would also be uneasy with Chrism, and its implication of sacramental healing (see Article 25). For that matter, my friend across the road, a conservative evangelical curate (we work well together on a local social welfare project) I have noticed never refers to herself as a priest. She is a pastor or an ordained minister in her own words – so I could not imagine her attending a Chrism Mass with its renewal of priestly vows.
    So I conclude even more strongly: why it said to be divisive if already it divides?

  3. dwstroudmd+ says:

    Because it doesn’t kneel before the female/feminist violation of orders?