... has written, on his blog (the only criticism of which I can make is that his sabbatical prevents him from writing as often as one would wish), a very thought-provoking comment on my piece in re Liverpudlitana (incidentally, while I simply adore the coinage Hepatopolis, offered by a learned correspondent, it is a fact that Vatican documents from the dear old SCR used to latinise the Venice of the North as Liverpudlia). Let me take up and run with one point that Pastor makes: a preference for Bishops administering the Sacrament of Confirmation.
This is very Anglican. In the days when Christianity was an urban phenomenon, a thing of the polis, and pagani were by definition pagans, bishops did perform the unsundered initiatory process of Water-Baptism+Confirmation+First Communion. When Christianity spread into the countryside, this became impracticable and the East responded by keeping the Rite undivided and committing it to presbyters; the West retained the involvement of the Bishop, the par excellence Apostolic Minister, but divided the Rite. Dix used to point out that there were advantages and disadvantages in each choice.
Anglicanism has been the most determined tradition in confining Confirmation to Bishops. In the East, the parish priest regularly chrismates; in the Roman Communion there are many circumstances in which the Sacrament is delegated to presbyters. But in Anglicanism, the absolutist restriction of Confirmation to bishops has led to a deplorable corruption: the multiplication of Bishops as confirming machines who are rewarded for their drudgery by Status and the hope dangled before them of a diocese. That is why we have so many Anglican bishops: for example, in the area of the RC diocese of Plymouth, which, I think, has one bishop, the C of E has two and a half diocesans and four 'suffragans' (which in Anglican terminology means a bishop with delegated jurisdiction who serves a Diocesan). This is driven mainly by the need to have Confirmers. It means, of course, Mitres for the Boys ... well, soon, I suppose, for the Girls as well. I gather that this 'Area Bishop' corruption is becoming increasingly common, too, in Roman Catholicism; that bright young men become Westminster Area Bishops and, having Shown Their Quality, have their names put at the top of the Nuncio's ternas.
I will follow this with an analysis of the corruptions inherent in the modern practice of Episcopacy among Anglicans and Roman Catholics.