A Bugger-up in Bangor

Eager to secure the passage through the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church of the legislation to ordain women to the priesthood, the Bishop of Edinburgh, the Most Revd Richard Holloway, proposed a motion assuring opponents that they would retain a ‘valued and respected place’ in the life of the Church. How, asked opponents who knew the Bishop of Edinburgh well, would the out-spoken Primate show that he valued them? What did he mean by respected? They had to wait a little while.

But at a rally held recently in Bangor Cathedral to set forward the priesting of women in Wales, the Primus showed quite clearly what he had meant. Opponents of the innovation, he said are ‘miserable buggers’and the ‘meanest minded sods you can imagine’.

A Canon of Bangor, the Revd Geraint Vaughan-Jones, said he was outraged by the bishop’s conduct. Ms Jane Starling, spokesperson for the media-shy Primate thought there were extenuating circumstances. ‘The remarks were made in a light-hearted, good-natured way to a group of like-minded people,’ she said.

What language, one wonders, away from the constraints of the pulpit and in the like-minded conviviality of the Holloway home, do Richard and Jane use about people to whom they do not accord ‘a valued and respected place’?