CATHEDRAL a COCO
As St Albans Cathedral looks for a new Dean, the previous incumbent Christopher Lewis having moved to Christchurch, Oxford, festivities are undiminished. The Circus came to Communion recently. To be more specific ‘Holy Fools’, a group of clerical clowns, took over the celebrations complete with greasepaint and baggy trousers. The Reverend Roly Bain preached on a tightrope (precariousness of life, having faith, keeping your eyes on the fixed point etc etc) across the nave. Sounds the ideal chap to counsel Dr Williams as he tries to keep his balance on the high wire act between Rome and New Hampshire.
1662 AND ALL THAT
For 25 years Pope John Paul II has been trying to get the Western end of the Catholic Church to follow the Vatican II properly. His recent concentration has been on the Holy Communion and the priesthood. Liberal language, liturgical sloppiness and pastoral drift are out. In the run-up to Christmas he will be expecting to see his men put some snap back into the sanctuary with decently ordered celebrations and a dignity befitting the great sacrament. Quite how serious he is may be apparent from a glance at a recent guest list at Cardinal Cormac Murphy O Connor’s. Is it just a coincidence that the recently retired Chairman of the Prayer Book Society and his wife, Tony and Sheila Kilmister, were welcomed to Westminster. Protestant commentators suggest that they were advising on the proper use of a decent vernacular. Romish types jest, in return, that they were very happy to discuss the place of humble access.
ALL GAS AND GARTERS
The new Archbishop’s Appointments Secretary has been appointed. She is, appropriately, the former human resources chief for British Gas. Tony Sadler, retiring from the job after eight years of unreformed patronage, commented that it was her job ‘to make sure all traditions get a fair crack of the whip’. Would-be candidates for preferment can scarcely contain their excitement at the prospect of this experienced dominatrix with such novel briefs.
‘Listeners fail new boy/girl Stork test’ screamed the headline in the Church Times. It was not some new embryo selection scandal but the story that a York professor has ‘proved’ that only 53 per cent can tell boys choirs from girls.
It was an unfortunate comparison. There are still those old enough to remember the Stork advertisements in which lobotomized members of the public suffering permanent palate damage claimed, for a fee, to be unable to differentiate between baking grease and the cream of the churn. Never mind, it was enough for the majority musical aesthetes to be branded misogynist which, after all, is the point of such exciting news stories in Jezebel’s Trumpet.
ALL TOGETHER NOW
With strains showing in the Anglican Communion there is obviously a need for an ecumenical creed around which we can all gather. To assist us in this process of healing the Reverend Eric Zolner of the Diocese of Colorado offers this splendid radical and inclusive formula.
We believe in Justice Mother, the all inclusive maker of good self-esteem and in Jesus, the only name we recognize from the Bible. He was conceived in an alternative committed relationship and became person. He was crucified, died, and was buried. On the third day his ideals were raised in the minds of his friends. He ‘ascended ‘ into ‘heaven’. But since there is no Judgement he shan’t be back. We believe in the Holy Spirit, Sophia. She serves as a great rationale for whatever we want to do. With the Parent and child she is used for furthering our agenda. We believe in one church – as long as it agrees with us. One baptism for the extinction of sins. We look for the conversion of those less enlightened and a life of full inclusion of all who agree with us. Ommmmm…
BAD MOON RISING
After years of relative silence and low profile in England, the ‘Moonies ‘ are back on the stump. The cult followers of Sun Myung Moon (self-proclaimed Messiah and convicted tax dodger) went to ground here years ago after a crushing defeat in the libel courts in which jury members branded them a danger to family life.
This month they are running a ‘British Clergy Leadership Conference’ at their HQ in Lancaster Gate. The subject? ‘The National Crisis of the Family ‘.
(Lambeth notwithstanding, Dr Williams is unlikely to attend).
KISS MY RING
The recent conference of Lesbian and Gay Christians published a long list of eminent consultant to its deliberations. Over 60 liberal celebrities were announced from the Dean of Southwark to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, from the Primate of Australia, Peter Carnley, to the ‘flagship’ Bishop of Brechin, Neville Chamberlain.
Among the thirty bishops were John Gladwin (Chelmsford), John Austin Baker, Jack Nicholls (Sheffield), Barry Morgan (Wales), Henry Richmond, Rupert Hoare, Richard Holloway, John Oliver, and John Saxbee (Lincoln) etc etc. In fact all the usual suspects. Old favourites like Hugh Montefiasco, Michael Marshall and Christina Rees lined up with future hopefuls like David Lammy MP, Nick Holtam (St Martin-in-the-Fields) and Dr Martyn Percy.
No real surprises. But wait… who is this? The Right Reverend John Flack is also a ‘conference consultant’. Flack is not a man known to many outside his former suffragan brief of the delightful ecclesiastical backwater of Huntingdonshire. But it is good to know his persuasion on such a key issue. Flack, after all, has just been appointed to represent Archbishop Rowan Williams and the Church of England as our ambassador in Rome! Just, in fact, what the Pope requested. As usual no resignations are expected.