Tuesday 9 February 2010

Ordinary Interviews

Pluralist Religious News Programme

Bob Crawler: We are discussing Anglican affairs with the Archbishop of the North, and then afterwards with a self-identifying 'priest' who wishes to be anonymous, who is considering joining a Roman Catholic ordinariate for Anglicans. Archbishop, first, tell me about your Anglicanism.

Archbishop Jesus Sentmehere: Well, you know, I am a Anglican Ugandan drummer boy emigré and I suppose I might have joined a Ugandan Ordinariate (!) but there wasn't one and so I became Archbishop of the North instead.

Bob Crawler: You joke. It's as if you'd not really be an Archbishop, but you are the Archbishop of the North.

Archbishop Jesus Sentmehere: No, ha ha, imagine it would be a very big north you see. Start in Africa and get to the North Pole. But it would be neither one thing nor the other. And I like to have my drums with me, which I can in my actual job.

Bob Crawler: So in your actual job you are in communion with the Archbishop of Anglicanism, to the south. You've got on well with him.

Archbishop Jesus Sentmehere: But I can see the advantage of north until the north goes south: it would stop those GAFF CON people thinking about international oversight for dangerous liberals, and people who go native like me! Yes I get on well with him, he thinks we did make a covenant together. I say yes but do we actually need to sign one and he says he wanted all bishops to agree with him or stay silent so I agreed with him if a little silently and with a big bang on the drum.

Bob Crawler: Let's leave Archbishop Tree and all that. Talk of going native, though, emigrés and so on, can be dangerous: misunderstood.

Archbishop Jesus Sentmehere: Yes, ban the BNP. How can parliament consider the Alternate Vote while people are thinking of voting alternatively? Parliament ought to ban the BNP. After all the police do, and we do. Well, among the clergy. Well, we ban a lot of things among the clergy, not that they take any notice, not when there are pension rights for Civil Partnerships. Well we ban the nooky not the partnering. A lot of things we sort of half ban, half baked.

Bob Crawler: Like around your neck?

Archbishop Jesus Sentmehere: Yes, no, but, I don't wear my collar, not while Mugabe is around. I have every hope he will be on his way: he is older than I am. I'll get my drums then too.

Bob Crawler: And terrible what is happening in Uganda.

Archbishop Jesus Sentmehere: No, I don't talk about that.

Bob Crawler: Where you are from! The human rights abuses, the intended terrible - often Anglican supported there - human rights abuses?

Archbishop Jesus Sentmehere: I need to practice on my drums.

Bob Crawler: Perhaps I should not be surprised. Well... What about the end of the Oxford Movement, that traditionalism of the Church in England? What about the people who could leave?

Archbishop Jesus Sentmehere: Well they are neither here nor there, one thing or the other any more. I mean, if I were Anglican, I'd be suspicious of them, which I am, and if Roman Catholic, which I'm not, I'd be suspicious of them, which I am.

Bob Crawler: Why so?

Archbishop Jesus Sentmehere: If I wanted to be a Roman Catholic, I'd not choose the back door. I know many Roman Catholic priests do choose the back door, but becoming one means going through the front door. Otherwise, what are you? When I become Anglican, I have to say a lot of complicated things with my fingers crossed, if I want. Like an Anglo cat, you learn how to exploit things and be independent minded and in the right order. We are cats, they are butterflies. But these who will leave: like dogs to obey a new master. But not a butterfly. So obey the Roman rules to be a Roman. No, if I wanted to be a Roman Catholic butterfly I would go into caterpillar and come out a true colour RC butterfly.

Bob Crawler: So these Anglicans in the ordinariates are like dogs?

Archbishop Jesus Sentmehere: I'd be very surprised if the ordinariates are nothing more than kennels, a kennel in the butterfly house, poor dogs watching the butterflies.

Bob Crawler: Back to emigrés again.

Archbishop Jesus Sentmehere: Don't make me laugh. Look, suppose I was a butterfly collector and had all these butterflies in my garden and in the middle was a kennel and a dog, wouldn't I be worried? I mean to whom is the dog loyal - not the keeper of butterflies.

Bob Crawler: Thank you Archbishop. Now I turn to discuss the latest situation with someone on the line who wants to be called an anonymous priest, with a wife, children, large tied house and a large ministry. You are thinking of leaving.

Anonymous Priest: Yes, the Oxford Movement has come to an end, only the faux Catholics and those who can't afford to move will be left. And I am not a dog, much as I admire the Archbishop in the north and would count him as a friend. I was once a faux Catholic as they say - yes, I suppose an Anglo cat - but became more traditional in the job.

Bob Crawler: Are you leaving?

Anonymous Priest: Yes, I think so, not that I do not especially want to be assimilated into the mainstream Novus Ordo culture but the ordinariate is a fine offer as a definition of Anglicanism and a proper, covenanted relationship, a centralisation and hierarchy that Catholics would understand and I have for some time. It is not inadequate to suggest that Pope Ratz probably well understands that we are a different breed of the one butterfly and that this is the undoubted Anglican tradition, and I suppose we could intimate that he has indeed provided a secure means by which we can fly around too in that same Universal Garden.

Bob Crawler: So Ratz prevent you being a dog in a kennel but become a butterfly in the garden.

Anonymous Priest: In our own corner of the garden but part of the One Garden, I think. Indeed it might be a little garden of its own, connected to the big one, as are all the varieties. We will perhaps be breedable with the other butterflies, and the Catholic faith has multiple colours.

Bob Crawler: Except they are all male, so either they find females from the next garden or get up to funny things with young butterflies also from the next garden.

Anonymous Priest: As I am indicating in my narrative, the next garden is still a Catholic garden, if a lay garden, going in that direction in that sense. And there are monastic gardens, society gardens, and the question is how they are all interlinked. Perhaps in this imaginative journey we can be a model for a breeding butterfly. But, well, forget Archbishop Sentmehere's comments: we will be part of the true Church indisputably, though we have tried for years to present an Anglicanism to the Holy Father with which we could all identify, even if with two tracks rather than one.

Bob Crawler: While he, Archbishop Sentmehere, remains a lay leader of a Protestant Church that dresses up like an Archbishop.

Anonymous Priest: Well we were, surely, I think, properly sorts of priests, bishops and Archbishops too, sorts of in a full sense of practising these ministries, and arguably this is recognised by the Pope in the generosity he has shown in our to become rapid priesting and in some cases bishoping. Yes, those of us who are married cannot become bishops, but we might be in charge of our corner of the garden, perhaps a little garden itself, perhaps say a priest in charge of an all England Ordinariate, and it would not be unusual to call it say St. Newman Ordinariate. This is, if I know his thinking, along ecumenical lines about Roman Catholicism expanding in its forms.

Bob Crawler: Butterflies, these butterflies - butterflies that were learning to fly in Anglicanism?

Anonymous Priest: But think of it, think along the lines of continuing with this story: in our corner of the garden, or our garden, we may be be more Catholic than many of the butterflies subjected to what might be termed modernism - as from those bishops of England! We are, on one sense, flying past them! The Holy Father will have a direct interest in us: may he live forever.

Bob Crawler: You're not going to become controversial in your new home? Once in your new home, surely your years of planning, persuading, undermining, jostling, will be over.

Anonymous Priest: Perhaps I can speculate: I suspect we shall be Pope Ratz's shock troops amongst those modernist bishops, more loyal to him than to anyone nearby. That is how it may unfold. At least Sentmehere has, I think, that part right. If I was a Catholic bishop I'd be wary. Perhaps we will be the barking dogs after all, perhaps we are well trained from our former home.

Bob Crawler: Well thank you very much. When will you be moving?

Anonymous Priest: When the wife, who is an evangelical Catholic, gets a pay increase. Then I can fill one of the many vacancies in a Catholic parish, and work for nothing, but I may just be in line for promotion.

Bob Crawler: Thank you.

Anonymous Priest: Diolch yn fawr.

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