Today deacons, a couple of priests, and the other sixty or so soon-to-be priests met once more for instruction at Allen Hall. It was all about relationships; in particular, marital relationships and the law of the Church concerning marriage.
The Presidential Limo
On the way home, though, another relationship hove into view; not exactly a marital one, but a very special one for all that — the relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
So there we were, the Revd Deacon Jonathan Redvers-Harris and I, on top of a 211 bus. We had already been diverted along the side of Buckingham Palace, where there were rather bored looking policemen in yellow jackets every twenty yards or so. As our bus made its stately way down Victoria Street, towards the Abbey, it and all the other traffic jolted to a halt. Then across our path came police outriders, all manner of odd vehicles including an ambulance, and suddenly in their midst a great limo bedecked with a Union Flag (which some people wrongly call the Union Jack) and the flag of the U.S.A. It was, you may have guessed, our visitor on his way from Ireland, none other than the Taoiseach of the U.S., Mr O'Bama and his first lady. They were heading for Downing Street by back roads, in a rapid convoy. Progress was less rapid for us — indeed the delay meant that Fr. Jonathan will have arrived home on the Isle of Wight after 9 p.m., and although I narrowly caught the 5.35 from Waterloo to Brockenhurst, it was overfull. I had to sit on the floor for the first hour of the journey until half the train emptied at Winchester. But we shall not complain; after all, we were witnesses to a little moment in history, and the "essential" relationship (as we now must call it) between our two countries.
I hope perhaps the President will have learned, too, that he was part of an historic event — the preparation of former Anglican priests for the Ordinariate. I doubt if the Dean of Westminster will have told him that, besides being the place where William and Kate were hitched, the Abbey was also where I was consecrated first Bishop of Richborough. Perhaps I will have a chance to tell him another time.
Oh, and today we received the Ordinariate chasubles. I hope I may wear mine on Sunday, which is a little anniversary of my own – but more of that later. Meanwhile, Floreat the Essential Relationship!
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