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
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.
MARY P. ROE
1 The North Lodge, Kings End Bicester OX26 6NT