THE convulsions over Dr Philip Giddings hardly registered in the
secular press at all. Had he lost the vote, there would have been a
story, but holding on to his position meant that there was nothing
for reporters to get their teeth into.
Someone commented on the story on the Guardian website:
"If you're going to plot to stab the right-wingers in the back, at
least be reasonably sure you've got something sharper than a cake
skewer to do it with. I'm all for petty vindictiveness - but is
competent petty vindictiveness too much to ask for?" It seemed to
sum up the reaction of the world to the Synod more
THE kind of squabble that the Daily Mail can
understand, or manufacture, was better illustrated by its story on
the unspeakable levity of the C of E communications department, who
were asked, on Twitter: "what @c_of_e thinks about Katie Price
marrying for 3rd time making a mockery of marriage yet you are
against Homosexual marriage."
To which the reply was just about perfect: "We don't have an
official policy on Katie Price. Having said that, Jordan gets quite
a few mentions in the Old Testament."
The headline put on this on the Mail website was, of
course, "Church of England's official Twitter feed sparks row after
'offensive' joke about gay marriage and Katie Price." Because, if
there is not a "row", it's not a story.
TWO notable things in The Times this week: first, a
marvellous headline to greet the news that the Pope has added Latin
to his list of tweeting languages: "Ars Longa, Twitter brevis".
Apparently the approved Vatican Latin for Twitter is
"Breviloquentis", though, which rather defeats the point.
The second was the unflaggingly energetic Ruth Gledhill getting
a quote out of the Archbishop of York, when he was launching a Lent
programme at the House of Lords.
"Where we didn't succeed is in producing legislation where
everybody in Synod would hear themselves," he told her. "So what
I'm praying for is what happened at Nicea, when the Church would
have actually been split on the whole nature of Jesus. When you
look at the Creed, nearly everybody could hear themselves within
it. They could hear: 'Yes, I don't go along with that but I can
hear my bit.'"
I had always thought that the point of creeds was that you had
to subscribe to every part of them. I often think that the
quintessential Anglican liturgical gesture is the crossing of
fingers. Perhaps the rubric should read: "Let us now say together
the creeds (except for any bits you don't believe)."
On reflection, I am being naïve. The process Dr Sentamu
describes is exactly how legislation is normally assembled. Only by
promising people quite incompatible things has the Church of
England got as far as it has on the issue of women clergy, and if
you think this is a good place to be, why not go on in the same
TO lighter things. In any normal week, the Twitter headline
above would have been quite the most memorable; but it came up
against a real classic, from the San Francisco Chronicle,
though clearly it originated in Connecticut: "Sources:
Cross-dressing meth priest liked sex in rectory". You hardly dare
hope that the story would live up to these standards, but it did:
"The Catholic priest busted for allegedly dealing crystal meth was
suspended after church officials discovered he was a cross-dresser
who was having sex in the rectory at Bridgeport's St Augustine
Now dubbed "Monsignor Meth" by some, Fr Wallin seemed to live a
life that easily could have been ripped from the script of
Breaking Bad, the popular TV series about a high-school
chemistry teacher turned crystal methamphetamine producer. At one
point, Fr Wallin was selling upwards of $9000 of meth a week,
according to his indictment.
"While pastor of St Augustine's, sources said he often
disappeared for days at a time; and rectory personnel became
concerned and notified diocese officials when Wallin, sometimes
dressed as a woman, would entertain odd-looking men, some who were
also dressed in women's clothing and engaging in sex acts."
In his other life, Fr Wallin "was known as a charismatic speaker
who was involved in many charitable activities, and who enjoyed
Broadway musicals and show tunes. He often attended musicals with
his mentor, former NY Cardinal Edward Egan, and parishioners.
"In addition, diocesan officials found bizarre sex toys in
Wallin's residence, the sources said."
This leaves open an interesting question: what kinds of sex toys
are not considered bizarre when found in an RC presbytery?