Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Anglican Covenant: Not Making it Worse

Half of all English dioceses have voted against the Anglican Covenant, and it will now be technically impossible, as it was probably already practically impossible, for the Church of England to be part of this experiment. Whether this will be fatal to the existence of the Covenant we cannot say, although there is a delicious irony to its rejection by what used to be the heart of the Communion.

The proposers of this scheme should have known, if only from their history books, that to be a Covenanter is by definition to be an opponent of the Church of England. Indeed, the victorious anti-Covenanters have been a curious alliance of those who see nothing wrong with the new liberal Anglicanism and those, more traditionally-minded on the whole, who could see that the whole idea was simply not very Church of England.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Budget Day

There can hardly be much to say about the contents of the Budget itself. Of course, all of us wish to see the prosperity of the country established, while maintaining our own political prejudices and benefiting our own pocketbooks. Here at Plumstead Rectory we favour for this purpose a large measure of tax relief for clergy of the Church of England, perhaps reverting to the system of the payment to the Exchequer of a nominal lump sum agreed by Convocation.

Monday, 19 March 2012

An ecumenical proposal

The Holy Spirit is clearly speaking to the churches, with the heaven-sent opportunity this week of vacancies (or impending vacancies) in two worldwide communions.

Anglican readers may not be aware that the Coptic Orthodox Church, though essentially a national church in Egypt, has dioceses and parishes on all continents. The Pope of Alexandria has jurisdiction over perhaps 9 million members in Egypt and the same number elsewhere, with a further 50 million members of daughter churches, mainly in Ethiopia and Eritrea, with historic links to his church.

Clearly the Coptic and Anglican communions have a great deal in common: roughly equal in size, with their mainly African membership and their perverse doctrinal differences with the mainstream of Christianity. Both share a current experience of repression by governments who took power under dubious circumstances, and now pretend to conservatism while attacking the historic traditions of their peoples. And crucially, both communions have vacancies for their spiritual leaders.

Is there now a critical ecumenical opportunity: to appoint the same person to be both Pope of Alexandria and Archbishop of Canterbury?

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Happy St Edward's Day

Happy St Edward, King and Martyr's Day. This is a day for all of us to be thankful for our anointed monarchs. Have you sent your king or queen a card (available from all good stationers) and bunch of daffodils to let them know how much you love them? A call to his or her private secretary will also be appreciated.

It is, of course, a terrible Americanism to call it Edwarding Sunday.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

That shortlist in full

 You knew there would be leaks. That shortlist in full:

1. The Archbishop of York
2. The Bishop of London
3. The Dean of St Albans
4. The Reverend Richard Coles
5. ecumenically-minded, Benedict XVI
6. if His Holiness is busy, substitute Fr Z.
7. Why a cleric? Try Frank Field
8. by far the best qualified, the ubiquitous David Lindsay
9. for the full St Ambrose, Baroness Warsi

and realising that the law would have to be changed to allow the Baroness:

10. like a squarson of old, appointing herself, Elizabeth II

Only today it would be the internet

After breakfast, on the morning of which we are writing, the
archdeacon, as usual, retired to his study, intimating that he was
going to be very busy, but that he would see Mr Chadwick if he called.
On entering this sacred room he carefully opened the paper case on
which he was wont to compose his favourite sermons, and spread on it
a fair sheet of paper and one partly written on; he then placed his
inkstand, looked at his pen, and folded his blotting paper; having
done so, he got up again from his seat, stood with his back to the
fire-place, and yawned comfortably, stretching out vastly his huge
arms and opening his burly chest.  He then walked across the room and
locked the door; and having so prepared himself, he threw himself into
his easy-chair, took from a secret drawer beneath his table a volume
of Rabelais, and began to amuse himself with the witty mischief of
Panurge; and so passed the archdeacon's morning on that day.
The Warden, chapter 8: Plumstead Episcopi