Guest blogger, The Rev’d Humphrey Blytherington is Vicar of St Hilda’s, Little Snoring with All Saints, Great Snoring. He is a graduate of Plymouth University. He completed his studies for the ministry at Latimer Hall, Durham. He is married to Daphne and enjoys home brewing, model railroading and is an avid member of the Great Snoring Morris Dancers.
I was happily ensconced in the armchair in my study meditating for a few moments, when Daphne marched in clutching the Daily Telegraph. “Wake up Humphrey. Listen to this!”
The article she read indicates that the dear old C of E has decided that it’s quite all right after all for a pansy to be a bishop. When she finished her harangue I mentioned that it did seem a bit queer. At that point she who must be obeyed, gave me her famous withering look. “It’s more than a bit queer Humph” she said, “It’s queer through and through. Did you know one of the bishops in America left his wife to go with a young man? I believe he even calls himself ‘Vicky’. And a Bishop! It’s outrageous! We’re having none of it in the Catholic Church I can tell you.”
I was a bit displeased with her I must say. Saying there is none of that sort of thing in the Catholic Church is a bit rum. I know most of their priests are hearty Irish farm boys, but I expect the Romans have their fair share of the “love that dare not speak its name.” I must confess, I have never really understood why everyone is in such a kerfuffle about the whole business. When I was a lad at boarding school everyone knew that there were some fellows who were that way inclined. Most of them grew out of it or went into the theater or became Anglo Catholics…much the same thing I suppose.
It’s a funny old business, and I’m not one to condemn another person. Why, I remember when I was at University a rather weedy lad with pimples named Nigel Proudie fell for me. He wanted to go for long walks and read poetry, but I had the cure for him. We went out on the lawn and worked up a good sweat playing croquet. He soon got over his infatuation and married the archdeacon’s daughter. Sadly it didn’t last, but today Mrs. Proudie runs a Bed and Breakfast establishment in Bath, and Nigel is precentor of Crumpington Cathedral and lives in a nice little house in the close with his good friend Kevin.
You might be tempted to condemn Nigel, but I’ve learned not to. You remember what Our Lord said? “Let him who never made a mistake cast the first stone?” and “Live and Let Live”. Life’s too short to go stomping about condemning other people, I mean to say, as it says somewhere in Scripture, if we went along with “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” business the whole world would be blind and toothless, so I can’t be condemning these fellows just because they have more of an eye for the laddies than the ladies.
As I say, they’ve always been there. What they never did, if they were well brought up, was to trumpet it about. It was nobody’s business really, and you never imagined that they actually did anything about it. I mean to say, that’s not really very nice is it? People were much more discreet in those days. Certain things were not mentioned in polite society. Now everything has to be out in the open. Very disagreeable to my mind. To that end, I suppose Daff does have a point. Better to keep it undercover….as it were.
In fact, I was never really sure what they did with one another. Didn’t like to let my mind go along those paths… but at the clergy luncheon not too long ago Lavinia went into some detail. I must say I was rather shocked. Made me choke on my cheese and pickle sandwich.
Now the bishops say fellows who are in a civil partnership thingy can be bishops after all. Funny thing is, the article said they’ve got to have separate bedrooms. I’m afraid they haven’t pleased anyone really. When Lavinia heard the news she and her friend Georgie Samsonite were outraged. Said it was blatant hypocrisy and homophobia. Daff said poor Lavinia was “fueled by rage.” I like that. “Fueled by rage.” Still, I can’t think that they’ll be able to enforce such a rule. What next? Archdeacons doing midnight raids on the Bishop’s Palace to make sure everyone is safely in their own bed?
Never mind. I expect it will all blow over. Most things do. If the bishops have made the decision we’ll have to go along with it. It’s not really my cup of tea, but as long as they don’t make it mandatory, I can’t see it does much harm.