Comments: Opinion - 11 February 2017

Could girls also be "caned" and were they? All pretty horrifying to this non-Brit, especially that it lasted (legally) into the 1990s ....... and Thank you to Giles Fraser, as ever;

Posted by Sara MacVane at Saturday, 11 February 2017 at 1:33pm GMT

Sara, thanks for raising that question - when the Bishops' report was issued the other week, I automatically read it as being by a group of men (I wonder what the women in the House and College made of it all?)about what men do with their genitalia. Male neurosis indeed.

Posted by peter kettle at Saturday, 11 February 2017 at 2:48pm GMT

Dr Chartres has been a fine bishop, but the much lauded ‘growth’ experienced in London has been less impressive when set against the rapid general growth in the population, by more than two million. Let’s say that he helped create conditions where numbers were stabilised and advanced slightly, and that this moderated the relative decline.

I usually have a strong aversion to speculation about senior appointments. However, I understand why there has to be a ‘pool’ of eligible candidates (as described by Ysenda Maxtone Graham). I also understand why some clergy, having succumbed to ambition, should desire to be in it, and here I am predictably reminded of the famous lines of Philip Shuttleworth, warden of New College (1822-40) and bishop of Chichester (1840-42): ‘Make me, O sphere-descended Queen,/A bishop, or at least a dean.’

Essentially, Ms Maxtone Graham is arguing that the current system, one arguably rigged by two individuals, is flawed and makes for sameness. This may be true, and there are some Thinking Anglicans who would argue for the abolition of the CNC and elected bishops. Whilst I find the CNC system unsatisfactory it might be argued that it is the least worst available, and it allows the unholy accommodation of patronage and partisanship to be worked out behind closed doors. In a sense it is scarcely better, and perhaps marginally worse, than the old prime ministerial system, but now (to paraphrase Lord Melbourne) spares the premier the threat of having bishops die out of spite.

One thing seems clear to me: the CNC keeps producing broadly the same type of bishop. The current vogue is for administrators. However, it may just be a vogue: remember that in the late middle ages most prelates were canonists; in the Elizabethan/Jacobean eras they were often serious scholars; in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries they were successively latitudinarian whigs, then gentlemen/aristocrats, then headmasters; in the early/mid twentieth century they were Anglo-Catholic churchmen with often mildly socialist leanings. Fashions come and go, though I suspect the current trend might persist awhile.

She writes that ‘Generally,…you need to be a bishop already’. True, but some post-Reformation holders bishops were not: Grindal, Aylmer, Bancroft, King, Howley and Tait. I would argue that Tait was probably the greatest ecclesiastical statesman of the nineteenth century. In view of the current scarcity of obvious talent they should look beyond the ‘Pool’.

We need another Tait.

Posted by Froghole at Saturday, 11 February 2017 at 3:06pm GMT

Yes, Erin Clark. I agree. Mostly. Unfortunately, it's not only men, although very much predominantly, who 'benefit' from seeing God as male. A number of women like it that way too. We can speculate on the reasons but I've attended a church where this is so. I have no personal problem with the language of the Bible. I can transcend the maleness of the language to see the love. I pray.

Posted by Pam at Saturday, 11 February 2017 at 8:35pm GMT

I can't see how the CNC is the "least worst" way to select bishops. If you wanted to design the worst system for raising people to the purple, it'd be in the running. The fix is in. It allows a patrician elite to pack the English church with pliant company men in their own image (and now, equally pliant women: truly, equal in all things). All other British provinces elect their bishops, keep patronage out of it, and allow partisanship to at least be subject to a majority's consent. Why's England special?

Imagine if English dioceses could elect their bishops, as other provinces do. It'd smash apart the jobs-for-the-boys network and all the blue blood prejudices that go with it, and allow all kinds of outsiders to stand, and possibly get it. The suffocating faux-unity would end, and bishops would have a mandate from their flocks.

England could, at last, move forward, and stop fighting to hold the rest of the Communion back.

Posted by James Byron at Saturday, 11 February 2017 at 9:50pm GMT

"One thing seems clear to me: the CNC keeps producing broadly the same type of bishop. The current vogue is for administrators"

The best opportunity the current CNC has to make a nomination 'out of vogue' concerns the vacant See of Sodor and Man, the last CNC to be considered by the 2012-2017 CNC. But will they?

Posted by Anthony Archer at Saturday, 11 February 2017 at 10:50pm GMT
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.