There is a Meejah story about a one-time evangelical chanteuse called Vicky Beeching who has disdained Holy Order in the Church of England because that body is insufficiently appreciative of her rather unevangelical Lesbianism, about which she has just ... yes, you guessed correctly ... written a book.
The Sunday Times has a jolly picture of her, clad ut videtur in her shiny leathers, standing in front of and with her back to an altar which (from what one can see of it) is stylistically Early Renaissance, with six candles on it and an apparently red hanging lamp. The statue above the altar may be of the Sacred Heart. One can't quite be sure.
It all seems rather unevangelical, unless the Evangelicals have changed a lot since I left the C of E, but I suppose the implicit narrative that she has turned her back on the Love of the Incarnate Word may be thought by some people to have a certain suitability. I won't enter into that debate.
I hope permission was duly sought by the journalists concerned for this use of the Church.
Perhaps the Church concerned should receive a share of the royalties on the book.
I do in fact know which Church Beeching chose for her photoshots that are being used to publicise her book. It is a Catholic Church; a Catholic Church with notices up forbidding photography.
Beeching's quarrel is with the Church of England; in which, apparently, it has been made clear to her that if she were admitted to Holy Orders, she would be expected to be chaste. This is hardly a remarkable stipulation; the only objection I would make would be to the apparent assunption that chastity is something which is not also required of the Laity. This seems to me a mind-blowingly exaggerated form of corrupt and over-the-top Clericalism. However, no longer being a member of the Church of England, I would be open to fair criticism if I started laying down the law about how that apostate body should conduct itself. But surely I cannot be criticised for objecting to a member of that institution deciding to use a Catholic Church for her ill-judged exhibitionism and her advocacy of activities and lifestyles which Christ and His Church condemn. Is it not, at the very least, terribly bad manners?
I have rather wondered if the reason might be that, had she turned up in S Paul's or in Westminster Abbey and started to mess around with her photographers, "Security" would undoubtedly have intervened.
Or is it simply that, for these sad ideologists who promote disordered genital activity, the Catholic Church is the natural, indeed, prescriptive, object of hatred?
Final frivolous passing thought: couldn't Beeching and her photographic crew go off and do stuff in some Kremlin Church, under the immediate and watchful eye of Vladimir Vladimirovich? One could then at least respect their courage. And the aftermath would be real publicity! Just think how sales would rocket!
19 June 2018
UPDATE ON BEECHING
Posted by Fr John Hunwicke at 09:52
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I met an Evangelical priest at Smaggers once. He had the biggest clerical collar I've ever seen, but had no qualms about wearing a gold dalmatic for Holy Saturday. In my more naive moments I even wondered what attracted him to an Anglo-Catholic church. These two things might help to illustrate how much Evangelicals have changed since your time in Old Ma' Damnable, father.
In news reporting, as distinct from photography for commercial purposes, you can get away with a lot. If there is no-one there to stop you physically, the rule is "Get the story, get the photograph."
The photographer Edwin Smith (as recounted by Robert Elwall in Evocations of Place, his monograph on Smith's work) faced an exhausting task persuading deans and chapters of English cathedrals to allow him to take his view-camera and tripod inside and set it up for the half-hour exposures he often needed in dim light. By contrast, I was in York in March and went into York Minster with my camera; I asked what the procedure was to request permission to take photographs for personal use [which was enforced in the old days]. The steward just laughed and said "We don't worry about that any more", pointing to the scores of tourists snapping away. The York Minster website states that commercial photography is subject to the terms of a licence, but I don't know how that can be enforced in practice.
Any relation to the Beeching who destroyed our national rail service?
And there's me looking forward to reading your views on rural branch lines, Father. Clickbait - j'accuse!
You say that this songwriter has been cold-shouldered by her own church and ought to be driven out of ours too - how sad! I know we are all meant to be very patrimonial nowadays and resist the classicizing tendencies, but if you are really so against her use of the Sapphic and Alcaic metres (she may be just a beginner!), then instead of carping away from the back-benches, why don't you take it on yourself, as a schoolmaster, to teach her some new ones? I'm sure even the impeccably tasteful C of E couldn't object to a few sonorous Leonines!
I vote we all club together and get her a subscription to "Vates", by way of example.
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