Saturday, 15 July 2006

Saturday's opinion columns

In this week’s Tablet Richard Harries writes about The female mitre.

Yesterday’s Guardian had an interesting feature article by Natasha Walter about CofE schools: On a wink and a prayer.

Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about the poet RS Thomas.

Roderick Strange in The Times has We must not stray from understanding the essential inhumanity of evil.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 15 July 2006 at 8:37am BST | TrackBack
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"I also wonder why the churches in London have decided that it is an acceptable part of their mission to divide neighbour from neighbour."

Natasha Walter seems to have a strange cynical view about church schools: It is the church's fault that, because they are selective, people hypocritically pretend to be believers in order to get their children in. The church schools do better than others, therefore there is something wrong with them ! The church schools are devisive because Christians choose to send their kids to them rather than use the state schools (where they would be taught that Christianity is just another religion, keen Christians are often openly depised, and post-modern sexual a-morality is fed to them in the guise of education)

This is just another ´camnpaign article for state controlled education. Depste the fact that it is significantly underperforming... even when you take into account the better social and family background that Christians usually provide for their offspring.

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 15 July 2006 at 2:54pm BST

I think the point about schools and selection and community diversities is a systemic one. Unless we can sustain systemic thinking - that sees both the church schools and the community schools as part of one unwittingly organized -(organized almost by default, or at least with unplanned consequences)- we cannot see that systemic forest for looking at its individual trees and grouped groves.

Neither is this early analysis mostly about finding somebody to blame, but rather a call to examine effects - which nobody in particular is making happen.

That observational and discernment challenges of having to live with effects that nobody specifically and personally intends to happen is common to all complex systems - even technical ones that are not mainly about people. I believe my old sociology 101 class put it as: All social arrangements have intended and unintended consequences - hence the critical-comparative study of societies at all levels of arrangement.

Thanks, too, for the RS Thomas article link. I think religion and theology are more like poetry than not, and as such, reach much nearer to embodiment than other forms of discourse. These are quite good things, god things, in my view. Now I shall have to tell my secret Santa that Thomas' poetry is on the wish list.

Posted by: drdanfee on Saturday, 15 July 2006 at 5:10pm BST

While +Richard Harries "Tablet" editorial is welcome, that headline certainly isn't! "The Female Mitre"? What, are there two of them wired together, and worn over the chest? (Rather like Madonna's on-stage fashions, circa 1990? ;-p)

No, it is the *one mitre*, of bishops of Christ's Body, the Church---worn by either male or female Imago Dei, properly called and consecrated bishop. That's all.

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Saturday, 15 July 2006 at 7:46pm BST

Natasha Walter's article was excellent and I know one which many vicars will echo.

I don't think that the Church should be giving the middle classes yet another leg-up - they should be looking to how they can best help those in greatest need.

But then they would no doubt lose their 'popularity'.

Posted by: Merseymike on Saturday, 15 July 2006 at 11:20pm BST

Those were the days!: "A power of jurisdiction almost equal to that of the Abbess of Las Huelgas was at one time exercised by the Cistercian Abbess of Converano in Italy. Among the many privileges enjoyed by this Abbess may be specially mentioned, that of appointing her own vicar-general through whom she governed her abbatial territory; that of selecting and approving confessors for the laity; and that of authorizing clerics to have the cure of souls in the churches under her jurisdiction. Every newly appointed Abbess of Converano was likewise entitled to receive the public "homage" of her clergy,--the ceremony of which was sufficiently elaborate. On the appointed day, the clergy, in a body repaired to the abbey; at the great gate of her monastery, the Abbess, with mitre and crosier, sat enthroned under a canopy, and as each member of the clergy passed before her, he made his obeisance, and kissed her hand."
The only mitred Abbess I have seen in procession had it carried before her - it was very dramatic!!

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Sunday, 16 July 2006 at 9:47am BST

"This is just another ´camnpaign article for state controlled education. Depste the fact that it is significantly underperforming... even when you take into account the better social and family background that Christians usually provide for their offspring."

Not Dr Darwin, Mr Spencer.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 16 July 2006 at 10:18am BST

There are various relics of what seems to have been a more sacerdotal role for women in the Church in earlier times -- viz., to this day a Carthusian choir nun is entitled to read the Gospel at Matins & wears a stole for this, as well as for administering communion when no priest is available.

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Sunday, 16 July 2006 at 3:07pm BST

Wrote the good Prior: "There are various relics of what seems to have been a more sacerdotal role for women in the Church in earlier times -- viz., to this day a Carthusian choir nun is entitled to read the Gospel at Matins & wears a stole for this, as well as for administering communion when no priest is available."

But how do we get misogynist folk like +Jack Iker, Fort Worth, to read their church history books?

Now the ball is in ++Rowan Cantuar's court, appeals having been made to provide alternative primatial oversight now that TEC has presumed to elect a female to the office of Presiding Bishop.

During his initial interview with +Katharine Schori, will ++Cantuar re-play his Jeffrey John script and try to persuade her to step down as PB-elect out of respect for those AC primates and metropolitans who cannot admit a female into the primatial club?

Posted by: John Henry on Sunday, 16 July 2006 at 8:35pm BST

I note that the Abbess of Las Huelgas and the Abbess of Converano were not priests or bishops.

Posted by: Athos on Monday, 17 July 2006 at 8:36am BST

I knew the name Natasha Walter rang a bell in that article — wsn't her father the head of the Rationalist Press and the National Secular Society? Can't remember any mention of that in the article, so I could be wrong.

Posted by: mynsterpreost on Monday, 17 July 2006 at 11:46am BST

No, they weren't priests or bishops, but they were apparently permitted to act as if they were. A curiousity, given the potential for confusion this would entail.

Jon

Posted by: Jon on Monday, 17 July 2006 at 2:24pm BST

SO lets be clear. The two abbesses were not bishops or priests although (APPARENTLY!!) allowed to behave as if they were.
Is there any evidence that there were ever any female bishops or priests EVER in either Catholic west or orthodox east?
Which must mean that 1) either they had a different bible to us or 2) a few of us today have insights into scripture that have been denied the rest of the Church for 2000 years; which either means that the Church of the past was made up of spiritual neaderthals or that the few in favour of this innovation have the most elevated theological minds.

Posted by: Athos on Tuesday, 18 July 2006 at 4:37pm BST
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