The Anglican Clergy (or, more specifically, the Anglican Catholic Clergy?), as everybody knows ... well, to be specific, as the Anglican Clergy know ... are ... no ... were the best educated, most learned in the world. I correct my tenses, because nowadays priestly formation in the C of E has taken a nose dive. The financial mismanagement ... the stock market misjudgements ... the sale of valuable property at the bottom of the market ... has precipitated a financial crisis in which clergy, and clergy training, can no longer be paid for. Laity may say the the old prayer "God give us priests, give us holy priests", but the bishops pray "God, give me fewer priests, give me cheaper priests". The ordination of the almost entirely untrained, often the retired who have a solid income, and especially of women at a loose end who've mislaid a husband or two along the way (so many women in irregular unions fancied themselves as priests that the rules were changed) and feel like a hobby activity, preferably one which will give them an excuse to interfere in other people's affairs, is now seen as the way ahead as far as staffing is concerned. Taking a young man from University ... especially a good one ... and giving him a thorough residential training and formation ... is the very last thing a Father in God has in mind, as he sits down with his generously configured bureaucracy to work out the next scheme for managing decline (these schemes invariably have incredibly sexy names like "Moving on in Mission and Ministry"; I'm collecting such titles and would be grateful for contributions ... genuine contributions ... remember, this business has gone beyond parody ... R C contributions would also be of interest).
Back in the Sixties, it took me seven years to attain the diaconate. Mods, Greats, Hon School of Theology, GOE, for those who know the old terminology; in other words, Latin and Greek language and literature; Ancient History; Ancient and Modern Philosophy; Biblica; Patristica; Moral Philosophy; Liturgy; Pastoralia. The last three of these years were in a seminary with a traditional daily structure: Mattins, Meditation, Mass, Lectures, Evensong, Social Time, Night Prayers, Greater Silence.
Roman Catholic readers will have noticed a particular lacuna in that lot: Canon Law. Traditionally, the Anglican clergy have not received a training in Canon Law; I know that RC clergy do, and that that is one of the big cultural differences between us. The usual RC practice of selecting bright young men for a fast track to episcopacy on the grounds of a doctorate or two in Canon Law is incomprehensible to Anglicans. Mind you, when I was in training the Anglican Canon Law had just been overhauled in the Primacy of an ex-Public-School headmaster called Geoffrey Fisher, who believed in Discipline and whose motive had been to put in place structures enabling bishops to suppress iniquitous activities like the use of the Roman Rite and the extra-liturgical cultus of the Blessed Sacrament. Such things as Canon Law were best put out of mind.
That is why my query this morning was going to be addressed to R C clerical readers, if there are any, because they know their Canon Law and most Anglicans don't ... but this proemium has overrun its natural span. The substantive query will have to come tomorrow.