Recently I made the point that people in glass covered swimming pools should not throw stones. Mary had said yes, not no, nor did she say,"Let's chuck some pebbles." This was in the context of Mary Glasspool, though some people seemed to have missed the reference among the tomfoolery around April 1st and the glass ceiling that does stand above our pool of Church of England women priests. That loss is, of course, a problem when you have "Mr Nuance" inserted between your first and surnames. People seem not to understand around what was not in fact said and then naturally go on to assume differently because of what was missed.
But the point still holds. We are not like Muslims at the Hajj: we do not throw pebbles at Satan, although I recognise the cathartic value of that part of a very important observance for some who are our citizens.
But recognising that catharsis, and its value, especially when considering some other ecclesiastical community, I thought instead I would recognise my relative freedom and get hold of two huge rocks and lob them outwards, as a not dissatisfactory change from my normal reticence.
The difficulty remains that if you wear a clerical collar in Ireland you might have pebbles, stones or rocks thrown at you, and this must be quite unnerving. We are talking here about a catastrophic loss of all credibility, although having said this I did hope in hindsight that this could fail the usually unwanted unclarity test, but obviously it hasn't.
So let me say in some compensation that I am someone who knows about losing credibility, so I speak with at least some authority here, although no one has seen it as necessary to throw pebbles, stones or rocks in my direction.
And there is an issue here about reciprocal ecumenical relationships, that when the Pope dumped one on me about the Ordinariates, I thought I'll dump one on you in not too long a time, Sunshine.
Here he is losing his own priests in a scandal, and hopes to steal ours; here he is not allowing his own to marry, but he takes ours who have married and thus have less need of, let's say, the occasional choirboy.
I do however still want to emphasise how welcome the Pope will be on his visit to Britain. I realise however that many will want be immensely disheartening in his direction, but this is something I can advise him about, in how to receive such comment as part of public life. We do not welcome him as a partner without value and, you know, that's about it.
On the other hand, he should welcome the fact that the British rarely have the kind of anti-clerical reactions one might see in France, for example, and now Ireland, as we have kept the established Church both in place and at arms length at the same time. Our Protestant schism involved developing distance, something that failed to take place in the reconstituted Ireland.
I also think we all have reason to be ashamed. Yes, the Roman Catholics for equating criticism of Catholicism with the persecution of the Jews, and also the Roman Catholics for trying to steal Anglican priests, though frankly he can have them. God bless them but I don't think I do. And, as I have made clear in my reading, Philip Pullman does have a point.
All I would say is that, for a change, I decided to lob some big ones, but when it comes back to issues in the Anglican Communion, where I have indeed managed to offend lesbian and gay people, for which I am but fully apologetic, I will continue to make pro-Church points in a manner that satisfies neither one side nor the other in the continuing need to keep the conversation going.
The Archbishop is still considering his position regarding the Covenant and ecclesiastical bullying.