Letter: Turbulent bishops

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The Independent Culture
Sir: What a shock for Clare Garner to be confronted, in the Nigerian Bishop Chukwuma, by a cleric who did not conform to the preferred English stereotype of a "nice" but ineffectual do-gooder who would seldom dare to disagree with a journalist, let alone wag a finger at one ("How I felt the wrath of a bishop", 6 August) - someone who would never have a real opinion but just utter a few meaningless and out-of-touch-platitudes.

This incident was symbolic of a culture clash that runs deep. It is fashionable to listen to the experience of representatives of the Developing World, but somewhat disconcerting when they say that the First World doesn't really want to hear and in a manner which is "just not cricket". How difficult. Should we just go back to a more imperialistic approach? It would make things so much easier.

What the Anglican communion has just done is something very brave of which liberal Western journalists should surely approve: it gathered together representatives of its organisation from all over the world to engage in a truly democratic consultative exercise in which the First World did not have unfair influence. But then, oh dear! They said all the right things about debt and lots of other issues but not about homosexuality. Oh well, at least it made for a good controversial front-page article which might make the church look a bit silly. Sigh of relief... we can indulge our prejudices against the church after all.

Canon JOHN INGE

Ely Cathedral

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