Tuesday, 1 January 2013

So-Called Anglicans to Watch in 2013

The quasi-traditional list of ten:

Firstly, in the House of Bishops:

10. The Master of Magdalene

Retired archbishops' opinions are, of course, always listened to with much more interest and attention than serving ones'. Dr Williams, we are sure, will blossom during 2013, and we look forward to his contribution to the church's task of undermining Dr Welby. We predict that when the latter is forced into retirement the Master will still be young enough for a comeback tour, and expect him to be reappointed to Canterbury, fully refreshed, in about 2020.

9. The Bishop of Bradford

Nolo episcopari was the trending old fashion of 2012 in the Church of England, and the Bishop of Bradford has carried it to extreme lengths, eager not only to escape his diocese, but also to abolish it. Perhaps any of us, were we Bishop of Bradford, would wish to do the same. (In fact here at Plumstead we have proposed a more radical solution still.) In 2013 he will have to find a fresh expression of being an episcopus vagans - entirely through electronic media, no doubt. Soon he will be as cutting edge as we are.

8. Pope Theodoros II

Still very much the spiritual leader of the Church of England in exile. His failure to be elected to the see of St Augustine convinced many people that the central structures of the Church are no longer fit for purpose, and do not deserve our confidence. The restoration of our credibility requires that this mistake should be reversed. Redeat Theodorus.

In the House of Clergy:

7. Giles Fraser

Though widely believed to be a fictional character, Dr Fraser will no doubt be as ubiquitous this year as last. Having successfully broken into modern popular culture by his appearances on The Moral Maze, expect to see him in 2013 on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, as a judge on Britain's Got Talent, and in the upcoming The Only Way Is Newington. Also, probably, to be mentioned in this blog from time to time.

6. Philip North

A second example in this list of someone prepared to give up his bishopric for the greater good. In both cases it looks like the sees in question will cease to exist, and we hope this may become a real trend in 2013.

Depending on your point of view, Farther North's sacrifice of his preferment for the sake of unity was either heroic and holy, or a most vicious way of scoring a political point. At Plumstead Rectory we incline to both/and. In any case we predict that it will not be long before he is offered a senior position somewhere: Dean of Women's Ministry in the Diocese of Chichester, perhaps.

5. The Dean of York

A disappointing 2012, perhaps, for senior women clergy in the Church of England. Mother Faull's tears were the highlight of the year for many readers of Plumstead Letters. As the senior priest of the Diocese of York, however, she is still very much in pole position for any advancement going in 2013.

In the House of Laity:

4. Sir Tony Baldry

The Second Church Estates Commissioner will have a difficult 2013 as controversial political matters remain on the Church of England's agenda. To represent the variety and contradictions of so-called Anglicanism ought to be an impossible task. Sir Tony, however, represents in his own person both the peppery BCP-loving Garrick-club-exclusivity tendency in the Church of England, and the outraged feminist kind. He is very much the man for the hour.

3. Her Majesty the Queen

As her servants in Church and State grow ever more discredited, the Queen's personal rule will be needed more and more, both within the Church of England and in the wider so-called Communion. We predict (and will urge) the re-establishment of the Court of High Commission, the replacement of the CHP back catalogue with reprintings of Her Majesty's Christmas messages and the establishment of an Ordinariate for papists wanting to keep all their detestable patrimony but under the jurisdiction of a Royal Peculiar.

Her Majesty remains the best evangelist in the Church of England, and until the alternative Christmas message comes from Bavaria we say Salve Regina.

2. Catherine Fox

How different is the home life of the Dean of Liverpool. (Fill in your own spooneristic joke here.) The dean's wife, however, is our choice for the number two spot. Mrs Dean adds a certain glamour to this rather dowdy list. She is already the thinking man's Sally Hitchiner, and having concluded her 2012 fast from new clothes, is sure to become even more so in 2013. Remarkably, at her husband's installation we were more interested in what she was wearing than in what the clergy were.

2013 also promises an online treat from Catherine Fox in Acts and Omissions, a novel in Dickensian installments with an ecclesiastical setting, sure to be a higlight of the year for the kind of readers we attract. Bookmark it now.

1. The King Over The Amniotic Fluid

The only good Anglican is an unborn Anglican. The most Anglican of all must be our unborn Supreme Governor, whose 2013 will be significant for our future, and even more so for him or her. Expect outbreaks of hypocritical enthusiasm, not least at Plumstead Rectory.

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