Bishops in Bully Pulpit: Get Naked in Cathedrals but Mind your Language in Parliament

Sep 30, 2019 by

by Jules Gomes, Rebel Priest:

On June 1, 1599, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London banned the printing of satires, epigrams, and unlicensed histories and plays.

Archbishop John Whitgift and Bishop Richard Bancroft also demanded the burning of other works that gleefully flung verbal dung at their dunce caps. Many of these works of comical gusto imitated the Roman satirist Juvenal.

Such an “indecorous mode of social representation, was simply too ideologically destabilising for the bishops to tolerate,” writes literary historian William Jones.

Half a millennium later the Church of England’s mitred mafia is asking us to hold our tongue and mind our language. Destabilised by the bucking bronco of Brexit, all 118 bishops have stuck together like coal tar and penned a finger-wagging epistle at politicians for using language “not worthy of our country.”

Anthony Trollope would have welcomed this Anglican anathema as grist for the Barchester mill. When Mr Crawley, curate of Hogglestock, addresses Mrs Proudie with the words: “Peace, woman,” Trollope notes that “the bishop jumped out of his chair at hearing the wife of his bosom called a woman.”

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