A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Press gets its vicars in a twist

The British press, particularly the downmarket Sun, has never really understood the workings of the Christian Church. Now that we live in an increasingly secular world, knowledge of the Church is virtually non-existent now. To the Sun any person in a clerical collar is a "vicar" regardless of the fact. If they are told that person is a bishop, they may recognise that. But mostly it's vicars to the Sun.

Now a vicar is only a title for a priest who has a living (a parish) usually set in an urban setting. Originally a vicar received tithes that were lesser tithes, that is not ones directly obtained from agricultural crops. That was a rector's benefit in kind! To the Sun a vicar is a vicar even if he is a rector, curate, chaplain, deacon, or non-stipendiary minister.

So it is with great shock that the Sun announces that "vicars" are joining the BNP. I've heard of no such thing. But the loosely-worded paper thinks otherwise. They keep calling the self-styled "Rev" Robert West a vicar. He isn't even in the Church of England. He joined a sect called the Apostolic Church and is now a wandering preacher or an independent cleric. They also announced that the Rev John Stanton was a vicar. Again, no such thing. He is another independent cleric running the Rock Dene Christian Fellowship in Rochford, Essex.

The press has little clue as to how to address the clergy. They have more than no knowledge about the titles of priests and they keep on using the term "vicar" with all the acceptance of the hatch, match and dispatch brigade. I accept that they live in this world as it is, but I do not accept that it is right to call people vicars when they are palpably not. I could well say that a BNP blogger was a newspaper editor and go round saying that lots of newspaper editors had joined the BNP. It would be nonsense, of course. I know it. It's a pity the Sun doesn't!


Post a Comment