Thursday, 8 November 2012

This Just In

Congratulations to the Bishop of Norwich, and to the people of the diocese of Canterbury, who are not, it seems, to have him as their bishop. How pleasant it must be to find that their wishes coincide.

We speculate, in the now-traditional manner, whether there might not be so much pleasure at Bishopthorpe, especially as the supposed nominee first held a dignity in the diocese of Liverpool, and went to a school founded by Henry VI. Of course, we will not stoop to name him, but we can therefore, we are led to believe, chalk this one up for Lancashire, and so happily scotch the Plumstead Rectory theory of patronage.

Congratulations, too, to Bishop Tawadros, elected as the Coptic Pope on Sunday. We were disappointed that the process allowed no time for Bishoy Girgis Masaad, the boy who drew the new Pope’s name, to go down to the Cairo branch of William Hill and put a large bet on. Why should the desire of the establishment for a quick appointment be allowed to affect the life chances of a child?

Unfortunately the acting head of the Coptic Church also failed to keep confidential the names of the other candidates, and indeed read them publicly in St Mark’s Cathedral to prove that the election had been fair and transparent. Clearly the Coptic authorities are desperately out of touch, with no concept of how the modern world works. We commend them.

Although there have been two separate appointments in Cairo and Canterbury this time, the general superiority of the Coptic method has not gone unnoticed, with endorsements from the Dean of Rochester, members of general synod, national secretaries at the mysterious CofE HQ, and the ubiquitous Reverend Richard Coles, among many others. Sadly, the implementation of An Ecumenical Proposal will now have to wait. Perhaps it would have gained the necessary 2/3 majority if we had had a twibbon; now the traditional Anglican way of getting what you want.

Prayers and best wishes in advance, then, to the prospective Canterbury nominee, whoever he may be. Although there have been criticisms of his background (as far as we can tell, his mother is the wife of the present Archbishop, which can hardly have hurt his chances) we believe, on balance, that he will be a force for good. It was doubtless his contacts in OE circles and in his Pall Mall Club (oh, the privilege!) which encouraged the fresh expression of discernment discussed in Rorate Caeli, and this inventive spirit is exactly what the Church of England needs.

We commit ourselves to help the prospective nominee (whoever he may be) as he applies himself to the rich diet of Anglican problems: the governance of the so-called Anglican Communion, the make-up of the House of Bishops, and the restructuring of the Church of England for mission in the twenty-first century. If he pays close attention to us, he will eventually find every reform abused. You are either in front of Plumstead Letters, or behind.

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