That most underrated American James Durante once complained he was so hard pressed that if anything happened to him he wouldn’t be able to worry about it for two weeks. If you, too, dear reader, are currently booked up solid with worries, be warned: this is a somber column. If you don’t like the idea, skip all but the final few lines.
First, some forthright remarks about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity were uttered by Bishop Patrick Rodger of Manchester. As one would expect from the fifty-seven-year-old Scot who so nearly became WCC general secretary in 1966, the bishop said it would be better not to pray for unity at all unless we think we have some part to play in bringing about the answer to prayer.
In another area, however, the bishop has shown himself opposed to courageous activity. Last fall he censured one of his clergy for allowing an American woman priest, the Reverend Alison Palmer, to celebrate communion in a parish church. Last month the same vicar again broke the rules by making his deaconess wife a concelebrant at communion.
Deaconess Phoebe Willetts has now told why, in an article carried by the church newsletter. She revealed that she is dying of cancer, and she spoke of her attempt during the past decade to discover what it meant to be a woman parish priest (though she cannot be so ordained). She had realized that “women must wake up and stretch themselves to discover their identity in Christ, and stop being what men expect them to be.”
Women, she continued, must learn to love men enough to stand up to them and challenge their way of running the church and the world. The feminine side of human nature was the missing element in the Church (of England), and that was why it was “so ...1
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