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 say lads, let’s have a round of drinks to toast our courageous Archbishop of Canterbury. It’s about time someone stands up to the Romans! No sooner did the Pope attack our church and Dr Williams heads off to the Pope’s HQ to talk to the top man himself and give him the what ho.

I haven’t had such cheering news for a long time. Yes indeed, as that jolly gal Ruth Gledhill said at The Times, the Archbishop has hit back and hit hard. I know it’s not the done thing nowadays to knock the Roman Catholics, but one has to defend oneself, and after the Pope blatantly tried to steal our sheep it’s a good thing the Archbishop has stood his ground.

You know sometimes our friends in the Roman church like to criticize us because they think we seem a bit woolly in our beliefs, but I myself don’t see any harm in that. The Church of England has never been a dogmatic church as such, and I don’t see why we ought to start now. The truth of the matter is that we make room for everyone. All are welcome in the C of E. Used to call it the Church of Everybody when in the old days. In fact, when I was doing my national service the drill sergeant used to call us to march to the chapel on Sundays by saying, “Everyone to the C of E except for Catholics and the mentally insane!” Never failed to raise a chortle I can tell you.

But that’s my point. We don’t exclude anyone, and let’s face it did Jesus exclude anyone from the Last Supper? No. He invited all of his twelve apostles–even that rascal Judas. After all didn’t Our Lord himself say, “Broad is the way?” Well as a broad churchman I’ve always taken comfort in that.

The problem with the Roman Catholics is that they’re exclusive. They’re always telling people “you’re out” rather than “you’re in.” I mean to say, think of this latest adventure of theirs…the Pope is pushing even more people out of his church. As Lavinia was saying just the other day at the Clergy Fellowship Gathering, “He’s pushing out all the homosexuals and women.” Then he has the gall to dress up the whole exercise as some sort of ‘church unity’ attempt.

Well, now Dr Williams has given the Pope in Rome one or two things to think about. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a turnaround in the years to come. Very quietly the Romans will let drop their strong language about lady priests and you’ll see them coming around to our way of thinking. After all, we were the first to step out and put the prayers and the Bible in English, and sure enough, it took them four hundred years, but eventually the Romans did the same.

Then we started singing jolly new songs like “Shine Jesus Shine”and now they very happily sing them too. As Dr Williams has said, “The underlying sense of unitive cohesion may be said to transcend the temporal items of divisive fissiparousness and shouldn’t the overarching principles be considered as it were indicative of a more foundational sharing than is otherwise at times implied by liturgical distinctives?”

Couldn’t have put it more clearly myself. Three cheers for the Archbishop finally taking the lead.

Now Colin, I don’t much like your tone. It’s all very well saying, “Mrs. Vicar hasn’t followed your lead has she Vicar?” I’ve told you before Daphne is staying with her cousin Eileen in the Midlands. The poor woman’s going through a rough patch and Daphne’s there with a bit of TLC and the odd cup of tea. Not sure exactly when she’s coming back, but in the meantime I don’t mind batching it. Lavinia and Georgie have been a couple of bricks. Absolutely spiffing! Last night they brought around a jolly nice quiche with some lentil soup and elderberry wine. I must admit the lentil soup has produced a few rumbles down south, but otherwise it was a splendid supper.

Well, lads, I must dash. Lavinia’s got me lined up to attend some sort of play reading at that women’s book club she runs over at the Swan and Stubble. Play’s called the Virginia Monologues or something of that sort. Sounds interesting. It’s from across the pond, so I ‘spect it’s a historic piece about the first settlers in Virginia.