A friend pointed out to me Julia Duin's report in Thursday's Washington Times on the Saturday consecration of Episcopalian presiding bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at Washington's grand National Cathedral, and wonders how Katie Couric and the others who disdain orthodox religion will greet her formal acceptance. Duin brings a more traditional understanding of religion in her article:
Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, a former oceanographer who still pilots her own plane, will be consecrated the world's first female presiding bishop Saturday morning at the Washington National Cathedral.
Since her election June 18 at the Episcopal General Convention in Ohio, an unprecedented seven Episcopal dioceses have declared that they will not accept her leadership because she allowed same-sex blessings during her 2001-06 tenure as bishop of Nevada.
Her 2003 vote in favor of V. Gene Robinson, the denomination's first openly homosexual bishop, and her statement that "our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation" in a sermon three days after her election, elicited protest as well. But that expression "was thoroughly orthodox," she said in an interview Tuesday. "I was surprised at the reaction. I was simply using an image that seemed most appropriate to the text."
Schori was greeted at her selection with great warmth and happiness by the liberal media. She is celebrated in glamour magazines and hailed for breaking a "stained glass ceiling. And the Lord knows, she is nothing if not completely in touch with which way the contemporary and worldly cultural winds are blowing, like the new trend toward "U2charist" pop liturgy:
About 3,200 people will attend the installation ceremony of a woman whom Glamour magazine named one of its 12 "women of the year" for her place as "world's most prominent female religious leader." "The bulk of this church is healthy and vibrant," the bishop said Tuesday. "A small portion is concerned about issues of sexuality at this instant."
...She hopes to concentrate on winning the young back to the church, citing Bronx musician Timothy Holder's "hip-hop Mass" and a Eucharist ceremony based on music by the pop group U2 as examples. From 1993 to 2003, however, her Nevada diocese only grew 2.3 percent while the state's population mushroomed by 66.2 percent. Only 2,500 people attend Sunday services in her diocese, she said, because its church planners concentrated their energies on rural parishes instead of the booming suburbs of Reno and Las Vegas. Also, "it was a place in significant conflict when I arrived," she said. "There were major challenges in terms of resources and geography."
However, a Hispanic mission she oversaw during her time in the late 1990s as an associate rector at the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan in Corvallis, Ore., collapsed during her tenure there. Jane Stoltz, the parish secretary, attributed its failure to a rival Catholic parish willing to siphon off members who were not enthusiastic about female priests.