Roger M. Kaye
A retired physicist reinvented as thriller novels writer

Something to Sing About?

I Would Sing All Day If I Lived Here (Free for Use Photo by Enrique Hoyos from Pexels)

We were relieved to learn that the reports of the Pope ogling naked young women’s Facebook pages were false and that he is hard at work tending to his flock.

We do not know the United Kingdom’s Archbishop of Canterbury’s taste in women but were surprised to hear that he is taking a sabbatical for “spiritual renewal”.

Many are questioning whether this is the right time to take a paid holiday. With society facing unprecedented challenges as the pandemic sweeps the globe, we would expect the Archbishop to be at the forefront of efforts to help parishioners in need of spiritual comfort and advice. Instead, he will spend his holiday in his six-bedroom house in Normandy, France. It is not clear who will be occupying the other five bedrooms. Perhaps the Pope has some recommendations.

If Archbishop feels that he is unable to do the job he is being paid for, perhaps resignation would have been a better, more moral, option.

The Church of England has two archbishops: the archbishop of Canterbury, who is known as the ‘primate of All England’, and the archbishop of York, who is the ‘primate of England’. This rather confusing situation was created in the 14th century.

Here in Israel we have similar situation; there are two chief rabbis: an Ashkenazi chief rabbi and a Sephardi chief rabbi.

We are reminded of the song by Flanders & Swann, The Gas Man Cometh – It All Makes Work for the Working Man to Do.

But why, you may ask, are there two archbishops? It dates back to the year 664 CE when the two kinds of Christianity were fighting with each other over several issues. Most importantly they could not agree when Easter should be celebrated. After a meeting at Whitby Abbey, they finally agreed that the Archbishop of York would take ecclesiastical control of the North of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury would take ecclesiastical control of the South of England.

The archbishop of Canterbury has his main residence in Lambeth Palace in London. He also has a residence in the Old Palace, in Canterbury, conveniently located next to Canterbury Cathedral. The official residence of the archbishop of York is Bishopthorpe Palace in the village of Bishopthorpe some distance from York itself.

But what do these archbishops actually do? How do they justify their large salaries and comfortable palaces?

The Archbishop of Canterbury has six main jobs:
He is the Diocesan Bishop of Canterbury and oversees more than 825,000 people and 270 parishes. As Primate of All England he heads the Church of England.

As leader of the Anglican Communion he leads 38 provinces in communion with the Diocese of Canterbury. There are about 70 million members around the world.

He is the Metropolitan for the Southern Province of the Church of England and looks after the bishops and clergy in southern England.

In his ecumenical role he looks after the Anglican family of other Christian churches in both the United Kingdom and abroad. And in his Inter faith role the Archbishop leads Anglican relations with other faiths.

Yes, but what does he do?

Perhaps we should look at the Archbishop of York. He is also, we are told, a busy man.
He has the same jobs as the Archbishop of Canterbury but oversees dioceses in northern England.

So, what does he do?

Another song comes to mind – When Wellington thrashed Bonaparte, As every child can tell, The House of Peers, throughout the war, Did nothing in particular, And did it very well. (W.S.Gilbert – Iolanthe, ACT II)

It is clear that the archbishop of Canterbury has plenty of time on his hands and can afford to take his much-needed sabbatical, and keep himself in good spirits.

So now we know what an archbishop, living in a palace, does to warrant their high position and large salary – almost nothing, but they do it very well.

About the Author
The author has been living in Rehovot since making Aliya in 1970. A retired physicist, he divides his time between writing adventure novels, getting his sometimes unorthodox views on the world into print, and working in his garden. An enthusiastic skier and world traveller, the author has visited many countries. His first novels "Snow Job - a Len Palmer Mystery" and "Not My Job – a Second Len Palmer Mystery" are published for Amazon Kindle. The author is currently working on the third Len Palmer Mystery - "Do Your Job".
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