19 March 2010

Collapse of Mother Damnable; and Marylin is caught short

A package from the diocese of Oxford; as always, being ecological, I keep the sheets which have clean backsides, so to speak, by my printer, and bin the rest. Today, however, a little yellow sheet catches my eye. It's not from the Bishop - he's pink - but from Marylin. I had better explain for transpontines and papists that the DDO - Diocesan Director of Ordinands - is pretty well always named Marylin in the Church of England nowadays. (As well as Marylin, there is always also a Director of Women's Ministry; I wonder if, when we reach the point at which there are more women than men on the clergy list, this will change to a Director of Men's Ministry. Somehow ...)

Marylin is passing on the news that General Synod, frantic for money in this awkward interval before they collar the Methodists' assets, is having to cap the money spent on clergy training. This means cuts in those who get full-time, old-style seminary training, and those allowed to collect a degree in the course of training. More will be educated part-time in Ministerial Training courses in which the basic presuppositions are not Catholic. Which means that they will have no priestly formation in the real sense of the word. It must be rather irritating for women - some women, the good ones - finally to have won through to acceptance when they will now only get a notional formation.

Time was when the Anglican clergy were much admired for their culture and learning even among those who disliked the C of E. Mind you, this was always a bit of a fraud. Give men a nice country rectory and an Oxbridge degree and a bit of social respect and it's not too difficult for the crafty ones to simulate erudition. I know; I've pretty well raised this game to an art form myself. But there was something behind it all.

It will be a poor old thing, the House of Bondage, in a few years time. Not even a fancy facade.
Wilfrid Ward described the C of E as Old Mother Damnable; (Blessed) John Henry Newman called her the House of Bondage.

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