Comments: trouble at Westminster?

One might think that if you combine these two jobs -- House of Commons chaplain with dean in a Royal Peculiar -- you're asking for this sort of trouble.

It is, after all, absurd to suggest that there's ever been any sort of rift between the Commons and the Crown.

Posted by Jeremy at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 9:34am BST

Not Dean.

The job being split (or not) is one of the residentiary canonries. The printing of a picture of the Dean with an incorrectly worded caption in the Mail is not helping understanding.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 9:58am BST

"Rose appeared to fit the role perfectly, but the dean was looking for someone who would fulfil more of a ceremonial role. He didn't think that she suited his needs at the Abbey." -

How desperately sad this is! In the circumstance, then, it would appear that the Inclusive House of Commons ought to employ Rose - the first female non-white Chaplain - on its own initiative, while the non-inclusive Dean of Westminster, after being questioned on his preference by H.M. The Queen, could be left to have his own liturgically-fitted white male cleric to help him run the Abbey.

What a travesty - this could never happen in the Colonies, where Church and State are separate.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 10:39am BST

Simon, if we are being very precise about terms, I fully understand that there is only one Dean of Westminster Abbey.

That is why I did not capitalize the word "dean" in my post.

The Abbey may, however, for all I know, have more than one "dean." In the wider world, there are people with titles such as assistant dean, deputy dean, vice-dean, and the like.

And indeed The Mail describes the position at issue as "Sub-Dean of Westminster Abbey."

If The Mail is correct, then in my view, the incumbent of the position may be loosely referred to as a "dean."

Do you disagree with my loose reference, or with The Mail, or both?

Posted by Jeremy at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 12:25pm BST

All of the fuss over female clergy in the CofE makes me wonder how many men in the church and in the British Government as well really hate the fact that there is a Queen on the throne instead of a King and can't wait until the old girl kicks off. Then they have can it all proper again with a man on the throne - as it should be. And the fight to keep women in their place marches on.

Posted by Richard W. at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 12:42pm BST

Too black and too female. (How dare she !) What a disgrace.

Can anything good come out of Nazareth ?

Jesus certainly would nt be welcome at the abbey curently.

Posted by Pantycelyn at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 12:54pm BST

It makes me really really glad to be C oF E and really really keen to worship at the abbey -Not....

Posted by Pantycelyn at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 12:56pm BST

'Grace Cathedral Names Jane Alison Shaw as its Eighth Dean'.

I cannot help but compare the reception of Jane Alison to that of 'the Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a Jamaican-born vicar in one of the poorest parts of East London.'

No wonder church-going in UK is seriously on the decline. I'm losing heart after a lifetime.

Posted by Pantycelyn at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 1:05pm BST

This story rather pleasingly encapsulates many of the dynamics and divisions the Church of England is unable to get it's coporate head around, all of them critical to the health and future of the church.

It isn't just about women and black people, the crown and the church, it's also about about sexuality, the place of gay people in the church (visible or invisible) and power, where authority lies and who exercises it, how it is exercised, whether appointments and processes in the C of E are transparent (they are not).

I'm wondering/hoping/praying that with this story and the Archbishops' decision to introduce an amendment to the women in the episcopate legislation (that the majority in Synod will hopefully reject) that the carefully constructed systems of power and control are unravelling fast.

Maybe I'm dreaming and hoping for too much Kingdom, but at the centre of the C of E there is always a concern for appearances and power and very little time given to proclaiming love, truth, peace, justice and the power to transform human lives and structures.

Posted by Colin Coward at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 1:57pm BST

Some clarification:

The reports are misleading. The post of sub-dean does not go with this bundle automatically. The present canon/chaplain has been at the Abbey for twelve years and has run the place during an interregnum. It will go to one of the more senior canons, therefore. So let's forget the 'dean' stuff in this matter.

Further, the press fails to point out that the Speaker appears to have overturned the agreed appointment process - to which he was party and to which he nominated a personal representative - because he did not like the result. It looks like the Speaker acting out of political correctness to overturn, behind closed doors, a properly conducted appointment process.

If this is the case, what was a first ever attempt to 'democratise' a Royal Peculiar appointment has turned into the privatizing more than ever of the Speaker's Chaplaincy.

I hope the Speaker is questioned in the House about this.

Meanwhile, we can stop kicking the Abbey on the basis of ill-informed press reports. They appear to have behaved scrupulously as they try to work out a way of making this complex appointment by open competition for the very first time.

If the roles are split, it is not the end of the world. The role of Speaker's Chaplain was last held outside the Abbey, briefly, in the 60s.

Running the job in tendem with the Abbey canonry has provided a house and a stipend which parliament has 'topped up'. Perhaps the Speaker will let his new chaplain lodge in his state apartments.

Posted by abbey mouse at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 2:10pm BST

They could even get really inclusive and appoint a non-Anglican...

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 2:49pm BST

While a black woman is no more or less intrinsically suited than a white male (or a dual-nationality gay person for that matter- I think the recent furore in a political context around Diane Abbot and her views justifying the private education of her offspring should remind us we should not generalise from any set of sex or race criteria) this all sounds dolefully predictable.

I really have to ask myself - what *use* is the CoE?

Posted by Achilles at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 3:25pm BST

According to the Parliament website, the post was only combined with that of Rector of St Margaret's Church in 1972.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 4:00pm BST

Quite right abbey mouse. This is another example of PC-madness and just another opportunity for criticising the Church, both for the press, and many people on this board, it seems...

Posted by Fr James at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 4:30pm BST

True, Simon. But the Speaker's Chaplain had sometimes been an Abbey Canon and/or Rector of St Margaret's before that date.

Posted by Lister Tonge at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 4:52pm BST

Only, Simon?
So the combined post has been going 38 years - a reasonable length of time to work out if the joint appointment works.
The fact that they advertised it as such, and with the clear involvement of the Speaker suggests that everyone thought it still did. The Chaplain's post was advertised as being 13 hours a week - plus additional hours for special occasions.
It suggests that from one side or another - and we simply can't know (at the moment at least) - either the Speaker decided to act independently or he and the Dean simply could not agree.
I don't think reports in the Telegraph and the Mail are entirely trustworthy or unbiased sources of the report, and the way it has been spun makes the Abbey look bad.

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 5:03pm BST

Given that the Chaplain to the Speaker's job was advertised as being for 13 hours a week is the Speaker now going to upgrade it to being a full-time position? I think we should be told.

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 5:05pm BST

"It looks like the Speaker acting out of political correctness"

Ah yes; John Bercow, protégé of that well-known patron of political correctness, Norman Tebbit...

Posted by chenier1 at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 5:08pm BST

I must say, having looked at the details of the post, that it looked like two distinct full-time jobs. To have combined the heavy burdens of work in parliament with being Rector of St Margaret's and a Canon of Westminster in the way suggested by the job description would have been impossible.

By the way, Rose is already a Chaplain to the Queen so already part of the establishment of the Royal Household.

Posted by Wilf at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 6:03pm BST

Goodness gracious. Reminds me of the linkage of the Wardenship of Hiram's Hospital and the Precentor's Chair at Barchester, and all of the fuss appertaining thereunto. Trollope is quietly smiling.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 6:41pm BST

Not all white middle-aged males are bad news. Andrew Tremlett's departure will be a big loss for Bristol.

Posted by Fred at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 7:27pm BST

My point was only that St Margaret's Church was reconnected to the Abbey at that point. The link between the Abbey and the Speaker is much older, but has not been continuous.

According to this further report, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7857329/Row-over-historic-appointment-over-female-cleric-as-vicar-of-Westminster.html

she will retain her current parish.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 8:31pm BST

Let's assume that this is all one huge misunderstanding. Doesn't anyone over there in politics (church or otherwise) look at the big picture and work towards a common goal? At a minimum these are a bunch of bumbling old fools -- hate to say what they are if this is planned.

Posted by Fred Schwartz at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 9:57pm BST

Irrespective of the technicalities to do with the appointments process and procedures, here was a wonderful opportunity lost to appoint a senior black clergy person to the Abbey. This Abbey is situated in a City where 25% of the population is of Black and Ethnic Minority background. To say nothing of the very large number of parishes with majority BEM congregations. Sadly, senior clergy have never had to live and work in contemporary Britain where BEMs are our neighbours and colleagues. Hence, their reluctance to appoint a black person.Today I am ashamed to be black and Anglican.

Posted by Jeremy Forbes at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 10:07pm BST

Is Mr Bercow qualified to be a patron in the Church of England? Some might consider the timing of this controversy unfortunate given what is going to dominate the York meeting of General Synod in a couple of weeks. Is somebody appointed because of political correctness or because of their qualities and ability to fulfil the role concerned?

Posted by Roger Stokes at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 11:01pm BST

What Tobias Haller wrote above! Barchester-like shenanigans were my thoughts exactly. You gotta laugh sometimes.

Posted by Jay Vos at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 11:57pm BST

"This is another example of PC-madness and just another opportunity for criticising the Church"

Substitute the word "Temple" for "Church", and this sounds like something you would have heard from a Sanhedrin correspondent (re the activities of a Certain Galilean) in c. 33 AD.

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 11:58pm BST

"Is Mr Bercow qualified to be a patron in the Church of England?"

Well, he's the Speaker of the House of Commons, and it's his own Chaplain; you would have thought that if the Speaker of the House of Commons wasn't entitled to a Chaplain someone would have noticed by now. I know the Church can be a little slow, but it's had since 1660 to grapple with it...

Posted by chenier1 at Monday, 28 June 2010 at 12:17am BST

Why on earth would someone assume that she was pointed out of mere political correctness? She seems fully qualified for the job, while the Dean's rebuff seems to be based solely on her "unsuitability" for hoity-toity funerals and coronations.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Monday, 28 June 2010 at 2:24am BST

I know Europeans in general are dismissive of 'affirmative action' (so they tell me here in France) but it changed the face of America for the better. In the years of my growing up there were no women judges or black doctors, university professors, or TEC bishops, no Indian governors and the idea of a black president was much further away than a trip to the moon (by white male astronauts, natch). Just to say that I am all in favour of affirmative action when it is called for, as very likely in this case.

Posted by Sara MacVane at Monday, 28 June 2010 at 7:34am BST

Get real, folks! These 'Barchester' jibes, etc. fail to get the point.

She failed to be appointed by a properly constituted appointments board only one of whom was the Dean (who has experience as a parish priest in South London so let's forget the ivory tower put-down, too). Two of the panel were ex-MPs.

The Dean has 'blocked' nothing. It is the Speaker who has done the blocking. He has overturned a decision he didn't like after having every opportunity to be involved in the process and having 'his man' on the panel. What other employment process would be allowed to get away with that?

Also, the person appointed might be wonderful but if she didn't fit the advertised criteria she shouldn't have been shortlisted. Is that where the political correctness came into play?

How she'll manage to be at HoC prayers every day and keep the antisocial hours of the job whilst running a parish remains to be seen. But she'll look great in Geneva Gown, white gloves, tricorn hat and buckled shoes.

Posted by abbey mouse at Monday, 28 June 2010 at 9:52am BST

What Tobias Haller wrote above! Barchester-like shenanigans were my thoughts exactly. You gotta laugh sometimes.

Posted by: Jay Vos on Sunday, 27 June 2010 at 11:57pm BST

Yes.

Laughter's gentle sacrament turns tender hearts to love

Posted by Pantycelyn at Monday, 28 June 2010 at 11:56am BST

What we have here is a mixture of Barchester and power politics. The Barchester perspective has some validity, but the political one is more interesting.

The Abbey might indeed have cause to complain if the Speaker had agreed on a process and then had pulled the rug out from under the process because he didn't like the result. Such gamesmanship is, however, practically speaking, something that people who have posts in their gift get to engage in. This the Abbey, of all places, must know.

Whether such gamesmanship is wise is, of course, another question. Here the Speaker presumably has his reasons for sending a political message rather than playing nice with the Abbey.

One's sympathy for the Abbey is limited. If you let Parliament top off your canon's salary, then you are likely to get tarred on occasion with the parliamentary brush.

If I were of the Abbey party, I might have three reactions--

1. Concern that the Abbey's nominee will view the plunge in remuneration as material in deciding whether to stay on in the job.

2. Disappointment that the Abbey has proven itself unable to swim with the parliamentary sharks, whether in the appointments process itself or, perhaps more importantly, in the ensuing media coverage.

3. Regret that the Speaker has chosen to use the Abbey as his messenger to the Church of England on the issue of women bishops. Between the questions on that issue from Government and Opposition MPs, and the Speaker's brusque removal of the Commons-chaplain hat from the Abbey-canonical head, one has a fairly good sense of where House sentiment lies. If questions are asked of the Speaker in the House, then the Church of England might do well to listen to the Speaker's answers -- and the House's reaction.

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 28 June 2010 at 1:05pm BST

'Regret that the Speaker has chosen to use the Abbey as his messenger to the Church of England on the issue of women bishops.'

What has this to do with bishops - of any gender ?

Are you implying that women ministers must go to ground throughout the next several years, while some are worked-up about bishops who happen to be women ?

Posted by Pantycelyn at Monday, 28 June 2010 at 3:29pm BST

Isn't it time to rethink the "established" church? You folks are making us look better with each passing day.

Posted by The Rev. Randall Keeney at Monday, 28 June 2010 at 4:39pm BST

I'm so glad that, in the USA, we have separation of Church and State. I think it's healthy. People are sometimes surprised that, as a clergyman, I am deeply opposed to reinstating prayer in public (state-run)schools, but the question is: whose prayer would it be, and what would it be praying for?

Posted by Old Father William at Monday, 28 June 2010 at 5:12pm BST

Well, following abbeymouse's exhortation to get real I've tried to do so, but I'm having some difficulties in placing Kennington, Wimbledon and Streatham in the same class as Hackney; there are mixed areas and I'm sure the Very Rev Dr John Hall faced challenges, but the mere fact that they were south of the river does not, in itself, demonstrate that he has hands-on experience of inner-city deprivation.

Furthermore, whilst I am sure Canon Andrew Tremlett has many fine qualities, his biography demonstrates the lack of such experience as well:

'...born in Devon and grew up in Plymouth, where his family still lives. After a degree in Classics at Cambridge, Andrew trained for Ordination at Oxford, specialising in biblical Hebrew. He also holds an M.Phil. from Exeter University on the early Christian thought and was, for a number of years, Secretary to the Church of England's Doctrine Commission.
Ordained in 1989 in Exeter Cathedral, Andrew has since then served in parochial and diocesan roles. This has included being Chaplain to the English Church in Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Bishop's Chaplin in Portsmouth and Vicar of Goring-by-Sea in West Sussex…

Rather a long way from conducting the funeral of a refugee from the Congo, 41 year-old Stevens Nyembo-Ya-Muteba, who had earned a place at Cambridge to study mathematics, but was stabbed to death outside his home by one of a gang who objected to him asking them to be quiet as he had to go to work in the morning.

That task fell to the Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin 'who believes that youth crime has flourished because adults are abdicating their responsibility to intervene when they see children and youths misbehaving. Changes to child protection laws, following rare but high profile child murders and cases involving paedophiles, have made matters worse by giving children too many rights and making it harder for adults to interact with children who are not their own. She argues that all adults need to feel empowered to step in when they see young people behaving badly; if children are used to adults doing this from an early age then they will accept the boundaries set by adult society for their behaviour.'

His widow said, after his murderer was convicted, that:

"For the killings to stop, we must start caring again for all in the community."

We need to know the community in order to do that…


Posted by chenier1 at Monday, 28 June 2010 at 5:18pm BST

I've always heard that England and the USA were joined by an ocean and separated by a common language.

This episode, with its insights into the workings of internal CofE politics, the role of the Queen, the relationship between the House of Commons and Westminster Abbey, is a vivid reminder that the Church of England and the Episcopal Church are in a similar relationship.

Posted by jnwall at Monday, 28 June 2010 at 5:43pm BST

"How she'll manage to be at HoC prayers every day and keep the antisocial hours of the job whilst running a parish remains to be seen. But she'll look great in Geneva Gown, white gloves, tricorn hat and buckled shoes."

This seems quite the petty jab, considering that had the Abbey and the Speaker agreed on her as their common choice, she'd have become Rector of St Margaret's Church and run *that* parish.

So if her white male predecessor "manage[d] to be at HoC prayers every day and keep the antisocial hours of the job whilst running a parish," it's not quite clear why the Abbey Mouse apparently believes she'll have greater difficulty doing exactly the same thing, simply with a different parish -- and, btw, not also burdened with responsibilities at the Abbey.

Surely the Mouse does not actually mean to imply that this black female will have a harder time doing *two* things than her white male predecessor has had doing *three*?

But yes, I have no doubt that "she'll look great in Geneva Gown, white gloves, tricorn hat and buckled shoes" -- nor that she'll someday look even better with mitre and crozier, and that she'll actually be allowed to wear/carry them, even at the hallowed Abbey itself. Now *that* will be a glorious image someday...

Posted by David da Silva Cornell at Monday, 28 June 2010 at 6:11pm BST

Chenier1's post above is another example of that unfortunate attitude in the Church of England that some ministries are just better than others.

Posted by Fr James at Monday, 28 June 2010 at 11:34pm BST

"So if her white male predecessor "manage[d] to be at HoC prayers every day and keep the antisocial hours of the job whilst running a parish," it's not quite clear why the Abbey Mouse apparently believes she'll have greater difficulty doing exactly the same thing, simply with a different parish"

One practical point is that St. Margaret's Church is right opposite the Palace of Westminster whereas Rose-Hudson-Wilkin's parish is some distance away at Dalston. This will prevent her from popping back and forth between the two with any ease.

Am I alone in thinking that this appointment has been handled very poorly but that the presumption of racism has been made too easily by some posters here? Where is the evidence that she was not chosen by the Abbey because she is black? Indeed, do we even know whether she applied for the job at all or whether Bercow has nominated her for the Chaplain's post of his own volition? I know the church operates in an alternative universe where gender and homophobic discrmination continue despite their being illegal for everyone else but even the CofE appears to have ceased discriminating on grounds of race.

Posted by Laurence at Monday, 28 June 2010 at 11:43pm BST

No, Pantycelyn, I was not implying that.

And if you think this has nothing to do with women bishops, think again.

The Speaker is obviously trying to accustom the country to a woman in a prominent clerical role.

The Speaker is also giving the Church of England a hint about parliamentary feeling on the subject of woman clerics.

So the complaints about "political correctness" have a grain of truth -- the Speaker's position in this matter is very political. I would have thought that was obvious.

Do you really think it's a coincidence that this issue went public less than a month before Synod convenes?

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 29 June 2010 at 1:02am BST

St Margaret's Church is NOT a parish church of the CofE. From this page
http://www.westminster-abbey.org/st-margarets/history-of-st-margarets-church
St Margaret's Unique Status

In July 1189, the Abbot and Convent of Westminster received a grant from Pope Clement III which confirmed that St Margaret's Church was outside the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London. In 1222, the Abbey and its property was declared not only to be outside the diocese of London but also exempt from the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

When Elizabeth I re-founded the Abbey as a collegiate church in 1560 she maintained its exemption from episcopal authority and made her new foundation a ‘royal peculiar’, subject to the authority of the Sovereign as Visitor. St Margaret’s church and parish were part of this peculiar jurisdiction until 1840 when they were placed within the diocese of London. By the 1970s the resident population of St Margaret’s parish had dwindled to a few hundred and in 1972 the Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret Westminster Act redefined the church’s status. Its parish was re-allocated to neighbouring parishes while the church and its churchyard were placed once more under the governance of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, with one of the Canons of Westminster serving as Rector of St Margaret’s.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Tuesday, 29 June 2010 at 7:27am BST

Jeremy 1:02 AM - Yes, I do think it was a coincidence. The connection is tenuous.

Laurence 11:43 PM - As far as I can see, the inference of racism derives from this quotation in the Telegraph: "The dean was looking for someone who would fulfill more of a ceremonial role. He didn't think that she suited his needs at the Abbey." Now it doesn't say that he didn't want a black woman (nobody says that kind of thing anymore, thank God!), but it certainly sounds like it.

Posted by Doug at Tuesday, 29 June 2010 at 11:52am BST

Doug -- Perhaps the connection appears tenuous from the C of E perspective.

I doubt very much that it appears tenuous from the Commons perspective.

We'll see what questions are asked....

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 29 June 2010 at 1:55pm BST

Thanks, Lawrence and Simon. St M's is not a parish in any way and it's next door.

The problem is how she'll get to and fro every day and be available for antisocial hours if she lives on the other side of London and has a real parish to look after. Nothing to do with her race/gender. Why rush to that presumption on the back of inaccurate press reports? It is the overturning of an attempt at a decent process (the same as everywhere else, these days), is my only concern.

And the humorous quip about the 'gear' she'll wear was a poke about how ridiculous it is on anyone!

And how amazing that the person appointed to the canonry is now demeaned in these posts for not being a black woman from Hackney.

I repeat: two parliamentarians plus the dean made the appointment. One was asked by the Speaker to do that in his place.

But clearly some are very pleased at the method. I wonder how they'd feel if it happened when they were applying for a new parish / job. And I don't think that this kind of thing can decently be termed, 'Affirmative Action', which is conducted openly and honestly.

(And don't make the mistake of thinking that Rose would have been the first black person or the first woman in an Abbey canonry. We've had both and great they have been/are, of course.)

It is amazing how many people 'know' that Rose must have been the right person to appoint from the well-over 100 who applied. Anyway, perhaps the matter will settle down and the two jobs can be got on with.

Posted by abbey mouse at Tuesday, 29 June 2010 at 2:00pm BST

Laurence, I don't know if the dean objected to her race. It could have been her gender, or maybe her accent. Whatever it was, it was superficial, unrelated to her qualifications, and makes both the Abbey and the CofE look ridiculous.

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Tuesday, 29 June 2010 at 7:44pm BST

Re "One practical point is that St. Margaret's Church is right opposite the Palace of Westminster whereas Rose-Hudson-Wilkin's parish is some distance away at Dalston. This will prevent her from popping back and forth between the two with any ease." and "St Margaret's Church is NOT a parish church of the CofE." and "The problem is how she'll get to and fro every day and be available for antisocial hours if she lives on the other side of London and has a real parish to look after.":

What a godsend, then, that she will not also have the incumbent's Abbey duties weighing her down. My original point remains; it seems highly presumptuous to wonder how she'll "manage" to get these things done. One assumes that neither she, nor her bishop (presumably the overseer of her existing parish job), nor the Speaker is an especially dimwitted individual, and that they have each of them done their calculations as to time and tasks.

The Christian thing, then, seems to be to give them all the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise, and to keep them in one's prayers that the arrangement is a success for all concerned -- rather than snarking about how she'll ever manage.

Posted by David da Silva Cornell at Wednesday, 30 June 2010 at 12:15am BST

It is amazing how many people 'know' that Rose must have been the right person to appoint from the well-over 100 who applied. Anyway, perhaps the matter will settle down and the two jobs can be got on with.

Posted by: abbey mouse on Tuesday, 29 June 2010 at 2:00pm BS

Bowing to your oh so Superior knowledge

Posted by Pantycelyn at Wednesday, 30 June 2010 at 12:25pm BST

"Laurence, I don't know if the dean objected to her race. It could have been her gender, or maybe her accent. Whatever it was, it was superficial, unrelated to her qualifications, and makes both the Abbey and the CofE look ridiculous"

Again - how do you know this? Only those with access to the application forms, CVs, and records of candidate performance at interview and how the evidence from each of those sources matched against the job's skill criteria can make any judgment as to the suitability or otherwise of any of the candidates and whether the recruitment process was fair or not. It may have been unfair and Rose may have have been deselected for irrelevant reasons but, conversely, the originally selected candidate may have met the advertised criteria to a greater extent than she did.

If you were involved in the recruitment process yourself and know what went on behind the scenes then fair enough, but if you weren't then you know no more about it than I do.

Posted by Laurence at Wednesday, 30 June 2010 at 3:17pm BST

"Again - how do you know this?"

Because the dean's objections were that she didn't lend herself to the ceremonial duties of the office. Just exactly what do you think that means?

Posted by Bill Dilworth at Thursday, 1 July 2010 at 1:20pm BST

Actually, we don't know this. We only know that his objections were REPORTED to be that.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 1 July 2010 at 1:53pm BST

Actually, Simon, the Abbey has had almost a week to demand a correction, to amplify the report, to clarify the report, or to dispute it. The Abbey does not appear to have done any of these things.

One can therefore infer that the Dean's objection was indeed what it was reported to be -- or that it was so close to what it was reported to be that the Abbey didn't see any point in prolonging the argument.

Posted by Jeremy at Friday, 2 July 2010 at 1:45am BST

One can therefore infer that the Dean's objection was indeed what it was reported to be -- or that it was so close to what it was reported to be that the Abbey didn't see any point in prolonging the argument.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 2 July 2010 at 1:45am BST

A point I hadn't considered. Thank you.

Posted by Laurence at Friday, 2 July 2010 at 12:52pm BST

Given today's news out of Southwark, I have to return to the point that the political parties seem to be speaking to the Church of England in a loud and unified voice.

Posted by Jeremy at Saturday, 3 July 2010 at 11:42pm BST
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