Dear Patrick letter
Church of England

‘Dear Patrick…’ Words of comfort for clergy who feel forsaken by mutual flourishing

Returning to the Church of England’s gender wars and sexuality skirmishes (which never really went away), the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, who advocates righteous discrimination against traditionalists who discriminate against women, responded with a tweet: “In the essay, poor ‘Patrick’ is in a pickle. Does @His_Grace have any words of comfort for him; some wisdom perhaps, or a solution…?”

Patrick’s pickle was set out thus:

Suppose for a moment Patrick was ordained deacon by one of our female diocesan bishops. Patrick served a curacy in her diocese. After a year she alone ordains him priest. But towards the end of his curacy, he begins to harbour much stronger catholic inklings. Some of his new close friends are members of a group known as ‘The Society’. Now as a new priest-in-charge, he feels alone, and longs for fraternal priestly fellowship.

So Patrick applies to join ‘The Society’. He attends a weekend at Walsingham with members of his congregation and other priests and parishes. But at the final concelebrated Eucharist, in which all priests take part, a friend takes him aside and advises him it would be better if he did not robe, and sat with members of his congregation. Another suggests he robes, but does not say the words or raise his hands at the moment of consecration. Another says it matters not if he robes, nor what he says, as it would be void anyway – so what harm is done?

Poor Patrick.

He has realised that his priestly ministry cannot be received or recognised by anyone in ‘The Society’, as he was ordained by a woman. But can he be ‘re-ordained’ now? What legal and theological provisions can ‘The Society’ make for clergy like him? Legally, he can’t be ordained again. But the official position of ‘The Society’ is that he was never ‘truly’ ordained.

In the event, Patrick decides on none of the options his friends at the Walsingham weekend offer. He goes for a walk, and has a cuppa in a local café. And as he drinks his tea, he has an epiphany. ‘So, this is what “mutual flourishing” looks like,’ he muses to himself. ‘This is what it is like to be a woman priest in the Church of England.’

Such a case would be a farce. But it is plausible. And it exposes, at a stroke, the sheer folly of the Church of England in tolerating this asinine theology of ‘taint-based-ontology’. One based solely on the gender of the minister – a simple case of gender-based discrimination.

It was tempting simply to respond to the Dean’s tweet-bait with a terse antiphon and leave it at that; a temptation which, in the event, proved irresistible, as only Twitter can elicit. It seemed as though the Dean’s scenario concerned petty-fogging legalities of the sort which infuriated the Lord: ‘Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.’

There. The words of Jesus. That ought to do it.

It didn’t.

“This is your answer?” Professor Percy probed.

It wasn’t.

You see, Patrick may be hypothetical, but he’ll soon be human (as Patricia has been for decades), and he eats bread, tastes want and needs friends (as does she). So the scenario set out by Professor Percy merits a more considered response; some words of comfort for those members of the clergy who feel (or are about to feel) betrayed by the Five Guiding Principles and forsaken by mutual flourishing. So, in all seriousness…

Dear Patrick,

Blessings in the name of the Lord.

It was a delight to hear of your arrival at the certain knowledge of true doctrine, and disturbing to learn of how The Society has treated you. It must be deeply hurtful, not to say confusing, to discover that one’s ordination was not a ‘true’ ordination, and that you now find yourself in a kind of holy limbo – perched somewhere between consecration and untouchability, where there is no mystical union and no inner peace.

Firstly, please know that you are not the first: the inclination to harbour stronger catholic inklings has been manifest throughout all regions in all centuries of Church history. It amounts to a renewal of the soul, a moral change or conversion, and never comes without cost, as Saul discovered on the Road to Damascus. No arid lecture by Gamaliel could explain his encounter with the Risen Christ. It was no cerebral commotion or hallucination, but a miracle of grace for the salvation of the Gentiles – a mission for which the man once known as Saul was mocked, reviled, banished, imprisoned and ultimately beheaded. The conversion of conviction has a cost, and it usually comes with chains. For St Paul, the move from vague anthropocentric knowledge about Christ to becoming a zealous preacher of divine love and liberty, not to mention the founder of all ecclesial theology, was a spiritual revolution way beyond the fallout from modern states of equality and inclusion.

That is not to diminish your suffering, but in the Christian life it often helps to set a struggle in the context of the communion of the saints, and St Paul, Constantine the Great and St Augustine all went before you, and each paid a price – as do the saints today in Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Nigeria and India, where decapitations, crucifixions, mass executions and torture are the everyday cost of Christian discipleship.

This is real anti-Christian persecution against all believers, irrespective of their denominational differences. It is scourging, crosses and crowns of thorns. Liberal-democratic discrimination against catholic inklings is a comparative finger prick. Anglican clergy who join the Ordinariate find themselves having to be re-ordained, which is, in fact, a first ordination, since Rome’s view is that they were never ‘truly’ ordained in the first place. But it is bearable. Situated somewhere on the spectrum between Catholic and Reformed, there are shifting apprehensions of whose holy orders are “absolutely null and utterly void”, and you simply find yourself now subject to The Society’s apprehension of apostolicity. But it is a voluntary path of subjection which you yourself chose to walk, and your cross is padded with goose down compared to the bulky splintered beams borne on other bloody shoulders.

To be discriminated against for faithfulness to Scripture is a profound injustice, but the Lord warned us that it would be so; that the world would hate us because of Him. Nor is the Church immune from its own hateful hostilities and mutual loathing: it is made up of sinners, after all. Deeper theology might answer difficult questions, but if our fellow Christians don’t want to hear those answers, their response is invariably to lash out, insult or inflict some sort of humiliation. It is, in short, a form of intra-church oppression and persecution, which is both painful and shameful, for it hinders and harms our witness to the world.

There is perhaps not much comfort to be found when the emotional and spiritual confront the rational and intellectual, but the lonely struggle has value because, as we love another, the end result must be more light and some greater, deeper fellowship with those who hold a different view. Your catholicity and ontology can find no space for women priests; they and their supporters can find no space for your intolerance and inequity. Thoughts and feelings become locked in mutual exclusion, and instead of identifying and empathising with each other’s incarnate difference, we find it easier to isolate, denigrate, mock and hinder. It isn’t clear precisely when the possession and use of penises and vaginas became more important than feeding the poor and preaching the good news of the coming Kingdom, but we are where we are.

It is worth considering (meditating upon, praying about) the fact that your feelings of loneliness, rejection and isolation are mirrored, if not magnified, in the experience of many of your catholic-inclined brothers in the Church of England. Their ‘unacceptable’ views must henceforth be a bar to advancement and greater influence, according to Professor Percy. Their vocation must be trashed in the name of gender equality. Their ‘sin’ has been to put the Laws of God over the Rights of Man; to believe that catholicity and orthodoxy count for more than inclusion and belonging. And for that puritanical heresy they are to be put in the stocks of ecclesial purgatory. Their theological poison cannot be allowed to spread and infect the body further. They are to be sifted by a new Test Act: their faithfulness to biblical truth, historical tradition and orthodox catholicity has become a cross they must carry within the Church – a church into which they were ordained to minister and lead when biblical truth, historical tradition and orthodox catholicity were prerequisites for ordination. Why should they be hung out to dry for their vocational faithfulness when it was the institution which determined change beneath their feet?

We sometimes forget that being a minister in the Church of Jesus Christ is a call to love and serve: too many have come to believe that it is a career to judge and lord it over. And because they wear dog collars or mitres and sound like angels of light, our minds are persuaded to open our hearts to their asperity, for it may be spiritual and prophetic. The Church was never meant to be a ‘safe space‘, and ministry was never meant to be without cost: ‘Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me‘ (Mt 16:24). A church which is safe is a mausoleum, and a ministry which has no cost is a bag of bones.

This year is the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Those who led that spiritual enlightenment and renewal, along with many thousands of those who followed them, met the most appalling of ends. How they must have doubted and questioned God’s call upon their lives. How they must have wept and agonised as the flames of hate lapped at their feet. How they must have yearned and pleaded for wonder, love and the promised dews of peace. But Jesus never promised that in this life: to love one’s enemy is not only selfless dedication to the kingdom; it is to live with the constant risk of being killed. And Jesus warned us that those enemies may sometimes be in the Church: ‘They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us‘ (1Jn 2:19).

To be called to the eternal priesthood of believers is the greatest of honours. To be called to be a priest in the provisional Catholic and Reformed Church of England is a good thing, but it is utterly secondary to the enduring incarnational vocation. With the Reformers, remember the revelation of St Paul:

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Rom 5:1-5).

God is doing a marvellous work in you, Patrick. He is calling you not simply to preach truth, but making you live what you preach. Talking the faith is always easier than walking it. But arguing over it incessantly is just a satanic sideshow. When we live what we believe, we become light to the world. If the world tries to dim that light, the encroaching darkness might hurt or offend, but it can never finally extinguish. As Latimer said to Ridley when both were set alight outside Balliol College, “Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”

However suitable, fit and qualified you may be to fulfil your vocation, you can guarantee that someone somewhere in the Church will deem you to be manifestly unsuitable, unfit and unqualified, if not theologically disqualified by your moral unsuitability and ecclesial unfitness. And everybody now seems to think they’re pope. In an age of unparalleled diabolical persecution – beheadings, crucifixions, mass murder – perhaps we need to learn to stop crying over grazed knees. If that sounds harsh, tough. It is said in love, and love hurts. Remember, Patrick, that however desperate and depressing your ‘pickle’ may be, at least the vinegar mildly preserves your essential identity. So many others are sliced and diced, battered and mushed, stuffed with chemicals and crammed in a can. Please pray for them, Patrick, and may your spirit be illuminated and lifted by empathy and shared suffering.

God bless,

++Cranmer

  • Manfarang

    This Sunday I will go to the English Church and ask them what they make of all of this.

  • Darter Noster

    Dear Patrick,

    I’m very sorry that the Church of England has put you in this position.

    Ultimately, as the Church of England is discovering to the cost of many fine clergy and ministers on both sides of the women’s ministry debate, you cannot have it both ways.

    Either get yourself re-ordained by a male Bishop in Apostolic Succession or have confidence in your ministry as it stands and stop hanging around with those who don’t like a deluded masochist in need of a social worker.

    Jumping aboard Anglo-Catholicism today is like rowing up to the Titanic, waving your ticket, just as the propellers lift out of the water. If you’re really interested in the traditional Catholic and Apostolic ministry, convert to Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy and have done with it.

  • Sybaseguru

    This is a purely academic exercise. When on Synod as a conservative evangelical I met many from FiF which supports, administers and finances the Society. The Christian quality of those I met was above reproach. Patrick, (or Patricia for that matter) would find themselves welcomed as fellow workers in the propagation of the gospel.

  • Dear Patrick,
    It is God who ordains; ordination by men, at best, does no more than confirm gifts that God has already given. More often these days, it gives a specious authority to men who were never called by the Saviour and who will do their flocks no good at all. The ‘Prince of Preachers,’ Charles Haddon Spurgeon, declined to be ordained by men at all and remained plain Mr Spurgeon all his days, but his ministry was owned by God in the salvations of thousands.
    .
    So don’t worry about ordination; worry about whether you are truly following Christ by obeying and preaching His word. His blessing is all you need.

  • Martin

    Firstly

    There is no office of priest in the Christian Church, save for the High Priest

    Secondly

    As has already been said, it is God who appoints not Man. If you can do no other than proclaim the gospel, then God has ordained you to do so.

    Thirdly

    What is this ex opere operato/ex opere operantis nonsense? The question is between God and the person He appoints.

    So just get on with it, find a church that will accept your preaching, where you wish to be a member and teach and get on with it.

  • David

    Some time ago, whilst half-way through my Lay Minister studies and training for the C of E I reached the conclusion that ordination was largely a ceremony, devised by men, to confer authority on the candidate. For anyone, man or woman to have the authority to point to God’s Truth, then it is only God who can grant this.
    Ordination of itself is neither here nor there. God looks at our inner hearts, faith and convictions; He is not impressed by whether or not we have scraps of paper to wave about declaring that we have gained a certain level of knowledge, or been conferred with this or that level of status or order. Luther was of the opinion that priests were simply office holders, and I agree with him.

    • Dominic Stockford

      In Free Churches men may be trained in theological colleges, but they are called to preach by congregations – and it is that calling which sets them apart (‘ordains them’, if you must). ‘Hands on’ by a specific individual is a ‘neither here nor there’ matter, their preaching is the key, and Christ is the authority in whose name they do it.

    • Paul Greenwood

      “Some time ago, whilst half-way through my Lay Minister studies and training for the C of E I reached the conclusion that ordination was largely a ceremony, devised by men, to confer authority on the candidate”

      Such a profound statement !!

      In fact looking at the Secular Church of Modern Man we see they have Inner Temple and Middle Temple where the “advisors” to the Templars became the Inheritors of their Mantle and assumed the quasi-religious role of Priests in Robes cajoling “Laymen” who were not permitted to know the “Scriptures of The Law” but simply Obey

  • Royinsouthwest

    Why does this scenario remind me of the occasion when a group of pharisees asked Jesus about a hypothetical situation involving a woman who was married seven times because her husbands kept dying and each time she married again? The answer Christ gave challenged the preconceptions of the men who asked the question.

  • carl jacobs

    The set-up of the original problem is somewhat contrived because the author wishes to produce a specific dilemma. To accept the problem as written, we have to accept that Patrick’s newfound attachment to “catholic inkling” would somehow not include any knowledge of a catholic understanding of the Priesthood. This is simply not credible.

    What would really happen? Patrick would already know about the conflict before his weekend. He would thus already harbor doubts about his own priesthood. He would himself withdraw from priestly functions in the environment stated. There would be no surprise revelation of “discrimination” because he would already recognize the dilemma.

    But of course the contrivance is crucial to the desired development of the plot. This is what happens when a writer forces a character to behave in unrealistic ways in order to make an ideological point. You get agitprop. He must write for the BBC.

    • David

      “He must write for the BBC”
      I had to chuckle at that one.
      Do you watch or listen to BBC plays ? I never watch their ghastly, politically correct TV programs, and I only listen to BBC radio plays on long solo car journeys, if I eventually tire of my large collection of mainly, Christian folksy CDs.

      • carl jacobs

        Yes, I watch considerably more British TV than American TV. I generally can watch around the ideology if the story is good enough. But not always. I only made it through three episodes of “Father Brown Mysteries” because 1) the stories were poor and 2) the writer did excessive violence to the character of Father Brown.

        • David

          Well I have to say that during my only trip, which was only two weeks long, to the US more than half a lifetime ago, I was not impressed with the TV I saw sitting in the various motels we used. So perhaps, in comparison, the BBC is tolerable.

          • Paul Greenwood

            TV is there to SELL and the interval between adverts is FILLER

      • Paul Greenwood

        BBC radio plays were glorious in 1970s and 1980s – now they lack that sparkle

    • Albert

      And of course, the whole thing is premised on the false (or at least questionable) assumption, that the ordination of women is God’s will. Deny that assumption, and the whole scenario fails. So as usual with liberals, he simply assume the point he needs to prove.

    • chefofsinners

      I’ve heard of Catholic inkling. Quite a few of their priests have been arrested for it.

  • bernard.randall

    Your Grace has given Patrick ghostly counsel for his present distress. No one should ever think that the way of Christ is without pain.
    Now let us suppose that Patrick has gone to a bishop of the Society, wishing to regularize his ministry. That bishop, being a learned man, versed in liturgy of the Church of England, concludes that Patrick cannot be re-ordained, any more than someone can be re-baptized, but that there is doubt about whether he has been truly ordained, such that Patrick “makes uncertain answers to the [Bishop’s] questions, as that it cannot appear that the [candidate] was [ordained by an undoubted bishop by the laying on of his hands] (which are essential parts of [Ordination],) then let the [Bishop ordain him] in the form … appointed … Saving that at the [laying on of hands] he shall use this form of words:
    IF thou art not already [ordained], N. [Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a Priest in the church of God &c]
    (Book of Common Prayer, alt.)

    • Paul Greenwood

      That bishop, being a learned man, versed in liturgy of the Church of England

      How many assumptions have you made in 14 words ?

      • bernard.randall

        The hypothetical scenario demanded an hypothetical solution. But once tongue is out of cheek, the answer is there in the liturgy for all to see (unless they have discarded their Prayer Books in the name of being relevant, of course).

        • Paul Greenwood

          1662 BCP of course

  • This reminds me of another ridiculous scenario dreamt up by some similarly pompous, religious smart-arses a couple of millennia ago, trying to prove a point that no-one particularly cared about … the one about a woman who was the childless widow of 7 brothers and who’s wife she would be in the resurrection. I think Jesus’ reply then is applicable now, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God”.

    • Royinsouthwest

      I pointed that out an hour before you! The fact that two of us should, independently, be reminded of that occasion goes to show that the comparison does apply to Prof. Percy’s argument.

      • vsscoles

        Professor of what and where? Not Oxford….surely?

  • chefofsinners

    Dear Patrick,
    Man up.

    • carl jacobs

      You are hereby instructed to report for a mandatory 40-hour course titled “Sensitivity Training and Inclusive Counseling for the Theological Reactionary.”

      • Maalaistollo

        Remember that teaching has been described as ‘casting false pearls before real swine.’

      • chefofsinners

        The course has now been renamed “Sensitivity Training and Inclusive Counselling for Intolerant Theologians.” Often abbreviated to STIC IT.

    • “This is your answer?” Professor Percy probed again, looking over his spectacles witheringly.

      • chefofsinners

        “neither cast ye your pearls before swine.”

        • carl jacobs

          Will you look at yourself? First you give this awful counsel of “Man up” by which you simultaneously imply:

          1. Patrick’s reaction is deficient in terms of masculinity.
          2. That strength and resolution are somehow separate from womanhood.
          3. That Patrick might be acting less than his age as if youth necessarily involves some incapacity of understanding.

          And now you presume to use the derogatory word “swine” instead of the more appropriate word “pigs”.

          Aren’t you ashamed?

          • chefofsinners

            Quite proud of myself, actually.
            I think you will find (and the Inspector will confirm this, using his gift of higher knowledge, once they kick him out of the pub) that when Jesus wrote on the ground these were his exact words.

          • carl jacobs

            Your mandatory training has been increased to 80 hours and will be extended further unless progress is observed.

          • chefofsinners

            Wonderful thing, progress. One thinks of Pilgrim, that paragon of tolerant, ecumenical, good-disagreement post-truth lesbian inclusivity.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Don’t you know the expression “pearls before swine” ? Are you not a native English speaker ? Shame on you !

          • carl jacobs

            A very learned and educated panel of important theologians did a detailed study of the Bible using the latest in hermeneutic investigate techniques – I believe white marbles, black marbles, and a bag were involved – and they determined that what Jesus actually said was “Don’t thrown Pearl MacGillicutty into the pig pen because she won’t like it.”

            You must be very careful of Chef in these matters. He is one of those Literalist Bibiolators, and so bears considerable watching.

          • Paul Greenwood

            This expression is usually expressed in the negative proverbial form – ‘don’t cast your pearls before swine’, and is found in the Bible, Matthew 7:6, first appearing in English bibles in Tyndale’s Bible, 1526:

            Nether caste ye youre pearles before swyne.

            It had existed in the language for some time before that, in various forms. It may have migrated from France, as it is found in a Middle French text from 1402 as ‘jeter des perles aux pourceaux’. It is also found in Middle English, in Langland’s Piers Plowman, which is of uncertain date, but appeared around the same time:

            Nolite mittere, Man, margerie perlis Among hogges…

            The biblical text is generally interpreted to be a warning by Jesus to his followers that they should not offer biblical doctrine to those who were unable to value and appreciate it.

      • chefofsinners

        Man up and grow a pair, Martyn. Then you might not have to look over your testicles quite so witheringly.

        …oh, spectacles…

  • bluedog

    It seems that Professor Percy has found his true vocation as the Devil’s Advocate.

  • IanCad

    Percy and Patrick both have far too much time on their hands. Were they to find some moderately hard physical work to occupy them they would develop a healthy appetite and possibly achieve something worthwhile. A little painting in the church; maybe clean some headstones and do a little weeding in the churchyard;. Who Knows?? Patrick might grow a pair and Percy may stop writing drivel.

    • Busy Mum

      In a similar way, my pc-weary student daughters say that what their generation needs is some hardship and to experience what being a victim really entails.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Although Chairman Mao was a mass murderer he wasn’t infallible in terms of being consistently wrong. Among those of his ideas that have a certain degree of common sense was the one of sending intellectuals out to work in the fields so that they could learn from peasants.

        In a few months time plenty of British farms will need fruit pickers. Perhaps Prof. Percy could learn something by working alongside the Eastern Europeans who often do such jobs.

        • Paul Greenwood

          Are we assuming Percy is an “intellectual” ?

          “Percy was born on 31 July 1962.[4] He was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood, the University of Bristol (BA), the University of Durham (Cert. Counselling), King’s College London (PhD, 1993) and the University of Sheffield (MEd). After a short career in publishing (1984–88), he trained for ordination at Durham.”

          I struggle to apply the term “intellectual” to such a CV

          • chefofsinners

            Intellectual enough to have avoided ever getting a proper job.

          • With that list of qualifications one would expect him to be doing a more positive and productive role than s**t stirring in the C of E!

      • IanCad

        There lies hope, and it reflects my own observations. A new generation is coming on; let’s pray it redeems the failures of the present.

  • Merchantman

    John 20:17 comes to mind. Was Mary Magdalene bitter and angry when Jesus not only didn’t lay hands on her but instructed her not to touch him and instead gave her the role of News reporter? A different kind of glory but part of the Good News nevertheless.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Interesting thought. Though with no indication of such in the Bible. It would never have occurred to her, just as it should never occur to people today.

      • Dolphinfish

        The Bible didn’t exist in Mary Magdalene’s day. The Jewish canon didn’t close until about 100ad, partly in reaction to the rise of Christianity. The Christian canon wasn’t set down for another couple of hundred years.

        By Rome.

        • chefofsinners

          It’s a canondrum, isn’t it?

          • Dolphinfish

            Tish boom…

          • len

            Add a big portion of tradition and what have you got?.

          • chefofsinners

            Babylon, mother of harlots.

          • len

            Right on target Chef..

        • Albert

          Yes, the sola scriptura tradition, really is repeatedly self-contradictory.

          • len

            As is the Magisterium.

          • Albert

            How?

        • len

          Pity they never got it right?

        • Martin

          The canon is what is used, not what a council decrees. The OT was settled in Jesus’ day, Equally, the NT was settled before the last Apostle died.

          • Dolphinfish

            You’re not even embarrassed making a statement as ignorant as that, are you, Martin?

          • Martin

            It’s hardly ignorant, a council can only assent to what is already true.

          • Lucius

            “Equally, the NT was settled before the last Apostle died”
            *********************************************************************************
            Documents comprising the NT may have been floating around in the 1st century in some limit fashion, but an “official” or “recognized” NT Canon was far from certain at this time. To my knowledge, the first historical reference listing the exact 27 writings in the New Testament is in the Easter Letter of Athanasius in 367 AD. His reference states that these are the only recognized writings to be read in a church service. The first time a church council ruled on the list of “inspired” writings allowed to be read in church was at the Synod of Hippo in 393 AD.

          • Martin

            Hardly relevant, they were being used so therefore they were canonical.

          • Lucius

            I am sorry Martin. I think you are flat wrong on this one. Your assertion that the NT was “settled” in the 1st century is inapposite to the historical record and frankly, untenable, unless you can provide some type of reasoning to persuade my otherwise (and it must be something more than “just because”).

          • Martin

            Lucius

            Do not the Early Fathers use these canonical books and quote them, and why were they copied and preserved? The people had them and used them as Scripture, that is what matters.

          • Dolphinfish

            Hardly relevant? Do you understand what you’ve written here? The Shepherd of Hermas was being used before the Canon. The Didache was being used before the Canon. Why aren’t they scripture now? Who do you imagine declared the books of the NT “canonical”? By whose authority are those books and no others “canonical”?

          • Martin

            They never were considered Scripture. God declares Scripture canonical, by His authority.

          • Dolphinfish

            Are you trying a wind-up? NO books were considered scripture until the Catholic Church declared them to be so. The Shepherd and the Didache were neither considered more nor less scriptural than Luke, Acts, Apocalypse or any of the others. Where in the Bible are the canonical books declared?

          • Martin

            The books of the Bible were accepted as such by the Early Church long before Rome gained supremacy, or even claimed it, over the Western Church. They were being quoted as such before there was even a pope.

  • len

    Perhaps Patrick and indeed Percy as well need to visit some of the Christians in the East and experience what real suffering under persecution is like.Not much time for pondering over theological nonsensities as getting the Gospel out and staying alive whilst doing so are the main objectives.

    • Paul Greenwood

      Yes but most of those operate as Evangelical Christian groups underground and that may well be the future in Europe

  • Paul Greenwood

    Maybe the days of full-time clergy are over. Aaron might well have lived off the fruit of the labour of others but it is hard to see why today the Church of England should act as if it needs its huge number of Bishops yet have multi-parish clergy. It may be time to eradicate Bishops altogether and have congregations themselves elect an Elder.

    It is very hard in the modern age to justify 39 Bishops plus 75 Suffragan Bishops plus 49 Deans plus 144 Archdeacons to serve 42 Dioceses in a Church with 20,440 ordained Ministers and 960,000 Communicants attending services.

    The “debates” in the C of E suggest a top-heavy institution with the upper levels having too little to do

    • Dominic Stockford

      The indication of the Bible is that this should never be the case. It is more likely that the days of the Church of England are over, that, like any denomination, is never mentioned in God’s Word.

      • Paul Greenwood

        No the word “Church” does not appear – but I understand the term “congregation” does

    • Coniston

      I agree that there are far too many bishops in the CofE. Many of the present dioceses were formed in the late 19th century and early 20th century, when it was assumed that the CofE would continue to grow. Many should now be amalgamated; some already have been – now called West Yorkshire and the Dales. And they should start appointing bishops who are orthodox and theologically knowledgeable – though this is probably too much to expect. The bishops who lose their dioceses could perhaps become parish priests – if they are capable of this.

    • vsscoles

      “And bishops in their Shovel Hats, were plentiful as Tabby-Cats – in point of fact too many!” And there were just 26 of them when that was written, none of them with company cars and all the trappings of executive office.

  • carl jacobs

    What with GAFCONs announcement of a new missionary bishop for Britain, this argument has lost much of its potency. There will soon be an alternative for those who dissent from the dogma of moral autonomy inclusivity. Then everyone can be content. Martyn Percy can build his pure church – a church free from the taint of discrimination and parishioners.

    • Dominic Stockford

      But he discriminates against those who don’t agree with him on this matter. So he’ll never be free of that. Though he’ll be pleasantly free of parishioners.

    • Albert

      Dear Carl, you are innocent. The reason the argument has not lost much of its potency is because of money to pay the clergy.

      • carl jacobs

        So let’s say you are an Anglican parishioner who is opposed to WO and let’s further stipulate that you are tired of Martyn Percy’s endless harangues about discrimination. You could just gather your things and walk down the street to a new church. Percy has one less bigot to deal with. You don’t have to listen to him anymore. Everyone is happy. There is no more argument because the two sides have separated.

        OK, so a month from now Percy might notice a problem in the budget. But what is he going to do about it? OK,OK. You have a good point. Let’s rephrase the question. To whom will he whine that will care?

        • Albert

          When I said money, it would have been better if I had said assets. I was speaking of the traditionalists’ need for the assets of the CofE. The clergy to be paid, the laity for their buildings. English Anglicans are very attached to their buildings, and traditionalists say “I’m not leaving my building just because the CofE has been hijacked by liberals.” But what they traditionalist does not seem to realise is that by staying in such a situation, he has become a liberal himself.

          • Phil R

            The C inW has gone further down the liberal road than the CofE and is poorer. (60 years ago it was far richer than the Cof E!)

            Lots of Churches for sale. I looked at one on Pembroke a few months ago. On the high street, built in 11something and surrounded by a graveyard full of trees backing on to the river/estuary.

            I think it was going for £150K. I have no doubt, with the grave stones removed and a large lawn area created, it will make a lovely restaurant.

            current listings are here

            http://www.churchinwales.org.uk/structure/representative-body/property/redundant-churches-2/

            It is not on the list any more but there are similar lovely redundant Churches listed in Haverfordwest and Ambleston

          • Albert

            That’s really interesting – I didn’t know about the situation in the CinW. I suppose that for an individual, the financial decline due to liberalism is a slow long-term thing, in the future. So people hang on for now.

  • Dominic Stockford

    And there will be others too. Rev William Haslam is an example of one who arrived in Christ after his ordination and ministry had run for years, understanding the necessity of holding the Bible as inerrant and infallible, thus a Reformed man. One Sunday in 1851 following a period of deep conviction of sin, Haslam ascended into the pulpit of Baldhu church near Truro with the intention of telling his congregation that he would not preach again to them until he was saved and to ask them to pray for his conversion.

    However, when he began to preach on the text ‘What think ye of Christ’ he saw himself as a Pharisee who did not recognise that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. At that moment, the Holy Spirit breathed new life into him and the effect was so obvious and marked that a local preacher who was present stood up and shouted ‘the Parson is converted’ and the people rejoiced ‘in Cornish style’.

    How on earth would anyone respond to him too, if he had been ordained by a woman? What would he do? I imagine he would, as a Reformed Christian, have less worry about it due to the fact that he would understand the responsibility of preaching as being God-given, and as seen by men, and not had the hang-ups about who stuck their hands on his head originally.

    I’ve never had such hang-ups despite being ordained by a Roman. My ministry is not dependent on the individual whose hands laid on my head, but on the authority of the Scriptures that I now preach faithfully, having been called out of that darkness into light. But some might fret about it, even those who are saved into the Reformed persuasion.

    • David

      Amen to that.
      Being a Lay Minister I am not in the slightest worried about the authenticity of my preaching, as opposed to that of the ordained, as mine comes straight from the Bible. I am merely a signpost pointing to the eternal truths of the Bible – no more and no less !
      Amongst the ordained there are very good preachers, like the conservative evangelical vicar of the church I’ve recently joined, and I’ve heard appalling, clever but errant ones, usually of the liberal persuasion, just like in the church I left; such people presume to know more than God,
      As Luther said, the office of priest is simply a job, a role for leading a church.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Though its a pity he used the word ‘priest’……. (if he did).

  • Albert

    And it exposes, at a stroke, the sheer folly of the Church of England in tolerating this asinine theology of ‘taint-based-ontology’. One based solely on the gender of the minister – a simple case of gender-based discrimination.

    No it doesn’t. It exposes the sheer folly of the CofE ordaining women while, on its own grounds, not knowing if the move is God’s will and therefore valid. As the Rochester Report of the CofE states:

    3.6.13 When the Church of England decided to proceed with ordination of women to the priesthood it did so on the understanding that this decision would be subject to an ‘open process of reception’ in the sense described by the Eames Commission.

    Eames says:

    However, it has always been recognized that councils not only may, but have, erred. Conciliar and synodical decisions would still have to be received and owned by the whole
    people of God as consonant with the faith of the Church throughout the ages professed and lived today. In the continuing and dynamic process of reception, freedom and space must be available until a consensus of opinion one way or the other has been achieved.

    And Rochester continues:

    3.6.16 […] the issue of whether or not the 1992 decision to ordain women priests was the right decision is one that is subject to a continuing process of discussion
    and discernment, and also that this process will continue until not just
    the Church of England but the ‘whole Church’ comes to a common
    mind about the matter.

    It’s not just Philip North who has a problem with the validity of women’s sacraments, all Anglicans do. By their own standards, it is not clear whether ordaining women is God’s will, and if so, it is not clear where HE actually does. Thus all sacraments conferred by women ministers in virtue of ordination are doubtful.

    Instead of attacking traditionalists, why don’t liberal have the honesty to admit that they only got women ordained on condition that opponents could stay and flourish? The more they attack this position after they have created it , the more they undermine their own position.

    Why don’t liberals in the CofE start owning up to the folly of what they have done?

    • Paul Greenwood

      Why don’t we question where the Protestant Reformation was de-railed ?

      • Albert

        As a Catholic, I’m probably not going to give you the answer you are looking for! However, it seems to me that the CofE does not begin answering questions in a spirit of faithfulness to revelation. It in fact begins with the answer it wants, and then looks for ways of explaining why the revelation is wrong.

      • len

        When they shifted off the True Foundation.

    • Coniston

      ‘taint-based-ontology’. There has never been such a thing – it is a delusion and invention of the liberals. There is a theological belief that women cannot become priests, and any discussion about this has to be on theological grounds, not on secular liberal notions of ‘equality’.

  • Inspector General

    Epiphany indeed!

    Nobody comes to his senses after being ‘ordained’ by a woman. Priests tend to be rather thoughtful spiritual types by nature (well, male ones are. Can’t speak for the ladies because one simply doesn’t see them as priests), and would have given a great deal of thought before taking the plunge. One should think it’s highly unlikely such a fellow who was content to be so ordained by a woman would now be bothered because he has new mates who deprecate (quite correctly, one might add) his holy orders. Even if he was, there’s probably a real bishop around who can correct the matter. Just don’t tell Percy, it might give him the hump, what!

    Anyway, he’d be better off trading in his Anglican orders and signing on as a Roman Catholic. No modern nonsense there, you know, and as a result, no civil war enduring. Of course, if he’s the marrying type he’d be advised not to. A rule that will one day be revoked as the recruitment crisis gets worse by the year, but Patrick’s bones will have turned to dust by then.

    • Paul Greenwood

      because one simply doesn’t see them as priests)

      NO. They are “High Priestesses” with all the connotations

      • Inspector General

        Yes. There is something very pagan about them.

        • len

          Being in the RCC you definitely would have seen paganism in action.

          • Inspector General

            A pox on you, Len

          • len

            A curse pulled out of the Catholic bag of tricks….
            I laugh in your face, Papist puppet.

      • Coniston

        ‘Priest’ is a masculine noun. There is a perfectly good feminine form – it is ‘priestess’, long in use in the English language. Why don’t lady vicars use it? Perhaps because it was in the past used only in connection with pagan religions.

    • Manfarang

      Well the Patrick I knew was cremated. No amount of ordination did him much good.

  • chefofsinners

    Patrick’s pickle highlights one excellent reason why we should not have lady bishops.

    • Albert

      Quite. If that matter is a cause of disagreement, why do it? A bishop is supposed to be a minister of unity!

  • chefofsinners

    If Patrick’s inkling prerequires a priestly pecker, that’s a pickle Professor Percy must prevent.

  • len

    What the Cof E needs is ‘an infallible being’ to put them right on doctrine.
    Well, there’s God I suppose.Will He do?.’
    Perhaps the RCC might be interested too?.

    • God? But he’s so 2000 years ago and completely out of touch with the real world. That’s why there aren’t nearly enough trigger warnings in the Bible.

  • Darter Noster

    My Anglican chaplain at Durham University was the formidable Miranda Threlfall-Holmes. She knew that amongst many of the reasons I had quit Anglicanism under her watch was opposition to women’s ordination. She took every possible opportunity to make it clear to me that I could not escape it; the RCC would do it sooner or later.

    Mutual flourishing was obviously bullshit from the start. It was made quite clear 20 years ago that opponents of women priests were allowed to stay on sufferance, but they were to wither on the vine. They would disappear swiftly and naturally, and they would certainly not be encouraged. This much was utterly obvious and openly admitted 20 years ago; any Anglican who claims they did not see this coming is an idiot and deserves everything they get.

    • Martin

      DN

      She would not have been able to use that argument if you had believed in sola scriptura.

      • Darter Noster

        Yes she would, and did with conservative evangelical friends of mine. To her, nothing whatsoever stood in the way of anything she considered discriminatory.

        I must just add that, whilst this debate was going on, she helped me greatly. Whatever theological disagreements she and I had, it never got in the way of her pastoral role. She and I disagreed over the nature of sacramental priesthood, as I do with many Evie mates, but she was a cracking pastoral chaplain.

        • Martin

          DN

          But were they believer in sola scriptura or did they only give it nominal assent?

          • Anna055

            But is there anything in Scripture which encourages ordination as such?

            The relevant things that spring to mind in Scripture are;

            Firstly, various things about “calling”… but these seem to be about either everyday behaviour, or being called to follow Christ, rather than “vocations”;
            Secondly, eldership … which doesn’t seem to be defined (??);
            Thirdly, teachers ….. Paul talks about people who desire to be teachers rather than using the term “feel called”, and I can’t think of anywhere that suggests they were ordained;
            Fourthly, being set aside to do something (e.g. Paul and Barnabas being set aside)…..this seems to me to be the nearest to ordination, but it seems to be a setting aside for a particular special role, rather than being given a different “status”. In any case, is there any evidence that being “set aside” was a common thing (i.e. needed for the elders in each church)?

            If we simply had roles and/or training in the church rather than a separate ordination, people would still argue about women’s leadership, but Patrick’s problem wouldn’t arise. I’m coming to the conclusion that separate “ordination” rather muddies the water in terms of the priesthood of all believers anyway. However, I’d love to know if I’m talking rubbish. I’m no theologian, and these are just the things that spring to mind rather than a thorough study. I’d also like to know what the earliest evidence is for “ordination” at all.

          • Martin

            Anna

            ‘Ordain’ seems to be one of those words that’s vague enough to have a different meaning depending on who is using it. You have, on one side, those who consider a minister to be someone who has been appointed by someone in authority and on the other just someone appointed by the local church. Both may tend to use the word ‘lay’ in some respect but I do not find the concept of lay and clergy in the New Testament.

            As to ‘calling’, I recall someone saying that if you could possibly do something other than preaching you should. I think Paul gives a pretty good rundown on the duties of an elder in his letter to Titus:

            This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
            (Titus 1:5-9 [ESV])

      • How so?

        • Martin

          LI

          Because Scripture makes it quite clear that women are not to be in authority.

          • Yes, but she clearly doesn’t agree or she wouldn’t be chaplain. I didn’t understand your comment saying that she wouldn’t be able to use the argument if DN believed in sola scriptura. I don’t see how DN’s beliefs would be relevant.

          • Martin

            LI

            And Scripture does not change, so her argument doesn’t apply and the chaplain’s opinion is irrelevant.

          • This discussion isn’t about the nature of Scripture … the OP said that his chaplain made it clear that opponents to women’s ordination would only be allowed to stay in the CoE under sufferance until they died out. This is manifestly true. Whether DN believes in solo scriptura or not has no bearing on whether the ordination of women becomes the norm in the CoE, no more than the fact that I don’t believe in the Qu’ran stops mosques being built. I could understand you saying that the church isn’t being faithful to Scripture in this instance, but I can’t follow your logic at all asking if DN or his evangelical friends followed sola scriptura. If I’m misunderstand you, please correct me.

          • Martin

            LI

            I suggest you read the thread.

          • “Mutual flourishing was obviously bullshit from the start. It was made quite clear 20 years ago that opponents of women priests were allowed to stay on sufferance, but they were to wither on the vine. They would disappear swiftly and naturally, and they would certainly not be encouraged. This much was utterly obvious and openly admitted 20 years ago; any Anglican who claims they did not see this coming is an idiot and deserves everything they get.”

            Please point out the word Scripture in the OP, if you can deign to give more than a one line reply.

          • Martin

            LI

            If you had bothered to read the thread you will see that I pointed out that the assumption of that ‘chaplain was based on the wrong premise. Quite clearly she wasn’t a Christian either.

          • Clearly she wasn’t a Christian. Not nearly condescending or judgemental enough.

          • Martin

            LI

            She wasn’t a Christian because she was clearly in rebellion against what God has said in the Bible.

          • You can disagree with someone’s actions or theology but whether someone is Christian or not is solely a judgement for God. It’s not measured on whether they agree with your particular interpretation of Scripture.

            “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you–who are you to judge your neighbour?” Js 4:12

          • Martin

            LI

            She is in a position of authority, therefore we need to discover whether that authority is genuine or usurped. As Jesus says:

            For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
            (Luke 6:43-45 [ESV])

            Judging whether a person is a Christian is judging whether God has changed their heart. A Christian doesn’t become so by their deeds but their deeds reveal whether they are a Christian. Her rejection of the Bible’s teaching clearly shows she was in rebellion against God and hence not a Christian.

          • You consider yourself worthy of judging God’s work in another’s heart? That’s a bold, and unbiblical, claim. Yes, we can correct a sinning brother (Mt 18:15ff etc) but only God knows how he has changed another’s heart. The Bible calls us again and again to refrain from this kind of judgement because it’s not ours to make.

            “Therefore do not pronounce judgement before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.” (1 Cor. 4:5)

            And again, sinners cannot stand in judgement over sinners:

            “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” (Rom 2.1)

            Judgementalism is not a ‘good fruit’.

          • Martin

            LI

            I’m judging her on her fruit, she has rejected what the Bible says.. Seems to me you are judging me on my motives.

          • I am judging you by your fruits, that you presume to be able to tell who is and who is not Christian, which is also contrary to biblical teaching.

          • Martin

            LI

            I’ve shown you that judging whether a person is a Christian is required by the Bible.

            For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good
            fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not
            gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.
            The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and
            the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the
            abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
            (Luke 6:43-45 [ESV])

          • If you read Luke 6 in context, you’ll find this passage is actually prohibiting judgement on others because it makes you a hypocrite. It even starts with (37) do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.

          • Martin

            LI

            On the contrary, you will see that it teaches us to judge righteously. Indeed one must so judge for otherwise we would see evil teachers throughout the Church leading people astray.

            But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.
            (II Timothy 3:1-9 [ESV])

            Would Paul, do you think, say that we should accept such wicked people?

          • Clearly Paul says to avoid such people, but they are people of the world and are irrelevant in terms of judgement to him (1 Cor 5:12 – “what business is it of mine to judge those outside the Church?”)

            Paul separates believers from unbelievers on the basis of what they confess. His letters, which are written to confessing Christians, warn them of unbecoming behaviour. He calls them to mend their behaviour. At his most explicit, when he is calling for expulsion from the Church for immoral behaviour (1 Cor 5) he still never says that the person is not a Christian. Where does anyone in Scripture explicitly tell us that it is our job to judge the state of a person’s soul? That would be usurping God, as those passages that you chose not to take literally have pointed out. I wonder where your clear need to sit in judgement on other Christians comes from?

            As Paul’s letters predate the majority of the NT, he would also have had difficulty with your benchmark of people ‘rebelling’ against the word of God, the Bible, which didn’t exist then. You have shown no biblical warrant for the judgement of people’s hearts that you espouse, merely for chastising and correcting. All you keep doing is reciting lists of bad behaviour and blurring and changing your definitions which, of course, is the downfall of individual interpretation of the Bible.

          • Martin

            LI

            Well actually the the Bible did exist then and, as Peter says, Paul’s writings are included in it.2Peter 3:15,16.

            And I’m pretty certain Paul did not include these folk in his definition of Christian:

            Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. (Philippians 3:2 [ESV])

            How to do you judge someone to be outside of the Church unless you judge whether they are Christians or not?

          • Paul had the Bible? He must have been impressed by those passages in Acts that foretold his future…

            It’s quite easy to tell that people outside the church aren’t Christians; they don’t claim to be.

            You give me another verse about behaviour, you still have shown me no command to judge another’s Christianity without going outside of the plain words of Scripture to your own interpretation.

          • Martin

            LI

            If you read what Paul wrote you will come to the conclusion that he knew God was causing him to write as he did. And of course Luke was writing after the event, possibly as a defence document for the Apostle.

            Not everybody in the physical churches is a Christian, and it is important to understand that. What I have shown you is that Paul was clearly judging those who claimed to be Christians but were not.

          • Manfarang

            Historians Gary Macy, Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek have identified documented instances of ordained women in the Early Church. Osiek, ed. and transl. by Kevin Madigan and Carolyn (2005). Ordained women in the early church: a documentary history (Johns Hopkins pbk. ed.). Baltimore, Md. [u.a.]: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press. p. 186. ISBN 9780801879326.
            Macy, Gary (2008). The hidden history of women’s ordination: female clergy in the medieval West. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 14. ISBN 9780195189704.

          • Sybaseguru

            And the church has never strayed? I think you’ll find the 39 articles clarify that.

          • Martin

            Certainly Carolyn Osiek is a militant feminist and the other two are professors at secular universities so aren’t really interested in accurate, biblical research. You need to provide evidence from the period, not the opinions of scholars.

          • Manfarang

            From a doctrinal point of view, some churches have come to the view that there are many ways to interpret the Christian faith and that a reasonable amount of exploration and new interpretation are natural in a healthy, living tradition.

          • Anton

            You sound like Martyn Percy.

          • Manfarang

            A bit of Theologically Engaged Anthropology is no bad thing.

          • Martin

            Is that supposed to mean something or have you just strung a bunch of words together?

          • Manfarang

            What can theology contribute to cultural anthropology and ethnography? There is a great need in anthropology for a theologically-engaged theoretical framework. Anthropologists experience new insights when they allow various theological perspectives to illuminate their research.

          • Martin

            Theology shows cultural anthropology and ethnography to be shells, plenty of surface area but no content.

          • Manfarang

            There is plenty of content. Libraries of it.

          • Martin

            That’s not content, it’s detritus.

          • Martin

            So why call them churches? If tradition is their thing rather than the words of Scripture they are far from being churches.

    • betteroffoutofit

      The feminazis and the Marxists work together . . . and they all operate on the same principles. It’s a nasty business: bad for the CoE and bad for Britain.

      It’s global, too.

  • vsscoles

    The late Dr F G Lee of Lambeth, 1832 – 1902, ordained (or “conditionally ordained”) almost a thousand clergymen of the Church of England who doubted whether they had received holy orders from its bishops. He had been clandestinely consecrated a bishop by a number of RC prelates, allegedly in a boat in the English Channel beyond the jurisdiction of the law. Nowadays there are many bishops in England who will be willing to ordain / reordain / conditionally ordain anyone who asks to receive the certainty of having been ordained by a genuine bishop in the Church of God, as opposed to a functionary who holds office but not the Faith.

    • Steve

      That sort of thing would solve the problem for the priest in question, certainly. But if “The Society” started doing it, or even recognising it, I fancy the fat would be in the fire.

  • chefofsinners

    Dear Patrick
    I am Miss Mariam Akimbo, daughter of the late Nigerian head of state Legs Akimbo. I am presently in distress and under house arrest. Before he was assassinated my father made a number of fixed deposit with a value of twenty three million united state dollars. I need a very honest God fearing Christian who will use this money for the Lords work. All I need is the number of your bank account and you pay $3500 transfer fee.
    This project is not risky. If you can help me maybe Jesus will bring us together. I have been praying for husband.
    Love Mariam

    • Dominic Stockford

      My Bank Account details are as follows LK168 – 13:11:12:17

      Please forward the money asap.

      Oh yes, the banks address is… hang on, where did I put that piece of paper…..

      • chefofsinners

        Ah Mr Dominic, I make you very good wife. I will be your Dominictrix. Only please send bank address soon.

    • Cressida de Nova

      I think you are auditioning for the Friday spot. Maybe Mrs Proudie would not mind sharing it with you (if H.G approves)…You may have to tone it down. H.G does not do raunchy! . Robin Williams was an excellent Proddie humourist..very influenced by British humour. He was an Episcopalian ” very Catholic with only half the guilt” he said.

      • chefofsinners

        You insult His Grace and this auspicious website.
        But please send bank account number very soon.

  • chefofsinners

    Where’s Mrs Proudie? Pastoral visit to St Skydmark-on-the-Gussett?

    • carl jacobs

      Tsk. Hardly appropriate even associate Mrs Proudie with such a comment.

      • chefofsinners

        Probably just polishing her lord bishop’s bell.

  • carl jacobs

    So I’m sitting in a restaurant at the moment drinking a pint of Boddington’s Ale. Imported from the UK, no less. It’s (how should I say this?) really good.

    • chefofsinners

      We’re all in bed, but glad you are enjoying our humble produce. The distinctive flavour of Boddingtons is achieved by straining it through the loin cloths of the Manchester United football team.
      No doubt the Americans will produce something drinkable one of these days.

      • carl jacobs

        Well, maybe they save the “good stuff” for export to the US. That would only stand to reason.

      • Anton

        It took them a full lifetime after the lunacy of Prohibition to start making decent beer again, but they are doing now – be fair! Also we went through our Dark Age of Watney’s Red Barrel and Whitbread Tankard and very little else 45 years ago.

    • len

      Enjoy.

      • Paul Greenwood

        and rub her down with chip fat

    • len

      Boddingtons.

  • Anton

    There is only one reply to be made to the challenge of Dr Percy, and it is to be addressed to him, not to the hyporthetical Patrick. As follows:

    Repent!