Comments: 103rd Bishop of Chichester Announced

A fresh start, thank God! Hasten the day (in July) when the Bishop of Lewes, Wallace Benn retires bringing an ugly chapter of ecclesiastic errors to a close.

Pity a church without the political will to force his resignation. Pity the poor violated children who will be forever scarred with the legacy of those Permission To Officiate 'errors'.

Posted by David Shepherd at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 9:23am BST

It appears that he has been providing alternative episcopal oversight within York Diocese, so I assume that he will refuse to ordain women. He is only 53, so it looks like we will have to wait at least another 12 years before we can hope for a Diocesan bishop who is not aligned to Forward in Faith. A big disappointment to many here in Chichester...

Posted by Helen at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 9:43am BST

Now that the appointment has been made I suppose that we ought not to rush to judgement, even thought yet another non-women-ordaining bishop is a great disappointment to those many thousands of us who hoped and prayed for radical change in this diocese. At least, in the video, Bishop Martin shows awareness of the great diversity of the diocese, has a particular interest in the poor and disenfranchised and wishes to continue in our tradition of fostering contemporary art in churches. His first big test will come in what to do about Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes, currently the subject of a complaint about his handling of the child abuse cases, and who to appoint as his successor. Will we at least see a woman-ordaining suffragan in Lewes, or will it be more of the same?

Posted by Richard Ashby at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 10:52am BST

It is good that a Bishop of Bp. Martin Warner's St.Stephen's House provenance has been elected to the somewhat conservative Diocese of Chichester - in the wake of Bishop Hinds.

One can only hope that his video-ed interview, wherein he describes his fruitful working together with Women Clergy at St. Paul's Cathedral, will lead to a better understanding of the place of women in the Church in his new diocese.

Having been the Head of Guardians at the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham, one hopes, also, that he can bring a new understanding of the place of the ministry of women at the Shrine - something that has been lacking in the past.

Listening (on the video clip) to Martin's outreach to the poor and the marginalised of the Church and Society, can we expect that he might have an ear for the the need to help the Church to a better, more open attitude towards the LGBT community - of which his Brighton parishes have a high numerical representation?

I pray that the Holy Spirit will open his heart and mind to new initiatives that wlll bring 'release to the captives and open the eyes of the blind'.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 11:00am BST

Same old, same old for the next 15 years in Chichester Diocese, then?

Posted by Ben at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 11:42am BST

The video announcement of +Martin from the swanky White Cube Gallery certainly has a different feel to it from the announcement of our latest diocesan, here in Aotearoa/New Zealand, a local priest elected for Wellington Diocese from the 'edge'.


Posted by Simon at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 12:05pm BST

There's hope for the CofE yet!
An excellent appointment.
Hearty congratulations to Bishop Martin - following in the saintly footsteps of Bishop Bell of Chichester - who should have gone to Canterbury if it were not for the political interference of Winston Churchill.

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 12:40pm BST

He's a very bright and gifted man - good news.

Posted by Davis d'Ambly at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 2:45pm BST

If it is true that many in the diocese would have welcomed a bishop who ordained women, it would be nice if the next appointment to +Lewes was someone allowed to ordain women by their diocesan, and perhaps a moderate evangelical too.

Posted by Perry Butler at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 3:16pm BST

I too hope that + Martin's comments about his good relationships with women priests at St Paul's will be reflected in his treatment of them in his new diocese, where many women priests have felt oppressed and unvalued under previous management. If + Martin is to continue not ordaining women, this makes it imperative that the next +Lewes should be someone who does. It really won't do for this large diocese to continue to have no bishop who ordains women.

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 3:43pm BST

It is certainly true that many in Chichester Diocese would have welcomed a bishop who would ordain women, in fact most would have welcomed it. We asked for a Bishop of Horsham who would ordain women, and the request was refused by Bishop John. We asked for a Bishop of Chichester who would ordain women, but the Diocese decided ask for one that would not.

Most of the Diocese even supported women bishops. Forward in Faith is a minority in this Diocese, but they hold much more power than their numbers justify.

Posted by Peter at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 4:10pm BST

My thoughts and prayers go out to Bishop Martin. His appointment gives one some hope for the good old Church of England. An excellent person, whose sincerity and faith have shone out whever he has ministered.
Chichester are being richly Blessed.

Posted by Fr John E. Harris-White at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 4:10pm BST

What is a St Stephen's House provenance? Stephen Cottrell? Tim Thornton? Jeffrey John? Mark Vernon? All of whom trained here.

Posted by Robin Ward at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 4:25pm BST

Sadly it appears that with this appointment the Diocese of Chichester will remain in the dark ages- oh for a Bishop Bell with courage to challenge the status quo .

The only hope is that the next Bishop of Lewes will break the mould but I am not holding my breath

Posted by john at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 4:55pm BST

I hope and pray that this is a good appointment
It is a little disappointing that at no point in the interview were the words LGBT mentioned , especially in view of Brighton.
Lets assume for the time being that this was merely an oversight

Posted by salopian at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 5:00pm BST

Think he is conservative on marriage etc.

Posted by James at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 6:22pm BST

Martin is an alum of our college and by all accounts a good and honourable man. I would like to know, however, whether he recognises the orders of women priests (though I don't hold the view, I can imagine that one could recognise the ordination of women priests and bishops and still not ordain women for ecumenical or other serious reasons). To repeat a problem many would have noted with regard to the Act of Synod, I do not understand how one can in conscience be a bishop of a diocese and not recognise the orders of those legally ordained in the diocese (again not sure whether this aplies to him or not). I don't blame Martin or other bishops so much as the Church that enables/allows such a situation. It really is bonkers, isn't it? It totally undermines any catholic notion of episcopacy that I can think of, making a parody of the notion that a priest celebrates in communion with his or her bishop. It is too strange, even after all these years; and we need to note its strangeness even if we have become (too) used to it.

Posted by Joe at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 6:33pm BST

"Judge not that thou be not judged". I promise to keep repeating these words to myself whenever I sink into despair at the thought of yet another bishop in Chichester diocese who will not ordain women. Like others, I can only hope and pray for better news re the appointment of the next Bishop of Lewes. If I hear any more talk of "retaining the collegiate nature of the House of Bishops in the diocese" (ie refusing even to countenance the appointment of one who WILL so ordain) I will retire - finally and permanently - to Bedlam.

Posted by David Pidgeon at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 8:08pm BST


'dark ages'? This is a highly respected and gifted man who happens to be opposed to the ordination of women. Might yours be a slight overreaction?

I think people will love Martin and find an end to the gloom of recent years in that diocese. But he won't enable people of different opinion to live together if we liberals think there is no room for the other opinion without talk of 'dark ages' and 'same old'.

Posted by abbey mouse at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 9:28pm BST

In some ways it's not a surprising appointment. The vacancy in see committee was packed with anglocatholics and conservative evangelicals and our efforts to circumvent them obvioulsy failed.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 10:15pm BST

On the BBC SE News the new Bishop said that he would be concerned about all clergy abuse. Does this include bullying, lying and deceit?

Posted by Victim at Thursday, 3 May 2012 at 10:52pm BST

I'm not the john above.

I am glad that those who are glad about this appointment are glad. But I hope they recognise the justice of pleas for suffragans who will ordain women priests. However illogical such arrangements may be, it is in the cooperation that they represent that the 'hope' for the C of E resides, not in some 'hopeless' 'hope' for the re-Catholicisation of England.

Posted by John at Friday, 4 May 2012 at 8:53am BST

Unless this month's "fine tuning" of the legislation by the House of Bishops re women in the episcopate proves to be to severe and the innovation fails to recieive the required majority at the July meeting of the General Synod - then Rowan's legacy will include a divided House of Bishops not in communion one with another once the first woman bishop is consecrated. In spite of the warmly expressed and no doubt, sincere good relationships they enjoyed at St. Paul's - I cannot see + Martin Cicestr participating in the laying on of hands at the consecration of + Lucy Colchester (or whatever suffragan see the first woman bishop is appointed to)nor can I foresee the two being in communion with each other.

Posted by Father David at Friday, 4 May 2012 at 9:44am BST

Once again the people of Chichester diocese have been ignored and let down. In a diocese with 3 bishops why can't we have at least 1 is is willing and allowed to ordain women as priests!
Our only hope now is that when a new bishop is appointed to Lewes we can move onto the 21st century.

Posted by disappointed at Friday, 4 May 2012 at 11:53am BST

'Dr Warner suggested that the Church of England had “somehow got on to the wrong side of this debate” because the terminology of the debate, centering on marriage, had been “an unhelpful starting point”.'

Starting point ? Where has he been for the last several decades ?

“I’m not sure who is pushing for this and I’m not sure that it has been the wisest way of raising serious questions about how we value people who are in same-sex relationships.” It had, he said, done “damage” to those “of good conscience and intention” who “want to ask important questions about an inherited understanding [of marriage]”.

Is it always the back-ward looking people who have 'good conscience' on their side ? What damage has been done to these poor, anomymous 'questioners' ? Are they withering vines then ? I have noticed little reticence among those who take their stand against equality.

'It was “absolutely fundamental” that the Church make “a very clear statement of God’s love for all people, irrespective of race, sexual orientation, or gender.”

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 4 May 2012 at 3:08pm BST

The more I think about it, or do I mean stew on it, I find it sickening that a Church which has decided to ordain candidates who are women, permits (new) bishops to opt out of ordaining them, almost twenty years later. Can this really be right ?

It makes no sense. Those who think it is not 'Catholic' to receive the ministry from women, must see that if ordaining them makes the Church cease to be Church, it has already happened; and it would have made sense to leave.

But by staying on in the Church of England for
twenty years, I think, you have effectively and de

facto accepted the ordination of women.

So blocking women like this, seems little more than unpleasant - if not vindictive. But when has Anglo-Catholicism ever acted with consistency, logic or common sense ?

I certainly do not wish to see an archbishop at Canterbury who has set his face against women ministers.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Friday, 4 May 2012 at 4:50pm BST

So which is it, Father David?

The choice is: (1) a messy, compromised reality; (2) complete uniformity. If the second, you and people like you should leave, because you are never going to be able to turn the clock back. If the first, you should stop belabouring the lack of uniformity. There are liberals - plenty of them - who want to cut you and your people sufficient slack, but if it's not reciprocal, why bother?

Posted by John at Friday, 4 May 2012 at 7:38pm BST

Like Rome, many in the Anglican hierarchy are out of touch with The People of God. They need to be challenged and reprimanded until they do the right thing. A woman Archbishop of Canterbury would be a great way to get beyond the misogyny.

Posted by Chris Smith at Friday, 4 May 2012 at 8:19pm BST

What interesting posts!

Fr David tells us that extra space has to be given to +Martin and co. or +Martin will cease to be in communion with others of different opinion.

Laurence Robert fulminates against +Martin's inclusion at all in a church which reckons to have space for him as a bishop. (Sounds like a liberal church with space 'in communion' for people only of like mind.)

Posted by abbey mouse at Friday, 4 May 2012 at 9:19pm BST

Isn't it marvellous that those in favour of the ministerial innovation within the Established Church are forever encouraging those who are faithful to 2000 years of tradition to "leave"?

My prayers are with the next Bishop of Chichester as he fearlessly follows in the wake of his illustrious predecessor - Bishop George Bell who had such an ecumenical passion to extend the Kingdom of Christ.

One of my favourite Alleluya-filled hymns is Bishop Bell's "Christ is the King! O friends rejoice" which ends with this verse:-

"Let love's unconquerable might
God's people everywhere unite
In service to the Lord of light:

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 5 May 2012 at 6:11am BST

Father David,

You're not responding fairly to my challenge.

Posted by John at Saturday, 5 May 2012 at 11:24am BST

Father David, the majority of those who want to see the development of women's ordination as Bishops do not want to see people leaving but also do not want legislation so compromised that it relegates the episcopacy of women, and men in favour of the ordination of women, to a second tier, where the validity of all that they do is compromised. The requirement to transcend difference to work together for the Kingdom is of major importance. Women who are priests have often had to tolerate rejection and rudeness and have continued in faithful service for the sake of the kingdom.

Posted by Priscilla White at Saturday, 5 May 2012 at 11:53am BST

Poor Bishop Bell, a visionary bishop, invoked by the supporters of his successor, who must be turning in his grave to see what has been done to his diocese over the past thirty years. His couldn't have been called 'The Dead See' as it is now.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Saturday, 5 May 2012 at 2:22pm BST

It seems to me that "a messy, compromised reality" is precisely what we will achieve if the General Synod gives the necessary majority to the motion with regard to women and the episcopate during the July 2012 session, as it currently stands. That is - a House of Bishops divided and not in communion with one another around the Lord's table. Not only will we have achieved greater disunity within the Church of England but also unity with the great churches of Christendom (Latin and Orthodox), for which so many have worked so long and so hard to achieve, will no longer be even a distant possibility. The Lord's prayer in Gethsemane "that they may be one" continues to be neglected and unheeded.

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 5 May 2012 at 3:27pm BST

Bishop Bell was indeed "a visionary bishop" and, like Michael Ramsey and Edward King, one of our great Anglican saints. Part of his vision was for the Unity of Christ's divided Church.
He died peacefully in office on October 3rd, 1958, aged 75 and his influence is still keenly felt - especially within the Chichester diocese. At his Memorial Service in Chichester Cathedral on 10th October, 1958 - Archbishop Fisher said this:-
"He will go down in history as one of the special glories of the Church of England: in days to come when the Catholic Church recovers again its lost unities, men, will still remember the debt for that recovery owed to George Bell."
Above the place where his ashes are interred in his cathedral beside the beautifully restored Arundel screen the memorial plaque ends with the descriptive tribute - a "TIRELESS WORKER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY"
He may well be "turning in his grave" - primarily because the unity for which he worked so tirelessly is now but a distant dream.

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 5 May 2012 at 5:51pm BST

"The Lord's prayer in Gethsemane "that they may be one" continues to be neglected and unheeded."

That's a lovely comment from someone who supports a theology that leaves lgbt people out of this unity and that includes women only on his own terms.

Many of us happen to believe that your kind of structural unity has nothing to do with the genuine unity in Christ that Jesus was praying for.

Maybe when all those "traditional" churches get their act together and genuinely welcome everyone on equal terms, we might be ready to discuss more structural unity with them. Until then, no thank you.
Until then - thank God for the CoE that is, albeit slowly, at least limping towards the right goal.

And there's no need to worry - we are already united in Christ. We cannot help but be because he is doing the uniting, not we.

There is no meaningful way in which the eye can say to the hand "I have no need of you". It can sit around in the skull and think it grumpily and it can avoid ever looking at the hand. But whatever it thinks, the hand IS part of the body. A beautifully different part with a different role but intrinsically of the same body.

Let's contend with that true unity that is precisely the opposite of the uniformity that people too often mistake for the real thing.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 5 May 2012 at 6:05pm BST

Father David,

I'm in favour of a 'messy, complicated reality', if it enables people such as yourself to stay in the C of E. It's actually the best people like you can achieve, because 'uniformity' on your terms is out. That being so, harping on its absence doesn't seem very sensible. Recent diocesan votes have made it very clear - what always was clear - that a very large majority within the C of E favours women priests and, accordingly, women bishops. As for the Latin and Orthodox churches, the evidence is strong regarding the former that 'the hierarchy' are badly out of step with most of their congregations, who see nothing wrong with women priests. So the argument that the C of E is out of step with other great Christian churches is very tendentious. There is a terrible 'deficit' within the RC church, which, sooner or later, will have to be repaired. As for the Orthodox, there actually hardly is 'an' Orthodox Church. This ecumenical stuff is vastly overplayed.

All that said, I remain totally committed to 'freedom of conscience' concerning women priests/bishops and appropriate consequent 'provision'. But people who want it - as presumably you do - do themselves no favours by taking absolutist attitudes. What you have to do is accept different 'integrities'. That acceptance does not mean that you accept that the 'other' integrity is right - merely that you accept that it is legitimate within the C of E. If you and others like you do that, then it is possible for people like me to argue the legitimacy of 'provision'. If you don't, it isn't.


Posted by John at Saturday, 5 May 2012 at 6:54pm BST

'...but also unity with the great churches of Christendom (Latin and Orthodox), for which so many have worked so long and so hard to achieve...' and which will remain a chimera until and unless Rome itself changes.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Saturday, 5 May 2012 at 7:12pm BST

"The Lord's prayer in Gethsemane "that they may be one" continues to be neglected and unheeded."

- Father David -

Dear Brother, the endemic Diversity that threatens to be continued in the atmosphere of 'Alternative Oversight', where even Bishops cannot sit together around the Altar because of a gender problem, must surely be a diversity too far-stretched to ever end in Christian UNITY.

'Unity in Diversity' is something else.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 6 May 2012 at 4:46am BST

To imagine for one moment that the Great Churches of East and West are going to fall in and follow the lead of the Anglican Communion on the issue of the ordination of women is risible. For the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches so do do would be contrary to all that is catholic and orthodox.
The CofE is "albeit slowly, at least limping towards the right goal". The very nature of this slow and halting progress makes me seriously wonder if this departure from Holy Writ and Christian Tradition is, in fact, of the Holy Spirit? Compare this slow and plodding movement with the instantaneous change that occured to the disciples when the Spirit descended on the Day of Pentecost. That genuine movement of the Spirit took place in an instant and was far from being either slow or limping.

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 6 May 2012 at 12:41pm BST

Fr David perhaps has overlooked that even the airbrushed account of Acts makes it clear that thought he Pentecost event might have been instantaneous, it took them a long time - and much heartsearching - to work out that it included Gentiles.

It wasn't an sudden outpouring of the Spirit that abolished the Church's support for slavery, and even people I admire like John Wesley and Edward King were supporters of the death penalty. The long and tortuous process of reception of Vatican II suggests that our sister church of Rome hasn't fared any better than we have.

Anselm once observed (of an opponent) that 'he had not considered the seriousness of sin'. The Church suffers from it as well, and the process of conversion is a continuous one, with many hiccups, even for institutions. 'Conversio morum' is the thing.

That's not an argument about gay relationships, the ordination of women or the merits of Chrsitian racial discrimination - it's just a reflection on basic theology which is overlooked in the posting to which I refer. Not to mention a bit of an oversimplification of Church history. Conversion may be instant. Learning what that conversion means, and allowing it to take its course is a life-long commitment to the struggle.

Posted by david rowett at Sunday, 6 May 2012 at 11:51pm BST

In response to Father David's latest. It did take a while for the entrenched Scribes and Pharisees to respond to the message of the True Messiah, when He eventually came among them. But the liberality of the Gospel eventually triumphed. Christ is risen, Alleluia. He is risen indeed, Alleluia, Alleluia!

It may take Rome and Constantinople a while yet to recognise the ministry credentials of half of the world's population (Women.) But it must eventually come! "Even so. Come, Lord Jesus!"

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 7 May 2012 at 12:43am BST

Father David, when Blessed Florence Li Tim-Oi was ordained a priest, under the harshest wartime circumstances, THAT "took place in an instant". The tiniest pebble ripples unto eternity.

Speaking of Pentecost, Rabbi Gamaliel had a wise response: "let us see." Almost 70 years---hundreds priests, dozens of bishops---later, why can't *you* see?

Posted by JCF at Monday, 7 May 2012 at 7:27am BST

Nevertheless, the speed of the action of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost compared with the tortuous progress towards women in the episcopate to be included within the apostolic succession cannot be denied.
As for the inclusion of Gentiles within the Christian felowship - that was pretty well done and dusted well before the covers were placed on the Holy Bible. But - virtually 2,000 years before choosing to alter the Three-fold Historic Ministry? Come off it! Once He gets going - the Holy Spirit doesn't muck about!
Ah, Vatican II - that great throwing open of the window of the papal apartment of John XXIII to let the air in. Under his successor - Benedict XVI the brakes seem to be being firmly applied to that particular enterprise with the "Reform of the Reform" now well under way (How long before the triple tiara, the sedia gestatoria and the ostrich feather fans also make a reappearance?.
Father Ron - there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Rome and Constantinople will eventually take on board the ministerial initiative presently being slowly and painfully adopted by the Anglican Communion. Indeed - His Holiness Pope John Paul II has definitely and decisively for all time ruled out any such unscriptual development.

Posted by Father David at Monday, 7 May 2012 at 8:16am BST

'...any such unscriptual development.'

Come off it, Rome is at it all the time! Immaculate conception, Assumption, Papal Infalibility just for starters. Yet there seems to be to least some evidence for women's sacramental and authoritative ministry in NT times. Surely if one regards the pope's prouncements as authoritative then one should be a papist.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Monday, 7 May 2012 at 8:42am BST

Similarly, JCF - why can't His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI "see" or His All Holiness Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch "see"?

Posted by Father David at Monday, 7 May 2012 at 9:07am BST

"To imagine for one moment that the Great Churches of East and West are going to fall in and follow the lead of the Anglican Communion on the issue of the ordination of women is risible"

So can we now put this silly idea to bed that anyone is joining Rome any time soon?

This is tedious beyond words. If people believed in the Roman and Orthodox view of all of these things, they'd be Catholics of various persuasions.
It's not as if these churches didn't encourage converts, so every single member of the CoE and the Anglican Communion can join these churches freely.
Most of us actually don't want to because we do believe what the CoE stands for, we do believe that God calls women to the priesthood, and an increasing number of us believes that gay people are morally our equal and to be treated accordingly and that not doing so is immoral and deeply un-Christian.

You may wonder whether the slowness of the development means it’s not of God. We marvel at the speed with which the ideas of women’s equality have inspired society – from the point they were first perceived as possibilities a relatively short time ago. Same goes for homosexuality. The idea that gay people can and do want to form long terms stable relationships like everyone else is incredibly new. It’s marvellous to see how it is catching on. Truly the Spirit at work in society and in our church.

Rome must do what Rome does. None of us is bound to allow ourselves to be stifled by it.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 7 May 2012 at 9:25am BST

"Once He gets going - the Holy Spirit doesn't muck about!" - Father David -

With all DUE respect, Father David; The Holy Spirit (SHE) has already worked - in places where the Anglican Churches have heeded Her call. It may be because of intransigence among the conservative clergy that SHE has not yet been clearly heard in England.

And when will you latent R.C.s come to realise that papal supremacy and rule is not accceptable among non-R.C.s. We are Anglicans, remember? -(Unless, of course, you are in the Ordinariate).

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 7 May 2012 at 11:42am BST

But surely we all claim to be part of the one, Catholic and Apostolic Church and what those who belong to other greater branches of the Church teach and proclaim is not without significance; especially as the great William Temple claimed that the modern ecumenical movement was "the great new fact of our era".

Therefore it is not without relevance, considering all the time and effort that has been expended on ecumenism is recent decades, what Pope John Paul II wrote eighteen years ago:-

"Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgement is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

Apostolic Letter - Ordination Sacerdotalis
On Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone
The Solemnity of Pentecost

Posted by Father David at Monday, 7 May 2012 at 12:55pm BST

Fair point - Richard - "Immaculate conception, Assumption, Papal Infallibility just for starters" but what do you suggest is served by Rome for the Main Course and the Pudding?

Posted by Father David at Monday, 7 May 2012 at 2:30pm BST

"- there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Rome and Constantinople will eventually take on board the ministerial initiative presently being slowly and painfully adopted by the Anglican Communion. Indeed - His Holiness Pope John Paul II has definitely and decisively for all time ruled out any such unscriptual development."

Right, because if there's anything the Vatican and the Phanar stand for, it's simple, Bible Christianity, just like in the New Testament, right? Nothing non- or extra-scriptural up their sleeves! (*cough* iconsstatuesvestmentsinvocationofsaintsmariology *cough*).

Look, I'm as much a fan of Rome and Constantinople as the next man, but pretending this has anything to do with a horror of anything not found in Scripture won't work.

The caricature of both those Churches as non-changing monuments of unwavering loyalty to their past beliefs or practices is problematic, too.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Monday, 7 May 2012 at 5:24pm BST

"Rome must do what Rome does. None of us is bound to allow ourselves to be stifled by it."

Rome does and says what it does because it has no choice - the Pope is the guardian of the deposit of faith, not someone who can just change doctrine on a whim. It is entirely up to others whether they accept this or not, so I agree with you. You have the freedom to accept or reject these teachings. Whatever you decide, please accept that Catholics believe what they do in good faith - we are not out to oppress everyone as is often assumed on this site.

Posted by William at Monday, 7 May 2012 at 6:26pm BST

I simply cannot understand why it is that ecumenical dialogue and communion with Roman Catholics and Orthodox (of whichever grouping) is considered a strong argument against the consecration of bishops who happen to be female. Surely there is an equally strong counter-argument of ecumenical dialogue and communion with Baptists, Methodists, United Reformed and Pentecostal Christians who (by and large) treat men and women equally in terms of who is ordained.

Or (1) are they not members of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, or (2) are we going to enter into a tedious debate about priesthood and how reformed ministers are not proper "priests"?

Posted by Alastair Newman at Monday, 7 May 2012 at 7:59pm BST

Worth remembering that RCs have a variety of views too. Today a meeting was held representing a quarter of the priests in Ireland, who want married priests and the ordination of women.

"The ACP recently commissioned a survey of Irish Catholics which found that 90% would support the introduction of married priests.

The survey also found that 77% of Irish Catholics want women to be ordained, while more than 60% disagreed with Church teaching that gay relationships were immoral." BBC report

Posted by Amanda Goody at Monday, 7 May 2012 at 8:27pm BST

Father David: with all due respect, we're talking about Anglican orders here. If you're going to cite the Bishop of Rome, we all know what "Apostolicae Curae" says about our *male* priests (that they ain't).

I've been an ecumenist for almost 30 years, but I can tell you the long prayed-for reunion of The Church will NOT happen if the Anglican branch compromises its witness. Unity will come by transcending our differences, not abandoning our Baptismal promises to respect the dignity of every human being (and there can be no dignity, w/o respecting ***discernment-of-call***: something no anti-OOW can offer).

Posted by JCF at Monday, 7 May 2012 at 10:33pm BST

". . what those who belong to other greater branches of the Church teach and proclaim is not without significance . . . "

While "greater" is certainly subjective, I would agree that what they do is not without significance - indeed, we are still bleeding and wounded from what they teach and proclaim, still trying to put together lives shattered, bring back souls lost by what they teach and proclaim, trying desperately to make them take responsibility for what they teach and proclaim.

It is with great significance and they are as cold-blooded and careless in their insistence on it as any monolithic bloc of the Cold War East.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Tuesday, 8 May 2012 at 5:42am BST

Well said, William. With regard to Alastair's valid point of view - the difference being that Anglicans, in common with Rome and Constantinople, have always claimed to share in the historic Three-fold ministry of Bishop, Priest and Deacon whereas this historic Apostolic Succession is not part of the tradition of those who are "Baptists, Methodists, United Reformed and Pentecostal Christians".
Amanda draws our attention to recent interesting developments in the Emerald Isle and the formation in Dublin of the Association of Catholic Priests and the survey which claims that 90% of Irish Catholics are in favour of married priests, 77% want women ordained and 60% disagree with the Church's teaching on Gay relationships. So, in effect, we have in Ireland as assembly of Roman Catholic priests who wish to become Anglicans - how delicious is that! Come on Rowan there's still time before December 31st to set up an Anglican Ordinariate in Erin - for it looks like you'll have no shortage of converts!
Ah, JCF, that old null and void chestnut which is Apostolicae Curae. Pope Leo XIII was both staggered and amazed at the quality of the Latin contained within the counter argument of the Anglican response to that particular document. It was far, far better than anything that his Roman Curia of Cardinals could devise. Don't forget that since its publication in 1896 we have had decades of ARCIC Agreed Statements. Alas, now to no lasting effect - thanks to the "obstacles" to unity that Anglicans have now put in the way.

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 8 May 2012 at 7:28am BST

"Whatever you decide, please accept that Catholics believe what they do in good faith - we are not out to oppress everyone as is often assumed on this site."

I have no problem with Catholics, I even have very little problem with the Catholic Church, although I personally find a lot of what it stands for repulsive and immoral. But then - so do many Catholics.

The people I do have a big problem with are those within the CoE who cite Catholic theology and belief as "evidence" that the CoE must not follow the Holy Spirit as it perceives it.
And who criticise any change in the CoE because it scuppers their dreams of structurally reuniting the CoE with Rome.

Fr David complained here that we are not heeding the Lord's Gethsemane prayer for unity. It's this I object to. It misunderstands what Christian unity is and it claims that it only be achieved if we all cave in and become good little Catholics.

People who wish to become good little Catholics are free to do so but respect cuts both ways.

Being told that the Bishop of Rome does not approve of a discernment made by the CoE is pretty irrelevant for us.

We genuinely believe that the Spirit calls us in a different direction.
If you want respect from us, then give us some in return!

Which is what John was asking of Fr David here earlier. Can you accept the different integrities within the CoE - not in the sense that you believe both to be true, but that you allow both to be valid.

I would still like to see an answer to that question.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 8 May 2012 at 8:26am BST

So this debate is completely futile, as always. The only question of interest is: what do people actually do? I think people who are glad over the appointment of Martin Warner should 'concede' the 'right' of pro-WO people to have a bishop (or two) within the diocese who will ordain women. This means conceding something you think wrong. But if you don't concede it, there is no reason - and certainly no incentive - for people who think you wrong to give you anything. I hope Martin Warner understands this. There seem to be signs that he does. But one could only know on the basis of detailed evidence.

Posted by John at Tuesday, 8 May 2012 at 8:31am BST

Really, Father David! Let's get down to the reality of the situation vis-a-vis Anglican/RC relations:

The institutionalised hypocrisy of the situation is so deep that Rome meets at ARCIC with Anglican Bishops and Clergy whose sacerdotal ministries Rome does not officially recognise. They even had to 're-ordain' Anglican clergy who moved across the mini-Tiber into the 'Ordinariates'. How 'ornery' is that

It is no good carrying on the pretence that the Pope even recognises Anglican Orders. Full stop!

We believe we're validly ordained clergy, Rome does not. How can there be re-union on that basis?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 8 May 2012 at 12:22pm BST

On a point of information, am I not right in thinking that, prior to 'the vote', an attempt was made by the traditionalist tendency to get JPII to make some conciliatory noises on Apostolicæ Curæ so as to rein in the pro-ordination of women movement - and he signally did not? That representations were made long before the first ordinations of women (other than Florence L_T_O) with reference to the 'Dutch Touch', and they too were rejected? And that Anglican priests converting to Rome have always been treated as absolutely lay, not even (except in the case of Graham Leonard) given the half-nod of conditional ordination. (I believe that to ordain someone already validly ordained would be a form of sacrilege, so such a decision is not taken lightly.)

Oh yes, AC is a deeply flawed document (if 'Porrectio Instrumentorum' is essential to valid ordination then a lot of the Fathers of the Church weren't proper priests), but the goalposts keep getting moved by Rome, indicating no desire whatsoever to acknowledge our orders.

So come clean, Fr D. No Anglican has ever been validly confirmed. You and I are as validly ordained as a can of baked beans, have never said a proper mass, and have never, even at a death bed, given absolution. No amount of romanticising and wishful thinking will change that, and there's no point in blaming 'the Wimmin'. Rome made up its mind over a century ago. Sicut erat in principio..... Get used to it.

Posted by david rowett at Tuesday, 8 May 2012 at 4:11pm BST

david - "So come clean, Fr D. No Anglican has ever been validly confirmed". So you are telling me that when I said the words "Bless, O Lord, this Brownie Toadstool" - it wasn't a valid benediction?
Further, I take great exception to being compared with "a can of baked beans"
Yeah, next thing you'll be telling me that the Orthodox regard the Pope as the first Protestant! Get over it!

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 8 May 2012 at 6:54pm BST

Sadly, Fr D, that's what Rome believes. We are (doubtfully) baptised laypeople. Any blessing which an Anglican benediction (or, indeed, an Anglican Benediction) confers is entirely down to God choosing to be indulgent and smiling on us and our kiddies' tea-parties, which we peversely insist on calling 'Eucharist'. Otherwise they wouldn't insist on (re-)confirming and (re-)ordaining, would they? QED.

I understand that's as painful to you as it is to me. I realise there are many RC's, including one or two with pointy hats, who personally feel differently about it. But I'd be astonished if you could come up with a convincing argument from sacramental theology which would allow Rome both to dismiss our orders and affirm them at the same time.

Posted by david rowett at Wednesday, 9 May 2012 at 12:57am BST

Fr David
would you not please be so kind as to answer John's question to you?

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 9 May 2012 at 6:02am BST

Dear Erika,

It was so long ago - I've forgotten what the question was?

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 9 May 2012 at 10:23am BST

david - I've never for one moment had the slightest doubt about the validity of my orders - indeed I think it rather shameful for those going over to the ordinariate to submit themselves to re-ordination. The bishop who ordained me priest was himself consecrated by Blessed Michael Ramsey (to whom Paul VI gave his papal ring - symbol of episcopal authority. To have received priestly orders - albeit, one step removed, from one of God's great saints is certainly good enough for me and I am sure - perfectly valid in the eyes of God. So - "Be anxious for nothing".
A de coxit fabum

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 9 May 2012 at 12:24pm BST

Fr David,
it was whether you accept the different integrities regarding the ordination of women within the CoE - not in the sense that you believe both to be true, but that you allow both to be valid.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 9 May 2012 at 12:53pm BST

"indeed I think it rather shameful for those going over to the ordinariate to submit themselves to re-ordination."

But if they wanted to remain priests they had no choice.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 9 May 2012 at 10:00pm BST

Erika, indeed so - re the re-ordination of the Ordinariate priests - but I still think it is a great shame.
Thanks for the reminder but I don't think it is at all helpful to talk about two integrities. To make a political analogy - it seems to me to be pretty disastrous for the well being of our nation to have two, as it were, integrities currently in one Coalition Government. The result, as we have seen today is a pretty vacuous Queen's Speech coming quick on the heels of an absolutely disastrous Budget. Today we have been offered a thin legislative programme which concentrates on secondary issues - like Reform of the House of Lords - when the top priority of Dealing with the Deficit and a failing Economy makes no progress whatsoever. Indeed the current Double Dip Recession shews that we are regressing rather than progressing. Similarly within the Church endless time is being spent dealing with a long running dispute over ordination issues and thus diverting attention from our real aims of Mission and Evangelism. Just as the Economy continues to falter - so too the Church continues to decline.
Anyway, on this issue - aren't we supposed to be in a Period of Reception? We don't hear much about that nowadays and I can't remember Synod coming to any satisfactory conclusion on the process of Reception of ordination of women into the priesthood - before moving on to the consecration of women into the episcopate. That one seems to have been swept well and truly under the carpet without being satisfactorily resolved.

Posted by Father David at Wednesday, 9 May 2012 at 11:47pm BST

Father David; there can be little doubt - amongst ourselves who are part of the Reformed, Catholic and Apostolic provenance of the Churches of the Anglican Communion. However, since Pope Leo's execrable Bull - which has never been declared null and void by any of his successors - The Roman Magisterium considers Anglican Orders invalid.

This is a fact! Despite the outward show of a willingness to meet together with Anglican Bishops and Clergy at ARCIC, Rome denies the canonical validity of your Orders and mine. Until the Pope reverses that Bull issued by Pope Leo, we are not (according to Rome) even standing on level ground!

How hopeful is that for your much-desired Union of Christendom? Except, of course, for the fact that, under Christ, and by participation in the Holy Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist (whether Rome approves of that or not), we are ACTUALLY ONE IN CHRIST! - In Christ, there is neither male nor female (Roman nor Anglo Catholic nor 'Orthodox'). We are all One in Christ! Baptised in the same Holy Spirit. (OR NOT! Make your mind up!)

Christ is Risen, Alleluia!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 10 May 2012 at 12:15am BST

Fr David,
thank you.
What troubles me about your comment is that it leave reality aside and just wishes that things were different.
We may have had to have a proper Resolution that the Period of Reception is over, but that clearly hasn't happened, yet there will just as clearly be women bishops in the CoE.

So the question of two integrities is not an ideological one but a practical one. It really asks whether we can find a way of living side by side with mutual respect.
And for that to be successful, the respect would genuinely have to be mutual.

Posted by Erika Baker at Thursday, 10 May 2012 at 7:59am BST

Dear Father Ron, I don't think I have ever lost a good night's sleep worrying over how successive popes since Leo XIII regard the validity of my Orders. I simply just get on with preaching the Good News that the Lord is indeed Risen and rejoice that the Church of England can still find room within its ranks for Traditionalist bishops like the excellent next Bishop of Chichester.

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 10 May 2012 at 10:39am BST

Of course there must be mutual respect, courtesy and tolerance - Christ demands nothing less.
Father Ron, you know as well as I do that your quotation from the Pauline Canon - "In Christ there is neither male nor female" refers to baptism and not ordination. If we were to search the pages of Holy Writ for evidence to back the innovation - then we search in vain. I recall the debate in General Synod twenty years ago when Michael Adie, then Bishop of Guildford, erroneously claimed that women's ordination was "consonant with scripture and required by tradition". In response Alec Graham, then Bishop of Newcastle, tore up his prepared speech and concluded his remarks by saying - "The answer to that, I submit is either 'not proven' or a straight 'no'."

Posted by Father David at Thursday, 10 May 2012 at 12:56pm BST

The idea of 'a period of reception' is fine, but it exposes two divergent ways of thinking, analogous to the Roman and the Anglican (and to some degreee mediæval) methods of elevating someone to the altar. One process demands a formal statement at the end of a process, the other grows out of the estimation of the people of God.

In this diocese (conservative, largely rural) there's a handful of ABC parishes, a few more AB ones, and in my congregation I think a couple of folk unhappy with the ordination of women to the priesthood. That suggests a large measure of reception by the people of God, and although out of charity some provision must be made for those who, in conscience, cannot go along with that reception, the tail must not wag the dog.

Naturally, we might then suggest that the 'populist' process is fallible: the Church 'canonised by acclamation' some characters who never really made it. But the same can be said of the formal process, as any Vatican-watcher can attest. So the populist reception CAN be attacked on the grounds that the reception may be by people who have not examined the arguments seriously - but the same might be said of those who have not 'received' the teaching. There will (for example)be those who consider the ordination of women and other minorities (Intentional Outrageous Statement Designed To Promote Reflection NB)a quasi-secular' rights' issue rather than a theological one; but similarly I know of some FiF supporters who have expressed worries about ritual cleannessas a significant plank in their opposition.

Ultimately, if we wait for an end to the reception process, it depends what sort of reception system we have. Me, I'm not a Romaniser, and the people of God seem to have spoken. It'll be interesting to see how the present higher profile of the People of God in the Irish RC Church fares.

Posted by david rowett at Thursday, 10 May 2012 at 5:03pm BST

Father David,

There was no 'ordination' in Paul's day.

As for evidence within holy Writ, one can distinguish between specific pointers and general principles which can be argued (as, of course, they can be argued against) to legitimate WO. On the former, you presumably know the controversy about 'Junia among the Apostles' (whether the second bit implies she is an Apostle or is merely reputed 'among them'). That controversy seems to me formally unresolvable, though Paul's audience must have known which he meant. But my point always is that neither side here can convince the other and therefore we should 'park it', allowing each side legitimate 'space' (while remembering also that the anti-WO position is a minority one).

I wish you could bring yourself to say, concretely (because general sentiments always have to have concrete expression): I recognise that when Martin Warner gets Chichester, pro-WO people should have a suffragan within the diocese who ordains women. I understand your difficulties in saying that. I still think you (and others like you) should surmount them.

Posted by John at Thursday, 10 May 2012 at 5:35pm BST

david's idea of the populist approach to 'a period of reception' - or could it be labelled "Reception by Acclamation" seems to have merit but rather than just assuming so - I'd personally prefer something more official from that august body known as General Synod to declare that the period of reception is either complete or inconclusive.

"the people of God seem to have spoken" It's that word "seem" that bothers me. Not all have "spoken" with one voice. Surely any society religious or secular is judged on how well it treats its minorities?

John - "There was no ordination in Paul's day" - precisely my point - as I previously stated St. Paul in his "neither male nor female" comment was referring specifically to baptism - would the great apostle not be a trifle miffed that his words have often been misused by those in favour of promoting the cause of the ordination of women?

Please! Let's not exhume the controversial "Junia" yet again - can't we let the departed Rest in Peace?

"We do not presume" to advise the next Lord Bishop of Chichester in any such matter concerning the make up of the college of bishops within his new diocese.

It is surely a great pity that our Church currently lacks the wisdom of an Habgood - I seem to recall that he recommended that each deanery include at least one Traditionalist parish thus allowing defined "space" for "folk unhappy with the ordination of women". Alas, something else that seems to have been simply swept under the carpet!

Yours, in Christ,

Scutula excavata et fabis coctis plena

Posted by Father David at Friday, 11 May 2012 at 6:39am BST

Habgood's idea's an interesting one, and I'll leave it to folk with a better theological brain to unpick its pros and cons. It would be - just about - workable in an urban setting, but less so in a rural or semi-rural one like this. In this deanery we have (or in a few months will have) five incumbents and thirty-two functioning churches. Even with our retireds and SSMs and readers we struggle to cover. In surrounding deaneries the situation is, if anything, even tighter. Two of our priests are women.

Setting aside theology, natural justice and any other subjects for fascinated debate, the logistics of setting up a traditionalist parish in my deanery would be horrendous, unless we're suggesting that the next time we recruit for a new parish priest we actively seek one from the traditionalist wing - and I'm not sure what sort of tangle that might lead us into. And that's without asking whether some of my male colleagues would be happy serving such a congregation, since Cost of Conscience does cut both ways.

Maybe John Habgood's idea might have worked in once, or in urban areas, or in the leafy south even now - but not up here.

Posted by david rowett at Friday, 11 May 2012 at 10:52am BST

Thank you, Father David.

I sort of agree.

Kind regards.

Posted by john at Friday, 11 May 2012 at 2:37pm BST

"Scutula excavata et fabis coctis plena"

The only Latin I've got are a few snippets of the ecclesiastical type, so I had to turn to for this. It's version of the phrase is "Dish hollowed out and filled with beans cooked." I'm guessing it just sounds better in the original Latin.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Friday, 11 May 2012 at 6:14pm BST

Or maybe - "a hollowed-out cylinder filled with cooked beans". A reference to being referred to earlier as no more a validly ordained priest in the eyes of the pope than "a can of baked beans".


Fr. D.

Posted by Father David at Saturday, 12 May 2012 at 9:43am BST

Nice, Fr David!

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Saturday, 12 May 2012 at 9:48pm BST

I read about the appointment of Dr Warner in yesterday's Church Times with horror. Although I have no personal reason to dislike the man, I feel Chichester diocese needs a break from self proclaimed 'traditionalists' whose concept of tradition is epitomised by opposition to the ordination of women and not a deal else. It is one thing for the Church of England to make space for those who disagree (on whatever grounds) with its synodically agreed policies. It is quite another to reward them with diocesan bishoprics.

Posted by AdrianNK at Saturday, 12 May 2012 at 10:33pm BST

"A reference to being referred to earlier as no more a validly ordained priest in the eyes of the pope than "a can of baked beans".

Thank God that it's the eye of God that matters, not the eye of the pope.

Posted by Erika Baker at Saturday, 12 May 2012 at 10:58pm BST

"The Pope hath no jurisdiction in England"! Now that would make a very good 40th 'Article of Faith'.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 13 May 2012 at 3:21am BST


I have to say I disagree with your last two sentences. I think that if we agree that their position is a valid one, we have to accept the consequent pill (bitter as in some respects it may be): that they should be free to flourish. Of course, I do also want more reciprocity - and Father David is an agile gentleman - but a gentleman, with whom we evidently still share considerable camaraderie.

Posted by John at Sunday, 13 May 2012 at 11:03am BST

Father Ron - "The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England" is already included within the 39 "Articles of Religion" and is to be found in Article 37.

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 13 May 2012 at 1:14pm BST

I too was filled wih "horror" on reading of Martin Warner's appontment in the current edition of the Church Times - but not for the same reasons as AdrianNK. I refer to the letters page and the foam-flecked fumings contained in the missive from one Ronald Roger Caseby of Chichester. What a way to welcome a new Father in God into his diocese! I am surprised that the Letters Editor of the Church Times allowed such a vitriolic epistle to be printed. Obviously the Church Times is not as vigilant in using the Censor's Blue Pencil as those who vet entries to the Thinking Anglicans blog.

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 13 May 2012 at 1:24pm BST

That's the spirit John! I must say that I much prefer being called "an agile gentleman" than I do being likened to "a can of baked beans".

The diocese of Chichester should consider itself richly blessed in its next Father in God who is also, I'm sure, "an agile gentleman" - certainly he is a Christian gentleman of much proven holiness. The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham flourished during the time in which Martin Warner was the Priest Administrator. He made a greatly valued contribution to the teaching ministry at St. Paul's cathedral and during his brief tenure as Bishop of Whitby has greatly endeared himself to the good folk of Cleveland and North Yorkshire by his obvious sincerity and deep spirituality. The Diocesan Bench of Bishops will be greatly enriched by his future presence thereupon.

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 13 May 2012 at 4:02pm BST

I suppose - and I don't know why this hadn't occurred to me earlier - that one of the issues concerning this appointment is that it effectively 'locks in' Chichester to an 'anti-' bishop for the best part of 20 years.

Had the appointment been of a gentleman of riper years, it might be seen with more equanimity by some. As it is, it does rather make a statement about Chi for the foreseeable future (barring preferment, naturally, but when was the last +Cicestr lost through promotion rather than retirement?).

Posted by david rowett at Sunday, 13 May 2012 at 7:06pm BST

No matter what our differing views are on the contentious issue of ordination of women to the episcopate I would hope that all could join in the Novena of Prayer from Ascension Day to Pentecost as the House of Bishops meet to fine tune the legislation to be brought before the General Synod in July. The daily intentions seem to me to be admirable:-

Ascension Day - May 17th
For the unity of the whole Church
May 18th
For the spirit of generosity
May 19th
That the Church of England may continue to reflect the diversity of the Body of Christ
May 20th
That our Church may be truly inclusive
May 21st
For the House of Bishops meeting today
May 22nd
For the gift of patient love
May 23rd
For the decisions to be made at this time
May 24th
For faithful leadership of the Church
May 25th
For the evangelisation of our nation
May 26th
For the healing of divisions in the Church
PENTECOST - May 27th
For the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be shown among us

Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles,
Peace I leave you, my peace I give you;
Look not on our sins,
But the Faith of your Church
And graciously grant her peace and unity,
In accordance with your will. AMEN.

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 13 May 2012 at 9:15pm BST

In answer to David Rowett's question - as to when the last Bishop of Chichester was granted preferment to another see - we have to go back to Bishop Edward Maltby who was Bishop of Chichester from 1831 to 1836 - thereafter he was translated to the great see of Durham where he reigned for the next twenty years.
David - you're not suggesting that Bishop Martin Warner be preferred as the next Archbishop of Canterbury but one, are you? If so - that would be good!

Posted by Father David at Monday, 14 May 2012 at 5:29am BST

Fr D - I couldn't possibly comment......:-) Anyhow, I thought you LIKED the guy!:-))

Posted by david rowett at Monday, 14 May 2012 at 5:37pm BST

Fair comment David - who would wish that bed of nails, which is the See of Canterbury, upon anyone? I just happened to spot Rowan yesterday in St. Paul's cathedral at the ceremony in which the Dalai Lama was awarded the Templeton Prize and he looked demob happy. May he continue to bathe in the ocean of tranquility as he heads off to a more pacific life in Cambridge.

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 15 May 2012 at 4:45am BST

'A more pacific life in Cambridge'???

That nest of scorpions.

Oxford man.

Posted by John at Tuesday, 15 May 2012 at 12:32pm BST

I am sure that compared with the Canterbury bed of nails Cambridge will be a bed of roses.

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 15 May 2012 at 7:51pm BST

All right, Father David. Stay with us. We (some of us) will keep trying to accommodate you in our great church. Do you also keep exercising a certain mutuality with us, your liberal brothers and sisters.

Posted by John at Wednesday, 16 May 2012 at 12:40am BST
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