Monday, 28 June 2010

Sense of humour failure?

The Llandaffchester Chronicles seems to have been attracting quite a lot of flak recently, if the comments left on the blog are any indication.
I don't really understand those who are afraid of satire; it's one of the very last means of expression left to the dispossessed. Perhaps that's the problem, anything less than unconditional surrender simply isn't good enough - see this reaction on the topic of the hour from our friends at WATCH (thanks to Ancient Briton for this)  In any case, aren't 'liberals' supposed to be in favour of complete freedom of expression and diversity of views? No? Dream on.
To be in a position of authority and be afraid of being laughed at is a sign of a very deep insecurity indeed. There is a serious issue here about the repressive, vindictive (and guilt-fuelled?) spirit which seems to be abroad in some parts of the revisionist Anglican world - look at TEC: the policy seems to be, if it tries to move litigate, if someone says something they don't like, shut them up and throw them out. At least it's not (yet) like that in Wales.
I'm also convinced that the 'establishment' (unlike their anonymous defenders) can't mind Llandaffchester too much; after all (so I'm told) they are highly intelligent, well educated, Private Eye reading adults with a good sense of humour; it would be odd if they were that thin skinned; besides, they can always console themselves that to be a target of satire is really a subtle form of flattery. The only worry I have is that it may be granting them a significance way beyond their importance.
But, Llandaffchester Chronicles -  whoever you are - keep up the good work!
(This is completely beside the point - but can there be effective [that is, funny] satire which actually supports the status quo? For those fevered loyalists worried by criticism, why not give it a go? Or is the genre just too distasteful for you?)


  1. Much of the content is intelligent and amusing, but it is marred by a wilful refusal to see any goodness or faithful purpose in any of the targets it caricatures. In fact the caricatures are often so perverse as to be unrecognisable. If we aspire to have sensitive leaders with a kenotic emphasis to their ministry, then of course they will be hurt by these comments. The latest blog is making out that one of the bishops is no better than dog-dirt (not the precise language employed in the blog!). If you were that bishop's family or friends, how would you feel about that? If you were being confirmed by that bishop, how would you feel about being confirmed by dog-dirt, notwithstanding St Paul going on about counting everything as refuse (again not the precise word used) for the sake of gaining Christ? Maybe the Chronicles have to take some of their own medicine or change the prescription.

  2. >>sensitive leaders<<
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
    Sensitive to their own needs and ambition, yes; sensitive to the needs of those not conforming to their new liberalism, no; they couldn't care less.
    If the caricatures are so perverse as to be unrecognizable, what is the problem? If you do recognize the characters, ask them why goodness and faithful purpose is not seen by them in their outcasts.
    I see no dog dirt but I and others like me are treated as such. If you or those you speak for feel hurt, join the club.

  3. Could trying to be witty with a dog stuck on top of a crosier could be taken as to suggest the symbols of episcopal authority are regarding by the holder as nothing less than dog mess? It’s all a question of perspective. The Bench’s provision for those who oppose their liberal agenda is certainly a dog’s dinner. Once again the liberals are shown to be extremely conservative in their humour.

  4. Spot the Difference

    From his official Church in Wales biographical notes:
    “Chiefly I come empty-handed, keen to listen, to learn and to affirm life in all its fullness.”
    From his two page, 12 point “Guidelines for a celebration of Baptism and Confirmation or a celebration of Confirmation led by the Assistant Bishop of Llandaff”:
    “… It would be helpful if a space for my car is reserved as near to the church as possible, and if the ordained person who will serve as my chaplain could be around to assist with carrying….

    …I prefer a bishop to look like a bishop, so will wear cassock, alb, stole, cope and mitre, all of which I will bring with me. Other clergy should wear alb and white stole or cassock, surplice and white stole…

    …The churchwardens should part before the chair and let me and my chaplain through before returning to their places. Once in my place, I will hand my staff and mitre to the chaplain, who will place them on the altar so that they form a visible focus….

    …Clearly these guidelines are not exhaustive….”

    Need I go on?

    Perhaps I am old fashioned in expecting a bishop to be recognisable for being a Godly and holy man. Instead, presumably finding no-one in Wales fit for the office of bishop, Archbishop Morgan imports a man with a dog on a stick determined to stamp his own authority in direct contrast to what he claims.

    I find ‘dog dirt’ an extension too far and I don’t read that intention, Anonymous. More important issues are at stake here. I would not want to have to contemplate members of my family “being confirmed by that bishop” or by any other bishop on the current bench now that they have separated themselves from the wider Holy Catholic and Apostolic church. That is the real problem that needs to be addressed.

  5. The guidelines, as you selectly quote them, seem suspiciously close to the format employed by C of E bishop's chaplains. The intention there is not to promulgate the self-importance of the bishop, but are essentially stage directions to make sure the confirmation runs smoothly, which seems a fair intention. Spending ages finding a parking spot after a significant journey, only to have to park three blocks away and then rush to the church carrying heavy robes is not the best preparation for the sacrament! But there again, your tone suggests you are out to humiliate your bishop rather than humble him. Perhaps the more salient question is to ask how did the confirmation go for which the instructions were issued?

  6. Selective of course, Anonymous, but for brevity not distortion with two pages of notes, most of which were irrelevant to the point being made.

    I entirely agree that such important events should run smoothly thus leaving a lasting impression on those present, but for the right reasons. Local custom is a better guarantee of that than unnecessary change. The notes may be relevant in England but the Ass + is now in Wales where he says: “Chiefly I come empty-handed, keen to listen, to learn and to affirm life in all its fullness.”

    I have no quarrel with the car parking point but to insist that an "ordained person who will serve as my chaplain could be around to assist with carrying…" is excessive when the only ordained person available is likely to be the run-off-his-feet Vicar. With the car parked at the church door the + would simply have to carry his bag down the aisle, although in my experience a churchwarden has been on hand to supervise the reception and carrying which I would have thought perfectly satisfactory in this liberal age.

    My intention was neither to humiliate nor to humble. It was simply to contrast the difference between 'intention' and practice in the light of the previous anonymous comment. Such differences have become a trademark of the Church in Wales.

  7. Of course as clergy we've never hosted confirmations in Wales before this particular bishop was imposed on us. We have never had to welcome a bishop to our parish before. So it was just great being patronised in this way. How did the confirmation go? Underwhelming is the best description - a sermon all about the funny tools he uses to be a bishop and very little about confirmation.

  8. If the bishop followed long established local custom in Wales and used the vestments provided by each parish he wouldn’t have to carry heavy robes. But he insists on promulgating his self-importance as a bishop by bringing his ‘look at me cope’. You can’t have it both ways.

  9. There's a story about Archbishop Michael Ramsey on tour in the Antipodes. He was about to enter Sydney Cathedral, preceded by his chaplain carrying his primatial cross, when the Dean cut across him, insisting that he remove his mitre, since wearing mitres was not the tradition of that low church diocese. Humbly Ramsey did as he was bidden, only to have the Dean then insist he remove his cope, since that too was not the tradition. Again Ramsey humbly complied. The Dean then asked Ramsey to dispense with his primatial cross and chaplain, again because such ceremony was alien to them. At this point Ramsey snapped and stuttered, 'Am I coming into this cathedral or am I not, am I coming into this cathedral or am I not, am I coming into this cathedral or am I not?'

  10. Perhaps like Germanus his loyalty to the wider Catholic Church over-rides local custom.

  11. The local church pays the fees - not the 'wider Catholic Church'.

  12. A bishop and his college of priests should be in but not of, taking their cue from our Lord. Implying that those who fund the ministry should set that ministry's agenda carries with it the dangers of an introspective congregationalism which has an inbuilt resistance to any sense of challenge and metanoia. Outword-looking congregations are bold enough to free up their priest to concentrate on the things of God, and then share what s/he finds, even if that message is uncomfortable and disturbing.

    It occurs to me that the guy this column is gunning for has been brought in to disturb you, and he is clearly succeeding!

  13. What pretentious piffle.

  14. He's an assistant bishop, so it's not his college of priests. He's there to play second fiddle to the diocesan.


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