Following the damaging and acrimonious issues regarding homosexuality and women bishops, the Anglican Church is facing yet another threat that could finally see the break-up of the episcopal polity into its component parts. Fears of a schism within the Anglican Communion have been raised after senior clergymen failed to reconcile differences between ‘leg’ and ‘breast’ men during a recent meeting of the General Synod.
Leading the dissenters is ‘breast man’ the Right Reverend John Hield, the 114th Bishop of Worcester, whose vocal condemnation of ‘leggy favouritism’ among the Anglican hierarchy has been making headlines in recent weeks. ‘Leg men are constantly being promoted over those of us who prefer our women a little bouncier’ he wrote recently. ‘Give me a low-cut blouse any day – mini skirts and such are all very well, but in my opinion being a leg man is one step up from being a foot fetishist.’
The cause of the breast camp has also been taken up by members of the African Communion, who have also levelled charges of unnatural predilections at their rivals after pro-gay campaigners publicly aired their support for the leg man faction. ‘Well, they would do, wouldn’t they?’ blasted the Most Revd. Dr. Samori O. Sisse, Archbishop and Primate of the Province of West Africa.
Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, who has found himself caught between the two mutually incompatible theologies, has called for calm and reconciliation: ‘Why can’t we all agree just to stand back and admire the full bodily form of God’s creations?’ he asked during a Thought for the Day broadcast of BBC Radio 4. However Dr. Williams has himself been condemned for failing to fully understand the complex issues that surround the argument and of sitting on the fence and failing to announce his own preferences. Forced to act, he has released the following statement: ‘I am neither a leg or a breast man, although I am rather partial to the parson’s nose.’
(Written 13 Nov 2009)