When young, I attended a theological college, with the hope of becoming a clergyman. It was an amusing surprise to discover that, of the 40 or so students, 30 had adopted female “names in religion” I did not stay the course, but I have since watched “Tawdry Audrey”, “Plum Tart”, “Clarissa” , “Maud” and the others go on to become faithful priests, nearly all of them living dedicated lives of service to God in insalubrious neighbourhoods.
While I was doing my training, the Church of England still possessed the blessed English gift of irony. Double-think. Some would call it hypocrisy but I would not. Most of these priests were, or became, celibates. Some shared their clergy-houses with another chap, and if his bishop had any sense, no questions were asked.
(A. N. Wilson, EVENING STANDARD)