An Anglican bishop, in a stern pastoral, has charged that the unauthorized celebration of holy communion by an American woman priest in his diocese has harmed the cause of those seeking women's ordination in the Church of England.
Bishop Patrick Rodger of Manchester commented on the service conducted by the Rev. Alison Palmer of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. at the Church of the Apostles in Manchester.
Ms. Palmer, a State Department official, was ordained in Washington, D.C. in September, 1975, at the Church of St. Stephen and the Incarnation.
She was invited to celebrate the eucharist by the vicar and his wife, an ordained deacon. The American priest later headed a service at St. Thomas the Martyr Church at Newcastle-upon-Tyne at the request of the Rev. Ian Harker.
In his pastoral, Bishop Rodger said: "I believe that the episode (in Manchester), with that at Newcastle which followed it, has done serious harm to the cause of those who wish to see the ordination of women to the priesthood within the Church of England. I ask most earnestly that there be no further invitation of the kind issued in any parish or other place of worship in the Diocese of Manchester.
"I have not in any way withdrawn from my own hope, publicly expressed before now, that the Church of England will in due time - but in good order and with an appropriate regard for the opinion of other Christian churches - proceed to legislate so as to make possible the ordination of women to the priesthood. I am convinced, however, that for any bishop to act independently of the ruling of the General Synod in this matter is morally and constitutionally wrong."