One is, I think, allowed a surreptitious glance across the Tiber from time to time – especially when the view is instructive or entertaining.
Entertainment came recently by means of an article in The Guardian (where else?). There, according to its correspondent, we learned that Dean Jeffrey John, the gay marriage activist, has been turned down for seven bishoprics in the last seven years,
This mitre-a-minute record leads one to wonder at the supposedly confidential proceedings for the selection of Anglican bishops (which is clearly operating with a very narrow field of candidates); and to wonder why Dean John is so convinced that his failure to gain preferment is down to his gay credentials.
To be turned down for one job might be considered a misfortune…but when a persistent pattern emerges, ‘homophbia’ is probably not the only explanation. It is certainly not the case that gay clergy are routinely disappointed by the Church of England appointments system.