Hugh Muir in the Diary column of today’s Guardian, is straplined A sensible move by the Church of England – will wonders never cease?
Churchill said the Americans do the right thing when all other avenues have been exhausted – but he could just as easily have been talking about the Church of England. Little is achieved without muddle and controversy. And this sadly characterises the way the powers have handled the future deployment of the Rev Nick Holtam, capable vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, who would have been a bishop by now were it not for the fact that his wife of more than 30 years was previously married and divorced. Conservatives on the bench of bishops used the “taint” of the spouse’s divorce to effectively veto Rev Nick’s elevation. The fact that he’s a liberal didn’t help. But God might well reflect that the Church of England works in mysterious ways. Sometimes that’s good. For it does appear that Rev Nick is going to get a mitre after all. We are told to be watchful of Salisbury. And it is probably no coincidence that the next-door bishop Michael Scott-Joynt of Winchester – the church’s arch Tory bishop who spoke out against the appointment of bishops with divorced wives last year – is imminently for retirement. We’ll miss him but everything may progress more smoothly in his absence. And we’ll get along just fine with Bishop Nick.