Mrs MP found out yesterday that the misinformation being insidiously propagated throughout the diocese as an explanation for my dismissal is that I proved myself incapable of being in charge of a parish.

The only time I have been in charge of a parish was for two years eleven years ago. For five months of that period I was in hospital because of non-reactive depression dating from four years prior to my incumbency  and for twelve months  I was on the sick recovering.

An assistant curate is never in charge of a parish in the Church of England and has no authority. The person in charge of a parish that is in interregnum is the rural dean.

The deflection of guilt always leads to lies and greater sins.



  1. Part of the difficulty in the structure of the C of E is that there are very few jobs for pastors that do not come with responsibility as priest in charge of the parish.

    It is to the detriment of the church that this is the case.

    There are other openings such as hospital chaplaincy, prison chaplaincy, army chaplaincy, where there is not that responsibility, though other responsibilities replace the parochial.

    Have you seen a copy of the competency matrix that the incumbent compiled about you?
    That would show his subjective opinion at that time on what progress had been made and still needed to be made.

    It would be reasonable to work at the areas of alleged weakness so that your chances of an incumbent status post are increased.

    ps again, not a troll.

  2. Have you seen a copy of the competency matrix that the incumbent compiled about you?

    I never had one of them in my last post as I wasn’t in training. The last incumbent’s report on me was in 2000 and that was brilliant.

    And, of course you are a troll. I can recognise troll psychology a mile off after five years of putting up with you word twisting little critters.

  3. Oh dear, if that was off-topic, or hurtful I apologise, that was not my intention.
    What I intended to communicate was that these things exist (competency matrix) and that one might have been written about you which forms the basis of the bishop’s (or a.n.other diocesan person) opinion.
    Of course they could just be biased, and everything you describe them as.
    So apologies if it was offensive, it was not intended as such.

  4. My bishop, a Myers Briggs freak, got it into his head that the stress of my first incumbency caused my breakdown. This was completely refuted by my psychiatrists who diagnosed my illness as non-reactive clinical depression. The fact that I started being ill in my first curacy under a paedophile priest and had episodes of depression whilst living a stress free life under a perfect incumbent in my second curacy also shows that my illness was nothing to do with being an incumbent. But my bishop is not known for changing his mind about anything and believes himself to be a better psychologist than any professional.

  5. Hey, “Anonymous”. Pick a name. Any name. It could be Toothpick or Doorknob if you like. But if you want to establish yourself here as a non-troll, have the ordinary good manners of presenting yourself to us with SOME sort of identity.

    Otherwise, troll or not, you’re just being rude.

  6. “competency matrix” ???? Never heard of it. There’s a report written when you serve your first curacy and prior to being ordained priest, and there’s the file that each Diocesan Bishop holds on you, and which you have a right to view and to have a copy so that its contents may be challenged …. now there’s a thought MP … have you ever asked to see that?

  7. Well, I’m going to take a chance and just ask: is there anything wrong or amiss with doing hospital or prison chaplain work? I have the impression, Jonathan, that you have a topnotch bedside manner and are likely awesome with hospitalized patients. Bet they’d love to have a visit from you.

    There’s probably rules about this that I know nothing about, however.

  8. I do have a very good bedside manner. I have also studied the subject in a lot more depth than most priests, including a lot of chaplains. But in England medical staff hate chaplains and make it obvious that they do. Also I would get frustrated having to do the same thing all the time.

  9. “medical staff hate chaplains and make it obvious that they do”

    Your experience of hospitals/medical staff doesn’t tally with mine. It seems that for every suggestion anyone makes you come up with a negative answer. Pity really. It makes us think that there’s actually nothing we can do.

  10. My bishop, a Myers Briggs freak


    Your bishop may well be a freak, MP, but I really wouldn’t lay it up to Myers-Briggs. It’s a useful tool: no more/no less (and like a monkey wrench, can be abused to clobber someone IF the clobberer has malice aforethought).

  11. Honestly, SR, would you want to be restricted to the few priestly activities a hospital chaplain does. The same sermon every week. If I was a doctor I would be a GP not a toe specialist.

    However, as I have said many times before, I would go for a mental health chaplaincy job if one came up. I would also consider hospice work if it was a Christian organisation. Perhaps I am just not pushy enough to be a chaplain in a secular situation.

    I’ve thought about university chaplaincy but it’s too politically correct for me. I would start a war with the muslim group before the end of week one.

  12. No. Jonathan’s simply hurting and feeling betrayed – hell, he was betrayed! – and he needs to express that.

    There is nothing any of us can do in this situation, and the need to be a constant problem-solver rather than just listening is something of an illness itself. Here I am doing it, in a real sense.

    Just listen, and add what advice you can, but don’t respond with hurt or anger or disgust if it’s rejected. Jonathan and I have many differences, but there are enough similarities I can tell you that he is listening and absorbing. Is the constant gainsaying dispiriting? Yes. But that is because we’re constantly trying to fix him. It comes from goodwill, from love, but it is not helpful.

    I can tell you, it is a very different mindset, a very different worldview in depression. No answer is good. No help is appreciated, because it seems patronizing and unrealistic. There is a sort of adolescent reversion that tells us “No! You don’t understand! None of you understand! None of you care!” In a real sense you don’t, because you can’t.

    For most people, it is an effort beyond their ability to maintain a friendship with someone who’s emotionally compromised, broken in this way. It is why we depressives have to become emotionally self-reliant, withdrawn, antisocial. We don’t expect people to be friends, because we know how hard it is.

    I hope I’m not misrepresenting Jonathan, but it seems that I get what’s happening here while others are getting profoundly frustrated.

  13. You are spot on, Mark. The biggest burden is that the vast majority of people with any kind of mental health problem are fully aware of how repetitive and draining of others patience they are being. But the plus side of this is that when we are functioning well, we can be so much help to each other, as you, so often, are to me.

    JCF, I believe Myers Briggs is blasphemous because it reduces our infinitely complex, God enabled personalities into a few components. Yes, we do all have dominant personality traits but it is the unique subtleties of our personalities that make us human and which form the basis of our relationships with each other.

  14. Jonathan is right; Meyers-Briggs bites. We use it for pre-employment testing where I work. It is a waste of time and money, and it IS very dehumanizing, and corporate America leans entirely too heavily on this kind of thing to determine who gets what jobs, etc. It’s ridiculous.

  15. Mark, I read your post from sometime back about your descent into the deep hell of depression. What folks say to encourage and help you doesn’t help. Advice doesn’t help. I’d hoped that I’d taken your words to heart, but apparently not enough.

    What are friends to do in the face of the depression? Treat you like a “normal” person (whatever that is)? Treat you like a “special” person, make allowances for you that would not be made for other people? Go away?

    MadPriest and Mark, it’s a struggle to know how to act. I suppose we all have expectations of others, and we make a good many mistakes in our words and actions toward our depressed friends. And it’s wearing and draining, and some of us give up, because it’s so hard.

  16. Never go against the mood, always go with it. If we are angry be angry with us. If we are in despair then don’t try and cheer us up. Both me and Mark give far more than we take so neither of us are embarrassed about asking from you when we need it. Heck, this is the internet, anybody who’s not in the mood can just stay quiet and read the happy bits, which there always around here even when the editor is in hell himself.

  17. MadPriest, you’re a gem. And any humane, big-hearted person who has to work alongside a paedophile would certainly be affected to the core …

    You hold fast to your good heart. We have it within ourselves to be merciful towards our own suffering … and you obviously have been towards your own. Anyone who judges you ‘unfit to serve’ hasn’t a clue.

    So there!


  18. You have brought me back from the brink on many occasions, Mark, and your own experiences, even (especially) the nasty ones, have strengthened me by reminding me I am not alone. But most of all your independent voice has helped my friends understand and accept my problems and the problems of all our fellow survivors. You have been an extremely important person in the life of OCICBW….