bishopSome time ago I received a question which I answered privately. I do not know which country nor even which communion this question refers to. So if the mitre fits…

The diocesan bishop was coming to a church’s patronal festival. The bishop said he would robe and sit in the sanctuary but “play no part other part in the Eucharist”. The parish priest was to preside. The question was – in the procession does the priest go last as presider, or the bishop go last as bishop?

Form follows function

What would be your response?
What would you say to your bishop if your bishop issued these instructions?
Would your bishop listen?
How might your bishop respond to your response?

I think the question is a wonderful discussion starter, because there are so many questions underneath this question that need to be worked on first:

What do orders mean in the Christian community?
What does it mean to be bishop of a diocese?
What does it mean to be a priest when the bishop is absent?
And in the presence of the bishop?
Why do we process? What does it mean to be the last in a procession?
Why do some people robe in a service?
If the bishop is “playing no part part in the Eucharist”, why does he robe?
What is the vesture the bishop is wearing (honorary doctoral gown, chasuble, cope)? What do these robes mean?
If the bishop is “playing no part part in the Eucharist”, why does he not sit in the congregation in (lay) street clothing? How might the bishop react if you told him either preside or do that?

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