Sir Humphrey Appleby: The Queen is inseparable from the Church of England.
Jim Hacker: And what about God?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I think he is what is called an optional extra.
James Hacker: Humphrey, what's a Modernist in the Church of England?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Ah, well, the word "Modernist" is code for non-believer.
James Hacker: You mean an atheist?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No, Prime Minister. An atheist clergyman couldn't continue to draw his stipend. So, when they stop believing in God, they call themselves "Modernists".
James Hacker: How could the Church of England suggest an atheist as Bishop of Bury St Edmunds?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, very easily. The Church of England is primarily a social organization, not a religious one.
James Hacker: Is it?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh yes. It's part of the rich social fabric of this country. So bishops need to be the sorts of chaps who speak properly and know which knife and fork to use. The sort of people one can look up to.
James Hacker: So, the ideal candidate from the Church of England's point of view would be a cross between a socialite, and a socialist.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Precisely.
--J. "He Said 'I AM the Baby Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells!'" D.
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