Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Social media - for Pete's sake!

L'affaire Broadbent has presented us with the less edifyng side of internet social networking sites. We all have a tendency to shoot from the hip and make comments we may very well regret later on after a few hours' consideration. Facebook, Twitter and all the others, not to mention blogging itself, all tend to lead us into the dangerous area of instant comment with its concomitant lack of charity. It's always a good rule of thumb to say nothing online which we wouldn't be prepared say to a person face to face or which we would have to add to our list for the confessional. But having said that, isn't the heavy-handed suspension of  the Bishop of Willesden looking every bit as ill-considered as the comments which originally got him into such hot water?  It seems Anglican bishops can say what they like about Our Lord and get away with it, but ....... 
It just seems to be a interesting little illustration of the contemporary values and priorities of the Church of England.

My daughter's school seems to spend a great deal of time very sensibly and reasonably warning its teenage girls and boys about the dangers of  posting comments on Facebook and other social media, words which they may wish they hadn't written and which may come back to haunt them, not to mention the terrible damage done to interpersonal relationships within the confines of a relatively small community. Modern communications have made the whole world a smaller place; the 'global community' is increasingly interconnected. Comments made here can be read in the U.S. or Australia (or in bishops' palaces closer to home)  in just a few short seconds. So perhaps there should be similar advice given to mitred members of the (English) Establishment (particularly to those who think they're not really 'establishment' at all.) That's something for Diocesan CME directors to get their teeth into and attempt to justify their existence. 'Responsible Social Networking for Bishops and Clergy'  - should that be a day or a residential course?

But this whole story does raise the more serious question as to how a truly convinced republican could honestly take the oath of allegiance at all. For a Church of England bishop to disapprove of the concept of monarchy itself and (presumably) of the whole Crown/Church connection, could make one wonder what all the fuss has been about since the 1530s.
I've always thought that to believe in the disestablishment of the C of E without also legislating for its dissolution ( involving reunion with Rome for some, and with what used to be called 'Protestant Dissent' for others),  is something of a contradiction, unless one believes there is a coherent and cohesive body of specific Anglican doctrine and practice which is (now - in the contemporary situation) worth preserving in an independent ecclesial entity. No, please, speaking as a 'cleric' of the disestablished Church in Wales [and, remember, disestablished against its will by the State, thereby making us a branch broken from an already severed limb] let's not go there...

1 comment:

  1. To continue the theme… <> CinW bishops can even have an adulterous affair with their chaplains and get away with it, but a republican bishop having a pop at the monarchy is cause for suspension. You wait until His Darkness, as the self-perceived Welsh monarch, gets hold of that idea. Any cleric criticizing his way of running the church will be for the chop.


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