How the Church attacks its own

May 13, 2022 by

by Giles Fraser, UnHerd:

When Anthony Trollope submitted the manuscript of Barchester Towers, the publishers rejected it as over-the-top. They thought the Church of England couldn’t possibly behave in this kind of way. Bless. They did and they still do.

Now I have to be slightly careful about what I’m about to write. Because it turns out that the Bishop of Oxford is rather thin-skinned and liable to pick up the phone to his lawyers when challenged — as the author of the Archbishop Cranmer blog discovered this week. The matter at hand was the pastoral support given — or rather, not given — by the Bishop to the Dean of his Cathedral over the last few tumultuous years.

Cranmer’s offence was to repeat words that had already been printed in The Times, and had already been spoken by the Dean, Martyn Percy: “I was despairing, because I felt that actually you would want your bishop to be a person of courage and integrity, somebody who might actually stand up against, pardon the expression, the forces of darkness and oppression, and he just colluded with them.”

Well, the Bishop didn’t pardon the expression and called in his lawyers against the Cranmer blog — though not against The Times. He decided to pick on the little guy, which is not a good look. And the bad blood between the Bishop and the now-former Dean has reached Trollopian proportions, complete with a colourful cast of poisonous featherbedded Dons and warring clerics, all weaponised by expensive lawyers and incompetent PR companies.

Read here


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