Richard Warren

20thc British art and poetry (mainly), plus bits of my own – "Clearly I tap to you clearly along the plumbing of the world" (W S Graham)

Tag Archives: Church of England

The song of Simeon Solomon

Blogs are not best used to vent, I know. However …

One often despairs of the Church of England, but after yesterday’s report on same-sex marriage by the House of Bishops, I really wonder how much longer it’s possible to stay a member. Another smack in the teeth for those whose God-given yearning for faithful relationships stays damned: celibacy or inconstancy – your choice.

But never mind; the Bishop of Norwich, heading up the report, promises instead “a fresh tone and culture of welcome and support for lesbian and gay people.” Quite what sort of “support” the bishop has in mind is not clear, unless it’s along the lines of the dependency of the tortured upon the torturer.

“There is much more that I could say to you, but the burden would be too great for you now. However, when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16: 13)

Indeed. As my wife said to me this morning, the church’s cowardice is nothing short of a sin against the Holy Spirit. In Christ, the perfect liberation, there is no male or female, as St Paul pointed out on one of his better days. So chew on that, Norwich.

Since one has to hold up something against this miserable betrayal, here’s Simeon Solomon’s quite wonderful The Mystery of Faith (1870). But then, we all know what happened to poor Simeon. If we don’t, read about it here.

the-mystery-of-faith

Women bishops – over the cliff with General Synod

Off topic for this blog, I know. But when you need to shout, the nearest rooftop is at least somewhere to start.

Breakfast TV and the morning papers say that the Church of England is now “in turmoil”. “Meltdown” hardly does it. “Tailspin”, maybe. In thirty years or less, the national church, in which every person in every street in every parish in the land may claim a stake if they care to, will have become a dispersed, disestablished, reactionary cult, populated by a few nutters.

Women clergy have gone to work this morning dismayed and angry. Many seriously tempted, I don’t doubt, to throw in the towel. In this diocese at least, emails of pastoral support to them from their concerned bishops are conspicuous by their non-existence. Maybe they need their PA’s to do their emails for them. I don’t know.

Who (apart from the Taliban) would contemplate a system in which women could be teachers but never heads, on the check-out but never managers, nurses but never consultants?

And all engineered by a handful of religious rednecks who have used the inertia of the majority to push themselves onto Synod. I nearly wrote “fascists” there, rather than “rednecks”. But to be honest, when we take a cold look at the distasteful, square-headed fundamentalism of Reform and the childish, ultramontane ponciness of Forward in Faith, the term doesn’t look too inappropriate.

Once you boil it down, there simply are no good, rational reasons to oppose the episcopacy of women. Not even simplistic and confused appeals to Scripture. It is pure and shameful misogyny – nothing more, nothing less.