|Llandaff Cathedral with, inset, the Very Rev Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans|
After three days of deliberations (note the link comes under 'Politics'), the Electoral College of the Church in Wales failed to produce a bishop-elect or, as the Rev Peter Ould tweeted, the Church in Wales "couldn't quite bring itself to elect Jeffrey John as Bishop of Llandaff".
With Barry Morgan retired to his bunker his bench sitters were left to their own devices. They will have known that Jeffrey John's preferment had long been high on Morgan's political agenda and no doubt the facilitator would have been well aware of the former Archbishop's preference. His daughter is diocesan Registrar and his wife a former priest at the Cathedral. But which preference? The advancement of feminism or the acceptance of homosexuality on a par with God's plan for procreation?
The Dean of St Albans has had a rough time. With little or no honour in the Church today, Jeffrey John decided not take up the post of Bishop of Reading because of the "damage" his consecration might cause to the "unity of the Church". With hindsight, what unity? As an open, celibate pastor he fulfils the requirements of the Church of England when others have blatantly ignored the rules. The recent defeat in Synod of the motion to take note of the House of Bishops report, Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations (GS 2055) and subsequent commentary provide testimony to that.
The former Archbishop of Wales made it quite clear many years ago that he saw no objection to someone in a homosexual relationship becoming a bishop in the Church in Wales (CinW). The first divorcee, part of the CinW 'mafia', was appointed by Barry and his bench sitters. If he were still Archbishop no doubt he would have engineered his hat trick after the appointment of 'the best person to be a bishop' despite her obvious failings to the see of St Davids. My only reservation is that Dean John came Out4Marriage, ie, same sex marriage offering so much baloney in the Barry mould that one wondered if his judgement had become impaired.
The Church has moved on, as the establishment sees it, so John's treatment looks increasingly harsh. If he were willing to take on Llandaff, the best of luck to him. Anyone willing to sort out the mess created by Dr Morgan deserves praise and prayers.
The problem for the bench sitters is that spirituality has become secondary to political correctness and business management as they struggle to keep the ship afloat. Should they opt for the gay agenda or continue to advance the feminist cause? We can be assured that in the forthcoming "wide-ranging consultation of both the laity and the clergy from across the Church in Wales" MAE Cymru women will be screaming the loudest.
Like Violet Elizabeth Bott they can scream and scream until they are sick. The bench sitters will no doubt ignore the consultations and do as they please, just as they did with previous farcical consultations. Pray that they get it right for once.
An interesting report has appeared in Christian Today: Leading Gay Cleric Jeffrey John Narrowly Rejected As Bishop In Wales.
Despite the secrecy of the locked-doors policy it has emerged that Dr John was "narrowly rejected" for the post of Bishop of Llandaff. Dr Morgan's final address as Archbishop to "urge the Church to rethink its stance on LGBT couples" increasingly looks like an election address. Both John and Morgan have attempted to re-interpret our traditional understanding of the Bible to justify their cause.
Llandaff has the reputation of having a strong gay presence so the "strong support he received among local clergy and parishioners in the largely liberal diocese" comes as no surprise.
Being a celibate gay cleric is one thing, trying to change people's attitude to the sacrament of Holy Matrimony is quite another.
One mistake in Llys Escob is enough. The diocese doesn't need another.
Bishop of Llandaff – appointment process. Provincial press release here.
Llandaff Diocesan Profile and Person Specification for Bishop of Llandaff, and a note on the provincial perspective, may be found here.
In addition to the Diocesan Profile and Person Specification, interesting reading on the state of our diverse society can be found here.