One of the great shames of our drab age is that so few people any longer match up to their old group-stereotypes. Scotsmen are nowadays so very rarely mean. Frenchmen, lamentably, seem no more amorous than Germans. Swedes are invariably stunted, plump, and swarthy. But one human subgroup bucks this sad trend by its gutsy determination to justify its cartoon image: lawyers, with their age-old reputation for avarice.
As you will remember, a curious suggestion started to circulate that clergy joining the Ordinariate should resign their Orders. This has never been suggested previously to clergy leaving the C of E for another communion, so I suspected that it must have something to do with the new Clergy Discipline Measure. Apparently, it doesn't. I have been reading the document now circulated by the Church lawyers; they make no claim that their proposal results from any change in the law.
These lawyers are obviously sensitive chappies, for they have now grasped the possibility that a priest who is cluttered up with wives and children and isn't yet quite sure where his next bed and pay cheque are coming from might be less than enthusiastic about finding lawyers' fees for a legal transaction which encumbers him with no manifest advantage. So they are now recommending to the dioceses that they should meet the fees inherent in this jolly little earner! Sheer magic! You couldn't have invented that, could you?
It will be diverting to see if any of the Anglican diocesans do fall for this delightful con. If so, I imagine that the Nigerian Widows, who so often crowd into our Spam email boxes with their endless offers of trouble-free dosh, will soon be queueing up too for a share in this evidently boundless episcopal largesse. Con-artists of the World Unite ...