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Clashes with a new incumbent: the last word

16 May 2012


From Julia Taylor

Sir, — I wonder whether the anon­ymous writer of the letter defending Readers and others in a parish from “an incoming priest who is at liberty to operate as a ‘mini-pope’ in his domain” (Letters, 11 May) has con­sidered the matter from the point of view of the incoming priest.

He or she has his or her own views and standards, which may well not accord with those who have “successfully run their own affairs during a vacancy”. The matters on which they disagree may be of such importance to both as not to permit half-measures to either.

Is the incomer to take orders from the parish laity, including the Reader, to the subjugation of his or her strongly held convictions? Has he or she no rights of leadership — of authority, if it comes to the crunch?

When all efforts at compromise have failed, it seems to me that to expect it to be the incumbent who yields would result in the priest’s being robbed of future moral leadership.

The parish priest surely must lead, not look to see whom he or she should follow.

15 Melbourne Street
Bratton, Westbury
Wiltshire BA13 4RN

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