Saturday, 31 October 2015

opinion

Michael Ainsworth Law & Religion UK Hymns (and other things) to avoid?

Giles Fraser Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4 On being called “Father”, Bishops in the Lords, & other clerical absurdities

Simon Rundell “Call No Man Father…”

Ian Paul Are we being honest about ordination training?

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 31 October 2015 at 11:00am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion
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Mercifully the Book of a Common Prayer sets the record straight and, as ever, comes to our rescue. The opening words of the Making of Deacons and the Ordering of a Priests are - "Reverend Father in God". The service for the Consecration of Bishops includes these words ""Most Reverend Father in a God"
If it's good enough for the BCP then that's fine by me.

Father David

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 31 October 2015 at 11:53am GMT

Re Simon Rundell. "The New Testament is filled with examples of and references to spiritual father-son and father-child relationships"

Notwithstanding, the whole notion of the in loco parentis in terms of both polity and pastoral relationships is completely dysfunctional.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 31 October 2015 at 1:46pm GMT

Simon Rundell's explanation of "father-child" relationships in the church was clear and biblical. A number of people, though, (and the number may be significant) find the father-child analogy problematic in terms of their personal history. Rod Gillis makes a valid point. Those people who have experienced abuse within family relationships certainly would have difficulty with trust and committing to a relationship based on "father/mother-child". Sensitivity is required at all times in pastoral relationships.

Posted by: Pam on Saturday, 31 October 2015 at 9:11pm GMT

@ Pam, "Those people who have experienced abuse ...have difficulty with trust ... committing to a relationship based on "father/mother-child".

Good point; but not one I was thinking about when I posted my comment. The use of the term "father" ( or mother) is metaphorical and problematic.

In the case of,for example, "Reverend father in God" the metaphor is clearly patriarchal. As much as anything it tends to the notion of obedience.

The view that Simon Rundell's explanations are some how "biblical" may mean several things. I suggest they are biblical primarily in the sense that they are hopelessly patriarchal. Taken in that sense they are "biblical" metaphors that ought to be abandoned in the contemporary practice of ministry.

The metaphorical use of father can however be useful, even powerful, when describing particular personal relationships. Think, for example, of the closing scene from Platoon (Oliver Stone). Pfc. Chris Taylor reflects on his relationship with the conflicting authority figures Sgt. Elias and Sgt. Barnes, " ...I've felt like a child born of those two fathers."

"Father" may be an appropriate, if sometimes ambiguous, metaphor for particular kinds of relationships. But the practice of encouraging its use as an honorific for ministry? I don't think so. Think of rookie clergy wanting to be called "father" or "mother" by an experienced and seasoned lay person who is their senior. Several things may be going on here including rendering a metaphor literal, an attempt at role reversal, perhaps even a strategy to dis-empower. Better to stick to terms that encourage relationships among the whole people that are marked by mutuality and equality--something that builds up genuine trust in the body.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 1 November 2015 at 12:28am GMT

From the point of view of those in religious life, the term 'Reverend Mother' is commonplace, but applied with nuance and sensitivity.

I am involved/associated with two convents: in one the leader eschews the term, to avoid undue paternalism/maternalism. In the other, which is more catholic in tradition, the term is used with meaning, but not with any sense of authoritarianism. On the contrary, the reverend mother prefers just to be called 'sister' most of the time - however, the term 'mother' is still recognised as valuable and meaningful.

Personally, I find the title 'Father' helpful, perhaps because my own father died when I was still young. I find it comfortable and also respectful. However, I am sure that anyone who uses the title should do so with sensitivity.

My first vicar warned me against developing a 'dependency' / father-child relationship with him. So I think he recognised a risk there, perhaps especially when someone had lost their own father young.

None of us are intended to perpetuate childishness, but child-likeness is a valuable aspect of our relationship with God, and I think either a reverend father or a reverend mother can act as a sort of 'in loco parentis' at certain times.

I for one feel glad that our own Father David, here, embraces the term. I value it.

But in the truest and eternal sense, I have one parent and that is God, both Father and Mother to me, while transcending those gender terms as well.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Sunday, 1 November 2015 at 11:28am GMT

If you find the idea of hierarchy incompatible with Christianity, I can't quite see why you're a member of the Church of England.

Posted by: Sam on Sunday, 1 November 2015 at 12:32pm GMT

I have always considered titles such as "Father Robert" or "Bishop John" a courtesy title that others give to you and are not something that you give yourself...in a way they have to be earned. For myself I have always preferred the name given to me at my baptism, and just my name without any handle at the front. Status anxiety is not attractive, nor is giving ourselves titles just to ensure a certain distance or to bolster position and authority. I find it really distasteful to hear perhaps an elderly member of the congregation calling the priest "Father" and then he referring to her by her Christian name in an over familiar, patronising way. Surely what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander
What is wrong with just our Christian name? Or is that just too egalitarian for the Church which seems to glory in these endless titles.

Posted by: Robert Ellis on Sunday, 1 November 2015 at 2:58pm GMT

Pam, I was not abused in childhood and had a good relationship with my parents. It can also sometimes be healthy for two people to establish a quasi-parental relationship based on a close personal bond and the needs of one or both. But I am puzzled by the notion that, the moment someone is a priest, my relationship to him (or occasionally her) should ideally be that of a child to a parent, especially since a healthy relationship between an actual parent and child becomes more equal as the younger of the two grows up. As a fifty-three year-old lay woman, in what way does a newly-ordained thirty-year old man become my spiritual father and how do you think my behaviour should show recognition of his parental status?

Posted by: Savi Hensman on Sunday, 1 November 2015 at 5:15pm GMT

Rod writes, "In the case of, for example, "Reverend father in God" the metaphor is clearly patriarchal. As much as anything it tends to the notion of obedience".

As in the oath of canonical obedience, which all those wishing to hold licence within my diocese and jurisdiction are required to swear to me?

And as in my oath of obedience that lies at the heart of the monastic tradition that I inhabit as a Franciscan?

Like anything else, obedience can be abused, but it remains a rich and important ecclesiological concept.

Posted by: David Walker on Sunday, 1 November 2015 at 5:17pm GMT

@ Sam, "If you find the idea of hierarchy incompatible with Christianity, I can't quite see why you're a member of the Church of England." This is a rather categorical view, without nuance.

The Anglican Church of Canada,for example, is a church which has long been described as one with episcopal leadership and synodical government. It is a continuing struggle to temper the former, indeed to keep it from regressing, within the context of the latter. There are a number of issues at play in just that regard. For example, with the advent of women presbyters and bishops, the phrase "reverend father in God" no longer works in liturgy. Another example resides in the perspective of First Nations Anglicans in Canada with the Sacred Circle notion of decision making as an alternative to models inherited from European colonists. Mind you, none of this makes a more egalitarian household of God necessarily more immediate.

Additionally, along side the notion of hierarchy are other models, some of them more "biblical" than hierarchy, such as the whole people of God or the conciliar model of the church. The current trend towards greater hierarchy at the Communion level has several negative regressive implications for The Communion. One is the tendency of foreign prelates to scorn the synodical government of provinces like Canada. The marginalization of the Anglican Consultative Council as bishops and primates take on for themselves greater authority is another.

No doubt patriarchal metaphors like "father in God" are very much at home among those who champion the ascendancy of a kind of paterfamilias. Hierarchy, like the monarchical episcopate, is not of the essential essence of the church.

Such a conversation is probably more difficult in a church by law established, one with notions like Lords Spiritual. More tea m'lorde? Shall I be mother?

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 1 November 2015 at 5:17pm GMT

@ David Walker, re Oath of Canonical obedience and monastic vows. David, I certainly take your point. I can't speak to the monastic situation; but I'm guessing that obedience in that setting is contextualized within the notion of the religious community?

As presbyters in the parochial system we function under an oath of canonical obedience. Here,the word canonical is not unimportant. One's bishop is bound by the same body of canon law, of course, and is not above the law, episcopal prerogatives not withstanding. And, as a former archdeacon, I found it interesting at the time, how skilled some clergy were at putting the "creative" in the phrase "creative insubordination".

However, what I'm contesting is the notion of obedience as part of a frame work based on deference, one that leads to paternalism and clericalism at the expense of the whole laos. Certainly I'm not arguing for a replacement of an over lord by the tyranny of the "pew purses" one finds in some ecclesiastical arrangements.


Lawful accountable authority that serves the common good is one thing. But institutionalizing patriarchal metaphor and imagery that buttresses authority under the guise of spiritual or pastoral relationships is quite another.

Here in Nova Scotia local churches existed on the ground before the arrival of the first Bishop, Tory-Loyalist Charles Inglis who came here having been on the losing side of the War of Independence. His controversial appointment, his reception by Nova Scotia clergy with a New England dissenters outlook, and the subsequent development of Synods which Inglis is credited with, is certainly interesting.

So, to your point, yes, context is everything one might say.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 1 November 2015 at 7:09pm GMT

Thanks to Rod and Savi, particularly, for their replies to my comment. In answering Savi's question, a newly-ordained 30 year old becomes a spiritual father to a person considerably older by demonstrating humility and respect combined with guidance. The older person's behaviour should reflect humility and respect combined with guidance. BTW, the person who has suffered abuse in a family relationship as a child and now a member of a congregation may have a problematic relationship with God as well. Prayer can help.

Posted by: Pam on Sunday, 1 November 2015 at 8:35pm GMT

Well! What a storm in a teacup, indeed!

As a traditional, and yet progressive Anglo - Catholic, I was brought up to the idea of the title 'father' for a priest - to signify the respect due to the office. I rather enjoy the element of trust implied, and shall not discourage those who deign to use it - of myself, or anyone in holy orders.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 1 November 2015 at 8:37pm GMT

I am now one month short of my 30th anniversary as a Priest, and for all that time I have been quite ambivalent about the use, by me and others, of the title “Father”.

My own father was an Anglo-catholic archdeacon, a man of considerable fame within New Zealand, and a father in God, in the Pauline sense to many clergy here, such as Fr Ron Smith. He was ALWAYS Father Prebble, except when the more functional title Archdeacon Prebble was more appropriate. He would probably have accepted all the arguments put forward by Simon Rundell.

I have always been uncomfortable with this practice as applied to myself, especially from members of my own parish, and have always encouraged them to call me “Edward”. One of my mentors, Graham Pulkingham, used to talk of clergy “hiding behind a biretta”, that is allowing their order/status/role as priests get in the way of human to human relationships.

There are exceptions. It is sometimes pastorally insensitive to refuse the title “Father”, such as in some Tikanga Maori and even more Tikanga Polynesia situations, where its use is more prevalent. And I encourage it in dealings with Roman Catholics, to underline the claim that the Anglican theology of priesthood is the same as theirs.

I am similarly very sparing in my use of the title “Doctor”, now that I have a PhD. Simon Rundell’s argument that the same considerations apply is well made. Still, “Dr Prebble” is a useful appellation when something more formal than a Christian name is appropriate, “Mr Prebble” feels awkward, and “Reverend Prebble” is ungrammatical.

But all this became more significant for me when my daughter became a priest. She cannot be called “Father Esther” (or if she is, in the way some senior female police officers are called “Sir”, it doesn’t make sense), and “Mother Esther”, as Susanna points out above, means something else. I suggest that the title for the superior in a religious order of sisters is a rather different meaning than that of a parish priest. So she is always “Esther”. I am very reluctant to use a title that is not available to my daughter.

I think the fundamental question here is what did Jesus mean when he said “call no man teacher/father”? Simon Rundell’s discussion of what he did NOT mean is all very well, but Jesus must have had a point in making the original statement. Surely he meant that we should not allow any other human to come between us and a free and open relationship with Christ. We do not need human intermediaries.. Ministers of any denomination, including pastors of megachurches, can easily fall into the temptation of becoming “teachers” or “fathers” in the sense Jesus meant. It is incumbent on us to resist any such tendency.

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Sunday, 1 November 2015 at 11:34pm GMT

@ Edward Pebble, a terrific post! Thanks so much.Your last line is especially poignant.

I've found all the comments posted by others so far to be very interesting. One of the qualities that makes them interesting is their ground in experience, varied though those are.

Having been around the block over time, as rector,archdeacon, canon, I've been in different places with the title thing. I encouraged parishioners to call me by the name I was baptized with i.e. just call me Rod ( well, o.k., its the short form of Roderick). However, I hope I was sensitive to those who simply could not bring themselves to call their rector by his first name, and who graciously opted for 'Rev.Rod' or 'Father Rod.'

I too have a daughter who is a priest: so I can relate to Edward's comments on that. The fact that she is a progressive evangelical gives the thing an extra gloss.

Genuine authority can never be separated from authenticity. So,if a title or metaphor is authentic, as distinct from contrived or imposed or pro forma then perhaps it makes little difference what that title or metaphor is?

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 2 November 2015 at 12:23am GMT

There is a certain conceit in assuming that the honorific of Father embraces any sense of paternity or patriarchy. To me it is an honorific empty of any more meaning than Mr, or Madam.

Posted by: Kate on Monday, 2 November 2015 at 12:36am GMT

@ Kate, "To me [father] is an honorific empty of any more meaning than Mr, or Madam." At a common sense level you have a point. I suspect that when, for example, the local Roman Catholic priest is referred to by all and everyone as "Father", it is often as you say. Something similar could be said of the moniker "padre" when directed at clergy of various denominations by members and former members of the military.

However,with regard to patriarchy, common sense is not the last word by any means. The fact that the title develops from and is advocated within a context, and critiqued from an opposing perspective, moves the conversation beyond mere common sense to rhetorical analysis.

There is, of course, the Humpty Dumpty take on things:

" 'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less.'
-Lewis Carroll

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 2 November 2015 at 2:35pm GMT

Looking at the different interpretations here, there is definitely a Humpty Dumpty feel about the use of the term. It seems to mean whatever the person applying it to themselves and the person using it understand it to mean in any given context at any one time.

I feel like Kate, whatever people applying the term to themselves may think they're doing, I only ever use it as an empty honorific.

Depending on how I know and assess the person who applies the term to themselves, I then either judge them to be pompous, a bit too full of themselves, having a particularly traditional yet humble understanding of the word and its function, or simply trying to find an easy way of expressing their role.

Should they think that my use of the word symbolised any kind of acceptance that they automatically had a paternalistic or otherwise superior spiritual function in my life, they would be sadly mistaken.
Priests of all ages become spiritual guides by demonstrating learning, faith, humility and respect, not by giving themselves a particular title.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 2 November 2015 at 4:40pm GMT

When he was teaching me (and others) Theology of the Priesthood, the late Urban T. Holmes, then Dean of the School of Theology in Sewanee, Tennessee, instructed us, "Let others decide what they will call you or what they will teach their children to call you. It will tell you a great deal about them."

He was certainly right. In those days there were significant regional differences within the United States about Episcopal Church practice (I'm being careful not to speak about our dioceses outside the United States, simply because I don't have that information). On the Eastern seaboard one almost never heard an Episcopal priest addressed as "Father." It was inevitably Mister (or perhaps Doctor, whether actually earned or not). In the Great Lakes States it was almost inevitably Father (and the Eucharist was often referred to as Mass). In the South and Southwest it was as often "Reverend," ungrammatical or not, with some coloring by the tone and life of the individual parish. Much of that has been lost with the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, with its focus on weekly Eucharist.

As for me: in my work in the hospital, I still find it useful and instructive to let the other person decide what to call me. It does tell me a lot about them. And, then, I do always have the answer that "Chaplain" answers for so many things.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Monday, 2 November 2015 at 5:29pm GMT

On arriving at my new parishes, a little while ago, I was told that I should ask to be called Father. Since this was what I was also told people would like to call me I acquiesced to the request. One of my first pastoral encounters was with someone who asked me why they should call me father. My reply was there was no reason why they should, unless they wanted to, that my name was Adrian and I was happy to be called it.
It all comes down to Peirce's semiotics, and the difference between the triadic elements of (1) sign (and its signifier), (2) the object and (3) the interprant.There is clearly a struggle in our society with creating signs that communicate the meaning we intend them to, and while some signs work in some contexts (Reverend Mother, in a convent, or perhaps in a cathedral) they may not work in all (for example a conservative village setting). I suspect the symbolism has broken down, and a new symbol is being explored.

Posted by: Adrian Judd on Monday, 2 November 2015 at 6:40pm GMT

Simon Rundell says: "This was also a temptation in the Jewish world of Jesus’ day, when famous rabbinical leaders, especially those who founded important schools, such as Hillel and Shammai, were highly exalted by their disciples. It is this elevation of an individual person—the formation of a “cult of personality” around him—of which Jesus is speaking"

So the biggest offence has been done to Jesus then, by escalating him to such 'guru' status, precisely against what he is warning about. It is also similar to Gandhi, who wanted no cult growing around his name either.

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 3 November 2015 at 2:49am GMT

FWIW, growing up in the Episcopal Church in Northern California in the 1960s and 1970s, it was always "Father" (however, I heard from my mother, also growing up there in the 1930s and 1940s, for her it was always "Mister"). It's definitely both a time AND regional difference [Also FWIW: of all the Episcopal-priests-who-are-women I've known since the late 1970s (maybe 50?), precisely *1* preferred to be called "Mother".]

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 3 November 2015 at 4:30am GMT

Well that was a good discussion on the titles we or others give to us. Now what about the use of the plus sign or cross that a bishop gives him or herself before their signature. Pretentious or what?

Posted by: Robert Ellis on Tuesday, 3 November 2015 at 9:43am GMT

... like suffixing certain names at All Souls' Day Requiem Masses or Services of Remembrance with the words "priest" or "bishop" making them stand out amongst hundreds of others? Perhaps it is just an illiteracy "mark" they used a long time ago: tradition?

Can anyone shed light on when the use of "Father" as a form of address or title came in as opposed to being descriptive (as in Desert Fathers)?

Posted by: Mother Hubbard on Tuesday, 3 November 2015 at 1:05pm GMT

@ Robert Ellis, interesting observation. And, if one is an Archbishop its not just + before your name but ++ and so a double whammy. Of course some priests use the + after their name, so + George is Bishop George, not to be confused with ++ George the Archbishop nor with the humble parish priest Father George +.

Add to this ( as it were) the convention of Bishop's signing documents and correspondence not with their surname but with the name of their diocese attached, e.g. yours sincerely + George, Banana Land, which in this example is interpreted to mean The Rt. Rev. George Doe Bishop of Banana Land and the Islands. In informal settings among themselves Bishops might even refer to another not by name but by see e.g. Like another Scotch, London? No thanks, Toronto. I'm a beer man myself.

Decades ago Archbishop Edward Scott, the then newly elected Primate of Canada made headlines when he was quoted as saying, "Just call me Ted". It was a genuine expression of his love for people.

Notwithstanding the latter situation, Anglicanism does tend toward the pyhtonesque.


Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 3 November 2015 at 2:07pm GMT

I think we should all feel proud to put a + after our names. I sometimes do it, as a sign of being Christian. Anyone can.

After a while of doing it, someone pointed out the supposed significance of the + after the name (up to that point I simply didn't realise).

I can't say I'm really fussed one way or the other.

There is real life going on out there. It's sort of hard to take these things that seriously.

Susannah +

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Tuesday, 3 November 2015 at 8:48pm GMT

In the Apprentice, Alan Sugar expects to be addressed as "Lord Sugar" whereas Karen Brady is plain "Karen". Both are Members of the House of Lords. Which comes across as the more approachable, the less arrogant?

Posted by: Kate on Tuesday, 3 November 2015 at 10:08pm GMT

The rot set in our Secondary schools when pupils started calling teachers by their Christian names rather than "Sir" or "Miss". Similarly in political circles respect plummets when it is "Call me Tony" or "Call me Dave" rather than "Yes, Prime Minister"

Posted by: Father David on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 8:13am GMT

Rod Gillis @ 1407 on 3 November: : And, if one is an Archbishop its not just + before your name but ++ and so a double whammy.

In my experience the ++ by an archbishop and the post-nominal + by a priest are affectations from North America. They are not used in the four Anglican churches in the Atlantic Isles.

In the Church of England, the practice of bishops signing with the name of their See is a relic from the time when all the bishops of the English church were also members of the upper house of parliament wherein to this day lords are addressed as, for example, "the noble Lord, the Earl of Wherever" or "the Right Reverend Prelate, the Lord Bishop of Durham". Since the advent in the last century of the concept of a "peerage for life", i.e. not hereditary, most of the baronage have been addressed in the house as "the Noble Lord, Lord Surname" or "the Noble Baroness, Lady Surname".

All part of that quirky history and tradition that so delights visitors to this country from around the globe - especially from the USA - and that makes the cash registers sing.

Posted by: RPNewark on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 8:53am GMT

@ Kate, "In the Apprentice, Alan Sugar expects to be addressed as 'Lord Sugar' whereas Karen Brady is plain "Karen". Both are Members of the House of Lords. Which comes across as the more approachable, the less arrogant?'

As Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes might say of such a dilemma, isn't it delicious.


@ RPNewark, Canadian bishops are often referred to as "Lord Bishop" and some still attach that to official correspondence. Canadian Anglicans have a sometimes tendency toward colonial lag. Being a wild colonial boy, it's a situation I like to satirize as often as I can. It's what comes from sharing a drink with Americans.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 3:10pm GMT

At the Anglican Digest in the 1960s, we sought to reform the Church through nomenclature. Father Foland, our founder, had us refer to people in the news by their titles: The Ninth Bishop of Nebraska, the Rector of St.James', Indianapolis, etc. We endlessly repeated that "Rev'd" was an adjective that couldn't apply to a family name: it had to be attached to something personal, a name or title -- the Rev'd John Smith, the Rev'd Mr. Smith. "Reverend" used alone as a title was illiterate.

Forty-five years later, I find such linguistic certainty dubious. Language is usage, and the common use of "Reverend" has much to recommend it. It avoids the patriarchal overtones of Father and the strangeness of the not-really analogical Mother.

After my own excellent father and several influential Episcopal priests, I find that I've had quite enough Fathers. I see a strong case for use of Christian names among Christians. (Particularly because all those Fathers and Doctors totally misled me about sexuality.) I've come to distrust hierarchy based on status, not qualifications. A community of friends can well function on a first-name basis.

(During a month I spent at St Gregory's Priory, there was a young priest in residence who said proudly that whenever people in his parish asked what was his first name, he told them "Father." He was there recovering from a nervous breakdown. Somehow I think of him when I see Father David's signature on this site.)

Posted by: Murdoch on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 10:58pm GMT

Rod, I agree there are arguments against the idea of hierarchy. I just don't get why you'd be Anglican if you accepted them, when a sacred hierarchy (bishops, priests and deacons) is essential to Anglican belief.

Posted by: Sam on Saturday, 7 November 2015 at 2:02pm GMT

@ Sam, you seem to be confusing hierarchy with the three fold ministry of deacons, presbyters and bishops. We affirm the historic episcopate locally adapted. I'm proposing an adaptation, eh. Also, take a look at B.E.M: Baptism, Ministry, Eucharist, faith and order paper of the WCC which enjoys wide ecumenical support, including support among Anglicans. Hierarchy has more to do with politics than the "sacred".

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Sunday, 8 November 2015 at 3:06am GMT

"Forty-five years later, I find such linguistic certainty dubious. Language is usage, and the common use of "Reverend" has much to recommend it. It avoids the patriarchal overtones of Father and the strangeness of the not-really analogical Mother." - Murdoch -

Are Anglicans the only episcopal community that question the title 'Father' for a male priest. I wonder? The majority of Christians in the world - either Orthodox or Roman Catholic - still use this title and seem happy to do so. It is not a matter of merely being an 'honorific' but it is also an appropriate way of recognising the familial, spiritual relationship between, say, a 'Vicar' (an English title proclaiming a vicarious relationship between the parish priest and his parishioners). I must say that the title 'Reverend' seems a much more obsequious title to give a priest than any other - certainly than that of 'Father'.

I guess though, that the Church of England, now being triumphantly declared by conservative members to have become primarily 'protestant', sees no essential role difference between the pastor and 'his/her' people.

I hope this is not the case. However, this latest outburst of protestant dissociation from catholic tradition would seem to place the Church of England into a less catholic and apostolic mode of being Church.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 10 November 2015 at 10:44pm GMT
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