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Written by Jack Cerf
(2/4/2003 11:39 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, George Austen, the parson, penned by Caroline
] Pluralism was a departure from the old principle of a ‘priest in every vil’ and Evangelicals within the church raised their voices against it to no avail. Critics in Parliament in 1802 were silenced when Sir William Scott, an eminent ecclesiastical lawyer, demanded to know how the public could require universal residence of the clergy when ‘so large a proportion of the benefices in this kingdom do not pay more than what most of us in this House pay for our upper servants’.
I love it. Scott, later Lord Stowell, was the brother of Sir John Scott, Lord Eldon, the highest of High Tories and the Lord Chancellor of the time. His point, very bluntly stated, was "don't complain about not having what you're not willing to pay for."
Ever since the Reformation, English reformers had been complaining fruitlessly that a parish priest's income was not sufficient to support an educated man in the style to which his education entitled him and which the social authority of the Church required. The solution, which had been proposed without avail for about as long, was to redistribute the Church's income away from the bishops and towards the parish clergy. That, however, would have involved invading the rights of property.
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