The Anglican Church is in big trouble, which can be summed up in two words: Lucy Winkett.
I’m not suggesting that this rector of St James’s church in Piccadilly is either the cause of the trouble or its sum total. Only that she’s its neat encapsulation.
To begin with, any woman seeking priesthood is ipso facto subversive as she’s spitting both at scriptural authority and 2,000 years of Christian tradition. And any Church ordaining women forfeits its claim to apostolic succession, in other words to being a Church. The best it can hope to be is a loose confederation of separate congregations, which is indeed what Anglicanism has become.
How do you address a female priest like Winkett? Suppose you go to confession (which is practised in Anglicanism, though not widely) and she’s on the other side of the curtain. What do you say?
“Father, forgive me…” flies in the face of both grammar and physiology. “Mother, forgive me…” might suggest that Miss Winkett is a Mother Superior, something that has been impossible ever since Henry VIII robbed and destroyed the monasteries.
Perhaps “Parent, forgive me…” would be in keeping with our fashionably hermaphroditic language recently cleansed of all masculine pronouns. Fine, Parent Winkett it is.
It has to be said that Parent Winkett spits at Christian tradition in more ways than just being a vicar. For the collective subversiveness of female priesthood practically guarantees that every female priest can be expected to be subversive personally. Parent Winkett doesn’t disappoint this confident expectation.
St James’s is known as the ‘New Age church’, and with good reason. Since I can say nothing about ‘New Age’ anything that hasn’t already been said about haemorrhoids, I’ve always given this church a wide berth.
Alas, a few weeks ago I attended a choral concert there, thinking that Britten’s music performed by good singers, one of whom is my friend, would be free of offensive potential. I was wrong.
For the small choir was led by an ineptly drawn caricature of a camp artiste whose musicianship went on to prove in short order that it’s not enough to be homosexual – one must also have talent.
But before I was exposed to that side of his personality, the caricature treated the public to a long speech extolling same-sex marriage and promising that 2013 would always be commemorated as the year in which that glorious institution was legalised.
For fear of offending my friend I waited until the interval to make my escape, rather than demonstratively walking out in the middle of the soliloquy. Later my friend assured me that the caricature wasn’t as bad as he looked, and anyway his speech, though admittedly misplaced at a concert, cast no aspersion on Parent Winkett who had no part in it.
The claim sounded dubious, considering the Parent’s history, the nature of her church and the fact that she’s the caricature’s lifelong friend and a singer in his choir. Her theology also failed to prove my friend’s case, for the Parent’s take on Christianity is rather peculiar.
In keeping with her church’s nickname she’s an ardent champion of throwing the cloak of Anglicanism over every occult and neo-pagan idiocy in God’s creation. Her current hobby is Gurdjieff’s theosophy, or rather Ennegram Personality Profiling Systems inspired by it, but she has many others as well.
St James’s has been known to celebrate Buddha’s birthday, and the day can’t be far when Mohammed’s follows suit. But the Parent knows that this sort of ecumenism on LSD has to be approached gradually, in incremental steps.
She made the next such step this Christmas, by decorating the church yard with a partial life-size replica of the wall that separates Israel from Palestinian terrorists. The write-up accompanying this eyesore says that the wall “is a daily disaster for ordinary Palestinian families”.
“We join with people of all faiths in praying for the day when the Wall will come down… The most unhelpful thing you can do is be pro one side; it just adds to the conflict. We have to not only understand those people who are oppressing us, but try to walk in their shoes, and ultimately to really engage with what it means to love our enemies.”
And so forth, all in the same semiliterate vein. The Parent, not being the sharpest tool in the box, doesn’t realise this, but refusing (or in this instance pretending to refuse) to take sides in a conflict between good and evil is in itself taking sides. And in Israel’s conflict with Palestinian terrorists no Christian, indeed no decent person, should have any trouble identifying which is which.
This is how a real Anglican describes the situation:
“Everyday life in Bethlehem and large parts of Judaea-Samaria is a daily siege. Palestinian protection rackets are rife, with $10,000 being extracted by Muslims from the… Christians, on pain of death… The owner of the region’s only Christian bookstore was recently abducted and murdered; Christian shops and schools are regularly firebombed; zealous Muslims picket colleges to intimidate Christian students into reading and studying the Qur’an… There are regular beatings of Christians, and Muslim gangs routinely seize Christian-owned land while the security forces just stand by and watch.”
On the other side of the conflict is Israel, a country that protects the rights of not only Christians but also Muslims, has a similar form of government to ours, shares our values and – for the strategically minded – is the bulwark in Christendom’s defence against Islam.
The wall, Parent, is there to prevent the Palestinians from murdering Israelis every day and encroaching on Israel’s right to exist. Given half the chance they’d do to Israel what they did to Lebanon after overrunning it: they systematically turned it first into a badly maintained public lavatory, then a bloodbath, then ruins.
One can understand that people who routinely murder Christians are closer to the Parent’s leftie heart than those who lovingly guard Christian sites and relics. After all, deep down she herself has to despise traditional Christianity. What’s really dear to her is every anti-Western pagan lunacy she can get hold of.
It’s hard to feel sorry for such people. But I do feel sorry for the Anglican Church being poisoned from within by the likes of Parent Lucy Winkett, in line to be the first female bishop.