Monday, 30 July 2012

Motes and Beams

Bishop Tartaglia is already at the centre of the debate over homosexuality and marriage

The new RC Archbishop of Weegiedom, Dr Tagliatelle, has managed to get himself in much hot water prior to his enthronement.  First, the Grub Street hacks of the West dug out a video of him at a Conference in the august setting  of CS Lewis's old Oxford college where he suggests (albeit with enough hedges to make you think he was a Sussex farmer) that a fairly recently departed Labour MP who was a former RC priest and openly gay had somehow had his lifespan shortened by his lifestyle.  The fact that the gallstones and pancreatitis that actually carried off the said MP are not normally cited as a "gay plague" may lead one to suspect the said prelate is talking through an orifice not normally linked to the vocal chords.  Then they ran a stinker on a former colleague of his - indeed his former deputy and successor at the Pontifical Scots College in Rome, who had been disciplined for getting drunk and making a pass at another bloke.

This litany of foot-in-mouth may suggest that the it's the liberal "meeja" out to get the Church.  Or it may suggest that the media is targeting public institutional hypocrisy in the RC Church in Scotland.  either way, it's a startlingly inept performance from someone who has be the Scottish RC "Media Bishop" for the past 6 years.  I have much sympathy for the rebuked cleric whose lapse of judgement fuelled by alcohol has been put in to the public domain well after he doubtless hoped it was water under the bridge.  If he took the pastoral counselling offered and worked on his issues with drink and sexuality successfully, then my sympathies are all the stronger.  Occasionally one does think that the Bishops of all the Churches might reflect rather more on Matthew 7:3 before opening their traps.

Monday, 23 July 2012

A Sunday off.

Sunday past I was enjoying a weekend off with no official religious duties whatsoever (holiday cover and that sort of thing had not been asked for this week) - which delivered me from another Sunday presiding over liturgical ineptitude inherited from other clergy who have no sensible idea what lay officiants should and should not do (like the Gospel) and where they should and should not stand (in my way at the altar for a start).  Sadly, we slept in missing both the local Kirk service and the local Piskie Eucharist.  We did however brunch at Morrison's and I read PD James's excellent follow on to Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" - "Death Comes to Pemberly. A Georgian whodunit.  Sadly, Elizabeth Bennett's mother was not the victim (she is the 2nd most annoying Austen character after Emma Woodhouse).  A most enjoyable read and highly commended.  The memsahib could not be persuaded to Evensong as her experience of the nearest C of E parish has been negative - primarily due to liturgical incompetence and clerical fawning.  I've seen the former there but avoided the latter.

Odd as it was not to "do" Church, I enjoyed the rest.  Maybe I should snooze at the weekend more often?  Mind you it was really the 1st weekend we've had since the wedding to ourselves so I call it "relationship maintenance time" and feel no particular guilt!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

On Liturgical Peculiarities.

File:Pontifical Mass - 15th Century - Project Gutenberg eText 16531.jpg 

As I wander around the diocese a wee bit (Spiky Mike's for choice, Eyemouth if I'm with Rachel and not on duty and elsewhere if covering services) it has come to my attention that a new liturgical oddity has surfaced in the last few months. (The last oddity I noticed in all honesty was the funny habit of the congregation saying bits of the Eucharistic Prayer that the priest normally did solo, but this is now the "norm" in the SEC and it's hardly worth protesting about now).  We have now taken to praying for a new Trinity in the intercessions - viz "David our Primus, John our Bishop and Susan our Dean".

Now don't get me wrong, all three are good and godly and doubtless need and appreciate all the prayers they can get (don't we all?).  But I am somewhat baffled by this sudden and peculiar elevation of 2 "Offices" to equal status as an "Order".  The Bishop is the chief pastor of the diocese - the Primus is the elected Chair of the College of Bishops and "1st amongst equals" Not and never an Archbishop, quasi, virtual or otherwise.  One of the reasons the Anglican Covenant fell flat in Scotland was it's odd idea that "Primates" were super special and wise and needed more authority and less accountability to the clergy and laity of the Church.  That is not an idea the Scots have ever borne well with - I mean we shot Archbishop Sharp for that sort of thing in the old days.  Prelacy it was called and not at all the "pure and primitive episcopacy" that Bishops Jolly and Skinner sent to Connecticut in 17Oatcake!  Equally, Deans have never been elevated to near Episcopal status. (I can't actually recall hearing anyone pray for "Kevin our Dean" or even "John our Dean" prior to the recent vacancy in the See).  I can understand the enthusiasm for Susan and her breaching the glass ceiling and all that but...  it's a bit like praying for yer Archdeacon in England.  And I've never heard of that happening in the mass very often.

Then again, maybe I'm just the grumpy old man of Scottish liturgy!  It's all gone down hill since the '70 Liturgy (1570 I mean!).  And I do pray for them all.  When directed by the Diocesan cycle of prayer!  (It's probably an Asperger's sorta thing!)