After 3,207 signatures, the ‘consecration’ of a female Episcopalian bishop will no longer take place at a Catholic church in the Diocese of Richmond, VA.
Earlier this month, Bishop Barry Knestout announced he had agree to hold the ‘consecration’ of ‘reverend’ Susan B. Haynes from the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia at Saint Bede Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia.
Knestout called the “offer of hospitality to a Christian neighbor in need an act of charity and well within the teachings of ecumenism and the norms provided by the Church for ecumenical activities.”
The announcement that an Episcopalian consecration would take place at a Catholic church drew considerable controversy, and an online petition was formed to “Stop Ordination of Female Episcopalian “Bishop” at Catholic Church.”
The petition called it a “desecration” of a Catholic church, and that it was “highly disturbing given the fact that Ven. Pope Leo XIII solemnly declared Anglican ordinations to be ‘absolutely null and utterly void,’ and the Church has repeatedly reaffirmed the fact that women cannot receive the sacrament of ordination.”
“Simulation of a sacrament is an excommunicable offense under canon law. Additionally, Canon 1210 asserts that only activities which ‘serve to exercise or promote worship, piety, and religion’ are permitted in sacred spaces.”
After 3,207 signatories, Bishop Knestout announced with “great sadness” last Friday they would no longer hold an Episcopalian consecration of a female “bishop” in a Catholic church.
“It is with great sadness that I have received a letter from Bishop-Elect Susan Haynes stating that, due to the controversy of the proposed use of St. Bede Catholic Church for her consecration of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, she has decided to find another location for the ceremony to take place.”
The Episcopalian Diocese of Southern Virginia said the decision to “withdraw from its contract with St. Bede” comes after “learning that its intended use of the building was causing dismay and distress.”
In their statement, they cited the sound advice of 1 Corinthians 8, where Paul warned against “pursuing behavior that might cause problems for others within their community.”