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Benefit of clergy

One of my godparents trained for the priesthood, but as soon as he came into money he decided that it was not to be his vocation, and recanted his vows and chucked it in. He did however have a lot of friends from that time, so my family got to know some quite well. My mother and aunt with whom I lived said that all of their men friends were either Clergymen or gay. Or both. Since we lived in the Kemp town part of Brighton, which is in fact the gay capital of England, I suppose this is not too much of a surprise. 

My godfather’s closest friend from that time had been in South Africa, where he had been offered a Bishopric, but he had declined instead choosing to return to the UK and become vicar at St. Albans, Holborn. This particular appointment was more than it seemed as traditionally the vicar of this church also is ex officio advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury on matters relating to the High Church. His church was very “High” Instead of an organ they had an Orchestra, anytime you crossed the nave you had to cross yourself and genuflect, when the communion line stopped for a full rail, all the people in line had to wait on one knee. The procession usually consisted of thirteen celebrants, one of whom swung a censer with so much incense in it that anyone could have smoked anything and it wouldn’t have been noticed! 

Of course the attraction for someone of the priest’s inclination was that they had different robes for virtually every occasion, and got off on changing garments, a lot of which were (for a priest!) quite dashing. I always relaxed about him secure in the knowledge that although he had a curate that he referred to as “Maude”, a couple of colleagues who were also referred to by distaff nicknames, and he casually threw out “Gladys” (Which to be fair was a pseudonym in quite common usage!) when mentioning the then Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, that I had been told that he was much too responsible to make a pass at me as I was a child of friends, and a minor to boot!

You see he was an Anglican! 

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