Canon Green: Nolo episcopari

by
18 October 2019

October 17th, 1919.

THERE have been many reasons that weighed in the minds of men to whom bishoprics have been offered, prompting them to say nolo episcopari. Those which Canon Peter Green has given for his refusal of the See of Lincoln do him the greatest honour. He says, in the first place, that he is ignorant of the rural problems — social and ecclesiastical — with which he would have had to deal in that diocese. But his chief reason is that he has a very definite ideal of a bishop’s life, a life in which episcopal palaces, incomes and motorcars have no part. These things, he maintains, are “a real stumbling-block to a working-man in accepting Christianity”, and a big battle will be fought over them in the near future. If he were to enter into the fray as Bishop of Lincoln he would, he feels, stand to lose, presumably because he would not have the backing of influential Churchmen in the diocese. The spectacle of the bishop defeated in his attempt to remove what is found to be a stumbling-block in the path of possible converts would be disastrous in its effects. A sphere in which he could fight the battle with some prospect of success Canon Green would accept, but not the bishopric of Lincoln. But we are not so certain that he would have failed even there.

[Canon Green, who lived until 1961, turned down several offers of a bishopric in the course of his long ministry to working people and the unemployed in Salford. William Temple called him “the ideal parish priest”. Editor]

The Church Times digital archive is available free to subscribers

Forthcoming Events

21-22 February 2020
Church Times Festival of Faith and Literature
For 2020 the Bloxham festival celebrates ‘The Power of Love’. Book tickets

26 March 2020
Theology Slam Live Final
Theology Slam is back, continuing its search for the most engaging young voices on theology and the contemporary world. Find out more

Latest Cartoon

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read five articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)