Category Archives: Church of England

31 Mar

Carey the patriot: Welby the fascist sympathiser

It is encouraging to read that George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury (1991-2002), has suggested that Donald Trump might be a “good Samaritan” for the dispossessed American working class – the millions scorned, neglected and betrayed by the US political elite for decades. As the result of the presidential election in the US, the vote for Leave in Britain and the growing strength of anti-elitist parties throughout Europe have shown, millions have declared their contempt for the elite of “liberal” intellectuals, apparatchiks and career bureaucrats who have dominated the political scene throughout Europe and the States since the second world war. People have lost patience with the elite’s culture of entitlement and thrown them out.

Naturally, George Carey is already being excoriated by members of the political establishment and by the left-liberal sections of the media from which they draw their support.

Members of this establishment can barely contain their rage over the fact that both here and in the US they are effectually being disestablished.

Contrast George Carey’s refreshing statement with speeches by Justin Welby in recent months. Welby urged us to vote Remain in the EU referendum, assuring us that there is nothing in Christianity in general or the Church of England’s doctrines in particular to disapprove of the EU. Thus he showed his ignorance of The Thirty-nine Articles which are central to the constitution of the Church of England and to which Welby himself was obliged to give his assent upon the occasions of his ordination and consecration. Article 37 says, “The Queen’s Majesty hath the chief power in this realm of England.”

Not under EU rules, she doesn’t: for the EU works consistently for the abolition of the nation state.

And then there is the small matter of Welby’s having sworn the Oath of Allegiance to her Majesty. In better days, he would have been put in the Tower for airing such views.

But then Welby thinks himself enlightened and progressive, as all members of the left-liberal establishment do. He is in fact a leading representative of that arrogant culture of entitlement, of career bureaucrats and operators of the management cult of ordered decline:  that failed establishment which the people have belatedly rejected.

Welby has condemned both Trump and anti-EU, anti-immigration “populism” as “belonging to the fascist tradition in politics.”

And nobody laughs!

I’ll leave Trump out of this for the time being – at least for long enough for us to discern his political direction. But to condemn fascism while supporting our membership of the EU is a species of doublethink of which George Orwell would have been proud:

Consider: the ruling EU Commission is unelected, a self-appointed, self-perpetuating privileged committee of commissars; in effect a politburo. They are entirely unaccountable to the European electorates. The EU has not published audited accounts for twenty years, so we have no idea how much of our money they are spending or indeed of what they are spending it upon. There is no democratic process in the EU for the making of policy. The so-called EU parliament is a rubber stamp for the Commission. Thousands of new rules and laws are made every year and then imposed on the member states. Effectually, the EU governs by decree and diktat.

Is there a word for this? I say there is, and the word is “fascist.”

Well said, George! Is there the chance you might stage a comeback?

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29 Mar

Our racist church

Why has the Church of England turned racist?

Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester, has just announced that there is to be a new appointment designated “bishop for ethnic mi minorities.” Why? Because, says the Bishop of Leicester, the church is “too quintessentially English,”

Leave aside for the moment the question of how one can be “too” quintessentially anything – for “quintessence” is what it says it is: the very quick and soul of a thing. But, as the modern services demonstrate only too clearly, our church authorities are not too familiar with the English language, what will go into it and what won’t.

The whole point of the Church of England is that it was always meant to be quintessentially English. It is, after all, the national church. Read the divines who were most eminent in its creation, such as Richard Hooker and William Law: “Every man of England a member of the Church of England” and “The whole realm shall have one use.”

It is as if Martyn Snow does not even satisfy himself with his coinage “too quintessentially English,” for he blathers on a bit further and adds that the new bishop for minorities is deemed necessary because the country, and particularly the Leicester area, has experienced “cultural changes.” We must respond to these cultural changes, says Bishop Snow, “by enabling greater representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Christians.”

In what ways are BAME Christians not “enabled” presently? Does the Bishop of Leicester mean to suggest that a white English priest cannot or should not minister to black or Asian Christians?

On that score, would he say that a black or Asian priest cannot or should not minister to white English Christians?

The very notion of a bishop for minorities is at best patronising. Actually, it is blatantly racist. If you really wish to marginalise someone, assign him to a special group..

We know from forty years experience that the hierarchy and synod always follows secular fashions, only, like some prince consort, one dutiful step behind. The secular fad being followed here is the disastrous policy of encouraging multiculturalism which separates people into “communities” on racial grounds and creates undesirable ghettos.

When this was practised in South Africa, it was rightly condemned as Apartheid. When it is practised here, it is lauded by all the same “liberals” and “progressives” who took to the streets to protest about the segregation that was the rule in South Africa.

The notion of “communities” is fatal to the establishing of an integrated society. There is one community to which we all belong: one church, one realm, one England. This was the Elizabethan Settlement which has given us a decent set of political liberties for 400 years. This settlement has been adjusted and refined over the centuries by, for instance the accommodation of dissenters through the repeal of the Test and Corporation Act (1828) and the Catholic Emancipation Act (1829)

It should not be beyond the wit even of our contemporary senior ecclesiastics to allow similar adjustments to be made to extend membership of the one English community to those of other faiths

Dump the patronising attitude towards so called BAME Christians. And ditch the implicit racism.

The living symbol of our national integrity is the Monarch who is both head of state and supreme governor of the Church of England.

You might say the genius of this settlement is precisely in that it is quintessentially English.

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29 Jan

By mirrors and prevarication…

Slowly but surely, by hint, innuendo and prevarication, by a deathless procession of committee meetings and interim reports, the Church of England is working its way towards changing its teaching on marriage. Three years of “shared conversations” on the subject have just ended and the Bishop of Norwich has published a summary in which he says: “At present clergy are advised that they may offer ‘informal prayer’ to those registering civil partnerships or entering same sex marriage.  The parameters of such pastoral support are unclear.  The House proposes that there should be more guidance for clergy about appropriate pastoral provision for same sex couples.”

Society has, as they say, “moved on” and the church is getting left behind. Archbishop Rowan Williams noticed this fact and referred to it in his last sermon before he retired: “The church has a lot of catching up to do with secular mores.” Thus this very modern prelate inverted the teaching of St Paul who, on the subject of pagan values, commanded, “Be ye not conformed to this world.”

But what did St Paul know, living as he did all those centuries ago and long before our great Enlightenment?

The bishops and the synod are hell bent – I choose the words carefully – on catching up with the secularists. How do I know this? Because the bishops and the synod have got form: they have fallen into line with every “reform” in social manners and customs since the 1960s. We can be sure that there will be no point in the process of continuous “reform” at which church leaders will declare: “This is a step too far. Proceed no further. Stop!”

But there will be no explosions, no nasty shocks. The ecclesiastical committees will proceed by stealth and duplicity. Press release will follow press release and memorandum of understanding will begat memorandum of understanding. It will take as long as it takes. Only the result is certain. The Enlightened Ones – Williams’ catchers-up – will not take the decisive vote until they are sure of winning it.

Meanwhile, what? Let the very progressed Bishop of Norwich spell it out:

“No change in doctrine is proposed but it is often pastoral practice – how we treat people – which matters most.  This means establishing across the Church of England a fresh tone and culture of welcome and support for lesbian and gay people, for those who experience same sex attraction, and for their families, and continuing to work toward mutual love and understanding on these issues across the Church.  And so we speak in the report about re-examining the existing framework of our pastoral practice to permit maximum freedom within it.  We recognise two areas in particular where advice in relation to the pastoral care and support of lesbian and gay people needs fresh thought.”

Notice at once the trademark double-speak: There will be “no change” but there will be “maximum freedom.” Freedom to do what?

Our Lord’s teaching on marriage remains the same. We have a choice: obey his teaching or disobey it. That is the only “maximum freedom” Christians are permitted: freedom of the will.

The bishops and the synod will proceed with a shifty gradualism of which Fabius Maximus (280-203 BC) would have been envious.

This is the strategy: there  is to be“…a fresh tone and culture of welcome and support for lesbian and gay people.” On the Christian criterion of “hate the sin but love the sinner” this cannot be faulted. But the paradoxical willingness to accept those who deliberately disobey Christ’s teaching – while desperately balancing on one leg to insist that his teaching still stands – will lead to the eventual abandonment of the teaching; not (at first, anyway) by decree but by default.

Then Rowan Williams will be able to rest easy in his retirement, having seen that the church truly has caught up with secular mores. That is only for the time being. For secular mores will soon gallop off again into even more Progressed and Enlightened “reforms.”

And the church will do… Well, we know what the church will do. What it always does and that is to play catch-up, very successfully.

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21 Jan

When I hear the word “culture”…

Wondering where to look next for a bit of excitement, I stumbled upon the briefing and agenda papers for the meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England to be held next month. My pulse raced and I could feel my face purpling as I read: 

“The Church of England needs to undergo a major ‘culture shift’ to mobilise lay members to spread the gospel in their everyday lives.”

My excitement was occasioned by the utter brilliance of this proposal. The Church has been around in England for 1500 years, but this is the first time a genius has arisen among the hierarchy to suggest that members of the Church might talk to their fellow-countrymen about the Christian faith. The idea is so radical and innovatory that the brain-dead ecclesiastical bureaucrat – sorry, I mean of course the pastoral expert- in Church House has actually had to coin a phrase to describe it. 

This luminous phrase is “culture shift.” And its radical nature is all in the fact that “culture” is not something we naturally associate with the contemporary Church of England

Unless of course we mean guitars and overhead projectors; with cutting up little bits of yellow paper and sticking them on bigger pieces of blue paper; of decorating cup cakes; of “holding a line dance for the Lord.” All these cultural activities, and more besides, are what the Church authorities recommend in their course booklet, Love Life, Live Lent.

Recently they produced something even better when they suggested that parish churches should become “Pokemon Hubs.”

“And behold, he saith unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world and wherever you come across anyone barmy enough to take any notice, tell him to set up a Pokemon Hub’.”

The report, entitled Setting God’s People Free, calls for Christians “…to be equipped to live out their faith in every sphere – from the factory or office, to the gym or shop – to help increase numbers of Christians and their influence in all areas of life.”

Brilliantly the Church House genius understands that, for Church members to be able to do these things, they will have to be taught.

This is an insight of truly startling originality and forces us, at the point of wonder, to contemplate the infinite depth and resourceful creativity of the mind of the contemporary Church. 

These inspired suggestions are key elements in the lay leadership strand of Renewal and Reform – the latest wheeze – sorry, “…an initiative from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to help grow the Church.”

Which, being interpreted means, “The Church authorities – bishops, synods and the like – have been so mindlessly inept for so long that hardly anyone comes to Church any longer. So we’ve run out of money, folks. You’d better get out there then are pull in a few punters – or we won’t be able to pay for the synodical bureaucracy and the bishops’ expenses.”

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20 Jan

The massacre of the innocents

Archbishop Justin Welby recently visited Auschwitz and afterwards said, “We must reflect on the human capacity for evil and the need to both recognise and challenge this wherever it appears. We must protest to the limit against evil: before it occurs, as it happens, and in its aftermath.”

That was very well said and profoundly Christian, befitting an Archbishop. Its pertinence is particularly noticeable in his phrase “wherever it {evil} appears.”

The extermination of 1.1 million people by the Germans at Auschwitz was a signal atrocity, but it was not unique. The Germans murdered six million Jews in their death camps, but the Russians under Stalin slaughtered three times that number – and some say even more than that. Still more were killed by the Chinese under Mao.

So this is where we should mark well the Archbishop’s phrase, “wherever it {evil} appears.”

And evil appears everywhere and in all ages “All have sinned and fallen  short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). This is the Christian doctrine of Original Sin, the fact that, while we may strive to do good, our will is inclined to evil. St Paul says, “The good I would, that I do not; and what I would not, that I do.” (Romans 7:19). We are divided selves. 

Nowadays the doctrine of Original Sin has gone put of fashion. Since the Enlightenment we have thought increasingly well of ourselves and so now the truth of the doctrine of Original Sin has been replaced by the lie of Progress. Modern, “liberal” Christians don’t believe in Original Sin: they think it’s just one of those dismal superstitions held by primitive people in the “pre-scientific” bad old days. Modern types are quite sure that they have grown out of such “negative” views.

The modern “liberal” preacher does not set about to convince us of our sinfulness but to cultivate our sense of self-esteem.

But it is easy to give the lie to the “liberals’” denial of the fact of Original Sin. If we are really so progressed, improved and altogether better than our forebears, why were more people slaughtered in the wars and genocides of the 20th century than in all the preceding centuries put together?

This is where I want to come a bit nearer home. The 1.1 million murders of the Auschwitz atrocity were an unspeakable evil. But since the Abortion “Reform” Act of 1967, 8,2 unborn children have been destroyed in the UK because their existence was. deemed inconvenient for those who procreated them. The legalisation of abortion, we were told, would abolish the dirty and dangerous backstreet clinics and termination would be allowed only within the first 24 weeks of gestation and in cases where the foetus was severely damaged or where there was a danger to the life of the mother.

“Termination,” they say blithely, clinically. They forget there should be an “ex” before that word

But for decades abortion has simply been used as another method of contraception used by the sexually incontinent.

8.2 foetuses destroyed since 1967. Currently at a rate of 200,000 every year in the UK. That’s an Auschwitz every five years.

And you tell me you don’t believe in Original Sin?

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25 Dec

Begone gloomy prelate!

“2016 has left us awash with fear.” Thus spake that leader of the Church Militant in this state of England, the Arch-community dirge-chanter of Canterbury, Justin Welby. We are haunted, he chants, by “the fear of terror and the economics of despair.”

If you Google SKY News, you can see a picture of him actually looking haunted and afraid.

Speak for yourself, Mr Welby. I’m not. I would rather believe the angel who said, “Fear not” than the wimpish Primate of all England.

The aim of terrorists is to make us afraid. I’m not going to oblige them, and I am confident most of my fellow countrymen are not going to succumb to fear either.

And what’s all this about “the economics of despair”? Foreign investment, since the referendum, is at the highest level on record. There are more people in work than ever. A score more economic indicators register strongly on the plus side.

There are so many things to be thankful for. Obama has (nearly) gone. We were spared Hillary Clinton. Trump is (almost) in the White House. The England XV went through the year unbeaten. Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow scored a stack of runs.

Welby himself has served another year at Canterbury – which means he has one fewer to go until the day he leaves office.

And Leave won that referendum.

Best of all, it’s Christmas Day. The Word is made flesh and dwells among us, and we behold his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father: full of grace and truth.

So Lord descend to us, we pray: and take that Justin Welby away.

I’ve got a better motto for us: Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus…”

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23 Dec

And the word was made trash

“And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)

When it comes to the Church of England, we feel obliged to ask, “What mind?”

The Church authorities have produced a two minutes film “Joy to The World” presented by Gogglebox vicar and Songs of Praise presenter Rev’d Kate Bottley. It has been designed to compete in the “Advertisement of the Year” competition with the likes of Sainsbury’s and Tesco

The film begins unpromisingly with Ms Bottley, dressed in civvies, trying to appear…. well, like unto her imagined audience. And behold, she openeth her mouth and spake unto the people these words: “My idea of Christmas is me, in my ‘jamas, sat (sic) on the sofa watching a lovely film.”

The rest of the two minutes does nothing to make amends for this philistine irrelevance and I wondered for a long time what the purpose of this film might be. Clearly, it was meant to portray the priest as unclerical and untheological as possible. I don’t think she found this difficult.

And yet the image she projected was also a cliche – the cliche of the thoroughly modern vicar or vicaress who is not at all churchy, but just like you.

But the authorities haven’t grasped the irony that this image is exactly what the Church is like today: vacuous, suburban attitudes and mores – no different in fact from the world to which St Paul said we are not to be conformed.

The film offered a short resume of what it wanted us to perceive as the modern clergyperson’s Christmas. But there was nothing about the Incarnation. No glimpse of the Christmas gospel. A lot of excited rushing about bathed in a soft focus cloud of sentimentality.

Since the Church of England omits to preach the Christmas Gospel, the least I can do is to write out the words here, John 1:1-14:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

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21 Dec

A black day for Rose

From the seat of her high-ranking position as chaplain to the speaker of the House of Commons, the Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a black woman, complains that there are not enough black and ethnic minority clergy being promoted to high office. Her own office as chaplain to the speaker is a fine hideout from which to make such accusations. It reminds me of Soren Kierkegaard’s riposte to Bishop Mynster: “This prelate in all the majesty of his ecclesiastical regalia ascends the pulpit of his glorious cathedral and preaches on the text, ‘God hath chosen the humble things of this world’ – and nobody laughs!” 

Ms Hudson-Wilkin blames “institutional racism” within the Church of England. And still nobody laughs.

She had better report this deficit to the second highest-ranking cleric in the church then, the Archbishop of York who was, last time I looked, a black man.

We are accustomed to hearing from class and race warrior Rose on these matters. A couple of years ago, she was interviewed on Radio Four and talked of little else in half an hour. She is a sort of ecclesiastical Doppelganger of Diane Abbott.

The occasion of the reverend lady’s renewed expostulations was the consecration of Karowei Dorgu as the new Bishop of Woolwich. He too is black.

Am I still the only person laughing? 

I don’t think we should get overly theoretical about this perceived deficiency of black and effnik hierarchs. Let’s concentrate on the practicalities instead. If a remedy is thought to be required, how is this to be accomplished? Are there to be quotas to ensure that black candidates are promoted, that is preferred over white candidates solely on the grounds that they are black?

If so, this amounts to racism. It may come as a surprise to diversity-mongers, but black people can be guilty of racism too. (Indeed, the claim they cannot be guilty of this offence is itself an act of racist prejudice, albeit against whites) The race warriors talk about “positive discrimination.” But there is no such thing. One person’s positive discrimination is another person’s victimisation.

There are only two criteria for the promotion of clergy into positions of high office in the church – or indeed for the promotion of anyone anywhere – and these are ability and suitability.

All the clamour for special preferment to be given to black candidates is manifestly unfair and unjust.

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30 Nov

There once was a bishop who lived in a hub…

The English cathedrals are doing very nicely, thank you. The First World War Centenary Repair Fund, administered by the government, has so far contributed £40million – and a further £5.5million this week alone. And this is not their only source of revenue. Businesses are often generous in their support: for example, a few years ago Goldman Sachs gave £40million to St Paul’s for the renewal of its stonework. And this as the canons were speaking in support of the Occupy movement and excoriating the City banks. There are 44 cathedrals and they charge admission – and it’s not cheap. St Paul’s will let you in for £18, generously reduced to £16 for children and pensioners. At Westminster the fee is £20 and at York £15. the cathedrals attract 11 million visitors each year, so you hardly require pencil and paper to work out how much the Deans and Chapters are raking in – well over £150million from pay-at-the-door alone.

Mind you, they need to bring in the money to pay themselves their stipends for, while the average Vicar receives £25,000pa, cathedral Canons are paid rather more and Deans get £34,000.

There is one more big difference between the financial condition of the parish churches and that of the cathedrals. The average parish church is required to pay tens of thousand of pounds annually to diocesan central funds through an ever-increasing tax variously known as the quota, the common fund or the parish share.

The cathedrals pay nothing.

Effectually, this means that each Vicar or parish priest must be a permanent fundraiser to provide his own stipend.

So we see there operates in the Church of England a sublime equality – though some places are more equal than others.

Cathedrals have often been described – chiefly by the Bishops and Deans who inhabit them – as “the jewels in the crown of the English Church.” A spokesman for the C. of E., responding to the latest tranche of cash from that WWI Centenary Repair Fund, was even more lavish in his praise. “Our cathedrals,” he effused “are valuable community hubs.”

So we are to understand that the hierarchy’s new vision for Christian churches in England is to see them as an aspect of social work by practitioners of the social gospel – which is only the social bit without the gospel – and another sign of the Church’s suicidal secularisation perpetrated by those who were ordained and appointed to teach us about the things that are sacred.

And lo is written, “My house has been called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a community hub.”

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27 Sep

The Church of St Jargon & All Gobbledegook

The Church of St Jargon & All Gobbledegook – formerly known as the Church of England – is affectionately called “Jarg’s” or “Gobs” by its devotees. It is “a resource  where exciting things are happening.” Last year, for example, they appointed Mike Eastwood, Liverpool Diocesan Secretary, to the “exciting” two days a week job of Director of the nationwide Reform and Renewal movement, aka “The Welby Babes.”.Mike has held exciting posts before his current appointment. He was Director of the Directory of Social Change – and they don’t come more exciting than that in the social engineering and class warfare sector!

The official announcement of Mike’s appointment mentioned that he had previously worked for the not quite so exciting Resourcing the Future Task Group and that, “He brings knowledge of the Church to support the programme into the delivery phases.” His responsibility at R&R will be, “…to bring the current work streams together and co-ordinate the activities in a way necessary for delivery.”

When we read such invigorating sentences as these, we can see at once that the new name, The Church of St Jargon & All Gobbledegook was chosen with brilliant aptness. 

The announcement continues in the same exciting style: “Mike will retain his role in Liverpool, with some changes in day-to-day activities to ensure manageability of workload.”

The tired old C. of E. is in its death throes – thank God. The stuffy old diehards, Prayer Book lovers and the like are dying off too. The numbers attending church show relentless decline. We should see this as a blessing, as the dead wood makes way for the exciting new ethos of R&R with its stimulating rock music “worship groups,” its informal, pass-the-parcel style liturgy and its scintillating shoals of “management teams.” 

The chronic shortage of priests is “enabling” R&R “to explore exciting new possibilities for lay leadership.” 

The future is bright. The future is all Jargon & Gobbledegook (with charismatic choruses obbligato).

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