This morning I got handed a paper about the status of women written by one of the male retired priests in the church, who is well-known for being anti-women.  I am of course well-used to negative male reactions, although as a deacon I suffer less than my colleagues who are women priests, who are much more in the firing line from such people.

As I expected, the argument in the paper was familiar –  nasty, perverse, mean and blind. There’s an absolute absence of the kindness, generosity and love of God. I have gone back to Dorothy Sayers’ wonderful observations:

“Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man—there had never been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, who never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as ‘The women, God help us!’ or ‘The ladies, God bless them!’; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously, who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no ax to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unselfconscious.

She continues: “There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words of Jesus that there was anything ‘funny’ about woman’s nature.”

(Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women Human? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971), 47.)

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  1. Both sides of the argument as given here, are based on assumptions that the epistles and gospels [journalism] accurately report their society.

    Did/does the jaundiced priest have a wife (or partner)? Should he have, it might be worth knowing how the spouse has survived and if there is a behavioural interaction to be learned. Of course, it might be one that is not acceptable to the women in our society, let alone, church society.

    It does seem that many men who use trappings of power are afraid of the very powerful empathic and sympathetic qualities that are natural to women, who, it should be added, make up more than half our population. In this day and age, sad to say, there are still men only clubs they can frequent if that is what they prefer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do worry about his wife. Word is that he is now becoming so obsessive (he’s in his 80s, I think) that he’s not allowing her out of the house or to see her friends, which of course constitutes abuse. However, I need to check this out to see if it’s true. I’m fairly sure I saw his wife on her own this last Sunday … and people do love to speculate. Even so, I will check that the pastoral leaders are keeping an eye on it.


      1. Sounds like a plan Gilly. Not wishing to rationalise for his sentiments, as they do seem to be a long-standing feature of his make-up, the man’s mental and physical health may be an issue at the age of 80+. If not, then it may be possible to speculate that views have hardened with age and behaviours have become more obviously extreme.


  2. Well, I’m used to those arguments and I know where he’s coming from, and as he gets older he’s getting worse … I just think he’s going to have a shock when he gets to heaven and discovers there may be more women than men there!!! xx


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