Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Bishop of Fulham profiled

The BBC Radio 4 programme Profile featured the Bishop of Fulham last week. Here is the BBC blurb about the programme:

The Rt Rev John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham and chairman of Forward in Faith, the mainly Anglo-Catholic organisation opposed to the ordination of women. Traditionalists like Bishop Broadhurst were left more isolated this week after the Church of England’s ruling body the General Synod moved one step nearer to the concecration of women bishops. Those close to him say frequent accusations of misogyny have been wounding but are completely misplaced.

Listen to the 15 minute programme via this page.

The programme’s presenter, Mary Ann Sieghart wrote about it in her latest column for the Independent newspaper, Women on top? You’ve got to be joking:

…Even in the Church of England, which now has women priests and is close to accepting women as bishops, the hatred and vilification are shocking. At last weekend’s meeting of the General Synod, some women priests were spat at. And a male bishop who appeared on the radio programme I made complained that the Synod had now been “swamped” by part-time women clergy or – as he put it – “ladies with time on their hands”.

Hearing a word like “swamped”, you might expect the House of Clergy to have been taken over by women. In fact, they account for just 39 of 197 members. In other words, men still take up 80 per cent of the places. But if women are seen as threatening and monstrous – as in that priest’s painting – even their minority presence is hugely amplified.

This overestimation of the power and representation of women is commonplace. Research shows that when women speak in the classroom exactly 50 per cent of the time, both men and women think they spoke more. When I took part in an internet debate recently about whether Oxford University was sexist, James Kingston, president of the Oxford Union, said: “Most of the History tutors at Christ Church seem to be women.” In fact, there are six women and six men there…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 10:31am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

"At last weekend’s meeting of the General Synod, some women priests were spat at."

Is there any evidence for this at all? I'm sure we'd have heard if this were the case.

Posted by: tommiaquinas on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 11:19am BST

What's most "enlightening" in that linked article are the comments. Do only the right-wing nutjobs comment on stuff these days?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 11:28am BST

The quote about swmaping was not from Bishop John.

One should also ask people to cite who it is who is spitting at them. An easy accusation to make but one I find very hard to believe. Noone I know in FIF would ever stoop to that level and I know a lot. Was it a lone rogue or something worth smearing us all with I wonder? Or did it even happen- its just the spitting accusation always comes out when we start to get positive press

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 2:10pm BST

Mary Ann Sieghart: "At last weekend’s meeting of the General Synod, some women priests were spat at"

Shocking. I'd not heard that before. Are other reports with more details?

Posted by: John B. Chilton on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 2:46pm BST

Someone called Edwin Barnes also said that Mrs Broadhurst was almost the equal of her husband, then, realising the error, quickly back-pedalled. But it's fun when true feelings slip out like that.

Posted by: junius on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 5:01pm BST

Ed - no, the quote was from Bishop Edwin Barnes, accurately described as a male bishop in the quote above.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 5:07pm BST

"Do only the right-wing nutjobs comment on stuff these days?"

Yes, which is I have taken a Solemn Oath NOT to read the internet-based comments on any article I read.

Only the extremists have the motivation to write in; the middle ground, which I remind myself is the majority, don't feel the need - and are alienated by the extremists (who may be the best allies of progress and change).

Posted by: Nat on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 5:14pm BST

+Edwin Barnes was formerly bishop of Richborough (PEV in the south-east), and it was indeed he, and not +John Broadhurst, who was responsible for the extraordinary comment about Synod being "swamped" by "ladies with time on their hands".

Posted by: Hannah on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 7:41pm BST

Bishop Barnes is retired and is throwing his lot in for the Ordinariate. He has his pension and has nothing to lose. You can't help but like Bishop Barnes...he has non of the ire of BishopBroadhurst.Bishop Barnes comes across as a real gentleman.

Interesting piece on the Anglo-Catholic blog that there was a disagreement between Catholic Bishop Mcmahon and a flying bishop at the meeting in Leicester. It was over celibacy, and this results from the ambiguous way in which the Papal document was written.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 8:29pm BST

I doubt very much that that quotation came from the Bishop of Fulham. He's more subtle than that. However, I wonder why he keeps on attending Synod as he said that it is a sinful set-up and that it should be dismantled.

Posted by: Diego on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 9:24pm BST

""ladies with time on their hands"

This seems to be a common right wing UK Anglo Catholic slur of women clergy; I've seen it in the work of other people than +Barnes.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 9:28pm BST

I'd like a source check. It seems some statements about the going-ons are not factual or exaggerated.

Posted by: bobinswpa on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 9:42pm BST

I've made enquiries about the spitting claim, and I can confirm that Mary Ann Sieghart's report comes from a highly reliable source.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 11:03pm BST

Re Diego's comment on why +Fulham continues to attend synod - he doesn't, he is not a member.

Re spitting - we need to know who spat at whom - this is something traditionalists would want to condemn in the strongest possible terms - many of us have good local relationships with female clergy and, in any case, such behaviour is profoundly unchristian. But we need the evidence that it happened and the name(s) of the guilty.

Posted by: David Malloch on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 12:05am BST

Sorry to hear that Simon - and not typical. I know of nobody who would be likely to spit at a lady in the way reported, and so to hear this is a reliable report is depressing. Can you confirm how many women priests were spat at? And was it by one person or more?

Posted by: Neil on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 12:06am BST

Interesting article from "The Anglo Catholic" about a spat between the RC Bishop of Nottingham and The Bishop of Richborough(Newton)re. the Ordinariate and celibacy.


Posted by: Adam Armstrong on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 2:29am BST

"And a male bishop who appeared on the radio programme I made complained that the Synod had now been “swamped” by part-time women clergy or – as he put it – “ladies with time on their hands”.

- Mary Ann Sieghart, Independent art. -

One wonders precisely who this bishop was, and at the absolute arrogance with which such a thought could be given voice on public radio. If this is the level of theological thinking of any of the House of Bishops in the Church of England, one might question whether they have ever had anything at all to do with women in the Church - in any capacity.

In any event, this bishop should have swum the Tiber some time ago - HE would find friends there, although maybe not a bishop's palace and appurtenances.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 10:54am BST

I think the spitting point is very important and have blogged on it today. http://sbarnabas.com/blog/2010/07/21/spitting-mad/

If this is a one off then the spitter needs naming, shaming but the liberals MUST publicly state that this is not representative of all opponents. The spitter is likely unstable and how would the spat on know the reason? Was it her gender or dogcollar in general? How does she know the opinion of the spitter? did they discuss it with her?

If a serious problem done by many then show the evidence.

What outrages many is the use of an unsubstantiated claim in a BBC interview (by Fiona Weaver and a newspaper article mentioned already) which -intentionally or not - smears a whole movement. Below the belt and unfair.

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 10:59am BST

Ron, the bishop to whom you refer is +Edwin Barnes, a retired bishop of Richborough. For the record, he has never lived in a palace, his See House was a very small terraced house in St Alban's.

Posted by: David Malloch on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 12:37pm BST

I agree that Edwin Barnes is an absolute gent. But his current ecclesio-political line is absolute bunk, as is that of Ed Tomlinson, also a gent but a wrong gent.

Traditionalist Catholics seem not to be in one mind on where to go post women bishops.

The Barnes line - as others note, his livelihood is secure - seems to be to move to Rome as a sort of Uniate Church under the auspices of Anglicanorum Coetibus with all due haste. If so, good luck to him. Go with God. Maybe now they'll finally start using Anglican liturgies, which would make a change...

The Tomlinson line is appropriately different for a young man with a living to earn. As per his Guardian article, it amounts to "give us the buildings and the money and we'll go quietly". This is a bit wet, really. Why don't you follow your conscience and trust God to provide, Ed?

Seriously, this is the week when the Vatican has compared our women priests to child abusers and our Masses to desecration of the host. And you want our buildings and our money? Wise up. Not a penny, not a brick.

Then there are the people who have had a good look across the Tiber and worked out that they want to remain Anglicans, but struggle in all honesty with some aspects of women's Ministry. These are the people we need to reach out to and reach some sort of modus vivendi with. I'm not sure what the answer is, but let's keep talking and trust that God will provide.

Posted by: Gerry Lynch on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 12:44pm BST

While up on your high horse, Fr Ed, will you also condemn your fellow Ordinariate fan +Barnes, who stated incorrectly that Synod is 'swamped' by female NSMs and who smeared them all as 'ladies with time on their hands'?

Posted by: Anglican on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 12:59pm BST

Jerry could you please show me where exactly the Vatican compared women priests to child abusers. SHow us the link by quoting them and not the media.....

....go on. And I will concede every argument ever made here ; )

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 1:15pm BST

I think that +Edwin's choice of words was regretable. His point about the level of theology in nsm training as opposed to full time I would stand by, unpopular though that may be...

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 1:54pm BST

Ed: "His point about the level of theology in nsm training as opposed to full time I would stand by, unpopular though that may be..."

Oh dear, watch those prejudices, Father. Some of the people who have done NSM courses have a vastly higher level of education than plenty of the full-time clergy.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 2:38pm BST

"If this is a one off then the spitter needs naming, shaming but the liberals MUST publicly state that this is not representative of all opponents."

The idea that a group of people unconnected with the incident are somehow responsible for how it reflects, or does not reflect, on another group seems bizarre. It might be nice if they publicly stated such a thing - it might even be the charitable thing. But to claim that it's obligatory just seems strange. One gets the impression that your whole attitude to "liberals" is concerned with what you think they owe you.

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 3:16pm BST

I agree Fr. mark. The point I am making is that an individual taking an NSM course would come out less well equipped than the same person embarking on a full time course. that is not a reflection of the people on the course but what any course can deliver part time.

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 3:55pm BST

Ed, too easy.

Article 5 of the recent amendments to Normae to Gravioribus Delictis (http://visnews-en.blogspot.com/2010/07/modifications-made-in-normae-de.html) describes taking part in the ordination of a woman as a "more grave delict", indeed, one subject to excommunication. Article 6 describes paedophilia as, you've guessed it, a "more grave delict", and indeed one subject to lesser penalties.

Much has been made by apologists for the Ratzinger clique of Frederico Lombardi's statement that women's ordination was a "sacramental" crime while paedophilia was a "moral" crime. But that doesn't tell us which, if any, they see as the graver offence. I'd wager a tidy amount that ordaining women is seen as far more serious.

As for the rest of the document, Article 3 draws a specific parallel between "the taking or retaining for a sacrilegious purpose or the throwing away of the consecrated species" and concelebration "with ministers of ecclesial communities which do not have apostolic succession and do not acknowledge the sacramental dignity of priestly ordination" - the last bit means you, Ed.

If the Roman PP from down the street decided to make a bold ecumenical gesture and concelebrate the Mass with you one Sunday, do you really think that is comparable to stealing the host for use in a Black Mass?

Do you think that the Mass you celebrate day by day is just a bit of self-deluding pantomime presided over by a Protestant layman?

If you do, then go to Rome. Now. Your continued presence as a Priest of the Church of England does neither you nor it any credit. Don’t ask for your buildings and money. Trust God to provide.

But if you don’t think any of this, then you need to be very careful about swimming the Tiber, either alone or as part of the ordinariate. Because, unlike cradle Catholics, you’re basically signing up to every crossed t and dotted i.

Posted by: Gerry Lynch on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 3:59pm BST

I don't often agree with Ed, and I don't know the respective content of the NSM courses and of fulltime courses. But coming from a country where ordinands have to have a theology degree, I do believe that rigorous training is a helpful thing. While people still represent one of the major schools of thought, there is less ignorance about what the others believe, about the development of theology through the ages, and generally more tolerance of those beliefs because they are more properly understood.
I can't help but feel that some of our own illtempered debates have their origin in far too much ignorance and prejudice.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 4:05pm BST

Question of fact: I keep reading of the large number of Church of England women priests who work unpaid [non-stipendiary is the term used in the states for those not earning a wage from church work.]

Is this by choice? By circumstance? What about retirement? Compensation for transportation costs?

I have always been non-stipe, since I held a full time teaching appointment when I was ordained. This has been both by choice and circumstance. I get paid for supply work, but am not part of the Church Pension system. Since I have adequate retirement from the state of Virginia and Social Security, this is not a problem for me. My health insurance is also via the state.

Please some informatin about the unpaid women clergy. Thanks.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 4:07pm BST

"Seriously, this is the week when the Vatican has compared our women priests to child abusers and our Masses to desecration of the host"

What's this about host desecration?

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 4:27pm BST

Come on, let's be sensible about this.

+Edwin's comments about women in the House of Clergy are clearly just silly, bearing no - and I repeat no -resemblance to the actual make-up of the house. However, it wouldn't matter to +Edwin, +John Broadhurst or indeed Fr Ed if the House of Clergy were full of incumbents (or indeed, archdeacons or deans), who held doctorates in systematic theology from top universities, if those clergy happened also to be female. I tend to credit opponents of women's ministry with having a theological objection to my being ordained, but when the argument degenerates to this level, I really do begin to wonder - the level of my theological education in no way alters whether or not my friends in Forward in Faith would receive at a eucharist at which I was presiding, does it?

Posted by: Hannah on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 4:45pm BST

Ed Tomlinson

The statement is at the Catholic News Service: do you have any reason to believe that their story is wrong?


Posted by: chenier1 on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 4:48pm BST


we crossed in the post. See Article 3 of the amendments to Normae de Gravioribus Delictis.

Posted by: Gerry Lynch on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 6:29pm BST


There is nothing sinister about the fact that there are female non-stipendiary ministers. There are plenty of male NSMs too. They are selected by the Church via the same processes as stipendiary candidates (diocesan sponsorship and a national selection conference). People may become NSMs for a whole host of reasons - circumstance, as you say, or simply that they believe their vocation is to enter into self-supporting ministry. It is of course by choice - 'the unpaid women clergy' to whom you refer have not been forced into self-supporting ministry simply because they are women.

Posted by: Fr James on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 7:24pm BST

Can Ed and Erika stop all this nonsense about full-time training and NSM training? It's bizarre, not leasat because there is no such thing as "NSM training". There is residential training and there is non-residential training. Either can lead to stipendiary or self-supporting ministry.

I think the claim that someone coming from a non-residential course is less well equipped for ministry than someone from a college would need a *great deal* of supporting evidence, rather than anecdotal prejudice to back it up, before it ceased to be a baseless slur on a significant proportion of our full-time stipendiary clergy. And bullshit to boot.

(For the record, I had two years residential training before being ordained.)

Posted by: Jim on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 8:17pm BST

I think Anglican theological training for both NSM and full time is weak, and I really hope that the Vatican makes any convert clergy selected for ordination do at least two more years.
The Vatican text is about internal dissenters...we see Ed et al as invalid as any woman cleric.

Yet I see on Youtube Anglican women priests allowed to celebrate at Catholic altars in France.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 8:42pm BST

" People may become NSMs for a whole host of reasons - circumstance, as you say, or simply that they believe their vocation is to enter into self-supporting ministry. It is of course by choice - 'the unpaid women clergy' to whom you refer have not been forced into self-supporting ministry simply because they are women."

Thanks for the clarification. The reason for my question is that I kept seeing references to 'unpaid women clergy' and none to men. I expect if I lived on your side of the pond I would have known this.

We do have a problem in some dioceses here with unequal salaries or salary offers to men and women.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 9:09pm BST

Erika: "I can't help but feel that some of our own illtempered debates have their origin in far too much ignorance and prejudice."

Well, that may be true to an extent, but let's not also forget that some of those whom we might regard as the most vocal allies of the ignorant and prejudiced dark side of religion at the moment - the Sugdens, Giddings, Wrights, Nazir-Alis and other powers and dominations of this world - have cartloads of doctorates between them. Not forgetting also that great light of the intellectual firmament and author of many an academic monograph printed in The Sun (some of them even without colour illustrations) My Lord Carey himself, of course...

One could see that as an endorsement of their position, but I prefer to see it as a reminder that all the academic qualifications in the world don't necessarily endow people with much sense of Christianity.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 9:11pm BST

There are many reaons why clergy may be SSM (Self-supporting Ministers) and not stipendiary. Some have a real sense of vocation to living out their priestly vocation incarnationally in secular employment or, indeed, without any other paid employment. Some have enough income from a pension from a previous career to allow them to offer their time to the church without seeking a stipend. But it is noticeable that there are significantly more women SSMs than men, and a little bit of listening to their stories soon throws up plenty of instances where they were told that they would not be put forward for selection unless they were NSM (as it was called then and often is now), or a bishop refused to allow them to test a calling to stipendiary ministry. This was more marked in some dioceses than others - not surprisingly.
There are women who are giving the same number of hours as a full-time incumbent but are not paid anything - sometimes with a husband who is not a church-goer, but who still supports his wife in her calling. There are not nearly so many (if any?) where a wife is expected to support her husband in an SSM minstry.
The practice continues - it is not quite as prevalent as it was , but the stories are there, and there are very many of them - they are just not shouted about as the priests in question continue to minister in their parishes, and to be respected and loved for this.

Posted by: Rosalind on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 9:28pm BST

There have been concerns expressed in some places about the fact that non-stipendiary clergy are significantly more likely to be female - and in several Canadian dioceses, more likely to be First Nations people. The unintended consequence of local ordination may be an accidental institutional sexism and racism.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 9:37pm BST

Ed -
both courses and colleges train people for stipendiary ministry and self-supporting ministry. It is a common mistake - though one that I think someone like you should know about and avoid - to think that courses are only for "NSM" clergy and full-time courses are for stipendiary.

The quality of training is of course variable - but look here for the latest inpection reports - http://www.cofe.anglican.org/lifeevents/ministry/qualityassurance/inspectionreports.html
There is ample evidence here that inspectors applying the same criteria to both colleges and courses have found some courses to be offering training of just as good a quality as that offered by courses. See also here - http://aocm.org.uk/new-developments-in-ministerial-training/ - for news of how candidates on both college and course training in the East of England should soon both be able to take an Anglia Ruskin Degree. A great deal has been done to close the perceived gap in standards (how real that is remains open to question) - and simply repeating the old canard about colleges over against courses won't do. In fact I think it is reprehensible.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 11:05pm BST

There will always be highly intelligent individuals moved by whatever they're moved by. Their ability to create powerful movements depends either on the validity of their cause or on the level of education of those they speak to.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 22 July 2010 at 7:53am BST

Regarding the manner some on this site delight in pretending that the Vatican equates WO with child abuse simply because a similar law covers both:

In the Florida statutes those who impersonate police officers, sheriffs, government officials, etc have committed a felony and sentencing for this can be 30, 15, or 5 years. These crimes are covered under statues 775.082, s. 775.083

unlawful sexual activity with minors while also a felony appears under the exact same statues in regard to punishment!

So will you now decry Florida claiming they see police impersonators with child abusers? Or will you learn a lesson about law?

Just a question.....

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Thursday, 22 July 2010 at 8:57am BST

And whether you are trained at college or on a course ,this is followed by three ( usually four)years in a curacy with an experienced training incumbent and Post Ordination Training in a diocesan context. Of course there are weaknesses..the same is often said of teachers and social workers. It may be that some ordinands lack adequate Anglican formation before they begin training. For some a two year course might better be three ( most over 30's only do two years)POT might benefit from more academic content and so on.....but at least the C of E system is unlikely to produce an archbishop with the level of theological sophistication that characterises the latest outburst of the Primate of Nigeria.For that we must at least be thankful!

Posted by: Perry Butler on Thursday, 22 July 2010 at 11:09am BST

Ed Tomlinson

'Just a question.....'

Your first contribution on this point was the claim that it had all been made up by the media.

Indeed, you were so confident that you asserted that if you were wrong you would 'concede every argument ever made here'

You were wrong, but you have not honoured that commitment.

Clearly you had no intention of ever honouring that commitment, since you are instead attempting to attack the point in a different way by making the blindingly obvious statement that all bodies of law contain offences of varying degree.

Of course they do; the problem with the Vatican's proposal is that it ranks the attempted ordination of women as the same degree of offence as the sexual abuse of children.

Does it not occur to you that you bring the Vatican, as well as yourself, into disrepute by this silly posturing?

Does it not occur to you that your willingness to give promises which you have no intention of honouring will mean that people come to recognise that your word is worthless?

Bearing in mind Vincent Nichols's comments last year about the need for a positive desire in the heart, how could he or anyone else judge whether you have a positive desire in your heart when what you say changes by the hour?

Posted by: chenier1 on Thursday, 22 July 2010 at 8:12pm BST

No chenier1, I don't believe that Ed is posturing. In fact, he has a valid point about how crimes can be ranked together in legal systems all around the world. Although you claim that this is 'blindingly obvious' it seems that many of your fellows don't recognise this.

Also, I don't really see how you can say that Ed changes what he says by the hour... it seems to me that his comments on this board relating to the Church of England, the ordination of women, the Roman Catholic Church and many other topics, are pretty consistent.

Posted by: Fr James on Thursday, 22 July 2010 at 11:37pm BST

So, you believe the statutes of Florida and the Vatican's pronouncements are of the same order?

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 23 July 2010 at 4:58am BST

Remembering my time serving on the Council of a regional training scheme, and recalling my wife's experiences of lecturing on one, I think we found the following areas to be of concern.

The ecumenical nature of the training led to a wish to keep everyone happy (I remember the URC rep at the time demanding equal weight to be given to the URC liturgical tradition as for Anglican and Methodist - although only one student came from that background). Breadth rather detracted from depth, perhaps.

Access to books in a non-residential scheme is patchy. The diocese of Lincoln does not possess that much in the way of a theological resource centre, and my wife spent a lot of time photocopying (legally) extracts from her own books to distribute to students. Despite countless warnings, essays did appear based on Matthew Henry's commentary because it's easily available on the net!

Because of the way in which tutors were employed, teaching was in blocks, and the OT was dealt with in three ten-hour dollops. Informal contact with the tutor was difficult (obviously!) and there was less opportunity for interaction between parallel lines of study because everything had to be done sequentially.

I'm not saying non-residential training's inferior, but it does carry problems of resourcing, etc. And when it's seen as an inexpensive way of doing things, that resourcing may well be poor.

Posted by: mynsterpreost (= David Rowett) on Friday, 23 July 2010 at 9:08am BST

I can see the problems David esp courses serving large rural areas..my experience was with the Southwark Ordination Course ( now SEITE) where things were very different.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Friday, 23 July 2010 at 12:22pm BST

Regarding Ed Tomlinson's remarks -

If, in the midst of a pedophilia crisis, any politician or law enforcement official in the state of Florida made it a point to link the crimes of impersonating a police officer and pedophilia within a single statement/letter along the lines of what the Vatican has done, he or she would be looking for a new job the next day.

In fact, legitimate questions would be raised over that person's seriousness in dealing with the issue of pedophilia, or maybe his/her sanity.

Posted by: Doug on Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:53pm BST

Doug's got it, really - I accept the Vatican's argument, it's one that Andrew Brown set out when this first blew up. But WHO is doing the Vatican's PR job? A chimp? You just don't DO it like that - and I'd go as far as to say that it's plain sinful to do so, because it causes distress to abuse victims by dint of its very clumsiness.

Posted by: mynsterpreost (= David Rowett) on Friday, 23 July 2010 at 5:04pm BST

I don't think it's simply a PR problem. The problem is that the Vatican really doesn't get it. There's no other logical explanation.

Posted by: Doug on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 1:43am BST

David.. I agree that the Vatican PR is appalling, but the promises of our Lord to peter of indefectibility and infallibility do not extend to pastoral competence!

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 6:09am BST

Re Robert Ian Williams, the Text of Matthew 16 does not use the terms infallibility or indefectability.
The church, catholic, Roman Catholic or otherwise, is a post Easter phenomena. Just for example, You might read Hans Kung's early ground breaking book "The church".Don't worry that it was written by Kung. At the time it was published in 1967 it contained the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 3:16pm BST

Neither does the New Testanment contain the word Trinity, hypostatic union, purgatory etc..these are later definitions of Biblical truths.

An imprimatur is not infallible and during that period of the nineteen sixties many were granted willy nilly. Hans Kung has no official theological standing in the Catholic Church and he soon goes to his judgement.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 6:39am BST
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