Thursday, September 04, 2008

Go and interfere somewhere else.

I returned home yesterday evening to a call from BBC asking if I had any positive comment I'd be prepared to make in an interview on the possibility of Dean Jeffrey John becoming the next Bishop of Bangor. I've not met the man, and only know how well thought of he is. So I couldn't really comment honourably, and didn't respond to the call. All I could say is that he is a Welsh speaker and that's of paramount pastoral importance to anyone leading a diocese in 'Welsh' Wales.

What annoys me is that no English media journalists seem interested in that concern. They act as busy bodies, stirring things up by suggesting that he's a candidate. It's like they are trying to influence the electoral process, to set an agenda which may have little to do with the diocese. They failed to influence the Lambeth conference process and will fail here too. Their lack of a proper mention of the candidate's language capability, reveals deep disregard for the pastoral reality of the situation. Media Wales editors either don't speak English properly or they don't understand an electoral process in which candidates are approached and asked if they'd be interested in being nominated. A process that is yet to begin. It's not the other way around. How this amounts to 'bidding' to become a candidate, when the word 'bid' means 'ask' escapes me.

Yes of course Jeffery John could jump up and down and say 'Please notice me' but if he has, where's the evidence? I thought he was busy being Dean of St Albans, with yards more clout than he might have up in Gwynedd. I'd be surprised if he had the energy for more exposure after that awful cruel debacle over the Reading job. It made me temporarily very ashamed to be an Anglican. For the media to play around with him like this is as abusive of him, as it is disrespectful of a diocese that has its own mind and pastoral concerns to follow.

The controversy made out of Archbishop Barry's statement that if a partnered gay man was the electoral college's (there are over forty electoral delegates in all) firmly preferred candidate, it would be his pastoral duty to remind them of the impact of their decision on the wider church as well as the needs of their diocese, and if they still agree to proceed, he'd have no problem about performing the ordination.

He has a key role in a self governing church, guaranteeing its constitution, elections included. He is the servant leader, voice of the church. He has with great courage stated that he's not prepared to abdicate this role. He is not going to wave his executive wand, and wield power like an episcopal monarch, a secular politician or a tycoon, as many of his episcopal fellow travellers are wont to do. There seems no respect for that, because, like Rowan's Lambeth conference process, it doesn't fit journalistic ways of thinking of life as all power games and confrontations.

Dredging people's intimate lives into the public domain for scrutiny and moral approbation offends me greatly, when they are steadily, quietly going about the business of being faithful and true to God, themselves, their partners and families. So many ordinary people don't care, don't want to know, but are happy to find hope and encouragement when they see them happy and successful in good personal relationships. It says so much about the lives and obsessions of those wannabe movers and shakers of opinion (including church leaders) who insist on forcing these issues into our faces.

Would that the media hounds would take as detailed an interest in those peddling drugs, running supply networks and peddling the opiates that are slowly debilitating and poisoning our nation, rather than messing with the lives of those dedicated to putting some serious meaning into our existence.

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