Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Anglican diaconal Ordination at St Pauls

Last Saturday I went to the Anglican diaconal ordinations for the diocese of London in St Pauls. Along with a considerable number of his friends I had gone to support a fellow Orielensis who has just completed his training at Cuddesdon, and has a first assistant curacy in north-west London. I may well have left my Anglican years behind me but I would still wish a friend well in their chosen path, and indeed prays for that path to lead eventually to Rome.

Image of news article

The Bishop of London and his area and assistant bishops and the new deacons
on the steps of St Pauls.

Image: Diocese of London website

As I have said before on this blog I find St Paul's a cold and not very appealing building, whilst recognising its place in our national history and conciousness, but it is not, alas, old St Paul's. What I saw of the cathedral did nothing really to change my view, though I did manage a glance or two at the Chapel of the Order of St Michael and St George, which I had not seen before.

Looking at the procession of the Bishop of London his area and assistant bishops into the cathedral I could not help but reflect that two of those bishops at least really ought to be in the Ordinariate, whilst another, Willesdon, in the wake of his daft and disloyal comments about the royal engagement last year should not merely have been suspended temporarily, but packed off to early retirement or the modern equivalent of durance vile in a colonial bishopric somewhere.

The other thing that struck me was the presence of so many lady clergy persons even in the heart of the diocese of London. The issues around female ordination played a significant part in dissolving the glue that held my, and many other Anglo-Catholics, Anglicanism together. Once that happened the path to Rome opened up. So I suppose I should be grateful for what happened, but I still find the sight of women clergy shocking, and, sometimes, risible. One of the new Anglican lady deacons was cheerfully sporting dangly earrings as she processed in and out, whilst the most nauseous sight was on the tube going to St Pauls. There a young lady clergy person in short skirt and clerical shirt and collar was to be seen applying eye-shadow and makeup as she journeyed to one of her friends ordination. Thirty years ago such a sight would have been a comedy sketch on television - now it is reality.

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