May 2001



QU: Which "dinner party with friends" has the following ingredients? The man with the moneybag disagrees with the boss about fundamental policy and teaching. The man with the moneybag spends his time talking about how much good he wants to do for the poor. The man with the moneybag goes ahead and does what he was going to do anyway, regardless of what it may do to his boss and his colleagues?



SO FAR the debate about Bishop Barry Rogerson's enlightened decision to back Father Peter Stone's conversion to Mother Carol Stone has centred on the Canons of Nicaea's strictures on self-mutilation. Deeper rumblings about Bazza's judgment are beginning to emerge from unguarded episcopal colleagues. What, they want to know, was Bazza playing at giving such a high profile and inevitable publicity to a delicate pastoral problem? And, furthermore, was he wise to judge that a man with such a chequered history and profound identity crisis should continue as a parish priest?

They might like to reflect on one other curious fact. When Christopher Morgan, the Sunday Times religious correspondent and bÍte noire of the episcopal bench, predicted that cases, like Stone's, were in the pipeline, he was roundly excoriated as a fantasist and a scandalmonger.

As usual, no apologies are expected.


VISITORS to the powerhouse of the Anglican World (1, Millbank) of late see it wreathed in scaffolding and bearing a new politically correct legend. The lusty lotharios scaling these heady heights are, we are advised, members of the "Considerate Builders Scheme"

As young ladies pass beneath these tubular tenements, horny handed sons of toil will, no doubt, doff their hard hats and enquire, sotto voce,

"Excuse me madam but has anyone told you how lovely you're looking today?"


AS POOR old Bob Hardy limps to the end of his painful years as Bishop of Lincoln, the diocese is awash with gossip and "names". "Hardly the Bishop" was thought to favour the Suffragan Bishop of Swindon and his name did the rounds. Sadly, reporting of this enthusiasm leaked into 30 Days - always a setback for candidates.

Orthodox, who were pretty depressed by the replacement of one dreary liberal with another, are now in need of extreme counselling. The latest name on the lips of the "kingmakers" is John Saxbee, Suffragan Bishop of Ludlow. Saxbee, a star of the Modern Churchperson's Union school of episcopacy, would make "Hardly" seem like the Oecumenical Patriarch by comparison.


THE BISHOP of Worcester, Peter Selby, was in the news again towards the end of Lent. The local paper picked up the fact that the website of his baby ( Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality, CSCS) has, among many other delightful excursions, a piece waxing positive about the uses of pornography.

The article, "Sex with Images" (isn't there something about that in the Old Testament?) is written by the Reverend Paul Holley, priest of St Philip's, Salford. Fr. Holley describes himself as "a researcher into the theology of erotic entertainment". Schoolboys have a pithier term for this and would be surprised by its academic dignity.

Other delights on the website include, "Doing Queer Theology in the Garden" and "Does Jesus Have a Penis?"

As usual no resignations are expected.


THE COMMUNICATIONS Officer for the Diocese of Worcester, Mrs Nicola Currie, has rejected claims that the diocesan leadership had "decisively rejected orthodox and biblical teaching." She goes on, "this claim is untrue and deeply offensive to the church's leadership in this diocese!"

By an extraordinary coincidence Nicola Currie is also the name of a former colleague of and collaborator with James Rosenthal of the Anglican Consultative Council, the unofficial liaison officer with the advance guard of liberal sexuality at the last Lambeth Conference.

Could they possibly be related?


A SPANISH judge has recently reviewed the case of Jesus Christ, a little-known Jewish criminal executed for the obscure crime of blasphemy. The learned M'lud has concluded that Mr Christ was not guilty and should not have been executed at all! Should he formally set aside the verdict or even so much as commute the sentence this would have massive implications for the doctrine of the Atonement and could keep armies of theologians occupied until Armageddon.


BISHOP Richard Holloway no longer believes that Jesus is "the Son of God" and thinks that the "church is going down the tubes". Jesus, he explains was just an extraordinary bloke.

This will come as a profound shock to no one who has witnessed the last few years of "Dunprayin' Dick's" media conscious ministry. Nor should it come as any surprise that this public conclusion coincided happily with his retirement. Why should he go any earlier than dozens of his episcopal colleagues and fellow "affirming catholics" who believe no more than he does, but are simply more cautious?

What money on the old apostate doing the decent thing and hanging up his mitre and reverting to plain "Mr"? Would it be too much to expect him to acknowledge his leading role in the tubular descent of the Episcopal Church?


IN THE LAST issue of New Directions, Geoffrey Kirk expended a great deal of ink and energy in demolishing the feminist icon of the Priscilla fresco.

A reader, wishing to bridge the gap between the unreasonableness of Kirk's position and the self - evident truth of the modernist exposition, offers a splendid Anglican compromise.

The female "concelebrants" and "Deacon's" are indeed female but - they are almost certainly transgendered former men. You can tell by the overlarge hands, ridiculous hairstyles and Adam's (sic) apples! Everybody happy?


QU: What else do Winnie the Pooh and John the Baptist have in common?

Ans: They both like honey

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