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mitregate 3D – the movie!

Bosco & Katharine Jefferts Schori
Bosco & Katharine Jefferts Schori

I was able to be present when Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was welcomed at a Powhiri at Te Hui Amorangi O Te Waipounamu hosted by Bishop John Gray. This was followed by a wonderful meal. [photo: Alistair Kinniburgh]

Presiding Bishop Katharine went on to the historic St Michael and All Angels (the pro-cathedral before the cathedral was built) and preached there for Evensong. She wore her mitre. The New Zealand Film Commission has bought the rites rights to the movie Mitregate 3D. Peter Jackson is rumoured to be interested in directing. Weta Workshop will provide the mitres and other required liturgical millinarian accoutrements. Naomi Watts has already indicated she is interested in playing Presiding Bishop Katharine. Richard Harris, will, of course, play the Archbishop of Canterbury, but if he is not available Peter Jackson may bring back King Kong himself to once again act opposite Naomi Watts.

Mitregate was first prophesied by Bishop David Anderson. In his weekly message to Anglican Mainstream, on June 11, he devoted more than two thirds of his text to clergy vesture and other accoutrements (he will be sought out as an adviser for Weta Workshop to make sure all is kosher orthodox). One third of his message was expressing concern that his regular supplier for over 40 years of the Pontiff (sic!) 3 Acetate collar “has either gone out of business or stopped making them”. He will let avid followers of Anglican Mainstream know if he finds an alternative supplier. More than a third of his message is concerned that Presiding Bishop Katharine should not wear a mitre when in England. A week later Bishop David is horrified that Presiding Bishop Katharine didn’t go out and purchase a new black shirt, “If you look closely, you also see a red-purple bishop’s shirt under the overvestment (sic.).”

Above: Presiding Bishop Katharine at Salisbury (England) pre-mitregate

Above: Presiding Bishop Katharine in Southwark cathedral June 13 complying with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s requirement to not wear a mitre. “It is bizarre; it is beyond bizarre.”

Apparently under the Overseas Clergy Act (remember that the Church of England is a State Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury is a state appointment), Presiding Bishop Katharine was allowed to function as a priest but not as a bishop. This, while there is no Anglican certainty that a bishop is still a priest (until further discussion I continue to hold that a bishop is not a priest, a priest is not a deacon, etc).

St Paul also wrote about this controversy relatively recently, and the departure of the Archbishop of Canterbury from Bible-believing Christianity: “Any woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered disgraces her head – it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not cover her head, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should cover her head. For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.” (1 Cor 11)

Bishops Katharine Jefferts Schori & John Gray
Bishops Katharine Jefferts Schori & John Gray

Above: At St Michael and All Angels “For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.” (1 Cor 11:10) [photo: Alistair Kinniburgh]

Mitregate – the official trailer of the movie!

Anglican cap tip to Significant truths
Powhiri – a welcome ceremony
Te Waipounamu – South Island of New Zealand
More on the welcome at Te Waipounamu
The sermon preached at St Michael and all Angels
More millinarianism

Daughter of Mitregate – the sequel

Bishops Mary Grey-Reeves, Michael Perham, & Gerard Mpango
Bishops Mary Grey-Reeves, Michael Perham, & Gerard Mpango

Above: following Mitregate, on June 20, Bishop Mary Grey-Reeves, Bishop of El Camino Real, presided at the euchar­ist (head covered) in Glou­cester Cathedral. The Bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham, is a noted liturgical scholar. Bishop Mary Grey-Reeves is being approached to see if she will play herself in the sequel. The Wachowskis are interested in doing the sequel if it can be filmed in Sydney and include a car chase and a bullet time sequence of Bishop Mary Grey-Reeves putting her mitre on. Archbishop Peter Jensen is being approached to play Bishop Michael Perham. He may be predestined for this part.

UPDATE (June 29): A significant Naomi Watts site has taken up the story.

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17 thoughts on “mitregate 3D – the movie!”

  1. Milly Hopkins

    Thanks for this. I loved it!! I was appalled that Bishop Jefferts Schori was not afforded the same respect in England that we would give an English Bishop visiting the US. I KNEW I could count on New Zealand!!!

  2. Did mitergate come to be because the bishop is a woman? Would male overseas bishop be asked not to vest like a bishop?

    What a wonderfully humorous (and positive) take on the 1 cor 11 head-covering passage. Thanks for that.

    1. Yes, Joel, the Church of England has women priests but has not passed legislation allowing women bishops. Hence male overseas bishops vest as bishops in England. Male priests ordained by a woman bishop (we have many such priests in NZ) are in a grey area as far as I know.

  3. If the Most Rev. Katharine is not a bishop whilst in England, why was she invited to the last Lambeth Conference? Not only that, why was she and other bishops of the female persuasion allowed to vest in rochet and chimere (I’ve seen the pictures)?

    I also seem to remember those alleged bishops of the female persuasion were seen at the tea given by your Queen for the bishops at the conference. Did Her Majesty break the law by acknowledging these women as bishops? Does this mean the House of Lords has to sit in judgment of these actions by Betty Windsor? Inquiring minds want to know.

  4. Mitregate 3D will certainly be the summer blockbuster of 2010. Seeing some of those more, um, expressive vestments in 3D will be quite a shock. Please do consider keeping a defibrillator on hand when screening the film.

  5. Naomi Watts has already indicated she is interested in playing Presiding Bishop Katharine.

    One of my favorite HOTTIES as my favorite Presiding Bishop?! Be still my heart! <3<3<3


  6. The Rev. Mark Geisler

    It’s my understanding that the Presiding Bishop preached at Evensong. Why is she wearing a chasuble and not cassock, surplice, hood, and tippet? Or was I mistaken as to the context?

  7. It is a long established principle in the Church which extends even before the reformation that a Bishop has oversight only over those places so assigned. For example, it is deeply frowned upon for a Bishop from another Diocese (let alone another country and province!) to come and confirm catechumens or ordain minsters unless he has obtained prior appointment to act on behalf of the Bishop of that place. This same permission may be granted by the Bishop to a priest to act on his behalf, so it is not specific to Bishops.

    The vestment issue is secondary to this, for in that a Bishop has no ability to execute the office of Bishop in the foreign place by virtue of Episcopal office, so it is not fitting to wear the vestments of a Bishop which are the distinctive sign of this authority. Within a province, through Episcopal polity, oversight is shared by Bishops and so whilst an English Bishop from Durham does not have the authority of a Bishop whilst in Truro, yet he does share in the provincial Episcopal oversight, and so a good case can be made for vesting as a Bishop in such a place.

    A foreign bishop of another province however does not share in the Episcopal oversight in England, nor holds authority to act as a Bishop. For this reason, and this alone, it is simply fitting that he should be vested according to the capacity and authority he has. At its root, a Bishop differs from a Priest only in having oversight of the Priests; and this just is not valid outside one’s own province.

    Personally, I can’t see any good reason for any of them wearing mitres at all, and many reasons for them avoiding them – not least to show that they do not see themselves as holding to the Roman concept of mystical priesthood after Aaron and sacramental episcopacy.

    1. You make some interesting points, Vincent. But they do not appear to match the reality. The Presiding Bishop was not visiting the diocese of Canterbury but of Southwark. Your suggestion about vesture would be convincing if this was the norm – but this story is the exception. I can think of no other case where a visiting bishop was told not to vest as a bishop, can you?

  8. David |dah•veed|

    Vincent, 1) this is not +Katharine’s first visit to the UK and in her prior visits she experienced no such restrictions. 2) She was required, out of the blue, to again provide letters of ordination, which should be in a completed file from her previous visits to the UK. 3) +Ann, retired of Canada, fully vested and served in the same capacity as Katharine in a visit to the very same Southwark Cathedral in just this past NOV 2009, while 4) +Mary, ordinary to El Camino Real, was in Gloucester Cathedral after barely a weeks passing fully vesting during her visit.

    It is apparent to many, whether real or imagined, that the primate of TEC was subjected to a rigor and standard not apparent in the treatment and welcome of others.

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