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News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

COLUMBUS, OH (6/18/2006)--The election of the Rt. Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, 52, the ninth Bishop of Nevada to be the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, is a major league slap in the face at the Global South primates and bishops, most of whom do not even endorse women to the priesthood let alone to the episcopacy, and now they will have to contend with a woman ECUSA Presiding Bishop/Primate. Her election also goes against the spirit and intent of the Windsor Report.

To say this is a shock to the system doesn't touch it. A youth delegate to the House of Deputies, on hearing the news said, "If they are not ready, we are."

The voting was: Schori 95 (the minimum number needed), Henry Parsley, 82; Charles Jenkins 3, Stacy Sauls "the stripper" wannabe bishop got 0 as did Ted Gulick. Schori has never been the rector of a church, though she has been assistant rector at the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan in Corvallis, Oregon. She holds a Ph.D. in oceanography.

If the Anglican Communion wanted clarity, a word much bandied about here at this convention, they got it, in spades. Said an Anglican priest in the UK who phoned VOL on hearing the news; "The Episcopal Church just committed suicide."

Canon theologian Kendall Harmon from the Diocese of South Carolina said, "This is a shrinking (Episcopal) church and she (Schori) is in a booming state, and her diocese is not growing."

The Roman Catholic Church will not accept her, the great Orthodox churches of the East and West will not acknowledge her episcopacy and there are rumblings that the three Anglo-Catholic dioceses in the ECUSA - Quincy, Ft. Worth and San Joaquin - might pull out of The Episcopal Church. We shall see.

A spokesman for the American Anglican Council issued a statement saying, "We are grateful for the clarity that this vote demonstrates, sadly because Bishop Schori is against everything that Windsor is for."

Schori voted for the election of V. Gene Robinson, the openly homoerotic Bishop of New Hampshire (though she did not attend his consecration) and she supports same sex blessings.

Said the AAC spokesman; "She will bring into sharp relief the difference between being an Episcopalian and being an Anglican. It is not clear how she can do anything other than lead The Episcopal Church in walking apart from the rest of the Communion."

In her acceptance speech she said she was "awed and honored and privileged" at being elected and she hoped that her brother bishops will be blessed for their gifts and be strengthened. Schori said she gave "abiding thanks" for Frank Griswold and hoped he would "stay healthy." And that his gifts would be shared with the world. "May this great and greatly blessed church of ours be the vehicle and leader in building the reign of God in our day," she said.

Ready, ECUSA might be, but the consequences of her election will be history making and catastrophic.

As one orthodox bishop noted, "this is the best thing to have happened. We now have complete clarity. We now know what the church stands for and where it is going. W should be grateful that clarity is complete. We will send the end of the church."

James Rosenthal, ACNS News Director, said the Archbishop of Canterbury will issue a statement tomorrow. VOL will post it immediately.


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