Tuesday 18 May 2010

Bishop of Glossover Speaks

Address to the Clergy of the Diocese of Glossover
by the Bishop, The Right Reverend Ivor Perovem,
on 6 May 2010

Let me be gentle and up front with you in a kind of Anglican behind you sort of way. I am sure the church media, but probably not the little people in our pews, might be quacking their pretty loudspeaker bloggy beaks about the ordination of Canon Mary Glasspool as an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles in California.

I want to say very much at first that she is a lovely woman. I'm sure she is. She is very talented. But let me say, very quietly, and hush now, that she is a bit different. I don't want to startle anyone, especially in the pews, but she might just, well, bat for the other side. Cricketers know what I mean, but I'm not talking cricket. She has had 22 years with another. That's right, another.

So let's explore this issue sensitively together. Now there is my dear friend, but only a friend, Jones James; he's a nice man, up in Liverpool and once of Hull, on a career path (but there we are), and he said something very brave recently to position himself for the future. And I cannot be as brave as him, nor as ambitious. He said we mustn't allow the you know what issue to divide the Communion. Now he used to think differently, so he has travelled further, but I think the same, so I haven't, and humbly it cannot be as difficult for me. No. But there we are.

Let me be direct. I just don't think the Church of England can be in the position it is in on this delicate subject. But even though I think this, I notice the elephant in the room, and it is our own dear Archbishop of Anglicanism, Rowanov Williamsyevich Treetri.

You see, I think he might think like me, or at least he did once. Perhaps he has had a difficult journey, in the opposite direction from Bishop Jones James. It is certainly difficult for Rowanov now, as he says one thing in his lectures and another to our dear Communion. But there we are. And so I wish to be like him, to stand alongside him, shoulder to shoulder, without touching of course.

This is why, despite the untenable position the Church holds, I still did call upon Bishop Mary Hell Unreal, next door to Los Angeles, with whom I have just a Communion relationship, not to be present at the consecration of the other Mary who is with the other side.

You see, it is very important that we as bishops learn how to do duplicity. We do it on the quiet.

There is first order duplicity and second order duplicity. First order duplicity is where we know that we don't quite believe what the creeds say, for reasons of biblical scholarship say or the examination of Church traditions, and obvious reasons of science and social science, but we carry on saying them regardless and teaching them. First order duplicity requires us to be straight faced when we are devious, when we cross our fingers behind our backs. And, of course, with evangelicals breathing down our necks we don't want to have any more conflict with them than necessary.

Second order duplicity, however, is much more subtle. For example, if the Bishop Mary Hell Unreal ordained a priest, we in our corner called England would have to reordain him, or indeed her (mustn't forget to use her), because we have women priests and then a temporary theological glass ceiling for maybe another four years or so. But we still call this a Communion and it is all second order, even having to reordain someone! And surely what we do with our naughty bits and who we love is second order as well, however much evangelicals might be breathing down our necks.

So we should not divide over this delicate matter, but on the other hand continue to act as if we would divide even if we do accept what is going on in California, which I do and we probably will.

After all The Episcopal Church is nothing if not Anglican. That they have ordained this other Mary, and we have snubbed the occasion, is no reason to depart from them because we must stay alongside them even through our absence. These are our spiritual sisters and brothers as much as any in the world. Indeed I share their theological outlook. The problem with TEC, though, is that it is actually not Anglican enough. It just does not know how to practice duplicity in the way that we English specialise.

Time will not permit me to speak about making our women into bishops but... oops, I see that I have run out of time. But let's wave goodbye to those men's men, some of whom might also be batting on the other side, but oh so quietly in their Anglican paternity duplicity sort of way, as they go off to Rome. It might save us some of our deficit! After all, there are plenty of unpaid female NSMs on the way to fill the gaps. And remember that I love you all, but not in that sort of way. Amen. Oh, it wasn't a sermon. Well, not amen then. But we might just recite the creed. Come on, let's recite the creed one more time!


June Butler said...

Now that I've read the bishop's letter, I know the inspiration for yours, Adrian. Your letter is excellent parody. Too good, really. Do you know if the writers of the originals ever read your parodies?

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

I'm going into the Holy Ghost writing business.

June Butler said...

How's the pay?

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

The same as non-stipendiary ministers receive for preaching.