The Vicar on Flying Bishops

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 must say, Daphne’s over the moon about this morning’s news. Seems five CofE bishops are tootling off to become Roman Catholics, and hoping to take a few of their folk with them. I must confess, it’s all rather confusing, and I can’t make heads or tails of it. Daphne says the Pope in Rome has set up some sort of a church within a church and these fellows will be able to become Catholics but still be Anglicans. I understand these chaps don’t like women much, but it seems a bit extreme to me to go over to the Roman Church, just because you don’t agree with a woman taking your job. Seems like sour grapes.

I know the Pope was a bit of a hit when he visited us a month or so ago, but really! Jumping ship just because the fellow came by waving and smiling? Seems a bit rushed if you ask me. Too much of the celebrity sweepstakes in my opinion.

I was talking to Lavinia just the other day at the Clergy Fellowship Meeting about it all. I thought she might be able to enlighten me, but she wasn’t interested at all. Simply said, “Good riddance to the lot of them” and she hopes they enjoy being part of a church that discriminates against women, homosexual people, lesbians, transgendered, bi sexual and people with multi faceted sexuality disorder syndrome. I’m afraid poor old Lav didn’t make things much clearer for me, so I asked Canon Huffington-Post. He said the Anglo Catholics were marching off to Rome en masse, and he wasn’t sorry to see them go. “They’ve never done anything but stir up trouble.” he said. They should realize that the Church of England is the Catholic Church in this land, and we don’t need another Catholic Church from Italy around here.” Still not being totally clear, I decided to ask the Anglo Catholics themselves. Armed with my cup of tea and custard cream I sidled up to Fr Giles and his gang to see what they were making of it all. They were all ensconced in a bit of a holy huddle, and when I sauntered up and said, “I say, chaps, can you enlighten me about this ordinary-ate thingy!” they went all silent and changed the subject.

So who knows what’s up my dear fellows? It’s as clear as mud to me, and I’m afraid I’m really not the man to explain it all. I must admit I’m a bit inclined to agree with Lavinia on this one. If the fellows want to go off and be Roman Catholics I suppose they must. I just wish they’d get on with the business and not hang around so much causing trouble. I mean it’s not really good form is it? I mean to say, what if I was a member of the village cricket team and I decided I wanted to pick up with Little Piddington cricket club instead. It wouldn’t do for me to hang around the clubhouse moaning and groaning now would it? No. I ought to just take myself off to Little Piddington and be done with it.

What’s that Ian? Am I thinking of joining the ordinariate? Oh good heavens no! Could you see me as a Roman Catholic? I think not! It’s all well and good for Daphne and the ladies– and Fr Giles for that matter, but I’m hardly the type to kiss the pope’s toe and prance around in a lacey cotta, hearing confessions and lighting candles and singing hymns to the Virgin Mary now am I? No, I’m good old CofE And always will be.

It’s the middle way for me–what old Canon Farnsworth at Latters used to call the via media. Nothing too extreme. I’m sure that’s what the good Lord meant when he said that broad is the way and few there be that find it. Broad Church is what I am. You see, dear blokes, this is where we meet the most people–not in some extreme view, but right down the middle. What I love about the CofE is that we really are all things to all men as Paul wrote somewhere in the New Testament. The beauty of the Church of England is that everyone who lives in my parish is my parishioner, and therefore part of my flock. It doesn’t matter one little bit if they go to church or believe the Christian faith or not. No indeed, each one of them is part of my flock simply by being English!

We might get ourselves into a bit of a muddle sometimes, but I think we’re all the more lovable for all that don’t you? I mean to say, that’s the English way isn’t it? To muddle through when things are tough, making do with good manners and trying to give the other fellow a helping hand? Surely there can’t be any harm in that? I can see that some of these fellows who don’t like women much need more certainty and they want to have their dogma and all that sort of thing, but in my book all that does is divide people. Much better to soldier on and keep the show on the road even if you are somewhat confused at times. I mean to say, that’s really what people want isn’t it?

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  • Andrew

    Top marks father. You never disappoint with the Vicar, but this puts it over the top.

  • Anthony Brett Dawe

    amen good Padrethe more 'ensconced' the better'when we all take cream tea, we'll sing and shout the victory'wot ho, is that the great White Fleet off Ceylon… ? (no ya plonker, tis the great anglo-french fleet. ed of Durham)

  • Patricius

    As an ordinary English Catholic, and much as I wish them all well, I have a certain sympathy with the vicar's bemusement. If Little Piddington's is the one true cricket team why hang about?

  • flyingvic

    Little Piddington CC is an interesting illustration, isn't it? Cricketers, whatever continent, culture or club they belong to, are all subject to the one set of rules…so there cannot be 'one, true cricket team', can there? The good Vicar might just as well stay where he is…

  • Fr Longenecker

    Vic, your's is the same view of the Vicar! He would also say, "There's no 'true' cricket team. They're all of equal value. Might as well just choose the one you like best!"However, I can't be held responsible for the dunderheaded views the Vicar expresses in his guest column. Who knows what half baked ideas he'll come up with next?

  • the Egyptian

    However, I can't be held responsible for the dunderheaded views the Vicar expresses in his guest column. Who knows what half baked ideas he'll come up with next?I await with holy trepidation, I love the Vicar, pity Daphne, but Huffington-Post?! come on!

  • Fr Longenecker

    Canon Huffington-Post has been a minor character in the ongoing saga of Revd. Blytherington's column.He's a very senior churchman in his diocese– an honorary canon of the cathedral and diocesan chaplain to the Mothers Union.

  • flyingvic

    Father, I was actually responding to Patricius' comment…If you believe, as I do, that the CofE is quite genuinely the Catholic Church in England (using 'Catholic' in the sense that most people and most dictionaries understand it, not in the 'we have our own private and peculiar meaning attached to it' way that Roman Catholics delight to use), then having the same set of rules to play cricket whatever team you play for is an entirely apt analogy.I am sorry that these 'flying bishops' and others believe they have to go; but if that is what their conscience demands then go they must. When they arrive to sign on the dotted line they'll find the same crucified Saviour, the same Risen life, the same command to 'do this in remembrance of me', the same Scriptures, the same Creeds, the same Councils, the same Church Fathers, the same Holy Spirit trying to lead them into the truth…

  • the Egyptian

    Yes, but did you ask Arianna Huffington's permission to use her blog name. That blog is very progressive-liberal. Thats why I find it so funny

  • Dominic

    Spot on, other than I was surprised to note the lack of an almost obligatory reference (quite patently and deliberately misunderstood) to the infallibility (in everything he says and does ever, ever, ever) of the Pope in Rome, which seems to be presented as the major stated cause of discontent with "the Roman option" among some of the Vicar's peers whenever they speak to the British media.

  • Elizabeth

    Dear old England, all that muddling through and good manners and cricket, it does tug at the heart strings, if only the CofE (and England) had left things the way they were. I've just been watching Hamlet on DVD and a quote from the main character comes to mind:"There are more things in heaven and earth dear Vicar than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

  • Arnobius of Sicca

    I've been reading through the articles on this theme… kind of sad when the links to the Telegraph reveal a situation even more ridiculous than the parody.

  • Joel

    Ah, flyingvic. I remember – not so long ago – you painstakingly breaking down an analogy used by Father until you were able to suit your own fancy. Yet seemingly, churches and cricket clubs are a nice fit. Errr…..I'm glad to hear you've found the crucified Christ, Risen life…the Holy Spirit. Can you help me out? Repeating the same sins in confession, praying infrequently, struggling through the mass. This Catholic thing is like beating your head against a brick wall!

  • Anneg

    FlyingVic, Come clean, now. You really are the Vicar, right? I mean, the CoE is the Catholic Church, in the usual way. I'm still laughing. Which is why I'm no longer Anglican.

  • flyingvic

    Joel, I'm sorry you missed the irony…Anneg, no, I'm not a vicar…

  • Gail F

    One of the funniest ones ever!"I'm hardly the type to kiss the pope's toe and prance around in a lacey cotta, hearing confessions and lighting candles and singing hymns to the Virgin Mary now am I?"HA HA HA

  • Joel

    Oh yes. The "irony". Ha ha!