THIRTY DAYS - SEPTEMBER 1996
A group of traditionalists was recently refused the use of a northern cathedral for an act of worship. This, in itself, is not in the least surprising and, nowadays scarcely worth reporting. What lifts it from the drearily predictable to the level of mild farce is the number of reasons given for the refusal.
The Bishop wrote to tell them their request was refused because they were divisive. The Dean wrote to tell them that the date clashed with a flower festival and a Verger informed them that no-one could use the building that day because of planned repairs to the flooring.
Clearly there is an urgent need for a diocesan training day on Co-ordinating Collegiality.
Listeners to a late night radio show will have been, initially, heartened to hear of a revival in the religious life. One order of nuns, we were informed, has 50 more professed sisters than it had four years ago. in England.
The order in question is the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Founded in California (where else?), they are a group of homosexual men who dress up as nuns, adopt bizarre names and perform a mockery of the faith.
The programme signed off with one of the Mothers - Sr. Molesta of the Perpetual Cellulite - singing a vibrato castrato of Amazing Grace.
Just what we pay the licence fee for.
Sir Edward Heaths enthusiasm for a unified Europe pales into insignificance besides the vision of one of his recent paymasters.
Our Ted was paid an estimated #35,000 for a 20 minute speech in Washington at a conference organized and hosted by Moonie Messiah Sun Myung Moon.
In 1978 the Daily Mail accused the Unification Church of breaking up families and brainwashing recruits and won the massive libel suit that ensued. Moon then spent a year in prison for tax fraud Stateside.
Since then Moon has tried to buy respectability by renting famous names to appear with him at high sounding conferences.
Heath, apparently, has enjoyed four such pay days and is dismissive of any criticism.
But a word of caution, Ted.....
Sunny Moon doesn't just want to unite Europe but the whole world under the benevolent dictatorship of one man - and it isn't Ted Heath.
Disgraced eco-evo, Chris Brain, founder of the disastrous Nine O'clock Service had, it transpires, sartorial obsessions which would have embarrassed all but the most fragrant Affirming Catholic.
Six months before his ordination he set up a Robes Team to plan his costume for the big day.
Weekly meetings for three months, visits to the clerical outfitters
and endless plans were all overturned by Brains decision to have one modelled on Robert de Niro's cozzie for The Mission.
Paramount Pictures obligingly sent the original for the team to copy and, when Chris was finally kitted out the Robes Team was stood down and henceforth became - The Ironing Team.
When a former catholic bishop invites a former evangelical bishop to lead a diocesan clergy training day we can be sure of major advances in moral enlightenment.
Sadly several of the more stick in the mud clergy were put out to hear the F.E.B. state (and repeat at later sessions as a general principle of moral theology in the area of sexual ethics): You cannot call wicked what people find to be good.
Watch out for a revival of Canaanite fertility rites at the cathedral!
If Mr E. Lijah had a grave he would doubtless be revolving in it.
PHONA E MOBILE
An upstart firm of northern vestment makers recently made national headlines by promoting their latest cassock complete with space for a mobile phone!
An assistant in one of the more venerable London Tat emporiums told one of our correspondents that this was nothing new. They had been accommodating unnecessary clerical bulges for years.
J.P. PHONE ROME
More scarcely credible phone twaddle!
Following several complaints from mourners, the Pope has ordered clergy of the Rome diocese to make sure they turn off their mobile phones before conducting a funeral!
Dust to dust.....Pring pring...pring pring
.....Hello, sorry, can you hold the line please I have someone on the other catafalque at the moment.
Rest in peace. Go ex-directory.
COMMENT FOR SEPTEMBER 1996
For most people Cornwall is a picture postcard county of beach holiday memories and quaint fishing villages.
For the Cornish people - per capita far worse off and higher unemployment than most of the beneficiaries of church and state obsession with urban priorities - the beauty of their homeland does not disguise the national neglect.
For the church in this land Cornwall has been bastion of wholehearted catholicism right back to its founding Celtic saints and, periodically, the place of great evangelical revivals.
For the new C of E Cornwall is about to prove a critical test case for, as we go to press, the eyes of the Crown Appointments Commission will be turning to Truro and a replacement for Bishop Michael Ball.
In the lead up to the crucial vote in November 1992 Truro was the one diocese that clearly and regularly expressed its majority opposition to the measure and proclaimed its traditional faith. It was hoped by many that, in the view of this overwhelming support the Bishop
would declare a no go area. He did not. Indeed to the surprise of many, while expressing his own agnosticism about it, he proceeded to ordain women and appointed a protégé of Robert Runcie, who was in favour of women priests, as his suffragan.
The diocese then experienced the highest percentage of resignations of any diocese including two notable retired bishops.
In spite of this the yearning for a traditionalist bishop with catholic teaching and evangelical enthusiasm remains overwhelming. No diocese has a stronger case for such an appointment. If a traditionalist cannot be appointed in Truro then it is difficult to see where, if ever, one will be.
Failure to make such an appointment will, in the words of one senior bishop, mean that the game is up. That is to say that the promises made in the Act of Synod have not and will not be honoured.
The statistics on appointments since 1992 reproduced elsewhere in this issue reveal in the liberal governed dioceses an almost complete absence of traditional appointments other than to inconsequential honorary canonries. While the episcopal bench groans under the weight of overactive mediocrities for every liberal cause, not one single declared battler for traditional orthodoxy has been appointed to the normal diocesan or suffragan posts.
In this situation it is difficult to see how the Doctrine of Reception and discernment is supposed to operate when patronage is used like a blunt instrument on placemen and parish alike.
More alarmingly there are persistent rumours that the bishops have secretly endorsed their original report to General Synod that no opponent should be appointed as a diocesan and preferably not as a suffragan.
The seriousness of any such decision cannot be overstated for it would reveal a conspiracy to deceive parliament and the people to whom, through the Ecclesiastical Committee, serious promises to the contrary were made.
To many the sheer evidence of the statistics will prove such an intention whether formally stated or not. And this, in itself, is a tragedy for while the traditional bishops have, to a man, sought to appoint a balanced ticket, not one of the liberal bishops has made the smallest concession.
The upshot of this is entirely contrary to their interest for even the most moderate doctrinal conservatives are beginning to doubt their place in the scheme of things. There is little doubt that had each diocese given its traditionalists their rightful place much reconciling work could already have been done. People would have felt their voice was being heard.
The ruthless operation of diocesan one-party state regimes and the gradual despoiling of traditional parishes by the imposition of doctrinal carpetbaggers has given a clear message right enough and increased the importance of the PEVs beyond what their inventors could have intended.
What a short-sighted liberal establishment has to recognise is that each broken promise weakens its tenuous hold and makes the call for a Third province more powerful.
Truro is the last chance to start behaving with honour.
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