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Scarlet Ribbons: A Priest with AIDS Paperback – 15 Nov 1997
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Honourable... empassioned and tender (Sara Maitland)
'Two journeys are powerfully described - Rosemary finds a brother and a meaning to life and Simon finds he can survive a bullying fundamentalist father to accept himself first as a gay priest, then as a man living with AIDS... Rosemary Bailey's book will shock because it reveals the damage done to gay priests by the church, but it also shows that openness and honesty breed love and understanding? Revd Malcolm Johnson, Bishop of London's Adviser on Pastoral Care and Counselling
About the Author
Rosemary Bailey was born in Yorkshire in 1953, and studied English and Philosophy at Bristol University. She has worked as a journalist for twenty years, writing about sexual politics, culture and travel for many publications including the Sunday Times, Guardian and Vogue. She now lives in London and France with her husband, biographer Barry Miles, and their son.
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Simon Bailey was a priest of the Church of England and went on to become vicar in a hardscrabble English mining town, the sort of place a gay priest with AIDS might consider avoiding. But Simon Bailey was the Right Stuff and took the job willingly. In the process, he brought about a remarkable social transformation, raising consciousness far beyond the limits of his parish. (Of course, brought up in a household ruled lovingly but strictly by a hardshell Baptist fire-and-brimstone preacher meant Simon had been negotiating minefields since he was a child.)
Rosemary Bailey's book is beautifully lucid. She illuminates the social labyrinth of the 1980s in terms of the world's reaction to the mysterious "gay cancer" which had appeared so suddenly and soon assumed epidemic proportions. As always, some trotted out the old "Live by the sword, die by the sword" canard, but they have not gained the high ground. That patch of turf belongs to the SImon Baileys of the world and to the Rosemary Baileys who tell their stories.
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