Sin – A Modest Proposal


Let it never be said that the Church of England is lacking in leadership. Always looking ahead to the Big Issues of the day, and in doing so looking out for ourselves, we in the Church have identified a serious pandemic of Sin across the country. Worse, we, who pride ourselves on rooting out the Devil wherever he or they (sic) are lurking, have come to the unpalatable conclusion that the Church is the Fountainhead of all Sin.

Were we to be present among the congregations to do any absolving, rather than being huddled in our Synods and sabbaticals behind diocesan walls, we might have identified the mote in our eyes much earlier. History tells us that this is not the first time that the Church has been the leader of Sin, (despite our firm belief to the contrary). Once upon a time every school person knew about the Crusades & the Thirty Years War, but nowadays with the lack of history in the school syllabus, we can mercifully avoid these unfortunate parallels and treat them as fake news.

For we are worse than the wealthy prelates of the past; Cardinal Wolsey with his palaces at Knole and Hampton Court (among others) had nothing on us. We preside over much greater and much more widespread wealth, namely the traditions, community feeling and spiritual comfort of millions of our fellow citizens in our parishes across the entire country. (I say citizens rather than congregations because we have done such an excellent job of wringing our hands as we let congregations decline, so that in all honesty -very important to us -we cannot claim what we no longer support).

The Sin is appalling. We must deal with it most urgently, for it permeates the very fabric of our churches. The churches are empty; they are nothing more than museums gathering dust; a drain on the finances of the Church because we can no longer squeeze the parishes for the rising costs of keeping our diocesan officials in the comfort to which they are accustomed.  The Church is to be greatly credited with its success in managing this decline in usage over the last few decades, and the closure of all churches during the Covid pandemic was the pinnacle of that achievement – lauded by our Bishops and, we pray, to be praised by our Lord when we prelates arrive in Heaven.

We in the Church are people of great tradition – we have presided over the destruction of our fellow creatures so many times in history that we are simply following a well-trodden path – yet another a pilgrimage against the people.  Let us close the parish churches; let us claim we are helping the poor as we take the money from church sales and use it to bolster our bureaucracy. Let us Zoom together, never having to face the awkwardness of actually having to speak to our parishioners face to face; Heaven forbid (and we pray most earnestly that He/They may do so) that the great unwashed should be allowed to answer back.

We in the Church have a flock to lead – and like all people who talk more about leadership than actually practising it, we listen most carefully to new ideas from the flock and then follow them. We are the Followers among Leaders.

Therefore let us come together and pray:

O Lord, help us tear down traditions, even though we still venerate that great Tradition known as the Bible.

Help us destroy the wealth of community across our society, for wealth is a Sin, even if we ourselves pay lip-service to applying the wealth of Your Church to the happiness of Your flock.

Help us keep our distance from Your congregations as we hold services to You on-line, so that we can reduce the costs of the Bread and Wine by administering it simply to ourselves.

Help us increase our Own, so that more of us in the diocese may worship You, while we reduce contact with those awful parishioners outside our charmed circle. 

Help us in the diocese continue to bring platitudes of encouragement to our vicars and priests who are run ragged as they preside over several parishes at once so that we don’t have to do that work ourselves. 

Help our Bishops continue their successful leadership, namely from behind the breakfast table and in Retreat.

To your everlasting Glory, O Lord,  and in the certainty that we have allowed your Church to decline without inflicting damage upon Ourselves, Your most faithful Followers.


Phlegyas has spent over 35 years  in large and small commerce working across seven different industries and nine different countries. Like his mythical namesake, who ferried Dante and Virgil across the River Styx, he has guided many present-day Board directors of very large organisations through the treacherous cross-currents of Business and Board games.  He is a member of a church choir in Kent.