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Metropolitan Anthony and the clergy wives

10 October 2014


From Mrs. Mary P. Roe

Sir, - I was interested to read Gillian Crow's appreciation of Metropolitan Anthony (Faith, 19 September). He was much admired by Anglicans, and perhaps that is the reason why his advice to us clergy wives at our Quiet Day was so disappointing and hurtful.

There were, of course, many traditional clergy wives present, who kept open house for the parish, fed the gentlemen of the road, visited the sick, and so on; but this did not mean that they were illiterate. There were also several teachers, including two headmistresses, and some who lectured in Cambridge University, two solicitors, a GP, and a specialist consultant. Anthony Bloom's advice to us was: when we were dusting our husband's study (?) not to rearrange his books in an order that pleased us - for example, by size, colour of the cover, etc. - because "your husband knows what is inside those books, and out of them will come the wisdom conveyed in his sermons."

I'm afraid he lost many of us at that point. It was not the helpful spiritual advice that, no doubt, he intended. He also reminded us that Eve was made from Adam's rib; so . . .

What did we learn from that day? I personally learnt that Bloom was still a great man and still a good man appointed by God to lead us on our pilgrimage - but not blindly; and that he was a man of his time and culture. I was affirmed in my view that all the saints, however great they were, including St Paul himself, are still fully human.

That is why I am uneasy when some people appear to forget that, while Jesus was the Man for all time, St Paul and others were all men of their own time.

1 The North Lodge, Kings End Bicester OX26 6NT

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