From a friend:

It occurred to me in reading this morning's conversation how similar your experience of rejection is to that of broken personal relationship. Nothing has ever affected my sense of self-worth as did my partner's rejection. When one believes another has one's back, as should a partner or bishop, only to discover they are doing quite the opposite, it cuts close to the bone, and I'm not sure that we ever fully recover from that. 

My reply:

Spot on. Of course, I had no particular affection for the bishop of Newcastle but over forty years of Anglo Catholic devotions had indoctrinated me with a belief that bishops were goodly shepherds. And, to be honest I don't think this is an unreasonable expectation. When I was a priest I took my parishioners' expectations of my office very seriously. Okay, we are all only human and we will do silly things from time to time but if you can't refrain from being actually wicked then you should not take on the responsibilities of the priesthood. A priest should never let someone down because when he or she does it is the Church, heck it is God letting that person down and that hurts. I am living proof of that.

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