Now that the last Lambeth Lambada is over and the merry throng have been herded back to wherever it is they’ll spend the next ten years grumbling about the Church that has just fed and watered them better than the average parishioner will ever receive in return for their faithfulness, the Archbishop of Canterbury and his inner circle will be feeling relieved to be able to get back to not doing whatever it is that they don’t do for the other nine years and fifty weeks of every decade.
Yet has anyone else noticed how quiet Big Pete Akinola and Little Pete Jensen have been during the past fortnight? Bishop Bobby Duncan managed to grab a few headlines by going public with his dreams of becoming the Grand Poobah of Orthodox North America, but not even this incited Pete & Pete into breaking their new vow of silence. Naturally the peace and quiet won’t last, but there are very interesting reasons behind it.
In Big Pete’s case it’s because he’s been forced to attend more closely to matters at home, and these have had him busier than a one-armed man with crabs. You might be fooled by the smiling faces of Akinola’s clergy, but he isn’t, and there’s no shortage of Nigerian Bishops who are downright bitter at having been forced to miss out on the greatest Anglican rort of them all. Even if they share a cultural fondness sympathy with Big Pete’s psychotic homophobia, since they’re not as fixated as he is on the issue (is anyone?) it certainly doesn’t fill the void caused by their having missed a few weeks respite from the peaceful and bountiful embrace of regional Nigeria.
Little Pete Jensen’s uncharacteristic hush is more complex. Despite buzzing around dear old England like a mosquito in the weeks leading up to ++Rowan’s party, all of a sudden his profile shrank like cotton-candy in hot water. Some speculated this was because the Australian government had refused him re-entry while the Pope was in town, since no country could cope with those two egos in the same place at once, but I think the problem went deeper than that.
In fact sources close to him say the Mouth from the South has actually been terrified Canterbury would follow through on threats of an Anglican Covenant, and wanted to keep as low a profile as possible while that particular stick was being tossed around. Sure, if it ever got passed, a Covenant would stop Episcopalians from enthroning people of Bishop Robinson’s calibre, and just might specify that in the future Bishops are always equipped with a more-or-less functioning penis, but from the Jensen family’s perspective these are secondary to the fact that they know they’d be the first to lose their heads should an Anglican Magisterium ever start holding court.
This is because lay presidency and blatant border hopping – unlike the installation of Bishops – isn’t a one-off event, but a weekly affair that having been let out of the bag that not even the combined forces of Little Pete’s entire family could ever put pack in: when you ordain every loose fundamentalist canon you find it must eventually occur to you that one might very easily emit enough sparks to ignite the packet of fireworks you’ve been keeping in your trouser pocket.
Little Pete may be urging everyone else to abandon their vows and set up shop in imaginary-Sees, but he’s not silly enough to do it himself. And he’s well aware that if the Covenant had been passed he might not have had any choice in the matter.
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.