With a quite stunning mixture of ill-informed history, misunderstood theology and obtuse sociology1 But I thought that Barry Gardiner (Brent North, Labour) said something that was, exceptional to the debate, perceptive:

Two or three years ago, on Christmas eve, my wife and I went into our local church to celebrate midnight mass, and there was a woman celebrating. I have to say, she gave one of the worst sermons I had ever heard. It was dreadful. As we got into the car after the service, I turned to my wife and said, “You know, that was really quite inspiring.” She looked at me and said, “Are you mad? That was one of the worst sermons I have ever heard.” I said, “Yes, but just think—25 years ago, could we ever have imagined that we would be sitting in a conservative evangelical parish on Christmas eve listening to a woman priest give just as bad a sermon as any man? That is progress.” We went forward that Christmas eve with a renewed sense of faith, joy and possibility.

Amen!

  1. I’m talking about you, Frank Field and you, Diana Johnson. []