|Llandaff Cathedral and the soon to be vacant again Deanery?|
Many of the comments received in response to entries in this blog have been about the problems besetting Llandaff Cathedral, latterly as the result of Archbishop Barry Morgan's appointment of his former Chaplain as Dean.
Dean Capon has his admirers as well as his critics. My view is largely one of sympathy for someone who lacked the necessary experience and seniority to be catapulted into a role for which he was not qualified. To his credit he stepped in when asked, inheriting problems not of his creation when others declined.
How long the Dean will survive after the enthronement of bishop June Osborne is a question many have been asking. One commentator suggested that the Dean would be promoted to Assistant Bishop in the Autumn. This was later withdrawn as a joke; however, it tied in with other rumours that the new bishop had plans to resolve the difficulties in which traditionalists find themselves because they are unable in conscience to accept the sacramental and pastoral oversight of women. In short, the bishop would promote Dean Capon to Assistant Bishop to care for traditionalists in her diocese.
Firstly, if true, to promote someone out of trouble is unacceptable but more importantly, an assistant to a female bishop would be representing a bishop who, in conscience, is regarded as unacceptable on theological grounds so that would not be a solution.
I also have a problem with the Dean's judgement, most recently in disclosing, in general terms, people's giving, and suggesting that the depth of someone's pocket along with a willingness to dig deep was an essential qualification for appointment as the Treasurer of the Friends of Llandaff Cathedral.
This was commented on by Lux Et Veritas under a previous entry, in response to a communication from the Dean following the death of Sir Donald Walters. Dissatisfaction continues to rumble on with further comments coming in from both sides.
Another potential problem for Llandaff Cathedral was identified in the Church Times disclosure that, using the Freedom of Information Act, Dr Jeffrey John had obtained partially redacted emails sent between the Welsh bishops in the run-up to the electoral college.
The emails reveal anxieties over the potential appointment of Dr John:
"An email dated 8 February, which appears to be from Bishop Davies, states: 'My instinct is that JJ’s stance on the matter of same-gender relationships and his own situation might be unwelcome to many in the Diocese who would suspect that Barry’s [the former Bishop of Llandaff and Welsh Primate, Dr Barry Morgan] evident liberal agenda was being perpetuated by his election. It would probably do the perception of the Bench, at home and elsewhere, no particular good either'. Personally, I also think that his election would be an immense distraction in the Province at the wrong time."
He also writes: "I am still of the view that JJ’s election could set off a media circus.” Returning to the state of the Llandaff diocese he wrote: “Whilst neither sexuality nor age are conclusive factors here, I think that the depth of problems in Llandaff has yet to fully emerge. . . Getting to grips with all this, becoming known and trusted and turning things around will take a deal of time, possibly more than JJ has given his age.”
The bishop of St Asaph appears to be more sanguine in his response adding weight to the suggestion from some quarters that it was he who had spoken with Dr John in the row about Electoral College confidentiality, something Dr John chose to ignore in the interests advancing his own candidature.
Regardless of one's views on the matter, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon simply mirrored the conclusion reached previously when Dr John was a candidate, latterly for Monmouth.