Saturday, June 16, 2012


Canterbury Cathedral
In The Times in London, which you cannot read without a subscription, Diarmaid MacCullough writes about the latest statement from the Church of England on the proposal to allow same-sex civil marriage in England.  Of course, I cannot copy the entire article for a number of reasons, but I'll take the risk of giving you a few snippets:
So “the Church of England cannot support the proposal to enable all couples, regardless of their gender, to have a civil marriage ceremony”. That’s odd, I thought that I was part of the Church of England and I can and do support the proposal. And I know quite a few other people who thought that they were part of the Church of England and they support it too.
So what is this Church of England that doesn’t? It doesn’t actually sign its name to the 13-page public submission it has just made to the Government’s consultation on marriage equality, but it is not difficult to ferret out what it is.
It is a curious theme park called Bishop World. This is a collection of middle-aged to elderly males, some gay (though they don’t like to say so in public), some heterosexual (and they remind us of that all the time in public). They have a penchant for wearing mitres, sitting on committees and talking to each other. They are ably assisted by a small group of lawyers and civil servants, again for the most part remarkably male. A high fence protects the environs of Bishop World, so none of the inmates are troubled by opinions from the distressing wilderness beyond its bounds. Within their defences, nevertheless, they are anxious, insecure creatures, who worry incessantly about the breakdown of society.
I hesitate to post the link where I found the entire article, but if you Google the first words of the piece and the author's given name, you should find it.  I would not want to vacation at Bishop World Theme Park.

Geaux, Diarmaid - er - Sir Diarmaid!


  1. If it weren't that our very name links us to bishops ...

  2. susankay, I don't mind bishops in their proper place, as servants of all, as pastors to the pastors, to enable the pastors to care for the rest of us, to enable us to care for each other...bishops with a vision for the diocese, but a shared vision, with input from all members, who will lead us forward in response to the vision. I like bishops who fit that description.

    Bishops who run roughshod over their people know nothing of their calling.

  3. As much as I resist the idolotry of American Exceptionalism in global politics, I rejoice that Episcopalians in the US aren't subject to this sort of little-e episcopal bulls***. G-d help our affirming friends in the UK who continue to proclaim the Gospel in spite of institutional heresy in the hierarchy. Just "say no", my favorite Nancy Reaganism, to covenant.And mean it.

  4. John D., it's quite telling that the writers of the statement did not attach their names. They wish us to believe that they speak for the Church of England. Disassociation from the statement by many members of the CofE made it clear very quickly that the writers do not speak for the entire church.

    The statement is contemptible for its misstatements, for its language of soulless legalese, with no evidence that the writers are aware that real people will be affected. You called it right; it's bullshit.

  5. Bullshit is right. And I love the epithet "Bishop World" - how very apt.

    Of course it's all male because they have a collective hissy anytime a woman even looks at their, um, big mitres.

  6. Women bishops can't wear their mitres in England.

  7. But Mimi, that's not discrimination because they're allowed to carry them prettily.

  8. Erika, our ++Katherine carried her mitre prettily indeed, and one has the sense that she came out ahead, despite the rude attempt to make her seem a lesser bishop.

  9. Mimi, true to Gospel values, she did not elevate herself and so came out the most elevated of bishops present.

  10. Indeed, ++Katharine did, Erika. And my apologies to the PB for misspelling her name in my comment above.

    I must add that I am deeply saddened that you and others are driven from the church by the bigotry, but I am not surprised. How much are you supposed to take before you come to the conclusion that enough is enough?

  11. Thank you Mimi,
    I believe the hierarchy genuinely does not care about people like me and that they believe we're expendable - possibly because we're comparatively few in number.
    Of course, they also lose our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters, and our children, but they don't appear to be making that connection.

    And they lose those people not because they don't share our opinions but because, as I posted on Benny Hazlehurt's FB:
    "It's not that they don't approve of me that I mind so much but that they have to lie about me and the danger I represent, that they ignore all my answers to their theology and then claim the theology hasn't been done, that they make assertions even the church lawyers know are wrong.. and then pretend it's the official position of The Church. I feel as if I‘m looking at an old Politbureau photo where politicians who had fallen out of favour were just erased from the picture by those who had the power to do so. I cannot cope with a church that believes this to be an acceptable way of engaging with its own members."
    And that they keep getting away with it.

    Thanks to wonderful people like you and many other Internet friends, I have at least not lost my faith. Sadly, I have talked to several people lately who have - and that is what I mind most!

  12. Erika, thanks be to God and the community of faith here on the internet that you've held on to your faith. I'm so sorry for the people who have not.


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