HC Deb 19 December 1988 vol 144 c13
69. Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners, if he will list the numbers and main responsibilities of (a) clergy and (b) other staff in the cathedrals where the Church Commissioners have some responsibility for payments; how many cathedrals are involved; and if he will make a statement.

The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Representing Church Commissioners (Mr. Michael Alison)

For each cathedral, except Oxford and Sodor and Man, the commissioners pay the stipend of the dean or provost and of two residentiary canons. This amounts to a total of 123 clergy in 41 cathedrals. The commissioners also make block grants to these 41 cathedrals towards the pay of other clergy and lay employees. They have no information about the total number of employees who benefit. The responsibilities of cathedral staff are determined by the chapter in accordance with cathedral statutes.

Mr. Greenway

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that hundreds of thousands of people are flocking into cathedrals, which offer a big mission opportunity to the Church? Will they not be completely mystified and will not their concept of the Deity be annihilated if present anti-sexist language proposed for the Prayer Book and God is allowed through Synod and Parliament?

Mr. Alison

My hon. Friend's question arises in the context of cathedrals. I am glad to be able to give him a neutral response—a cathedral is neither a he nor a she but an it. I reassure my hon. Friend that many years will have to elapse before cathedral liturgies are bowdlerised to get rid of any reference to the male gender.