Thursday, 1 July 2010

Away with the Piskies?

Some celtic craziness from tomorrow's Church of England Newspaper - report by George Conger
"THE DEAN of Glasgow has called upon alumni of St Andrews University to protest the appointment of the Bishop of Durham, Dr NT Wright, as Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity by withholding financial support from the Scottish University.
Appointed Bishop of Durham in 2003, on April 27, 2010 Dr Wright announced he would retire on Aug 31 to take up the academic post at St Andrews.
Writing on his website, the Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, said he was “ashamed of St Andrews University” for appointing Dr Wright.
“It is hard to think of a more divisive figure to appoint. I don’t think it is to the credit of a modern university to appoint staff with such ghastly antigay views,” said Mr Holdsworth, a leading gay clergyman and activist in the Scottish Episcopal Church.
He stated the university regularly solicited funds, but the “answer from now on could not be clearer.
No extra funding for a university that appoints antigay figures to prominent positions. I hope other alumni will keep their hands firmly in their pockets and when the call comes for money, just say no.”
The Scottish Episcopal Church needed to be an institution “which does not do active harm to others.”
Bishop Wright’s statement that he would “discipline any members of the clergy in his diocese who entered into a partnership puts him firmly in the category of those who would harm others,” Mr Holdsworth said.
A spokesman for St Andrews University told the Scotsman the charges proffered by the dean were “unsubstantiated and unfair and Bishop Wright is fully supportive of, and committed to, our policies on preventing discrimination.
“Like every committed believer, whether they are Presbyterian, Roman Catholic or Muslim, Tom Wright, as an Anglican, will inevitably be associated with the official views identified with his religious affiliation.
“If we were to exclude all such people then universities would become highly exclusive – when they ought to be the one place where differing views can be freely held, expressed and challenged,” the university spokesman said.
Dr Wright is presently on retreat, a diocesan spokesman said, and unavailable for comment."
Most people would think the Scottish Episcopal Church (former proprietor Richard Holloway) is remarkably fortunate to have such a distinguished biblical scholar as Dr Wright in its midst. What are the chances, though, of his preaching in Glasgow's St Mary's Episcopal cathedral? Or, indeed, wanting to?
As for the university funding issue, just how big is the Scottish Episcopal Church these days? Like our own dear province of the Anglican Communion, somewhat slimmed down, I suspect, numerically as well as theologically and in terms of its wider influence in society.
More and more, I'm of the opinion that churchmen who make statements like that of the Provost of Glasgow (can this really be true?) are actually clinically insane, only not as insane as those responsible for appointing them to positions of such authority and influence in the first place. Ecclesiastical 'liberals' and freedom of thought and expression? Don't make me laugh.
Thanks to the CEN for that little glimpse of the future.


  1. Actually, I don't claim to be an ecclesiastical liberal at all. (Nor a libertarian, which may be what you really mean).

    In these parts I'm usually thought of as a rather spiky Catholic.

  2. Thanks for stopping by!
    No, what I mean is that 'liberalism' historically has usually implied a certain 'liberality' which (of course, I may be a little jaundiced about this)doesn't seem to be mirrored in its contemporary ecclesiastical incarnation.


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