A THIRD WAY
So impressed were the assembled bishops of the Church of England by the profound theological grasp of the Rochester Commission’s Report on Women ‘Bishops’ and its convincing argument that they have augmented the finished product by a third. The original 142 pages has been joined by a further 52 pages of joined-up thinking in favour of the experiment. Curiously enough there still seem to be a number of bishops who, while publicly in favour (that is, while in handbag range of the feministas on their staff), privately feel ‘the time is not yet right ‘to bring the woman’s’ touch into their own private club.
Letters have been arriving at FiF headquarters requesting new badges from members who have lost theirs in unlikely places. Most recent disappearances include Canterbury Cathedral and two at a Papal audience in the Vatican. The Director of FiF and his trusty assistant will be watching ‘Urbi et Orbi’ with greater vigilance in search of the missing badges. The question is, has the other one gone to Uncle Joe Ratzinger?
Bankruptcy is not just the waking nightmare of failing dioceses. Chelmsford, fourth best attended diocese in the kingdom, is having its money troubles too. Quota last year was £1m short of its target, a situation which the official reflects ‘cannot be sustained for very much longer’. The best episcopal area, Colchester, achieved 96% payment. The newsletter also notes that, ‘of the 201 parishes … only 37 failed to achieve full payment’. Since this represents 18% of the parishes this is a use of the word ‘only’ which was hitherto unfamiliar.
BOTTOMLINE BLUES II
Those parishes which have ‘quota capped’ as a protest against doctrinal decay and woeful waste have been regularly beasted by those in authority. Encouragement now comes from an unlikely quarter… the Diocese of London where, fed up with having to make clergy redundant, the bishops are threatening to withhold the diocesan share of the divi for the vital projects of ‘Carey’s Curse’, the Archbishops’ Council.
Normal procedure in these cases is to summon the incumbent before the bishop and read the Riot Act. Then the wardens are informed that such behaviour will jeopardize their right to a future incumbent. Will the Chief Druid haul the capital’s quota-cutters to Lambeth? Will there be no more Bishops of Willesden? Will ‘Big Dick’ lose his chance of York to the ever accommodating St Christopher? Never a dull moment!
VACANCY IN SLEE ?
With the appointment of Affirming Catholic guru and longstanding Williams chum, Jeffrey John, to the Deanery of St Albans an important question arises. Can it be long before his champion (and the champion of all liberal causes) Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark, gets his reward ? The only question is, which will be the lucky diocese?
Wake up there, Crown Appointments Commission. What happened to that list?
ST PAUL – A LIBERAL
How lucky we are to live in an age when the Church is so forward looking. A new Bible translation by a retired Baptist minister solves the problem of St Paul’s ill advised strictures on gay sex by simply omitting them. Good news for the Christian fornicator too. Abstinence is more likely to lead to sexual offences apparently, so everyone should have a sexual partner – St Paul again. My, how the old boy has come on.
This exciting and innovative handbook has the enthusiastic support of the Chief Druid at Lambeth, who is quoted as saying he hopes it will spread ‘in epidemic profusion through religious and irreligious alike’. The irreligious may already have got the message.
When The Times broke the news about the new ‘sexually inclusive’ translation of the Bible (see above), its correspondent, Ruth Gledhill, phoned around for instant reactions. Hoping for an orthodox response she contacted our own Fr Robbie Low who was in even more direct mode than usual. Apprised of the full horror of the version’s enthusiasm for immorality and its apparently official support, he responded thus: ‘Extraordinary! The Anglican Communion is collapsing about our ears and all these men can think about is their willies!’ The lovely Miss Gledhill explained, amidst much laughter, that even in its new tabloid format the ‘Thunderer’ did not run to such pithy comment.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
The Rt Revd Richard Inwood, Bishop of Bedford, takes himself rather seriously, it seems. A correspondent from one of his parishes tells 30 Days that Inwood has been very concerned that, prior to his visits, parish magazines often see fit to print jokes about bishops. This, as one can imagine, is demeaning to the dignity of the office and not acceptable. One parish that received such a warning duly printed three funny bishop stories in its next issue just before Inwood’s visit. Inwood is struggling to see the funny side of life in St Alban’s diocese after objecting to Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading and waking up to find his diocesan bishop had made the Chief’s Chum Dean of St Albans.
DIARY OF A NOBODY
Readers may be wondering why this esteemed organ has, so far, failed to carry a review of George Carey’s magnum opus, Know the Truth. Unfortunately the editor intervened, in a fit of Christian charity, to remove the commissioned piece which began with the above title and compared the great reformer to Pooter, the famous diarist, whose highly personal and unique assessments of the world around him have endeared him to generations of students of the place of self importance in the humour of misunderstanding. Go on, Ma’am, publish and be damned!
Sign outside St Cyril of Alexandria’s Catholic Church, Galveston, Texas: ‘Staying in bed shouting, “Oh, God!” does not constitute going to church!’