Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 26 April 2023

Bendor Grosvenor The Art Newspaper ‘Westminster Abbey charges £27 per ticket–even God might baulk at that price’
“If ever a ticket price reflected British history it is for this royal church, where the nation’s great and good are commemorated in profusion”

Karen O’Donnell ViaMedia.News Consent, Power, and BDSM in Theological Research

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

80 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Shamus
Shamus
1 year ago

Given that the Coronation takes place at Westminster Abbey, and is a royal peculiar, you would think its maintenance might be included in the state’s grant to maintain the monarchy. Our coins say F.D on them, but the state doesn’t really want to have F.D associated with it. All very strange really. History explains it of course, but seems quite irrational.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Shamus
1 year ago

An alternative perspective is that the Abbey is a commercial enterprise (and arguably has been for most of its life). As a commercial enterprise, it probably welcomes the free publicity from a royal spectacular. I am confident that the coronation will drive a significant bump in visitor numbers.

(For the record, I don’t support the Abbey being a commercial enterprise. I hate churches charging entrance fees – it is obviously contrary to the Gospels.)

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

If the Abbey should not be a commercial enterprise, and if it should not charge entrance fees, how then should the Abbey support itself? It is not a parish church, so no income is derived from pledges. Historically, monastic foundations supported themselves by commercial activity such as farming, bookbinding, winemaking, or as a landlord. It’s an expensive property to heat and maintain. Security, administrative and operations staff, clergy and musicians must be paid. What revenue could be raised that is not “contrary to the Gospels”? Some argue that even a gift shop is inappropriate, even if the theological books on… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Shamus
1 year ago

I think the State should keep out of it. It has enough calls on its finances, what with the state of the NHS, and schools and social care and so on.

If the Abbey is a royal peculiar surely the king should pay for it out of his own pocket. I think he has a few million to spare.

Call it a quid pro quo for the Archbishop’s services during the coronation, and the way that the church has laundered the reputation of the crown over the past millennia or so.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

In the particular case of royal peculiars, I agree that the King should pay.

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

I believe we are talking about maintenance of the Abbey. Are you suggesting that the King should pay for all expenses incurred by the Abbey? In that case, the monarch would surely be willing to have all royal peculiars in London revert to the Diocese of London. Would that eliminate the need for charging admission fees?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Richard
1 year ago

I think the general rule ought to be that the ultimate authority pays – in this case that is The King.

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

I disagree.

Froghole
Froghole
1 year ago

One mystery for me is what happened to the Abbey’s estates. The superlative Yale studies of St Paul’s and Durham go into considerable detail about these (https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/St_Paul_s.html?id=Tv7ZRMhNIWYC&redir_esc=y and https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300208184/durham-cathedral/), yet the recent history of the Abbey published by the same press neglects this topic (https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9781913107024/westminster-abbey/; despite generous reviews it does not, to my mind, represent much of an advance on the 1971, 1987 and 2004 volumes). The omission is all the more peculiar because there have been some excellent monographs on the Abbey’s estates in the middle ages (https://global.oup.com/academic/product/westminster-abbey-and-its-estates-in-the-middle-ages-9780198224495?cc=gb&lang=en and https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_Westminster_Corridor.html?id=ejqAAAAAIAAJ&redir_esc=y – the last dealing with a section of the… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

FWIW, Chat GPT says “After the dissolution, many of the Abbey’s former estates were sold off to private owners, including members of the nobility and wealthy merchants. Some of the estates were also granted to loyal supporters of the Crown. However, the Abbey was able to retain some of its estates, including a number of properties in and around London. Some of the estates that were granted or sold off included: The manor of Bermondsey, which was granted to Sir Robert Southwell in 1544. This estate included land in what is now the London Borough of Southwark. The manor of… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Kate
Kate
Kate
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

PS I asked for references for the information. I haven’t checked them. I’ve not done much research in the AI age, but using it for a first pass and then verifying is probably how I would go about it if I did. “The Victoria History of the County of Surrey,” Volume 3, published in 1911, includes a section on the manor of East Molesey and its ownership history. “A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 7, Thame and Dorchester Hundreds,” published in 1962, includes information on the manor of Ewelme and its ownership. “Westminster Abbey: The Official Guide,” published… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Many thanks for this, Kate. I have the VCH volumes you mention, and they are very useful, not least for tracing manorial descents (especially the pre-war volumes). Almost all significant ecclesiastical corporations lost much or most of their assets in the century or so after the Act of Supremacy, whether through outright confiscations or ‘forced exchanges’ (see here, for example, a classic survey of losses suffered by the episcopate: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/of-prelates-and-princes/41169DE6BAA4F8CCB5297D47067633A3). However, many chapters still had a good deal left over after the successive waves of predation by monarchs and courtiers had washed away. The Abbey remained a wealthy corporation until… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

I think little gets mentioned about some quite major restoration (and alterations) in the Victorian period. Sir George Gilbert Scott and others, (Street and Pearson, or one of them, come to mind) did extensive work – isn’t much of the north transept facade by Pearson and the rose window by Scott? And buttresses added on the south of the nave? I’m relying entirely on memory, but the details are extensively recorded in “English Cathedrals: Forgotten Centuries – Restoration and Change from 1530 to the Present Day” by Gerald Cobb, Thames & Hudson 1980. Somewhat earlier, the west towers of the… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

Many thanks. That is indeed a good book. Very much on point is another book by Thomas Cocke and Donald Buttress (a former surveyor of the Abbey’s fabric, and a wonderful bit of ‘nominative determinism’), which was based on an exhibition staged by the Abbey authorities in the 1990s: ‘900 Years: the Restorations of Westminster Abbey’ (1995). Cocke wrote most of it, including chapters on the restorations of Wren and Hawksmoor, and on the Victorian era (when Blore, Scott and Pearson were successively surveyors of the fabric).It should be noted, further to previous remarks on this thread about public subventions,… Read more »

Caelius Spinator
Caelius Spinator
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

Post-1840, I know the Abbey still held the manor of Islip in Oxfordshire, so I think its problem may have been losing places like Bermondsey in the 16th century. The legislation that mattered most therefore was the Corn Laws, if you get my meaning.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Caelius Spinator
1 year ago

Many thanks. They lost a lot of property after 1840 as stalls fell vacant. The question is what was left and then what happened to it. The corn laws financed the efflorescence of the unreformed Church by keeping the grain price (which determined each modus of tithe) elevated. The years of ‘high farming’ between 1846 and c. 1870-72 provided returns which offset the removal of protection. What did for the Church everywhere was the long agricultural depression, which started in 1872-78, and continued until 1914, before recommencing in 1919-39. During that time many private landowners and institutional landlords sold land,… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
1 year ago

Of course it is wrong for me to assert that all offices at the Abbey attract large crowds; they don’t. It is perhaps also wrong for me to assume that many attendees will be entering during services: how would I know anyway, even allowing for the evident behaviour of some? I also appreciate that the Abbey has high overheads and that these are rendered all the more painful by the premium attaching to London and almost everything within the M25. However, when the fee is that high it is inevitable that many tourists, especially those travelling on a budget, should… Read more »

Mary Hancock
Mary Hancock
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

As an irrelevant aside, a recent but now retired ‘church’ architect for Westminster Abbey was the appropriately named Donald Buttress OBE. He was responsible for the restoration of the West front and the Henry VII Chapel.

Father David
Father David
1 year ago

Attend Choral Evensong at the Abbey and avoid paying a vast entrance fee of £27. While sitting quietly one evening in the Abbey waiting for the service to begin I was reprimanded by the cartwheeling verger for using a small pair of binoculars to look at the stained glass windows. I could see a sign prohibiting the use of cameras but no notification or signage vetoing the use of binoculars. I’ve never found Westminster Abbey to be the most welcoming or friendly of fanes.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Father David
1 year ago

We did that during a visit in 2015. Fab! The TEC PB was in in the choir stalls for evensong that day. 1662 Evensong was lovely. We were up in the stalls. Sadly, touristas left as service went on. We have tickets for later this year for general admission, two adults and one minor, cost $88.00 Canadian. ( you can do the math). Interesting, your comment about binoculars. We visited The Sistine a few years ago. I had opera glasses ( came in handy at Chartres as well). The place was packed. Security or whoever kept yelling, “Silencio! No photo!”.… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 year ago

I was disappointed with the Sistine: walls and ceiling covered by what could be Christmas wrapping paper. I admire the bodybuilders on display but I object to the obvious fakery of the paper. You can get better quality in B&Q. As to St Paul’s Abbey (RIP Sir Les Patterson), it’s better in pictures.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 year ago

Stanley, as you may know some of the statues in the Vatican museum had their private parts broken off. Our tour guide told the story (perhaps apocryphal) about a group of dedicated women who armed with a box of dismembered penises religiously work at matching and restoration. lol.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 year ago

Interesting. When I visited (around 1969) small stone or plaster fig-leaves were in situ. From what you say, it seems that ’restoration’ is in progress.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
1 year ago

I think both the addition of fig leaves or the chiseling off of marble appendages goes back to the counter-reformation. I’m pretty sure the story about ‘restoration’ is apocryphal.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 year ago

While visiting the Vatican Museum I was told that much of the emasculating damage was done by Goths, Visigoths and similar Vandals during their sacking of Rome following the empire’s collapse. Oh, well, you pays your money……

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 year ago

That reminds me of the act of reverse prudery committed by Quintin Hogg in c. 1931-32 to the statue of a Greek youth situated in the fellows’ garden at All Souls. Angered by Stanley Casson’s claim that the statue was not antique, Hogg decided to investigate with a hammer and chisel. At dead of night he hammered off the fig-leaf concealing the groin of the statue, but this revealed only cement. Not convinced that he had finished the job, he tried again, and his efforts were crowned with success: ‘Concealed behind the cement, now a jumble of fragments littering the… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 year ago

I don’t care for the word “penis”. The correct English word for the organ of intromission is “cock” defined in dictionaries as a short tube for the passage of liquid (as in stopcock for example). As you doubtless know, penis is Latin for little tail so I guess it was used as a euphemism for the privy member by the refined matrons of Rome, thus: “Come now, Flavius darling, lunch is nearly ready so stop playing with your little tail and wash your hands”.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 year ago

I gather Queen Vic had a cast of Michelangelo’s David covered with a fig leaf. See the linked article, scroll down to ‘The Fig-Leaf’. A cockeyed solution I reckon you’d call that.

https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/the-story-of-michelangelos-david

Puritan like behaviour is not unknown in Latin rite circles. Besides fig leaves and chisels, some priests in Quebec and Cape Breton had it in for fiddle players with the burning of fiddles as the ‘devil’s instrument’. Ironically both places produce world class fiddle music.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 year ago

What is ‘TEC PB’, please?

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in the United States

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Thanks. I thought it was ECUSA (The Episcopal Church USA)?

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

Given that it has dioceses outside the United States, it has largely stopped using ECUSA as an acronym.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 year ago

Thanks. It’s a bit confusing though – how do you (or we) distinguish between the Episcopal Church mainly based in the USA, and the Episcopal Churches of other countries?

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

Scottish Episcopal Church: SEC
Episcopal Church in the Philippines: ECP
Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
Episcopal Church of Sudan: ECS
Episcopal Church of South Sudan: ECSS
Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil

Distinguishing between Episcopal provinces is easy compared to Anglican churches. We must distinguish between Anglican churches Canada, Australia, NZ, Bangladesh, Central America, Chile, Mexico, North America, etc. etc.

Richard
Richard
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

That changed some years ago.

John Wall
John Wall
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

The Presiding Bishop (PB) of the Episcopal Church (TEC), at the moment the Most Rev. Michael Curry. Who, I am happy to say, was my diocesan bishop before he was elected our PB. There is a long story behind his being our “Presiding Bishop” rather than our Archbishop. But that can wait for another day.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

Sorry about that. Reminds me of an old joke about a military form with U.N.O. stamped across the top. ‘Use no abbreviations’. The Presiding bishop referenced was the previous one, Katherine Jefferts-Schori. There was no charge for admission to Evensong.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 year ago

“The bottom line is we cannot lose these iconic spaces.”

True. But it’s also very hard to defend charging admission to any space which includes a still-consecrated altar.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Am I correct in remembering that St. Paul’s Cathedral does not charge admission if folks are attending services there? Some places have sections designated for peace, quiet, and prayer. However, it’s a challenge. I recall sitting listening to a group of nuns singing a noon office at Sacre Coeur but the din from other tourists was unfortunate. St. Peters behind it was quite a lovely experience, especially the chapel. For anyone who may visit Canada, I recommend Abbaye Saint Benoit- du -Lac in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. (see link). The offices of the hours in Latin are open to… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 year ago

I don’t know of any C of E cathedral or other church which charges for admission when attending services. I’m quite sure that this never happens.

I have never encountered admission charges at any times in RC cathedrals.

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Rod Gillis
1 year ago

When we visited the Sistine it was very noticable how very few people were taking any notice of the warders! Cameras in great profusion, clicking and flashing like mad. (Personally, I was more interested by the Map Gallery leading up to it.) The only time that I’ve visited St Paul’s was for the memorial service to Canon David Watson; mentioning this to an elderly verger, he responded joyously, “Oh, you are SO fortunate! Your first time in the Cathedral, and you’ll be seeing it used for its proper purpose.” I liked him, and will never forget him.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  John Davies
1 year ago

Which probably made the warders shout out even louder. lol.

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Father David
1 year ago

Yes, worship is indeed free to attend (as noticed by the cannier crypto-tourists, who I don’t mind so long as they put away their phones and stay for the whole of proceedings).

Can’t say I object to charging those who’re using places of worship as museums, but £27 (or £32 including an actual museum) is more than I can recall paying for an actual museum in any country! Oh well, there’s always Evensong.

John Wall
John Wall
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

The ushers at St Paul’s have gotten more aggressive in recent years. In times past I could slip in a brief pilgrimage to the John Donne monument in the south aisle of the Choir after attending services. The last time, however, the ushers had carefully blocked off all access to the building except the area where the service was actually held, in this case the nave and the crossing.

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  John Wall
1 year ago

Yes, much the same as the most famous Royal Peculiar, where Communion’s celebrated amidst a rope pen, surrounded by tourists waving selfie sticks at the curious spectacle. (My complements to the clergy working so hard to bring a little solemnity to this surreal event.)

You know what you’re getting I guess. Perhaps the adjoining St. Margaret’s Church could be (literally) pressed into service more often?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  James Byron
1 year ago

Actually you mean “organised worship” in the first line.

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

Of course, and I can’t really complain, as I know what I’ll be getting at these showpiece churches, and there’s always the welcome possibility that a few of the tourists will be curious enough to attend themselves.

Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
1 year ago

Karen O’Donnell’s ‘News Consent, Power, and BDSM in Theological Research’ is a piece of psuedo-academic twadle. She tries to show how clever she is but makes a trivial point. Her talking about BDSM (which she explains in the footnotes is bondage, domination, sado-masochism), is like a newly qualified youth worker swearing in front of children to look cool. And the point she makes isn’t even a good one. A signature on a piece of paper is enough consent to go ahead with theological research. It really is. In her own mind she seems to believe that she’s some terribly intimidating… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Oliver Miller
1 year ago

I can see you didn’t like the article, but could you have critiqued it without the personal attacks on the author?

Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

Point taken. I should learn to disagree better.

I meant to take issue with what she said, not who she is.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Oliver Miller
1 year ago

Yes, that would strengthen your critique.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
1 year ago

I see no one has commented on Karen O’Donnell’s article. Is this because it is the most ridiculous and laughably absurd piece ever to have appeared on this esteemed website?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

I haven’t read it. Thank for for ensuring that I don’t bother.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Kate
1 year ago

I should read it Kate, and judge for yourself. Don’t be put off by the views of others. Her thesis is that in academic research we could learn from the culture of the BDSM community and take the issue of consent seriously. We should see consent as an ongoing, mutually negotiated, process which can be revised or withdrawn at any time. The person with power in the process (the researcher/theologian) should be alert to the power imbalance, and continually consider the needs of the research participant, and what benefit the research process may bring to him/her. At a more nuanced… Read more »

Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

BDSM includes the deliberate infliction of pain. It sometimes has fatal outcomes. Unless I’m very much mistaken, that’s very very different from most theological research.

Can you give an example of how someone might be harmed by theological research? Maybe we’re not talking about the same thing.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Oliver Miller
1 year ago

I can see that people might be harmed in the course of theological research if the research in question dealt with issues like sexual abuse, LGBTI issues, Black theology, liberation theology, the theology of power, or almost any theological field dealing with people’s personal experience.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 year ago

I can see how people’s prejudices can be hurtful to others, but why do they have to have the pompous appellation “theological research” attached? “Theology” is often a cover for total gibberish.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  FrDavid H
1 year ago

I should perhaps have expanded on my reply above. It depends, of course, what you define as ‘theology’; I suppose a purely abstract study of philosophical theology poses little risk to people. But then, we could ask the question whether it does anyone much good. I have a research MPhil in Pastoral Theology, on charismatic healing ministries and the sexual abuse survivor. It was largely a literature study, looking at the theology behind several models of charismatic healing ministry, and also at the impact they had or were likely to have on some of those being ministered to. I included… Read more »

Anne
Anne
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

I have to admit that I didn’t find the article very inspiring or interesting, even it clearly caught people’s attention with its use of analogy. The idea that consent in social research is an ongoing process (it is not just a signature on a piece of paper) is not especially new or novel for me. There’s a fairly developed literature and it’s a well established idea in the social sciences/research. I am on my institutional ethics committee and if a proposed study had no consideration of ongoing consent or how to deal with withdrawal of consent, I’d pass it back… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Anne
Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  Anne
1 year ago

The signature on a piece of paper is on the bottom of a long document explaining what the consent is for, and how it can be withdrawn. That’s already the case. And most universities already have an ethics committee to enforce this, and researchers are taught that they can’t start their research without it. In most cases discussions about consent can be perfunctory. The existing systems are more than sufficient. Participants in academic theological research are already given sufficient protections. Can anybody give an example of lack of consent in academic theological research causing harm? I’m no expert but BDSM… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Anne
1 year ago

Thanks for your thoughtful and balanced comment Anne, I agree completely. Karen O’Donnell’s article is not exceptional or life changing, but it offers a playful and interesting way to explore issues around ethical research and consent. These are issues which some people know well, but others would benefit from exploring in more detail. For example there is Oliver Miller’s response, which would apparently fail if presented to your own ethics committee. But what struck me was not the article, but the responses to the article, and their tone. Were the responses a reasonable and rational discussion of the issues raised,… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon Dawson
Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

Peter Ball and John Smythe weren’t conductiong theological research, and they never got permission for their “activities” from an ethics committee. Karen O’Donnell’s article argues that people doing theological research have something to learn from those doing BDSM. They do not. The existing systems for ensuring that participants in theological research have given, and continue to give, their informed consent are more than satisfactory. Can you name any instance where someone has been harmed by participating in theological research? I can’t understand why anyone would give their consent to BDSM, and I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t agree to theological… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Oliver Miller
1 year ago

The article contrasts two very skewed views. The view of academic research as one in which the typical researcher is uninterested in consent is false, as others have pointed out. More pertinently, the view of BDSM as one in which consent is painstakingly negotiated at every turn is over-optimistic to the point of dishonesty. BDSM is too often a practice in which men derive sexual pleasure from hurting women, and women suffer because they feel they must. The normalisation of BDSM is harming a generation of adolescents whose exposure to pornography is leading them to believe that violence is a… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Unreliable Narrator
Stanley Monkhouse
1 year ago

O’Donnell’s GCSE piffle might just – just – possibly have been of some interest to me if she had dispassionately explored (1) antecedents in paganism, ancient mythologies and religions esp Greek, Roman and Babylonian; (2) ancient understandings of sexuality and reproduction; and (3) the growing corpus of knowledge of the neurochemistry and psychobiology of pleasure, pain and ecstasy. It amazes me – or rather I fear it doesn’t – what superficial and tendentious balderdash counts as “academic” re-search these days.

Matt
Matt
1 year ago

More disgraceful to me than the entry charge itself is that the advertisement for the new Head of Communications and Digital (salary: up to £100k) has the provision of free visitor wristbands for family and friends listed as a perk!

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Matt
1 year ago

I seem to remember that the entry charge is set so high to discourage visitors as the Abbey is literally being worn away. Churchgoers used to be able to apply for a parish permit through their priest, which allowed not only free entry but also use of the VIP lane.

Rev Colin C Coward
1 year ago

I’m on retreat this week at a place with intermittent internet access. I’ve come away to reflect on my ideas about God, reality, creation, evolution, particle physics, sexuality and gender about which I blog on Unadulterated Love, blogs that are often listed here. I’ve logged on to check emails and what’s new on Thinking Anglicans. I chose to read Karen O’Donnell’s ViaMedia blog rather than Bendor Grosvenor’s article about Westminster Abbey charges. I note there had been 36 comments. I was astonished to scroll through the comments and discover that every comment is about the Abbey. Every comment about the… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
1 year ago

I don’t understand how you can say no one has commented on the article comparing theology with sado-masochism. For example, one commenter described it as “piffle”.

Last edited 1 year ago by FrDavid H
David Runcorn
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
1 year ago

I can find 11 comments quite quickly. But mostly negative

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

Not all negative David. As far as I can tell (and I may be wrong) the negative comments are all from white straight men, and the more positive or nuanced comments are from women or homosexual men, who may have different experiences and view around sexuality and power in the church.

I find that an interesting factor in itself.

Oliver Miller
Oliver Miller
Reply to  Simon Dawson
1 year ago

Simon, you’ve just done a piece of academic research on the views of of participants in an online theological discussion and compared it to their (assumed) race sex and gender.

You didn’t ask for our consent.

The reason you didn’t ask for our consent is because to do so would have been silly.

Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  David Runcorn
1 year ago

David, they may all have been written before I submitted my comment, but when I did submit my comment, there were no comments approved about the blog. Maybe my visionary self should have been mystically aware of this. I also note that the comments are mostly negative. That’s congruent with my perspective on Christianity and the Church of England today – mostly negative.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
1 year ago

As one of the leading malefactors on this thread, I found Ms O’Donnell’s piece intriguing, but really for what it says about authority and the application of power (though I must admit to having to look up what BDSM actually is…). She is right that, in many instances, the sexual act is an expression of power and in that sense (and perhaps in that sense alone) it is analogous with the authority that the clergy impose upon their flocks and that which the wider clerisy (in the sense that Coleridge meant it) impose upon the citizenry. As Gore Vidal remarked,… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Froghole
Rev Colin C Coward
Reply to  Froghole
1 year ago

Dear malefactor Froghole, I appreciate your extended comment. You say the important issue for you is “why people accept these impositions, and why they do so differently in different cultures.” I have no idea whether the British are different in this respect from other countries. Is submissiveness really another collective manifestation of ‘le vice anglais’? You tentatively suggest declining respect for clerical authority has much to do with the decreasing ability of parents and teachers to apply legitimate physical coercion at a formative age, limiting your comment to corporal punishment. I think people are too acquiescent in accepting the authority… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Rev Colin C Coward
1 year ago

Very many thanks! I fear my immediate lapse into discussing the Abbey reflects my own personal weakness for antiquarianism (maybe itself a perversion; did not Larkin write in ‘Church Going’ of ‘Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique’?), and I agree with John Davies’s comment elsewhere on this thread that it is easier (for me, at least) to have a sense of the numinous in small, humble places. Having now seen quite a bit of the Church, I have become ever more ‘disenchanted’ by its claims to authority (for all of the wonderful people I have met along the way); this puts… Read more »

Paul
Paul
1 year ago

The article on BDSM research is some of the worst attention seeking nonsense I’ve ever seen. Not only does the argument have very little to say, but seems written to “like hunt” on social media and generate a fake controversy.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Paul
1 year ago

I couldn’t agree more.

John Davies
John Davies
1 year ago

I’ve visited St Peter’s in Rome, where I was most taken with (from memory) a marvellous rose window with the Holy Spirit as a dove for its centre piece, and our St Paul’s, where the lines of the arches, leading the eye to the risen Christ above the altar particularly struck me. Sadly, and this is a very personal thing, the one thing missing in St Peter’s was any sense of God’s presence among the camera clicking multitudes; the very magnificence of the buildings drove it all away. This may be because I’m a very simple, low church Protestant, but… Read more »

Tim M
Tim M
1 year ago

Having read Karen O’Donnell’s article, my overriding view is that to infer that the historical – or current – repression of the church is a form of BDSM does not a theology make. Even if the metaphor is accurate.

Susannah Clark
1 year ago

Karen’s article on Via media was thought-provoking, and made me think about the experience I had with LLF when interviewed about my gender and sexuality. It was a harrowing interview: its aim and purpose to help inform the Church of England about these issues and lived experience, to engender better understanding. So far so good. Of course, it inevitably led to opening up raw wound and hurt from the past, but the process involved a fair degree of ‘givenness’ by both parties (the interviewer and the interviewee) – both hoping to get something out of the dialogue. I found the… Read more »

80
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x