The new style of interviewing prospective priests, common throughout most, probably all, of the Church of England dioceses (though, in practice, different in every one) does not weed out lazy, ineffectual priests, as it was intended to do. It is, in fact, weeding out priests who do not conform to a very narrow “type” of priest, that type being what non-Christians, and also many Christians, would refer to as trendy or vague or sanctimonious or wishy washy etc. There are far less bishops in the Church of England with individuality, imagination and eccentricity, or the desire to take risks, than there ever have been in the history of the church. As like employs like the church is quickly becoming in reality a parody of itself as portrayed in so many sitcoms and comedy sketches and the priesthood has become stale and downright boring.
To put it simply, there ain’t going to be a John Henry Newman, Conrad Noel, Woodbine Willie, Bishop Bell / King / Beckett et al anytime in the near future as far as I can see and my church is going to be dashed on the rocks by a bunch of bank managers and trendy social workers. My guess is that, within the decade, Sunday services will be replaced, throughout the church, with seminars on “how to be church,” encounter groups, group bonding workshops and book launchings.