The episcopal insignia - including, traditionally, even such things as the colored slippers known as “buskins”…are considered vestments. They each have a symbolism, rich and quite antique; these symbolic meanings are described in the Roman Pontifical as each article is handed over to the newly consecrated bishop.
In fact, the longest part of the traditional Roman Pontifical Rite of Episcopal Consecration is the handing over of insignia.
Both Paul VI and John Paul II presented episcopal insignia to laymen. Not even priests; mere laymen. Anglican orders are invalid. No Anglican “priest” possesses Holy Orders, and all Anglican “Masses” are invalid.
Presenting episcopal insignia to laymen is called a cause for scandal. Grave scandal, for those who love dearly and respect what those insignia signify. There have been attempts by some here to justify the presentations…even to the extent of indicating that mere laymen have no business assuming the worst about Christ’s vicar.
But there, there indeed, is the heart of the sensus fidelium. The sensus fidelium tells us it is always wrong to give to laymen that which is reserved for bishops. There is no justification, no equivocation; it’s wrong. Plain and simple. And, in fact, a scandal.
Alas, it stems from a false notion of ecumenism.