Tainted love


English: "Seen a strage ritual at Yasaka ...

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Whatever happened to the ‘tainted clergy’?  In the old days, if you were in any way a supporter of women as priests in the Church of England, you could find yourself in a very difficult situation, especially if you lived in a closed community where the dominant view was vehemently opposed to ‘priestesses’.

Attending an ordination of a woman to the priesthood was a most dreadful act and would deserve open shouts of derision, especially in ecclesiastical surroundings.  Participating in the ordination by stretching out your hand towards the ordinand, at the moment of her priesting, would demand that the opponent clergy cut you off totally, no matter how close a friend you may have been previously and no word would ever be uttered in your direction ever again.

You, my son, were now one of the ‘tainted’ and as such, a target for abuse, open disapproval and personal attack.  Such attacks were even more vicious than was meted out towards the ‘priestesses’ themselves.  You were a traitor and an outcast and not welcome any more.

However times move on and today many of these same stone-casters seem to have shifted their ground.  Some have moved their consciences and ecclesiologies, indeed their theologies and come to accept women in the priesthood.  Today they are able to maintain their previous cordial relationships with those who maintain their opposition to female priesthood and are invited to parties and cards are exchanged.  Today it is acceptable to change ones view, even if the motivation may be more pecuniary for some.  It is a good thing.  I am glad that they have become reasonable at last.

True there are little knots of spitefulness and chapters of hatred who are still besotted with vestigial tradition over plain Christ like love.  These kind of places are feeling the pip’s squeak these days and are jumping into bed with anyone who will listen to them; conservative evangelicals for example.  These odd bedfellows may still win the day at General synod, concerning women in the episcopate.  If they do, it will be a delay rather than a cessation and their days are numbered.

Many of the stone-throwers of old have recognised that their cause is lost and softened their attitude, learned to become more acceptable in public.  The men who poured forth their disapproval on the heads of their friends have learnt how to smile and embrace their friends whose opinions might differ.  The notion of the ‘tainted’ priest has, for them at least, gone.

However, those who were the first to ‘turn traitor’, they are never forgotten, not even by those who have learnt to change their public stance.  The cards and the invitations never arrive. Betrayal is something that is never forgiven and you, my son, are marked for life.

MrC

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4 Responses to Tainted love

  1. Robin Usher says:

    As one of the ‘tainted’ I was never subject to any abuse or ill-treatment, just simply marginalized. The strange thing is that now, when these things are much more widely accepted, I am still marginalized, even by the women members of the ordained establishment. Funny old world!

    • mrcatolick says:

      Robin, I am glad that you were not badly treated. The rejection, in whatever form, continues because people feel ashamed of how they were, but cannot bring themselves to try and ‘put it right’, maybe.

  2. UKViewer says:

    It just seems so un-Christlike, for clergy to treat each other in this way. I wasn’t in the church in 1992, so didn’t witness any of this. Although I accept that it went on and it’s repercussions are still felt by some today, Robin’s post bears that out, as does the witness of your posting.

    I’m not sure of the answer, just hoping that time will heal and that those responsible for treating others in this way will be healed and hold out a healing hand to those they’ve mistreated. Hope springs eternal…………..

    • mrcatolick says:

      I think this is the right attitude, and reflects the way I feel Christ wants us to be. Sin is a hard subject, and one particularly difficult because we are all sinners. Thank you for your comment.

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