Canon Woolley’s Revenge

There have been several burglaries in Cambridgeshire churches recently.

The Cambridge Evening News reports that at Holy Trinity Church, Balsham, £1,000 worth of damage was done. That is sad, and the parishioners of Balsham must be upset. However, as many householders know, far more than £1,000 worth of damage can be, and often is, done by burglars.

The reaction to the burglary of Canon Francis Woolley, Rector of Balsham, is both intemperate and unbecoming. He is quoted as stating, “They are probably drug addicts looking for money, but if you ask me they should be shot.”

One would expect a more moderate view from a senior priest, and also one would expect much more care when speaking to the press.

Does the Rector of Balsham really believe that those who are unfortunate enough to be drug addicts should be shot, or should execution be only for those who do £1,000 worth of damage and are drug addicts?

Several years ago Canon Woolley signed the Inclusive Church petition. One cannot help but feel a sense of irony. Perhaps the Rector believes that drug addicts who do damage to churches should not be included in the Church, they should, instead, be shot.

Will the Diocese of Ely issue a more moderate statement, or is the view of this Honorary Canon of Ely Cathedral the last word from a church authority on the matter? One would hope that the Bishop, or the Archdeacon, would now issue a more sensible balanced comment.

Canon Woolley’s foolish comment cannot surely be ignored by the church hierarchy.



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