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Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Church of England

It is a familiar dilemma. We visit one of the splendid cathedrals that grace the cities of England, a towering triumph of the masons' art. There can be no question of a fee to enter such a place of worship, but bills are bills, so there is a 'recommended donation' of so much per visitor to help with the fierce running costs. The undecided hand lingers in the pocket, fingering cash. Thousands we would gladly give to ensure the longevity of the majestic medieval monument, but we suspect that £9.50 of our tenner will be spent not  on the building itself but on some sinecure's salary. We are  reminded of the bickering at the synod, the hotel bills and first class rail fares for those attending the quarrelsome meetings, the whole burdensome apparatus of ecclesiastical administration. The fingers close resolutely on the crumpled note, and we pass into the building, our money still our own.

And the Church itself does little to dispel the image of a bloated bureaucracy. I overheard a guide say that Norwich cathedral had over a thousand bosses, as if it were something to be pleased about. On the bright side, it seems that, thanks in part to my interventions, the Church has at last started to unlink the shackles of sexism that have for so long prevented modernisation. The guide went on to say that among the bosses men and women were represented in almost equal number. No glass ceilings there then.

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