Wednesday, February 18, 2004

It Could Be Worse

Whatever trendy bright idea your parish featured last Sunday, never fear, it could be worse. Last Saturday at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, it was. It included this cutting edge gathering:

Last Saturday must have been a difficult day for St Paul. His cathedral, still covered in patches of scaffolding like pins supporting badly broken legs, was teeming, inside and out, with women in dog collars. In the crypt, an hour before the grand celebration of the tenth anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood, there were women priests of every description: fifty-something tiggywinkles with thick NHS spectacles; red-cheeked 30-year-olds, their clerical collars just visible above green fleeces; Laura Ashley skirts and sensible slip-ons mixed with smart black trouser suits and high heels. Exciting rarities included a very tall woman in black breeches waving a walking stick decorated with feathers; one with bright red hair and piercings; an octogenarian with a pink-rinse wig, and a pregnant priest in a brown velvet trouser suit. In the ladies loo, surrounded by an alarming gridlock of gossiping clerics, a black woman sang hymns as she combed her hair in the gust of hot air from the hand-dryer. Inside the cathedral, under the vast central dome, there was the usual Anglican mix. In front of me sat a female vicar, her bossy bust pointed altar-wards, beside me a retired army officer preened his moustache. As female clergy from all over England processed in from the Dean’s Aisle, one crop-haired woman pulled off a pair of round, pink sunglasses and hooked them on to the front of her surplice.

A short prayer of thanksgiving for Pope John Paul II and Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is in order.

The rest of the article - if you can stand it - is in the latest number of The Spectator.