Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, is seen here at her 2006 installation at Washington National Cathedral. Religion News Service file photo courtesy Alex Dyer/Episcopal News Service

Katharine Jefferts Schori to receive honorary degree from Oxford

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, is seen here at her 2006 installation at Washington National Cathedral. Religion News Service file photo courtesy Alex Dyer/Episcopal News Service

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, is seen here at her 2006 installation at Washington National Cathedral. Religion News Service file photo courtesy Alex Dyer/Episcopal News Service

 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

CANTERBURY, England (RNS) Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, will receive an honorary degree from Oxford University. The award -- announced last week (Feb. 6) -- will be presented on June 25 in the presence of some of the world’s top scholars and fellow religious leaders.

"This award, richly deserved, affirms Bishop Katharine’s remarkable gifts of intellect and compassion, which she has dedicated to the service of Christ," said Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Welby, head of the 85 million-member Anglican Communion, spoke of the American bishop’s deep commitment to the environment and her love for those who live and work at “the edge of society.”

He added: “It must be noted, too, that Bishop Katharine’s achievements serve -- and will continue to serve -- as a powerful model for women seeking to pursue their vocations in the church.”

Vivienne Faull, the dean of York, is a favorite to be the first woman made bishop. Photo courtesy of York Minister

Vivienne Faull, the dean of York, is a favorite to be the first woman made bishop. Photo courtesy of York Minister

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

The fulfillment of that long-awaited role was emphasized again on Monday. when the General Synod -- the governing body of the Church of England -- began a four-day meeting that is expected to fast-track the process of ordaining women bishops.

Ruth Gledhill, religion correspondent of The Times, said Monday that Vivienne Faull, the dean of York, is a favorite to be the first woman made bishop.

Other likely candidates for the first Church of England woman bishop include June Osborne, the dean of Salisbury, and Lucy Winkett, the rector of St. James’s in Piccadilly, London.



  1. Let me get this straight. Oxford is giving an honorary doctorate to this woman whose very tenure in office has been devoid of compassion. This woman has spent her tenure as head of ECUSA suing breakaway parishes and dioceses because they disagree with her, rightly IMHO, about such theological issues as gay clergy, gay weddings, abortion on demand, etc. She doesn’t even want the properties. She takes them to court, forces these dissenting bishops, parishes, priests, laity and dioceses to expend their resources, most if which lose to her. She then claims their property and then sells it to Muslims or other groups for a mere fraction of what those properties are worth. All of this is done to make the point that she will tolerate no dissent, no disagreement with her, a woman with ambitions that rival a pope’s! This the compassion for which she us to be rewarded?! She even denied a Greek Orthodox funeral to her own mother (her mother converted) simply because Jefferts didn’t like it. So, again, what compassion us being rewarded here?

  2. No, Chis, you haven’t got it straight. She is arguably the best known woman bishop in the Anglican Communion and much admired around the world. However, by granting this honor, what Oxford is really doing is encouraging the Synod of the Church of England to go ahead and vote to ordain women as bishops. That’s the point of the article.
    Chris, you sound angry and hurt. Perhaps it’s because you are chewing on sour grapes. Perhaps you are part of one of those breakaway groups you speak of.
    About the Presiding Bishop suing breakaway groups, you are wrong there too. I’ve been a principal in a couple of these, the first in the early 1980’s, long before the election of the the current PB. First of all, the suits are between the breakaway groups and the diocese to which they belong. The dioceses, through their elected representatives and their bishop, make their own decisions. The national office (where the Presiding Bishop shares some responsibility) may provide counsel and financial support if needed. Secondly, the breakaway group usually brings suit against the diocese first. Typically this is occasioned because the diocese tried to make them follow the rules, comply with the diocesan canon law, and the breakaway group responded with a lawsuit. The diocese then counter sues, exercising its fiduciary responsibility. Almost always the courts find in favor of the diocese. Eventually the diocese gets the property and reconstitutes a congregation in it if they can, and if not they use it some other way or sell it. Lots of people get hurt and angry on both sides. It’s a tragedy, but certainly not the Presiding Bishop’s fault.
    I had the honor of voting to confirm Katharine Jefferts Schori’s election as PB. You associate her with the pope; I do too, but not the way you mean it. I know her to be humble and a natural pastor like Pope Francis. She is serving ably and well during a period of conflict such as the Episcopal Church has not known since the Civil War. We are lucky to have her.

  3. Tom,

    You know nothing about me so can I get a refund of the 5 cent’s worth psychoanalysis? Thanks.

    It does not and should not matter that she is well known. The archidiot of Canterbury says that the awarding of an honorary doctorate is rooted in her “compassion.” (Read thecarticle). What compassion is driving her to sue whole dioceses and defrock faithful priests? She has spent or approved spending of more than $22 million on these lawsuits. That money could have been better spent in a more compassionate way, don’t you think?

    She tolerates no dissent from her opinions and beliefs. Unlike the Pope who upholds doctrine of the Catholic Church, she invents new doctrine and demands acceptance upon threats of punishment. I have yet to see that even from Frank.

    Unless humble and compassionate have different meanings for Episcopals, she is clearly neither. Shes not even tolerant. I notice you didn’t address the issue of when she denied her mother a Greek Orthodox funeral. How was she being compassionate in that? Explain.

    I’m glad you helped confirm her. It shows that you too lack any modicum of faithfulness to Christ.

  4. She can receive all the honorary degrees in the world and it will not change the fact that mainline Christian churces are heading for the cliff. The Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians et al have sold their soul for so-called “Social Justice, Gay Marriage, Environmental Issues” at the expense of solid biblical doctrine.

    Many of these churches now believe that Christ is not the only way to heaven or to be saved. Some don’t even believe in God at all. The head honcho at The National Cathedral is a “Non-theistic Christian”. Go figure?

    God spoke in Revelation that the church would become like this and He will deal accordingly with it. So let Jefferts Schori have as many awards as she wants They will not help her when the day of reckoning arrives for us all.

  5. Chris, one need not be a psychoanalyst to hear hurt and anger in your words. You make it quite plain.
    I’ve heard the Presiding Bishop speak many times and had dinner with her and her husband once; she is not the unfeeling beast your describe her to be.
    I have explained how the lawsuits come to be. Like all bishops, she has a fiduciary responsibility to defend the church against theft. She also took an oath to enforce the canons of our church, which she has done. As to doctrine she is within the mainstream and is adept as any Anglican in balancing Scripture, Tradition and Reason.
    As to a funeral for her mother, I consider that a personal matter, and assume there are reasons beyond my knowing for what did or didn’t happen.
    I rose to defend my Presiding Bishop since you attacked her and by extension the church I love and serve. As to my faithfulness to Christ that is between my Lord and me… and not for you to judge.

  6. Tom,

    So, in other words, only because she is a visible woman in the Anglican communion, that alone merits an honorary doctorate? It’s ridiculous that someone who has no theological credentials and has operated well outside the boundaries of Scripture, Tradition and Reason in her treatment of dissenters and those who just think she is plain wrong. The criterion that her views be “mainstream” does not mean right or correct or orthodox. The Church operates and dogmatizes from what has been revealed to her by the Lord, not upon what “theologians” think is “mainstream.”

    WIth regards to her mother, which you refuse to take up citing the cop-out of “it’s a personal matter,” again, how is it compassionate for someone, anyone to deny a funeral in someone else’s religious tradition? I suppose that if my Buddhist son wants a buddhist funeral and I give him a Christian one, that’s OK, right, simply because it’s a personal matter? That’s exactly what she did. Not only did Schori refuse to have her mother buried in the Orthodox church or in an Orthodox cemetery, but she was quite vindictive about it too, even forbidding the Greek priest from saying the office of the dead by the graveside. But, I guess that’s OK since it is a “personal matter.” You just can’t deal with the facts that she is an extremely ruthless and vindictive against others.

    Your bishop is a disease upon the Anglican Communion. You, too, in support of her, are also a disease on the Anglican Communion. YOur church is dying and its bishops and clergy are all desperately vying to take the controls for the honor of crashing it into the mountain the fastest and soonest.

    BTW, you’re pouncing on me for being judgmental towards her when you do the same to me. Hypocrisy? Of course not. Because rules apply to other people, never to you.

  7. Small Episcopal Churches are thriving all over America – thanks in great
    part to women priests, new immigrant parishioners (especially Hispanic,
    Caribbean, and Canadian) and congregants transitioning from the Roman Catholic and other Mainstream Protestant Churches. They like our worship services, music, warmth and inclusive welcome to “all sorts and conditions.” They like hearing the Gospel well taught by scholarly people. They like the Church’s interest in Adult Education, the great Social Gospel of the 20th Century, and peace, justice and environmental endeavors. We are blessed. The fact that God is love is never boring to those in heaven.

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