The Curmudgeon


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Reverend Members

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who has no opinion on whether the Iraq war was "absolutely the right or the wrong thing to do", can be a very different kettle of wind when genuine moral issues are at stake. A leaked memorandum by the late dean of Southwark Cathedral shows the Christian gentleness and forbearance with which Dr Williams and the Archbishop of York overruled the diocese on the matter of who should be appointed bishop. Both of the diocese's preferred choices were thrown out. One, Jeffrey John, is the partnered but celibate gay man whom Williams himself appointed bishop of Reading eight years ago, only to fire him when the bigots started squealing. The other, Nicholas Holtam, is married to a divorcée; which apparently is not quite as bad as being homosexual since Holtam has since been made bishop of Salisbury. The memorandum mentions "two very horrible days in which I would say both archbishops behaved very badly ... When it came to voting, certainly two - possibly three - members were in tears and [Williams] made no acknowledgement but carried on regardless." Then, in a manoeuvre worthy of the Vatican at its gamiest, "at a critical point Archbishop Sentamu and three other members simultaneously went to the lavatory, after which the voting patterns changed", and Williams and Sentamu got their way. Apparently there are some people who think that a House of Lords with no bishops' bench would be detrimental to the dignity of the state.

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