Exploring the byways of the worldwide web, a New Directions reader chanced upon the website of the ‘Society of Catholic Priests’ (sic) One particular page caught his eye:
where one of the images displayed was none other than that of the icon of ‘Christ our Future’. One is bound to wonder if the SCP webmistress knows that the icon relates to the millennial eucharistic celebration organized by the very antithesis of SCP, Forward in Faith.
Presumably the Director will even now be sending an invoice for reproduction fees to the Society’s ‘International Rector’, Mother Jane Bass scp. It is heartening to know that SCP will be able to support FiF in this small way.
All at sea
The 30 Days office was delighted to receive its invitation to be aboard for the first ordination of a Frenchwoman, Genevieve Beney, which is to take place on a boat sailing on the River Saone at Lyons on Saturday, 2 July. We will be boarding at Port Rambaud, 13 quai Rambaud, Lyons at 4.15 p.m. to set sail upon these uncharted waters, and the organizers promise that the whole ceremony will be over in just five hours.
Cynics may imagine that there will be repercussions from the Vatican, but as Mlle Beney has already been excommunicated for over two years, following her ordination as a deacon on another boat – that time on the Danube – Cardinal Ratzinger will be able to concentrate his mind on more important matters.
New Hampshire – closure at last
Encouraging news reaches us from the go-ahead Diocese of New Hampshire (proprietor: Vicky Gene Robinson). Leaders of the Church of the Redeemer in Rochester, New Hampshire, have asked Bishop Robinson to close the embattled church after Easter Sunday. The mission church’s Administrative Team read their recommendation to Robinson during the church’s annual meeting on 19 January. Twenty-four of the 25 parishioners attending voted in favour of the closure.
Leaders said that the church faced a significant deficit budget and admitted they were exhausted by attempts to rebuild the parish. Thirty members left the church in disagreement over Robinson’s election as bishop in 2003.
It was the third disruption of church membership during the past three decades. Earlier splits were prompted by changes in the Book of Common Prayer in the 1970s and the ordination of women as priests and bishops in the 1980s. ‘I am so proud of you,’ Robinson told the members. ‘You have done something that is very hard, but very right.’
Geoffrey Kirk should be more careful. Older readers will recall his carefully constructed hatchet job a couple of years ago on the Revd Dr Lee Rayfield, who had treated the pupils of St Piran’s School in St Mary’s Church, Maidenhead to a lecture on the physical impossibility of the task undertaken each year by Santa Claus and his faithful reindeer.
Fr Kirk wondered if Dr Rayfield might be ‘a partisan of the Holloway Tendency. In that case he will have moved on from physics to philosophy, and pointed out the logical absurdity of an Incarnation, as well as the biological improbability of a Virgin Birth. He will have expostulated, as these people do, about the difference between astronomy and astrology, the implausibility of the magi and the tropology of shepherds.’
The all too predictable consequence of this witty outburst will come to pass in June, when Dr Rayfield is consecrated as the new Bishop of Swindon.
It is always heartening to hear news of Affirming Catholicism, the ‘independent charity (which) has nearly [wait for it!] 2,000 - two thousand - members in the British Isles.’
It has appointed its first full-time Director, Fr Richard Jenkins, who, according to the head honcho of the outfit, Bishop David ‘accept women bishops or leave’ Stancliffe, ‘will enable Affirming Catholicism to engage fruitfully with the key issues that face humanity.’
Fr Jenkins certainly has all the necessary experience, as his current Crockford entry attests:
‘JENKINS, John Richard. b 68. Dundee Univ llb90. St Steph Ho Ox ba94 DipMin94. d 94 p 95. C Brighouse and Clifton Wakef 94-97; C Barnsley St Mary 97-99. Address withheld by request’
Hung over by Holy Week? Tired of the Triduum? The solution is here, courtesy of St Michael & All Angels, Ledbury. Forget all those boring extra services! Give the choir and the servers a break – to say nothing of your long-suffering congregation. Let St Michael’s weekly sheet speak for itself: ‘Sunday 6th March: 9.30 a.m. Family Communion for Mothering Sunday; 6.30 p.m. Songs of Praise for Easter.’ Apologies that we were unable to bring you this excellent example of creative liturgy in good time for Easter this year, but we know how much you will all want to emulate it in 2006!
On the game
We must all be grateful to the Mission & Public Affairs Council of the CofE, for its response to the recent Home Office Consultation on Prostitution, the work (if signatures are anything to go by) of Tom Butler, Bishop of Southwark.
30 Days readers wondering how to address local members of the world’s oldest profession should note that ‘traditional terms such as ‘prostitute’ and the historical legal designation ‘common prostitute’ carry strong derogatory and stigmatising overtones’ and so the recommended terminology is now ‘people involved in prostitution’.
The response notes that ‘the estimate of 80,000 engaged in prostitution in the UK is thought by some to be too low’, which begs the question how many they would prefer, but the highlight has to be in paragraphs 19 and 20 where a ‘Swedish model’ and a ‘Dutch model’ seem to be amongst the options for addressing the problem. Unfortunately neither model’s contact details are given, but no doubt they are in a phone box near you even now.
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