A fourth order of ordained ministry has been created by the dean and chapter of Newcastle Cathedral in the north east of England. From now on the greasy pole will consist of deacons, priests, senior priests and bishops. This change in the ancient traditions of the church has been made in order to accomodate the bishop of Newcastle's insistence on calling get togethers of the "important" employees of the diocese "senior staff meetings."

But, seriously, the inclusive language movement has proved, beyond doubt, that George Orwell was right in that the language we use effects our attitudes. As long as the Church of England insists on using hierarchical language it will remain a perversion of true Christian community. Those outside of the church perceive the Church of England as just another institution like any other and who can blame them when the church is so intent on being just like any other institution. Christian communities should challenge the power obsessed systems of politics and commerce in the same way Christ did. But if we did that our bishops wouldn't get to sit in the House of Lords and earn nearly twice as much as a parish priest. So, I doubt that there will be any big changes made soon. In fact, we will probably cling on to privilege until the Church has become so irrelevant in English society that all those who are in it for the power and authority trip have left. Blessed are the non-stipendary for they shall inherit the Church of England.



  1. But –how will you know Sr. Priest in liturgy? –perhaps an extra stole? Stars on their shoulders? Stripes on the bottom of their albs?

    How shall we know they are special?

  2. The Church of England is just pissed off because they don’t have monsingors (sp?) and cardinals any more. (From Joe, ex-Roman Catholic that he is…..)

  3. They should have some sort of a grouping for the more newly ordained (say within 5 years) to provide some ballast lest they become top heavy and topple over. Or has that already happened?


  4. Seriously, now, is there anything wrong with them saying ‘We’re not looking for someone just out of seminary for this job; we want someone with considerable experience?’ I take it that’s what’s meant by ‘senior priest’.

    I suspect that the Church of England is full of sinners and therefore it’s not surprising to me that sometimes they sin. An author I enjoy once wrote that the doctrine of original sin is a very important one for pastors not to forget, because they will then not be surprised if the church turns out to be full of sinners, and they will then be able to deal with them from a position of grace, not a position of disappointment.

  5. No, that’s can’t be what’s meant. Otherwise every priest who had been ordained for a certain number of years would be on the bishop’s senior staff meeting.

    It’s no surprise to me that burglars still rob houses. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be reported in the local press if they are caught.

  6. P. S These bishops really don’t seem to understand the power of the internet. As it stands, by refusing to consider your outreach, they have no responsibility for what u say, but no control, either. Now if they created a position for , say, an internet-media priest, and they paid u, they would definitely have some control……if I can figure that out, why can’t they? I have never heard u dispute doctrine, just impatience with injustice.

    Rather rigid, these leadership people!


  7. Hence the OCICBW…rule that if one becomes boring, one’s comments could be deleted. Never actually done, so far as I know, because we self-police.

    Like right now – I’m becoming boring right now so it’s time to stop. Cheers!