10 October 2019, The Tablet

Lifting the banns?


Heart and Soul: Husbands and Priests
BBC world service

If nothing else, Blanche Girouard’s tactful account of the rise of the married priest (6 October) was big on statistics. Did you know, for example, that the minister/flock ratio in an average West European Catholic parish is 1:1,300, whereas along the Amazon it can be as high as 1:17,000? Or that between 400 and 500 married Anglican priests have taken advantage of the transfer scheme initiated by Pope Benedict?

One of the latter was Jeff Woolnough, incumbent of a church in Southend-on-Sea, who had flown the C of E coop after the admission of women bishops. It was his wife, Julia, Fr Jeff admitted, who gave his ministry its sheen, got him out of bed in the small hours to administer succour to the dying, and provided a settled domesticity beyond the resources of a single man.

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