Thursday, 22 May 2008

The Times: The Vicar of Baghdad: Through the valley of the shadow of death

(Ed: Someone once asked me if Canon White was sufficiently 'orthodox' to merit our support. My response was that if you could actually find someone orthodox willing to go and do his job, I'd happily support them instead.)

Canon Andrew White's family home is not exactly a rambling rectory, but with its peaceful village setting, immaculately tended garden and homely clutter, it is, by most people's definition, idyllic and utterly conventional.

The problem for Canon White is that he is not a conventional man.

When, as he is occasionally given to do, he opines to his wife, a former lawyer, that perhaps he should be a normal parish priest, her response is always the same. “They couldn't cope with you and you couldn't cope with them,” she tells him.

Canon White is the so-called Vicar of Baghdad. Though nominally he resides in rural Hampshire, his church, St George's, is situated 3,000 miles away, amid the razor wire and bombed-out buildings of Iraq's capital. He spends an average three days a month with his wife and two young sons in the UK; the rest of the time, he is at his home away from home, a Portakabin inside Baghdad's heavily fortified green zone - the six square miles that houses all foreign, military and diplomatic staff in what remains the world's most dangerous city.

This Sunday, an ITV documentary gives an extraordinary insight into Canon White's double life. Rageh Omaar, the veteran Iraq war correspondent, presents him as a charismatic and indisputably brave man. Read more
No comments will be posted without a full name and location, see the

No comments: