Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on bullied vicars, a stalemate war and the decline and fall of nookie

A report to the General Synod tells of bullying of clergy by lay office-holders, such as churchwardens or members of the parochial church council. No surprises there.

Cads in the cloisters?

As you may recall from The Barchester Chronicles, doing God's work has always attracted some fine people, but also some stinkers. According to the report, a number of priests have been hounded out of parishes which have a reputation for “breaking clergy".

Clearly, priests need to be protected from small-minded prats of the parish. On the other hand, some may be too sensitive for the job. For instance, one “bullying” complaint from a vicar involved a lay person who hid the key to the cupboard where the children's play materials were kept. Hardly a mortal sin, is it? I was reminded of the priest who described hearing confessions from nuns as “like being stoned to death with popcorn".